Just as darkness was approaching this afternoon the electricity supply in the house disappeared.
There I was, sitting at the desk, desk-lamp on, happily preparing my session for tomorrow’s NLP Master Practitioner training programme.
Suddenly, and with a little sigh, the PC closed down, the screen went black, the desk-lamp went off, and everything became quiet.
Very quiet indeed. We had no power, no lighting and no heating.
And it is mid-winter here on the UK’s south coast. And it is dark here from about 4 pm until nearly 8 am. And it is quite cold at night.
I tried switching things off and on. Tried the fuse board. Checked to see if the neighbours had also lost power (they hadn’t). And then realised that apart from the gas hob in the kitchen everything else was electrically powered!
We were completely dependent on that one source - for heat, hot water, lighting, computer power – even my laptop was almost out of charge!
And, at just after 4 pm in a little village on Dorset’s Isle of Purbeck, the chances of getting an electrician to arrive before 5.30 PM and sort things out didn’t look too promising.
Fortunately a friend recommended a local electrician. I phoned them. Within 20 minutes the doorbell rang - they’d arrived. Within 5 minutes they’d solved the issue. Light, power, and hope returned. I was relieved and elated.
And it afterwards sunk in just how vulnerable we become when we are dependent on one source - for anything - the risks of having all our eggs in one basket.
- Yes, we had some candles to provide lighting. We had a couple of torches, too, but these were re-chargeable and so required electricity – and they were discharged! (Amazingly, while waiting for the electrician and while there was still some daylight, I rushed around looking for the charging plug!)
- For cooking there was the gas-powered hob in the kitchen. And for heating we had an open fire in the lounge. But everything else (hot water, central heating, computing power, etc.) required electricity.
- To complete my notes for the following day’s NLP Master Practitioner course meant being able to use my PC – the files were not on my laptop!
- My mobile (cell) phone needed electricity - I had been out all day and used it a lot and now the phone was nearly discharged.
- We didn’t bother with TV so this wouldn’t have been a hardship - but even the radio needed rechargeable batteries! (And I’d discovered that my MP3 player - yes, rechargeable battery - was almost discharged!)
- None of these would have been hugely traumatic – they’d just range from somewhat to very inconvenient. But it got me thinking how being so dependent on one source for anything isn’t wise and can make us vulnerable.
All your eggs in the same basket
Having just one or two friends makes us vulnerable. If they fall out with us or move to a different country we are isolated. Many years ago I read positive thinking books by Al Koran who offered this excellent, if slightly disquieting advice: as you get older continually develop friendships with younger people – because your circle of life-long friends will one day begin to die off.
When I worked as a counsellor I saw a number of elderly people who came to me because they felt lonely and isolated. Lured by the prospect of being near an adult child and family or by the milder climate and beautiful scenery of this part of the South Coast, they’d moved from the towns or villages where they’d spent their lives. Only to find that one adult child and great scenery didn’t make up for the loss of their familiar social circle.
A lot of us put all our eggs in the ‘relationship basket’. The Family becomes everything - until the children leave home and then suddenly it all goes quiet and there’s a big gap in their lives – or the devoted partner or spouse dies or finds another lover.
Over the years I’ve known quite a few people in the training and consultancy business who have fallen into the ‘all your eggs in one basket’ trap.
It goes like this. You get a big contract from a company for consultancy work. They pay you big money and you have to work for them for most or all of your working week. Great money. Great challenges. Great. Then they have a change of management or of policy and they don’t need you anymore. Suddenly your income stops. And you have no other customers because the Big Contract swallowed up all of your marketing time and energy. And new contacts, and contracts, can take 6-18 months to deliver cash. Having one source of supplies or of sales is a vulnerability.
Diversify! Rather than be complacent…
Think ahead rather than get immersed in the cocoon of everyday routine and expand your horizons. Recognise that nothing lasts forever: relationships, family, friendships, business sources.
Enjoy, treasure, revel in, and benefit from what is happening right now. And keep your eye on the future. Because one of the few things we can be sure of - absolutely sure of - is that things will change.
So think ahead and plan ahead. And do remember that this is not ‘instead of’ but ‘in addition to’ – it’s about truly enjoying the present whilst wisely insuring for the future.
The Pegasus NLP Newsletter
Most articles on this site were first published in the Pegasus NLP Newsletter.
This has been published regularly since February 2000 - and you can subscribe to the newsletter here
And there will be no spam - I promise. You have trusted me with your email address I will use it for the Newsletter and for nothing else - and it will never be shared with anyone else. Ever. (Reg Connolly, founder of Pegasus NLP.)