• Michael Huskey

Why Building Arks is the Best Strategy Before it Rains

Updated: Jun 10, 2020

A quote by Louis Gerstner that will change how you approach challenges and obstacles in your life





According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 23 million Americans have been laid off since Mid-April.


According to Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge., the economic impact of this pandemic-induced shutdown could potentially cost the global economy over $82 Trillion over the next five years.


I am now acting like a meteorologist.


Huh?


Right now, it is ubiquitous for people to highlight everything wrong in the world. I am calling this rhetoric, rain. If you are surrounded by friends, family, or news anchors that seem to be pointing out everything wrong, I am calling them meteorologists.


Meteorologist?

The idea for this article came from a book I recently read called Who Say’s Elephants Can’t Dance by Louis Gerstner (link for book at end article). The book is all about how he turned around a faltering IBM.

Stay with me; this is not a business article. Some of the advice in this book is practical for anyone. My favorite quote and the one this article was inspired by goes as follows:


“No credit can be given for predicting rain — only for building arks.”

He mentioned that while he was trying to turn around IBM, a lot of people were good at predicting rain. They would say how much trouble IBM was in and how IBM needed to change or else.


Gerstner didn’t care about their bold predictions unless they were followed by action. Hence, only credit for building marks.


I relate to this quote a lot. I think I have spent a fair amount of time in my young adult life as a meteorologist.


If you are someone who also has no problem calling out what is wrong, but you have a tough time bringing yourself to action, I encourage you to read the rest of this article. I am going to dive into why we are inclined to complain and what I have been doing personally to transform complaints into actions.


Why We Love to Complain

According to the book Complaint Free World by Will Bowen, there are five main reasons people complain, but for the sake of keeping this article short, I want to touch on 2 of them.


Everyone has heard the saying, “Misery loves company.” It is true. One of the top reasons we complain is to connect ourselves with other people. The other big reason we enjoy complaining is that it allows us to make excuses for our lack of performance or action.


In a light-hearted way, most of us, pre-COVID, would usually start the morning with a complaint about the drive-in from work. Some of us might have been saying that as an excuse as to why we were late. Others are just trying to bring about a sense of camaraderie. This is a perfect complaint. Off-load responsibility and build camaraderie.


I don’t think that the traffic complaint is the root cause of us not reaching our goals.

The problem comes when we take this style of complaint and apply it to our life goals.

How many times during conversations with friends or family have you talked about how difficult it is, being an adult, or complaining about your lack of free time.


Once we relate to someone else with our complaint, I think there is a tendency to give ourselves a free pass. We feel okay that we are not doing our best because it sounds like no one is reaching their goals.


Then this is when everyone becomes a meteorologist. We start focusing on everything standing in our way, instead of focusing on what we can accomplish. We are then quickly able to build up a coalition of people who think everything is wrong. And now we have to set the stage for inaction.


If reading that felt like a splash of water in the face, keep reading. Being a meteorologist is not all bad; there are few things you can do to turn that tendency into a strength.


How to Start Building Arks

So being able to see roadblocks ahead of you is a great skill. Some people will call it pessimistic; I like to turn that notion on its head.


Imagine driving in an autonomous car, and it alerts on an oncoming pothole. Then as it approaches the pothole, it just hits it. What would be your reaction?


You would say all those sensors and computers are worthless. I don’t want something that tells me hazards are coming up. I want a car that avoids them.


So if you tend to call out everything that is standing in your way, use that skill to your advantage. Avoid the roadblocks that everyone else can’t seem to see.


If you aren’t sure where to start in your ark building process, find something within your power to change. If you are frustrated with your financial situation, complaining about it will not make money fall out of the sky. Instead, start acting on what you can control. Create a budget or start learning a new skill to generate more money.


Dwelling on things we can’t change will make us miserable over the long haul. Instead, we have to lean into the areas of our life that we do have the power to change.


Conclusion

“No credit can be given for predicting rain — only for building arks.”

It is so easy to jump on the bandwagon of pointing out everything wrong in the world, but at the end of the day, what is that accomplishing?


Nothing.


Use your strengths at being able to find challenges and use that to avoid those common pitfalls. But don’t be the car that alerts you there is a pothole and then doesn’t do anything about it.


Time to stop being a meteorologist and time to start building that ark.




About the Author

I am new to this whole blogging game. I write about topics that I find interesting, and that can provide value to my readers. The recent topics I have written about are finance, business trends, and some self-help. If you have any comments or questions around any of these topics, reach out in the comments!

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