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February 14th, 2019
A perfect storm is defined by a rare combination of meteorological factors that result in an effect far greater than the sum of those factors.
Two storms colliding and joining force create more destruction than the destruction of those two separate storms added together.
We might think of storms as an Allegorical image. Indeed we already do this in other corners of language. Some very driven people, for example can be described as a force of nature. What actual natural occurrence is more fitting than a storm?
We talk about people being late bloomers or being fresh as a daisy. Many cultures even tended to the position of one person as a rainmaker.
Each and every one of us is causing some kind of ruckus in our own way. Some more than others. Though some might try to hide from the fact: if you are living and breathing, then you are having an impact on the space and people around you. We have no choice about this fact, but what we do have a choice about is exactly how much of a ruckus we make, and what kind.
It’s often said that success is when hard work meets opportunity. We only have control over one of these. The hard work. Now while any bootstrapper might scoff at the idea of waiting around for opportunity, claiming that there’s plenty of opportunity lying around, even if you’re not moving, the word opportunity in this case is really referencing chance. Luck, is nearly invisible until it’s been expressed as some kind of lucky occurrence. So we might return to the sentiment that success is when hard work meets opportunity and ask: what exactly is a person working hard on before it’s met with opportunity? Do people not seize an opportunity and then work hard with it? Or does the problematic idiom imply a capacity for hard work?
It is neither of these.
We must simply work hard on anything, perhaps multiple projects, until one of them starts gaining traction. This might be a steady flow of income or a sense of daily fulfillment. The two need not be mutually exclusive either. So often hobbies are left cooped up in that category, when in reality a hobby can become a side-hustle and eventually a side-hustle can turn into an exciting and rewarding way of making a living.
What’s required is a perfect storm. Our efforts constitute one storm: we toil away at a hobby or side hustle, and we simply keep that storm going, like a system that stays out over water hoovering up more and more water to gain strength and longevity. And then another storm, unanticipated comes over the horizon: an opportunity spun from chance. Our storm of activity meets a storm of opportunity and boom: such a perfect storm of factors might begin to look like a sign of success.
We might think of water with a bit more eerie respect. We think very little of it when wine or a cocktail is on offer. We think of it as mildly useful while washing hands – if we think about it at all. After a snow storm we think of it as beautiful and fun and then a pain when we have to try and drive through it. And anyone who’s spent time at sea knows to foster a healthy fear of it.
Storms are completely made up of water and can doll out seemingly unlimited amounts of damage. Water has this strange capacity to not only physically inhabit any shape container we might put it into, but to become these massively powerful shapes.
We might say the same thing about people. We can fit them into cubicles, but given the right conditions they too can become a storm, a force of nature. With enough energy, verve, and productivity, one chance meeting with opportunity is all it takes for a perfect storm - a virtuous cycle - to come into being.
It’s perhaps fitting that our thoughts reside in an organ that is nearly 75% water.
We might go so far as to say that it take only a single thought to begin stirring that water.
This episode references Episode 164: Moving the Whirlpool
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