Eric Wright

Keeping the Connections

Perhaps you’re a fan of Alex Cross, author James Patterson’s Mensa Society sleuth who has been portrayed in movies by both Morgan Freeman and Tyler Perry.
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Isn’t Technology Wonderful?

Perhaps you’re a fan of Alex Cross, author James Patterson’s Mensa Society sleuth who has been portrayed in movies by both Morgan Freeman and Tyler Perry.  But the following is from Patterson’s first foray into the romance genre, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas, which was wildly successful. I honestly didn’t read the book; I prefer his detective mysteries, but was mesmerized by a point Patterson made in the story.

“Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you’re keeping all of them in the air. But one day, you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls — family, health, friends, integrity — are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered. And once you truly understand the lesson of the five balls, you will have beginnings of balance in your life.”

This insight is important on multiple levels. One of the essential characteristics of an entrepreneur is the ability to take valiant risks, knowing that if it doesn’t work out another opportunity will present itself. It is like attempting to scale a rock climbing wall knowing you’re securely attached to a harness. Somehow your confidence and daring soars.

The more obvious lesson of course is there are things in life that if you drop through some careless act or because of simple neglect it may not respond like a Nerf Ball.

Maintaining the Link

Don’t worry; I’m not here to guilt you or provide some simplistic arrangement of priorities that will resolve what most of us have to juggle on a daily basis. When one of Central Florida’s most successful real estate developers and equally generous philanthropists, Alan Ginsberg, was asked what the name of his company, CED Cos., stood for he replied, “My usual answer is ‘Crisis Every Day!’”

Actually, I was thinking about how technology helps us keep from dropping the glass balls.  Though it is often blamed for the harried pace of our modern culture and certainly can be excessively intrusive, it also enables us to ensure we stay connected to those people we value most and utilize time in amazing ways.

Like you, often my schedule demands that I am up and out early, but technology enables me to use my drive time to connect with my wife, talk about her day and even discuss issues that would otherwise take up the valuable time we have when we are actually together. Last month I connected with a dear friend I went to high school with on Facebook; we hadn’t seen or talked in over 20 years.

Every week I debrief with my grown sons on their careers and families during a commute. I am old enough to remember when a call like that cost long distance rates and never happened in a moving vehicle.

Last year our oldest son had his first child, our second granddaughter. He lives in Taiwan, but we can Skype or Line with them and still feel like she knows us and we know her, though we only have been with her once. My wife would have tried to become a flight attendant so she could fly over there regularly if it wasn’t for these technologies that cost nothing.

Pierre Omidyar, eBay’s founder said, “We have technology, finally, that for the first time in human history allows people to really maintain rich connections with much larger numbers of people.”

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This article appears in the October 2015 issue of i4 Business.
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