Monday, December 16, 2013

Be Here, Now

Jeff was an engineer whose passion was sailing.

Jeff had a 31 foot sailboat in Elk Rapids, a 4 hour drive from where he lived.  Every Thursday through the late-Spring, Summer and early-Fall, he would check the weather to see if the conditions would be favorable to spending the weekend on the boat.

Jack was a designer who bought a local paper every day.  Jack's workspace was next to a major aisle.   Jack read the paper during lunch but otherwise the paper sat next to his computer terminal.

Every Thursday at about 1:00 PM, Jeff would scoop up Jack's paper, flip to the weather and start to make his weekend plans.  All without so much as a "Hello." to Jack.

In October, Jack shared with me that Jeff's boorish behavior had started to bother him.  But then Jack found a way to let go of the anger.  He saved the Thursday paper from the week before and put it out for Jeff.

The first week Jack did it, he figured Jeff would notice and then they could have a discussion.  But then Jeff never noticed. So every Thursday, after lunch, Jack would pull the same newspaper from early June out of the archive and put it next to his computer.

Jack shared the what he was doing with his fellow designers.  For them, 1:00 PM Thursday became one of the highlights of the week.  They greeted Jeff with great merriment as he walked down the aisle.  He would pick-up the paper and check the day (Thursday) to ensure it was "today's" paper.  He would flip to the weather, "Tsk-tsk" to himself, put down the paper and walk away.  He  sailed every weekend that summer but always had contingencies for "40% chance of rain".

I am not sure who the joke was really on.

  • Was the joke on Jeff who assumed he was getting high quality information for free?
  • Was the joke on Jack who paid for a paper every day?
  • Is the joke on weather forecasters?  They studied tea leaves, chicken entrails, computer models and then wrote Chinese fortune cookie scripts.
  • Is the joke on us because we are either oblivious to the weather or because we hyper-focus? 

There is a lot of power in:

Be here, now.   

Go sailing and prepare for a 40% chance of rain.

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