Don’t Expect Everything to Work All the Time


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(Disclaimer: written on Sunday evening, between LGA and SAT.)

Here I am on an airplane, trying to connect to the on-board wifi. Granted, I am 30,000 feet above the ground, so I shouldn’t expect the same connectivity that I have in my living room. But if they advertise wifi, and if I paid for wifi, then dammit, I should have wifi.

But I don’t.

Now, the pilot doesn’t have a special switch in the cockpit for this. And there’s only so much gin the flight attendants can bring me to help me forget about it. At the end of the day, it’s bad design and limited tech, but it’s not the end of the world. Reality is, sometimes, things just don’t work the way they’re supposed to.

This is hardly a do-or-die scenario, and it’s not going to affect my bottom line (except for the $5 a shelled out for the on-board wifi).

So if this were a really important disaster, what would I do?

It all brings to mind a recent post I wrote about having a backup plan, but my mind (in this case) is drifting more toward the topic of coping.

How do you cope with unforeseen disasters? What do you do when the floor falls out from under you? And how do you survive?

Here’s a few thoughts:

1. Remain calm. Every great leader, decision maker, or parent has practiced this primary rule. Heck, it’s even a meme. To effectively navigate crisis, you must keep your calm and keep your head clear for what is to come. ‘Cause sh*t is about to go down.

2. Size up your options. Are you in mortal danger? (Most times, no. Okay, that’s good.) Now check out what you need to accomplish, and gauge that against what you can get done. Then prioritize.

3. Find the hacks. I used to think “a hack” was a bad and evil thing until I read Chris Brogan’s book “Trust Agents,” in which he explained that a hack was simply a route around a problem. By that definition, we’re all hackers; we’ve all found ways around a problem at some point in our lives. A hack is virtuous. Makes things better. So hack away.

4. Execute like a mother-f’er. I said it. You need to get that thing done? Someone else gonna do it for you? Then get it done. It’s not that hard. Go.

5. Close the door behind you. Another lesson from one of my son’s favorite movies, “Monsters, Inc.,” you must keep the unexpected from sneaking up behind you on the road you have just traveled. Don’t lose ground to things you have just hacked around. Ever turned your back on that wasp nest you just crushed? You made sure you got all of ’em, right?

How do you cope? Leave me a comment below.

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4 thoughts on “Don’t Expect Everything to Work All the Time

  1. Coping? I thought that was a class they taught in J-school? I am learning more and more that many, too many, people take a defeatist attitude when things get tough. They fail to have a Hail Mary in their back pocket. Faith keeps you looking forward because looking back makes you trip.

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