It Can All Change In An Instant

The dynamic of our society is increasingly becoming defined by speed. In today’s Internet-driven economy, things happen faster than ever before. Business deals are negotiated online. CEOs get feedback real time with new media. And you can connect with people all over the globe in just seconds. As such, fortune could come and go in the blink of an eye. So it’s important to know what your goals and values are. Well, I wanted to share one Ted video that agrees with my philosophy.

I spend a fair amount of my time watching great talks on TED.  As you probably know, the premise of TED is Ideas Worth Spreading.  Well I wanted to share an idea from one of my favorite Ted videos.

The talk is given by Ric Elias, who had the interesting experience of having a front row seat on the plane that crashed into the Hudson River. He gives a short narrative of the series of events that took places before sharing the powerful words of his first lesson: It all changes in an Instant.

These words are insightful. They describe how your fortune can change. In the video, Ric Elias woke up to what matters because the possibility death. But I propose that the same concept holds true for the good things as well. And that’s what I’ll focus on here.

In the legal world, that means that your facts can often hinge on a small detail. And even when there isn’t sufficient evidence at the onset, finding one key fact can change the stakes. So in most cases, you have to work relentlessly and incessantly search for game changing facts. Ones that not only change the argument but also the outcome. Because when you do, things could all change.

Similarly in business, sometimes all you need is that one key customer or one big name funder to change the stakes. For someone to take notice and to do something big. But often, it takes a lot of time and energy to get that customer. So you have to stay focused, be optimistic, and be ready for when that day happens.

And this is also the case in politics. That you don’t know when the best time is to run or if running is even the best decision. So you have to stay involved, have the right instincts and be ready to move when the time comes. And even if it doesn’t come, you have to figure out how to serve in other ways.

The idea is that none of us knows exactly what’s next. So you have to put yourself in place to succeed by doing the right things, having the right instincts, doing the groundwork, and knowing how to seize opportunities. Because sometimes it takes a lot of little things to go right to make it, but then one day it can all change quickly.

See the short video below for the talk.

Monday, January 9th, 2012 Careers

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Jeremy C Wilson is a JD-MBA alumni using his site to share information on education, the social enterprise revolution, entrepreneurship, and doing things differently. Feel free to send along questions or comments as you read.

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The contents of this blog are mine personally and do not reflect the views or position of Kellogg, Northwestern Law, the JD-MBA program, or any firm that I work for. I only offer my own perspective on all issues.
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