Things Are Bad; Things are Looking Very Good – Thoughts and Lessons from the Year’s End, 2014

Thoughts, and maybe a lesson or two, from 2014. I could, maybe should, write a longer reflection. But here are just a few thoughts.

#1 – Circumstances can change everything. Especially, bad circumstances.

Think of the executives, and the entire workforce, connected with AirAsia. A few days ago, one of their planes plummeted into the ocean. Every detail of their lives, at least for a while, was fully changed in an instant. Not to mention the lives of the families who lost loved ones.

If history should have taught us anything by now, it is that one of these days, the news could be very bad for you, and for me. When it comes, we probably should not be too surprised, and we should try to be as ready as we can be.

I think of a married couple I know well. They’ve been married for decades. Without going onto too much detail, two major life “disruptions,” including breast cancer, have totally changed their priorities for the time being. Hopefully, ultimately, all will be well. But, in one abrupt moment, everything changed…

In his classic sermon, But When Life Tumbles in, What Then, Arthur John Gossip, whose wife had just died, fairly young and quite unexpectedly, said this:

“To a certainty to you too, in your turn, someday, these things must come.
Yes, unbelievably they come. For years and years you and I go our sunny way and live our happy lives,… and then, to us too, it happens. And when it does, nobody has the right to snivel or whimper as if something unique and inexplicable had befallen him…”

Life is difficult, wrote Scott Peck. This woman and her husband know this. The families connected to the AirAsia flight know this. And others will experience that next year, just as many have this year.


#2 – What an amazing era we live in. Maybe technology is truly bringing a better future.

Think of that woman with breast cancer. For nearly all of human history, she would have had no chance to make it through – until this era of human history.

And, the little device in my pocket is so filled with apps that, if I would just pay more attention and make better use of these resources, would help make me healthier, more productive… It’s only been 7 years since the first true SmartPhone, the iPhone, was introduced. 7 Years! We truly haven’t seen anything yet…

If you pay attention, the technological advances are truly breathtaking. I will present my synopsis of Exponential Organizations next week (January 9) at the First Friday Book Synopsis (the 2nd Friday of January). Here’s a piece of news from the book. Think about this for a minute or three:

Ten years ago we had five hundred million Internet-connected devices. Today there are about eight billion. Exponential OrganizationsBy 2020 there will be fifty billion and a decade later we’ll have a trillion Internet-connected devices as we literally information-enable every aspect of the world in the Internet of Things.

What advances will we experience as the big data of today seems like practically no data at all compared to tomorrow?

The number of eyeballs, the number of observations and breakthroughs and disruptions …. Well, I think it will be beyond what we can imagine.

And, if that is not enough to ponder, then:

#3 – The Cowboys are in the playoffs.

This seemed impossible after a few very average seasons.

So, see!… things can get better!


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