Thursday, January 21, 2010

Haiti and Preparedness

Here is a good analysis of what the earthquake in Haiti might mean for the future.

Politicians always want to get busy doing things when they come into office.  This is an example of why they should not.  Governments are almost always judged by how well they respond to crises.  But if you are spending all of your time and energy trying to make things happen and pushing a legislative agenda and trying to leave a legacy, you diminish your government's ability to respond to unexpected situations.  Each new task you add to an individual or organization diminishes their ability to handle their existing responsibilities.  Governments should spend far more time in emergency preparedness and contingency planning than they do.

It isn't just governments that need to do this.  A good plan for life, no matter what situation you are in, is to keep lots of excess capacity in your abilities.  Spend a lot of time gathering data about the world around you and honing your skills so you can react swiftly and intelligently to anything that is likely to happen.  When you make a budget, leave a line for emergency expenses, and save that money for later of there is no emergency.  When you plan your time, leave plenty of time to deal with the unexpected.  When you learn how to do a job or skill, learn it in depth so you can apply it even when something is messed up. 

The thinner you stretch yourself, the more easily you will snap.

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