Living in Interesting Times

In the US, we have an overused old story about an ancient Chinese curse that threatens “May you live in interesting times!”  In some versions of the story, this is part of a three-fold ironic curse of escalating intensity:

  • May you live in interesting times!
  • May you earn the attention of those in authority!
  • May you find what you are seeking!

Chinese historians tell us that this is an American myth. However, there is no question that we live in interesting times.  This very day’s headlines describe financial, electoral, military, governmental, and ethical crises.  These are proving to be tumultuous, unpredictable times, with uncertain dangers for business, and for MIS operations.  These are the times when one wants to sleep well at night knowing that one has a well-tested plan for business continuity, reliable operations for data protection, and that one has access to the kinds of facilities and equipment needed for rapid response to unforeseen problems.

Having been involved in the resolution of a number of MIS crises, I can assure you that human ingenuity, determination, and collaboration will usually find a solution for almost any kind of crisis. I invite you to a dialog here about modern threats to MIS and about how leadership and teamwork can disarm those threats.

Perhaps these are the times to keep in mind another overused American myth about ancient Chinese wisdom.  The other myth says that the Chinese glyph for the word “crisis” contains within it the glyph for the word “opportunity.”


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