This blog topic may surprise readers who know I am someone who has a positive attitude, who optimistically welcomes each New Year as an opportunity to enhance personal growth and happiness. I have always believed in the power of positive thinking. Yes, I know that a positive attitude alone doesn’t guarantee success, but it certainly beats negative thinking and living in fear. However, given the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino and the ongoing terrorist threats, I look to the year ahead understanding that committing to a positive attitude should not be an excuse for preparing for the worst.
In fact, our 18th annual Holiday Book, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, written by Chris Hadfield, embodies this “pursue your dreams, but prepare for the worst” philosophy. You may recognize Hadfield from his famous YouTube videos produced at the International Space Station. His book departs from those scientific presentations to offer inspirational lessons regarding the pursuit of one’s dreams. His philosophy mirrors my own — you need to invest the time and energy necessary to chart your own course and then stick to your plan to achieve your goals. It’s not always in your control whether you get the next promotion, the home of your dreams, an eight percent return on your investments, etc., but you can do everything in your power to realize your dreams and avoid making mistakes that could be devastating to you and your family personally, professionally and financially.
Hadfield’s Chapters “Sweat the Small Stuff” and “The Power of Negative Thinking” made me appreciate how astronauts must react quickly without panicking to potentially life-threatening events in order to protect their lives and complete their missions. In today’s world, this disciplined thinking is important for all of us. There’s certainly value to thinking as Hadfield does and planning for disaster.in various situations. You might consider what would happen if you lose a job or if your portfolio declines 20% in the next market decline. If you’ve considered that you could be unemployed or a correction in the market could occur, you are not surprised when that happens. And because you’ve thought about and planned how to respond, your emotions won’t get the better of you. Hadfield insists this preparation is necessary to really relax and enjoy life — on Earth or in space!
In today’s uncertain world, planning for the worst requires reflecting on how to respond to a terrorist attack or active shooter like we saw in Paris and San Bernardino. We also should discuss our thinking with our family and friends.
I found some valuable resources worth sharing on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) website. Among them are the following:
- A booklet called “Active Shooter: How to Respond”
- A wallet card called “Active Shooter: Pocket Card Information”
- A four-minute video called: “Options for Consideration Active Shooter Preparedness”
As Hadfield underscores in his book, when the stakes are high, preparation means everything. Whether it’s a college final exam or the deciding game of the World Series, he argues that the outcome is heavily influenced by the level of preparation. Just as we manage our clients financial assets to handle life’s surprises, our increasingly dangerous world demands that we prepare to defend ourselves from a terrorist attack or an active shooter that we could encounter at school, the theatre, or the workplace.
To help ensure that you are never caught off-guard, I’ll continue to share resources as I come across them. In particular, we will publish a more detailed article on protecting yourself from an active shooter on January 12, 2016. Call our office if you would like a copy.