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Counter-Covid Energy

Malinda Sanna

These strange times are full of paradox. For those of us quarantined, we have more time to relax, but are more anxious. We’re consuming more news than ever, but we’re confused… we’re physically separated from loved ones, yet we’re reconnecting with them in new ways.

The most fascinating paradox to me is that at the same time people are experiencing confinement, they have interesting internal energy bubbling up. Specifically, a recognition of the value of personal freedom.

Our work calls for a lot of one-on-one chatting with all kinds of people across the country on LookLook®, our mobile ethnography platform, which is coming in handy in these times that require remote research.

Some examples of this talk of freedom:

Younger women are telling us they feel freedom from pressure to look perfect:

“I’m free from all the facade I have to put on every day. I
barely take any selfies, let alone without any makeup. I
am a girl known for wearing heavy eyeliner but since
quarantine, I feel like I could start new.”
-28, San Francisco

Professionals are feeling free from being part of the rat race:

“I do like that life has forcibly slowed us all down! I think
that we as a society have become engrossed in
ourselves and this fast-paced lifestyle that’s
all about being the most successful and making the
most money but at the same time jeopardizing and
putting on the back burner the most important things.”
– 24, NYC

Office workers are finding the freedom in working from home liberating:

“With the freedom to do what I want when I want, it releases me
from the confines of work, if that makes sense. I can walk away from my
desk at home, take a breather and come back refreshed…
removing myself is much easier at home than it is at the office.
– 27, Boston

I think we’re all beginning to realize that we’re not going to “snap back” to normal behavior after this strange, awful…. yet weirdly expansive time.

We’ve had five years of growth at SPARK Ideas, but frankly I’m happy to take a breather from pressure to beat revenue goals this year. I’m also deeply happy that we are bootstrapping and don’t have to answer to investors during this time. We’re using Covid “cloud cover” to make some counter-Covid moves. We’re finding some great talent to help us build our platform, we’re nurturing collaborations with other research firms, and we’re experimenting with new ways to use LookLook®. In other words, we’re going to give a lot away for free this year. It may not be immediately profitable but it’s definitely exciting.

I hope you, and others are finding ways to “let yourself off the hook” in some chosen ways at this time. Despite the physical constraints, enjoy whatever new freedoms you can create on the inside – for yourself or your work – or personal relationships. How can you expand instead of contract? Find something you can savor instead of just tolerating the hard stuff. That shift in energy is everything.

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