Our Hearts Go Out …

Our heart goes out to our British friends. Olympics one day, terror the next. An aide to Tony Blair wrote a couple of years ago (I use it as a slide), “We may not be interested in chaos, but chaos is interested in us.”

Welcome to 2005.

And to pick up on a theme of Re-imagine!: “We are not prepared!” Regardless of the might and advanced technology of Superpowers, the power of determined (fanatic!) individuals to disrupt nations and wreck havoc on individuals in vast numbers has never been higher. On the good side, that’s the ability of consumers or irate citizens to band together in a flash on the Internet. On the bad side it’s New York and Madrid and London.

(In The World Is Flat, Tom Friedman says that 1492-1800 was the Age of Nations; 1800-2000 was the Age of Corporations; 2000+ is the Age of Empowered Individuals. Well worth pondering.)

By the timing of attacks, the terrorists set the world agenda. (Individuals take the play from nations.) In this instance, strong and vital statements and commitments concerning aid to Africa and global warming were watered down to essential meaninglessness by a rushed G-8.

So in addition to our incredible sympathy to innocent civilians, we owe it to ourselves and our families and organizations we care about to consider every aspect of a Life of Global Uncertainty. Quickly replace gloom with actions specifically aimed at pre-empting “chaos” via thorough preparation for uncertain times. Take me. Another terrorist attack in the U.S., panic sets in and my speaking schedule, and thence my income, collapses. “Contingency planning” takes on a new and urgent meaning in such a context.

When I began to talk about “brand you” 10 years ago, my concern was economic uncertainty. Now the uncertainty is encompassing. On the one hand, we must join with others to deal with the insanity of the times. On the other hand, we must understand that even powerful nations like the U.S. and Spain and Britain cannot protect us. I don’t mean “survival of the fittest,” but I do mean a Large Dose of Self-responsibility. (I guess I do mean survival of the fittest … not as in dog eat dog, but as in survival of the most resilient.)

Weep this morning, act this afternoon …