“Black Swan” events blindside us.
We can’t predict them so they are particularly disconcerting and disruptive. These events have three main characteristics:
- They are high-profile, hard-to-predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal statistical expectations in history, science, finance, and technology.
- They defy being “algorithm-ized” due to their small sample size.
- They have impact disproportional to their rarity.
Nevertheless, actuaries and other financial gurus seek to build models that attempt to account for them. Over the next two posts, I’ll introduce a liminal dimension into a trans-rational approach to handling your inevitable Black Swan events in life and business.
The tsunami that hit Southeast Asia on Dec. 26, 2004 caused loss of a quarter million lives and countless billions of dollars. The tsunami warning systems and information that was available failed these people in India and surrounding nations.
But, there is one people who survived this tragic Black Swan event without the loss of a single life! It was the primitive, nomadic Moken, “sea gypsies” of the Adaman Sea that inhabit islands off the coast of Burma and Thailand.
Please click here for video: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/the-sea-gypsies-50109115/
They spend 6 months a year on the ocean and are so connected with the sea that they are almost amphibious. Their children learn to swim before they can walk, see twice as clearly underwater as we can, and hold their breath twice as long as we can. They take only what they need from the sea each day to feed their families.
They are a nomadic people who have so little contact with the 21st century world that they still have with no word in their language for “hello” or “goodbye.”
No one knows how old they are because “when” and the western concept of time doesn’t exist in the Moken language.
There’s no word for “want”—just give or take.
And, there’s no word for “worry.”
How could such primitive people suffer no loss of life? What was their “algorithm” for coping with this black swan event? What can we learn from them?
Next week: Lessons from the Moken.
After viewing The Sea Gypsies, what takeaways might you take into your business? How would your business be different if you could eliminate want and worry?