Riley was angry. Not visibly. But it wasn’t hard to ‘see’.

He had been fighting the fires as they encroached on his house with his father. He could see the fire down the street, but right then he felt it was all manageable. He was about to cut down the fences while keeping the house wet with the water hoses.

That’s when the Fire Department arrived.

“We’ve got it”. They said. “But you and the family need get out to safe ground.”

Riley looked around, the fire was a quarter of a mile away, the Fire Department had arrived, there was a water hydrant right there in the road.

“We’ve got it.” They reiterated – you need to leave.

Apparently, the fire had ‘jumped’, quickly with speed – there weren’t sufficient resources, once a fire took hold the strategy was to not to ‘protect’, but to ‘contain’.

Riley and the family left. They only took what they needed. They returned the next morning, their house was gone. All the houses from where the fire was through to his were gone. The house next door was still standing. Apparently, the fire had ‘jumped’, quickly with speed – there weren’t sufficient resources, once a fire took hold the strategy was to not to ‘protect’, but to ‘contain’. It would have taken them maybe 10 minutes more to load up their cars with the boxes of pictures, the memorabilia, the family history … packed for an entirely different reason, but left behind because they ‘trusted’ the authorities, the professionals, the people who ‘knew what they were doing’. All that was now gone, along with their house.

Yes – Riley was angry. ‘If only’ – he had stayed, it would have been different. ‘If only’ – they had loaded the cars, mom would not be crying every day … 6 months later. ‘If only’ – the fire service had done their job. He had a lot of ‘if only’ in him… But he knew in his heart that they had done their job. He was really just angry at himself. He seemed to feel that he had failed.

What he didn’t know was if he had stayed whether the outcome would be different. And if it was different, would the outcome be better or worse.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal held in your hand, with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You are the only one that gets burned.

–Buddha


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JOHN'S career spans 30 years, 2 continents, and organizations as diverse as Oracle, Citibank and GE. A Mathematics graduate, John moved to California in 1990. He helps technology companies create, develop and deliver their story for fund raising, market development and influencer programs. He also works with businesses to ensure they understand, and are ready, for the ever accelerating changes that technology is bringing to their industry. John is a co-founder of Expert Alumni and gleXnet and long before futurists and industry watchers were writing about the impending challenges that industries were going to be facing, they predicted a perfect storm of issues like skills gap, declining work forces, the gig economy, people trained to do work no longer needed, demographic shifts, economic and social change, market upheaval and rapidly changing ways of doing work. From the beginning they have promoted the idea that massive change was coming to how organizations should think about their workforce, with a singular focus on simplifying the interface between people and their work. Understanding the challenges ahead of the curve, the solution was built to arrive at a better understanding of the greatest restraint to business operations - competence, not capital. gleXnet provides unparalleled insights into an organizations people and operations by flipping the problem from the perspective of people, not the business.
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johnphilpin
johnphilpin

Thank you for sharing Dennis … it is gobsmacking to read this post realizing that I wrote it after meeting a young man who survived the Sonoma fires that happened a little over a year ago. At the time those fires were categorized amongst the most deadly, destructive and extensive fires in the history of California.

So sad that a year later – those records already absolutely broken.

We now have a fire still raging (60% contained as I write) that has already claimed nearly 4 times as many lives as Tubbs, destroyed 2 1/2 times as many structures and a missing persons list of 1,276.