May 20th, 2012
The past few weeks have found me knee deep in full time travel. You know the story: 9-5 job is melting the brain, decides to make a plan, saves money, quits job, travels the world, profits. Okay, maybe without the profit bit.
I originally wanted to avoid being a travel blogger. I still intend to avoid that. I also didn’t want my interest to change, and it hasn’t. So where does that leave me the past few weeks? Well, sort of getting used to this new chapter of my life. So with that said, I’ve been cooking up a few new ideas and projects I want to work on and invest in. Hopefully this time abroad will give me some opportunities to seek clarity. In the meantime, I intend to also focus on nothing.
The importance of doing nothing.
On September 26th 1983, the United States and the Soviet Union almost went to war. Quite accidentally as well. The Soviets had this missile detection software in place to basically let the higher ups know if the USA was about to attack the Soviet Union. Long story short, on that near fateful day, the monitoring equipment starts going off, alerting the man in charge, Stan Petrov (above photo), that war is on. Five missiles show up on the radar and he does nothing.
Im willing to guess your job isn’t that important, or at least you aren’t reporting to your nation’s leaders that missiles are on their way. But with any job, things can get stressful. Shoot, in every day life things fall out of place regularly. Sometimes it feels best to react immediately.
So back to Stan. He decides it must be an error. He doesn’t report it to his senior leaders. He did nothing. And good thing for the rest of us.
Turns out the machines malfunctioned. The US wasn’t starting World War III. Petrov says, “All that happened didn’t matter to me — it was my job. I was simply doing my job, and I was the right person at the right time, that’s all. My late wife for 10 years knew nothing about it. ‘So what did you do?’ she asked me. I did nothing.”
Sometimes you just have to go out and do nothing.
As it sadly turns out, he was considered a failure for not reporting the “missile attack” and was reassigned to a lesser position for disobeying orders. Oh well, so is life sometimes.
If you don’t already subscribe to Now I Know, you really oughtta consider it. In today’s bit he mentions our hero Stan.