Learning New Tricks

As I write this, it has been just over a month since the world’s doors slammed shut. Or, at least the doors in the U.S.A, or at least, in Florida. Well, more or less shut – it changes day by day. As we’ve posted and will continue to do a few more times, COVID-19 has not just interrupted 2020, but it has changed the world forever, in ways we are only just now beginning to comprehend. People adapt, or are adapting, to restrictions that change overnight – anyone tried a virtual happy hour? Companies are trying to adapt and find ways to function in an altered economy. Adaptations are interesting to watch. Today I saw an ad for the wonderful Fairchild Gardens turning to online sales for items in their gift shop. Tropical Acres has gone from steak house to butcher shop – and their meats are offered at reasonable prices for us to cook at home. Melissa and I picked up an order and found this to be wonderful. So, as we muddle through the brave new world, we are realizing the need to learn new tricks. Not that Melissa and I felt all that outdated, but clearly, the move to video conferencing and various other technologies have gotten a boost during this time. Thus, we, in general, in the business world, including our world of Magnus, and in our personal lives, are learning new tricks or getting better at using the tools and technologies available. One way we’re keeping sane is by forcing ourselves to learn these new tricks and finding ways to provide services to clients with them. Though this is not billable time, we’re looking at ways to make them increase our productivity and reach, especially when restrictions exist (such as now) and when costs or other variables would encourage the use of such technology for efficiency sake. Who knows which of these new tricks will carry forward when the world re-emerges? I suspect some things will be forever changed hopefully, for the better.

I mentioned to a friend of mine, who is a retired attorney and, prior to retiring, was a long time client of Magnus’, that David and I are in the process of re-inventing ourselves, and Magnus, in this time of social isolation.  He remarked that it seems a shame for me to have spent my entire career doing great work, only to have to learn how to perform my work in a completely new way “at this time” in my life.  I remarked that, although I agree that it is quite a drag to be unable to perform my job in the way in which I am accustomed, it is rather exciting and intellectually stimulating to be forced, by circumstances related to COVID-19, to learn new things.  It is interesting to observe how people react in times of crisis.  There are some people who sit around, idly lamenting about all of the things they can’t do and wishing for the good old days and there are other people, like David and me, who accept the new reality and move, with acceleration, toward this new reality and all of the things it encompasses.  I have been inspired by my long time bass guitar teacher, Phill Fest (who happens to be a very cool guy, by the way!), who told me that, during this time in which he has no live performances, he is spending 4 hours every day playing his guitars and learning new music that is different than the type of music he plays for live audiences.  He is a professional musician of extraordinary talent who probably doesn’t need to “practice” his guitar playing, however, instead of sitting his guitars in a corner, waiting for the next gig, he is playing them, a lot!  He told me he is noticing improvements in his overall playing since he has been devoting 4 hours, 7 days a week, to doing the thing he does better than anything else.  I want to continue to be like Phill who, instead of sitting around, bored to tears, is moving forward, learning new ways of doing things, and getting ready to go, as soon as we are given the green light to get on with our lives.

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