- Thoughts for inspired living

March 19, 2014


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 2:39 am

C449623 mThe Grasshopper donned his fireman’s helmet early this morning and had this to say: “In an emergency, it’s more advantageous to focus on what you can do vs. what you can’t do.”

Time is your enemy in an emergency; ask any EMT or firefighter. The more time spent on “can’t” has your solution burn to the ground. Reminds me of a story . . .

I used to work with the world’s laziest engineer back in my radio days. I may be exaggerating a bit with the word “laziest,” but I don’t think I’m that far off. He did have his upside though. He was the best engineer I ever worked with when there was an emergency.

When I asked him to do routine things, he brought out his string of lame excuses why he couldn’t get to them. It was maddening. Every minor project took days of asking and cajoling to get completed. But in an emergency, off came his Clark Kent glasses and on went his red cape. There was no longer any red tape. He flew to the rescue and in “faster than a speeding bullet” time.

There are some people you hope never to share a foxhole with. They would be the “can’t be done” crowd. The image of Nero fiddling away while Rome was burning comes to mind.

There is a time for well reasoned, long winded, “can’t be done” conversations. In an emergency is not that time. Emergencies call for laser focus and speedy decisions. That’s how people who are known as “leaders” gained their reputation. Reminds me of a story my friend, Paul told during a communications workshop . . .

He asked participants to imagine this: You win a contest where the Today Show asks you to come on and do a live segment and interview your favorite performer for 5 minutes. The producer asks if you can come up with enough questions to fill up 5 minutes and you enthusiastically answer, “Yes!”

You are now on the set with your favorite performer and you are 30 seconds away from air time. All of a sudden, the producer is talking to you in your earpiece and announcing that an attempt on the Pope’s life has been made. Your segment has to be cut to 90 seconds before they cut away to Rome. Paul now asked, “Would you be able to pare down your questions, on the fly, to the most important ones for your interview?

There are times when there is no time to phone a friend. That’s an emergency. It’s time to focus on what you can do. If you get lost in the loop of what can’t be done, you may as well stick a fork in yourself because you’re done.

We have all faced emergencies in the past and will face more in the future. It’s the nature of reality. The question is this: What response will you have – Can or Can’t? One puts a firehose in your hand; the other causes you to hopelessly rant.

All the best,


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