Monday, March 23, 2009

The reason for bumpers

Our cars come with bumpers. They are built that way despite the fact that no one is supposed to bump into your car. It's clear to car-makers and car-buyers that life does not always work the way its supposed to. Accidents happen. It's best to be prepared to handle some bumps.

My bumper is broken today - which is a sign of how well it works. The rest of the car is just fine. The bumper took the blow and now it needs to be repaired before I can count on it to take another hit.

Are there people you depend on to be bumpers in your life or your organization? People who run out and buy your medicine when you get sick or who take the hit when someone else applies pressure in the wrong places? When people get too close to you, do they run into someone else first?

I wonder who's been taking bumps for you - and I wonder if you've noticed. I bet you would notice if they stopped.

Bumpers do their job so well that most of the time, we assume there's nothing bumping up against the other side. Most of the time, it's hard to believe that bumpers are doing anything at all. And because it's hard to believe, we can be really annoyed when we finally do feel a blow - when the car behind us connects and the bumper breaks.

We never think about resilience until we bump into its limits - and there is no bumper there to keep us safe.

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