Risk as a downhill ski run, Bode Miller style

I was reading my Wall Street Journal today, page after page of blah, blah, blah and then I came across this story on page B8. It stopped me dead in my tracks.

I am not following the Winter Olympic Games nor am I really a fan of Bode Miller. I didn’t even read the article, but what I did do is stare at the photograph.* Here’s why.

Notice how much of the ski is touching the surface of the snow. Notice how “off center” Miller’s body is. Now, imagine how that feels at 90mph (I don’t know how fast he is going, but pretty dang fast.)

And it strikes me that downhill skiing is a lot like doing something that you are passionate about. You hurl yourself headlong into it without thinking about the risk. Your actions and reactions are instinctive, you trust in yourself and your skills and when you doubt yourself for a split second or become aware of the cheering (and sometimes jeering) fans along the fence, it all unravels quickly.

You may crash, you may win a gold medal, but if you don’t hurl yourself out of the gate, you’ll never know.

*I kinda stole the photo from the WSJ and they may find out about it and not share the same enthusiasm I have for showing it to you… so, until I get that cease and desist letter, posting it up here is my downhill ski run of the day. 🙂

Listen to the groundhog

Punxsutawney Phil being yanked from his comfy home by people who can't wait to know the future.
Punxsutawney Phil being yanked from his comfy home by people who can't wait to know the future.
I love Groundhog’s Day. It is a silly holiday that you can just hype up and people giggle at.

When reading a post from Chris Brogan today, along with my Wall Street Journal, The Waterboy and a healthy dose of Morning Joe, I’ve come to a conclusion about this economic mess. The economy prognosticators have it all right. And all wrong.

Here is why Punxsutawney Phil — that famous groundhog — is relevant to what is going on with this economy prognosticators right now and what we can take away from him. If Phil sees his shadow, gets scared and scurries back to his burrow, there are six, long weeks of Winter left. If he doesn’t see his shadow, there are only six weeks left of Winter. Yeah!

We can learn a lot from this annual holiday in Punxsutawney, PA, but accurately predicting the future is not one of them. The “Inner Circle” of Punxsutawney have figured out how to get thousands of people to visit their little town in a very cold part of the country in the dead of Winter and all the news media talking about them for a whole daily news cycle. They created a legend of a groundhog, dress up in top hats, hold this grand ceremony and declare the future of Old Man Winter!

That is all these economy pundits are doing. Nobody knows the future. The quality of the remaining six weeks of winter is not a function of a skittish groundhog or a proclamation made by a fraud in a top hat, but by the decisions you make with that time. Will you hibernate and wait out winter or go out and play with the snowflakes? The choice is yours. Choose wisely.

As I mentioned in my comment to Chris Brogan’s post:

My take on all this future stuff, however, is to look at future films of the past — even as recent as the 1980s. Nobody got the 16:9 television. Even when screens were larger, wall-sized, the 4:3 format still reigned.

For the astute reader, you may have seen the mention for the movie The Waterboy in my opening paragraph. At one point in the movie, (toward the end, you have to watch the whole thing) Coach Klein envisions his nemesis Coach Beaulieu with the head of a cute puppy, is no longer scared of him and adopts a new-found self-esteem.

The next time you watch Joe, Pat and all these other prognosticators on television predicting gloom and doom, envision them with the head of a groundhog.

Then, go make your own future. It will happen whether you wait it out or not.