Nature’s Way Of Reminding Us Who Is Really In Charge

When I was brushing my teeth this morning at 5am I was thinking about a post I was going to write today. By 5:15 I was in front of my computer with my cup of coffee totally obsessed by watching video of the 8.9 earthquake that hit Japan today. I’m now trying to pry myself away from the live videos of the coast of Hawaii waiting for the tsunami to hit.

Many of my friends are at SXSW this weekend. I didn’t feel like going this year since I knew I’d be too tired (I’ve got a vacation coming up) and I was right as I’ve been in a particularly intense work and travel cycle since the beginning of the year. As I saw the tweets about SXSW last night I was feeling a little bummed about the choice I’d made not to go.

This morning, I’m really glad I’m in Boulder. Whenever a natural disaster like this happens, it’s really unsettling to me. I’m not sure why but I don’t fight the emotion any more. While I like to think I’m very comfortable with my own mortality, down deep I think that there’s something about the natural disasters that remind me how fragile life really is.

I’m hoping my friends in Japan, Hawaii, and any other places that are being impacted are ok.

  • Dean Collins

    This is the best video of seen from Japan – this is insane.

    • Walter

      This video is mind blowing. Throw in the wild fire near Lyons today and we have totally new set of P1 for me.

    • Here’s what I got when I went to check on news updates from CNN on Hawaii’s update.

  • great post and appreciate the reminder about what really matters. so easy to think signal is noise and noise is signal. not good that it takes giant earthquakes and tidal waves to shake us into looking at our families and being grateful for every minute we have with them. not logical even. makes me want to think up a some type of virtual earthquake that will shake me into paying attention every day.

  • Anonymous

    That too bad that we have to have the word “disaster” and some time have to use it!

  • Good morning Brad and everyone. It is a good day for those of us not directly affected to take stock of our good fortune and appreciate our loved ones and friends. My only priority for the day is just to process.

    I also wonder if it isn’t time for someone to invent and produce a low-cost, rapid-deploy and inflate, stable LTA floating platform for low-lying coastal populations. Something that can hold several families safely up in the air while under tsunami threat, have minimal controls and propulsion and then safely return them 30 to 40 feet down to surface level or to water.

    I’ve lived through two very localized disasters and can’t even comprehend what I’ve seen this morning. I’m just glad we’re not seeing the massive-scale of loss of life of 2004.

    • Yup, I changed my P1 for today from what it previously was to just getting
      through the day. The live video from Hawaii right now is extremely powerful
      – watching the water recede in advance of what is anticipated to be a very
      powerful wave.

      • I can’t even watch US news or feeds. Even the idiots in HI’s studios are unable to check the enthusiasm for the attention at the door. Not that I’m expecting them to sob through their reporting, but our media personalities totally lack a sense of decorum or grasp philosophically the real significance of events they report.


        Like at this moment, CNN’s banner reads: “First tsunami waves push into Hawaii”

        What they have underneath isn’t an image related to HI, it’s the same video of the mass rush of tidal mud and tsunami wash from coastal Japan. INTENTIONAL misrepresentation and sensationalism. Bastards.

  • Anonymous

    Good thoughts, Brad. I’ve found lately that the reminders of the fragility of preciousness of life can come from huge events and from the smallest things as well. For me, I feel it sometimes when I see my daughter and her friends walking home from school, as I lag a few yards behind them. Even little things like that make me so grateful for my little place in the world.

    Something you wrote in Do More Faster has really changed the way I do things. I’ve adopted your yellow card rule. It’s really generous, I think, and it’s the right way to be. And I’ve added what I think of as a white card rule. White cards go to the people who haven’t risen nearly to the level of a yellow card. They’ve just troubled me in some way. Instead of keeping whatever it was to myself, I opt for some brief, unemotional communication, and then we move on, It’s better for everyone, makes me more receptive to receiving white cards as well.

    Thanks for a the great post (and book). Susan

    • I love the white card rule. I try to do that also, although I haven’t
      defined it as a separate rule. But it’s a powerful approach to life.

    • I’m picking up ‘Do More Faster’ today along with Gary V’s ‘The Thank You Economy’ today. Going to be an eye-sore/brain’sploded weekend.

    • Anonymous

      You’re going to learn so much from Do More Faster – (be sure you have a highlighter with you when you read). I’ve just ordered GaryV’s book – there’s a great article about him in Inc. (Feb 2011).

  • In Focus at the Atlantic is posting some images which are worth viewing. Currently at 33 images.

    • Wow – powerful images.

      • Alan Taylor has added more images (now at 48). “Powerful” is right, Brad. It’s humbling. Incredible devastation by which I’m moved and saddened for those affected.

  • This really makes you really appreciate the little things. And so it reminded me of a TED Talk just this January on the best things in life we sometimes miss. The 3 A’s of Awesome.

  • The pre and post satellite photos of key cities is also astounding. So far my friends and those that I work with in Japan are all ok. My heart and thoughts go out to those in Japan.