Life, Swimming, and A Moment

Last night in Raleigh, NC I was serving as the Starter & Announcer for my kids swim meet – which here in NC is quite an affair.  Our team has about 110 swimmers and the opposing team had about 150, so there were 260 kids and about the same number of parents all scurrying around at 5:45pm as we prepared for the meet to start at 6pm.  And as the Starter & Announcer, it’s my job to run the meet as efficiently and fairly as possible.  Starting on time usually helps….

Amid the chaos of this big event, a parent I didn’t know came up to me and told me that the opposing team had a swimmer who was critically injured in a car crash earlier that day, and she and her Dad were both undergoing life-saving surgery at that very moment.  She suggested that I mention it and ask for a moment of silence and prayer.  Of course I did….

It’s amazing how amidst that chaos 500+ people will instantly stop when they hear such news, and remain completely silent to pray for someone they may or may not now.   Surely you all have experienced this at other large gatherings, and I’m always struck by how powerful it can be.  And I’m struck that amidst all the craziness and frenetic pace so many of us keep – how such events and short moments help us all realize that its the relationship and people that matter so much to us in life.

I mention this because today I read today a fascinating post by Irving Wladawsky-Berger – a former colleague of mine at IBM and one of the brightest and most interesting people I have ever know.  He highlights a recent Harvard study – and is the longest known study ever conducted – on what makes people happy over the course of their lives.   His summary of the Atlantic Magazine article that discusses the study is worth a few minutes to check out –

Agree with its conclusions?


One thought on “Life, Swimming, and A Moment

  1. Alan S Michaels

    Thanks Mike; that’s a very interesting posting – much appreciated.

    Ten years ago I was the corporate planner at a large insurance company. In those days, AIG was viewed as the best-of-the-best insurance companies; and we also believed in the concept that it was important to accurately measure rick for long-term success; and every new cost-saving technology advance was viewed as a positive step forward.

    Hmmm… some people now say that AIG is no longer viewed as a leader; that future big risks that do not pay off can be viewed as someone else’s problem; and that 100% digital solutions used by insurance companies that do not use IBM’s mainframe encryption technology are supporting hackers as much as the customers.

    But I’m an optimist, so I hope all the new solutions above work as planned!

    Alan (an x-IBMer 1995-2000)


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