Friday, November 2, 2012

The Night the Lights Went Out

The Night the Lights Went Out

We just don’t think it will happen to us.  Because we don’t want to believe it can happen to us.  Probably because we’re optimists.

And then the Storm of the Century hit.  And it was worse than we ever could have imagined.  All the things we take for granted were mostly gone, in the blink of an eye.  There were warnings.  But who listens to warnings: it’s like the little boy who cried “wolf”!

This might just change everything.  Like: not taking things for granted, and really being prepared, and listening more.  Devastation can do that to you, and whether or not it directly affected you, the pictures and stories on the news have a way of affecting us too.

It might be less about changing things as it is about forcing us to go back to basics: no internet – walk over and check on someone directly; no transportation – car pool; no lights – candles and flashlights; no power – read a book in the daylight or by the firelight.  Think about Abe Lincoln – he not only read by firelight, he also seems to have gotten his law degree that way too. Because he couldn't, and now we can’t, get away from the dark, we must rely on our basic instincts and capabilities to deal with it. 

These days, cell phones and the Internet are our primary means of connecting, and they mostly weren't working this week.  And without them we were really in the dark and had to improvise to connect with others.  We had to walk over and knock on someone's door (if we could), or wait until conditions improved. But connect we did because we need personal contact: to let us know we’re not alone and reassure us that others are there and care.

So the moral of this story is that while some things change, others stay the same.  We use the tools we have to stay close to family and friends and colleagues and community.  And as long as we know they are all safe then we can start to return to normal and rebuild.  Make sure your basics are in place today and be prepared if your lights go out.

My message this week is about study and preparation:  

“No one can ever reach to excellence in any one art or profession without having passed through the slow and painful process of study and preparation.”  Horace

How will you prepare to do what you have to do today? Will it come by you naturally, or will you have to work hard to prepare for it? There are lots of people who are naturals at what they do – singers naturally come by their trade because they have good pitch, and public speakers mostly do well because they don’t fear being in front of audiences, and of course service employees like helping others. But those are just the things that help you get started – after that it’s a slow and painful process of study and preparation if you are to excel at what you do.  And (like your mother said): "if anything is worth doing, it’s worth doing well"; so commit to the study and preparation that’s needed if you want to be good at what you do and to be rewarded for it.  That’s how to succeed at the art of your profession!

Stay well!                                                                                     

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