Crisis or opportunity
. . .
The symbols for crisis in Chinese are made up of these two words – they are pronounced wei ji. Wei means “danger, peril.” And ji means “opportunity, crucial point.” So literally wei plus ji equals “danger” plus “opportunity.” A crisis is a dangerous state of affairs, regardless of the language.
Imagine ten 12-year olds lined up at the deep end of a swimming pool. They don’t know how to swim. These kids could have learned how to swim at summer camp or at the community center, but they played volleyball instead, so they don’t know how to swim. I’m hiding around the corner; when you give me the signal, I run out and knock all ten of these kids into the deep end of the pool. What have we created for these kids? You know the answer – crisis. What are they going to do? I have asked hundreds of audiences this question. The answer I hear is “sink or swim.” The truth is very few of us “learned to swim” by being thrown in over our heads, and they’re not going to sink either. They will cough, hack, spit, grab a hold of the side of the pool and pull themselves out, then look for sympathy and reprisal. Now what are my chances of getting these kids back in the pool anytime soon? Slim to none. To them the pool represents failure and fear. Some of them may never learn to swim!
Now let’s change this up just a bit; another group of ten 12-year olds lined up at the deep end of the pool. The only difference - they all know how to swim; they are good swimmers. You give me the signal, I run out and knock them into the pool. What have I created for these kids? You’re right – I have created an opportunity
for a game. What are they going to do? If there is a leader among them, they are going to get out of the pool, chase me down, and throw me in. What is the difference that resulted in such totally different outcomes? Advance preparation!
My job and yours is to prepare for what is just around the corner so that when circumstances inevitably change, we don’t experience crisis and chaos. Instead, we move from opportunity to opportunity. What will determine whether we experience an opportunity or a crisis? Not the event; it is all about preparation. Today is the day to prepare yourself for the opportunities that lie ahead. America is on the verge of a breakthrough, a renaissance. Are you ready to turn into the greatest opportunity of your lifetime? Will these dynamic changes be your opportunity or a crisis? Your preparation, not the nature or sequence of events, will determine your future. You decide.
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