Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Thinking In Earthquakes

In 1999, Turkey was struck by a violent earthquake. Entire towns were leveled, but by some miracle, many mosques were left unharmed.

On Boxing Day 2004, Indonesia was smashed by a tsunami with waves up to 30 metres (100 feet) high. Colossal structures snapped in half like twigs, but some mosques came out of the destruction unscathed.

The same pattern of standing mosques can be seen in Haiti, Japan and many more natural disaster-prone regions.

What’s going on?

Divine intervention or luck?

Turns out, neither.

Public buildings like mosques are usually designed by the best engineers governments can buy. Whereas commercial buildings are built by profit-seeking contractors who cut corners.

Building integrity is even worse in third world countries where there is no authority to inspect the building codes, or where the authorities are bribed to look the other way.

Islam thinks thousands of years ahead, and expects its buildings to be smacked around by earthquakes and tsunamis. So it constructs its buildings accordingly.

Thinking earthquakes pays off for Islam.

How does thinking earthquakes serve you?

For starters, thinking long-term gives you a sense of optimism. By thinking ahead, you get the feeling that we may last for millennia.

And that’s comforting.

Plus your scope grows beyond office meetings, Slack messages and your company’s Instagram.

Thinking big draws attention away from the urgent and irrelevant, and toward the crucial. 

So when you create products and services with the future in mind, your business tends to survive calamity better.

Corporate longevity is shrinking at an alarming rate. And only because the ruling trend in business is to make everything faster and cheaper.

Staying in it for the long haul is obviously much harder than making a quick buck.

And it’s not just because quality costs more time and care.

But because most people think short term.

At the turn of the 20th century, many Victorian style houses were torn down and replaced with lesser quality buildings, because the new generation thought Victorian homes were ugly.

Yet today, we value Victorian houses the highest.

Think in earthquakes—think quality. 

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach