What can we learn from the past several days, about hurricanes, humanity, and business? Lessons come from everywhere. We witness an outpouring of humanity, and are heartened. And we see the tragic impact of extreme weather conditions, and are sobered.
As events unfold, what lessons can we learn from the powers of nature in action?
Lessons from the Storm
- We do not control everything. As technology surges ahead, amazing capabilities are created every day. We can become arrogant. Unprecedented weather reminds us of our limitations.
- Persistence has power. A quick spring shower is an innocuous diversion. We go about our business without missing a beat. Yet the same phenomenon, magnified and persistent, can devastate cities.
- We can rise to our best, and sink to our worst. Ethics become visible. The essence of humanity is compassion. In offering shelter, rescuing lives, saving pets, sending boats, provisions, or more, the human spirit resonates with the recognition that we are all one. And for those whose essence is greed and avarice, the same natural phenomena present an opportunity to exploit the tragedy for personal financial gain. Reputations, for better or worse, are made in an instant.
- Building up takes time and care; destruction is quick and mindless. It takes months to build a house, and years to build a business. It can take decades to build a community. And it all can be destroyed in a few hours. Destruction is easy; building is hard.
- Anyone can be a victim. Disasters are not confined to other countries, states, communities or individuals. Rains fall on the rich and poor, of all ethnicities, life styles and beliefs. Humanity transcends our divisions; humanity transcends our divisive labels. We are all human and were are all vulnerable.
- The disaster is the tip of the iceberg. Physical and emotional recovery, the assessment of infrastructure damage and massive structural repairs, and the rebuilding of community can last for decades. The impact of a finite disaster can reverberate indefinitely.
Reflections on Humanity
In life and in business, take time to pause and reflect. The world is fragile; life is fragile. The perfect storm highlights our vulnerability and our humanity. In times of crisis, the labels which divide us fall away. We see who we really are – humans with different opinions, different traits, beliefs and orientations, but all human, and all truly the same. May we remember in times of ease, as well as in times of crisis, we need each other, for indeed, we are all in this together.