Foresight: A plea for more of it.

I am currently snowed in for the third day in Metro Atlanta, as are most of my friends and family. When my wife and I found about the storm we made sure we had enough wood in case the power went out and we needed a fire. We made sure we had enough food too. We looked at the storm forecast, knew it might be bad and planned ahead.

The night the storm came in we were watching the weather, and knew what to expect. Since the storm was rolling in later in the evening we went out to dinner for my wife’s birthday and had a really nice evening. Then we wrapped that up quickly and were back and putting the kids to bed before the snow began to fall. Again, we were prepared, and one step ahead of the storm.

So, here is what kills me; why do so many people seem to have been caught off guard by this storm? Watching the news it seems like the City was caught off guard, talking to friends many of them were caught off guard, but how is this possible? I mean, this storm was predicted about a week before it hit, why all of the surprise? Why wasn’t everyone prepared?

I can only think of two possibilities. One, people (and the City) expected the storm to be less than it was, which was at best a gamble, and a poor one at that. And two, people are so fixated on the current moment that they have trouble looking beyond today. I think the answer is likely both, but I want to take a moment to look at the second issue.

Could it be that in our “gotta have it now”, instant gratification society that we are losing the key survival skill offoresight? Could it be that so many of us are moving to fast that we can’t take the time necessary to look ahead because we might crash face first into something in the now? Could it be that we haven’t built enough margin into our lives so that we can slow down and then say, “hey, this thing might happen later and it could be important”?

So, here is my plea. Slow down. Look ahead. Think about the future beyond today or this week and make a plan for that. Start formulating a plan for next year. Don’t just let life happen and get lost in it. Plan your steps and make sure they are the steps that you want to take. And, the next time a major snow storm is predicted in Atlanta, buy a few extra groceries and bring your laptop home from the office.

Make sure your life isn’t an afterthought.

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