What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You!

Sep 23, 2009 | Business

Last week, two people drowned on Perdido Key.  

Our house is not on the beach, but we do live near it and every time something tragic happens in or around our coastal community, the news spreads quickly.  Unfortunately, drownings are a fairly common occurrence anywhere tourists and saltwater meet.  In fact, on the same day two people from out-of-state lost their lives, eleven more were rescued by lifeguards.

Why did this happen?  Why such a large number of incidences at one time?  The locals knew why . . .


Sea with Waves and Dark Sky Tag

It is a scary word.  It is an even scarier situation IF you don’t know what’s happening when you get caught in one.

On the way to school this morning with my two boys, we had the conversation most parents around here have several times a year with their kids.

“Do you know what a riptide is? Do you know what to do when (notice we don’t say if) you get caught in one? Do we let a riptide scare us? Have you practiced making yourself relax?”

You see, a riptide is only dangerous if you don’t understand what is happening. That is why local parents make sure that their children (who are always at the beach and occasionally without their own parents) understand the danger.

There is a difference between “knowing a thing is dangerous” and “understanding the danger”. When we understand a particular danger, we can often nullify its consequences.

For instance, many people think a riptide will “sweep you out to sea”.  Actually, a riptide is a cross current that runs parallel to the beach for a relatively short distance. While a riptide may be extremely strong and impossible to swim against, it can be safely maneuvered if one understands a riptide.

Even inexperienced swimmers can dogpaddle or tread water in some way.  When caught in a riptide… RELAX.  Don’t panic or try to swim to shore against the current.  You can’t.  This is the mistake most drowning victims have made.  Though they might have been excellent swimmers (and they often are), they did not possess the knowledge and understanding that if they relax and swim with the current, the riptide will either deposit them on the sand (down the beach a ways) … or cease to flow entirely, making it easy to swim to shore.

In the conversation I had with my boys about the tragedies of last week, I took the opportunity once again to go through local riptide mantra. 



When you feel the strong current, you know what to do.



Tread water.


Breath deeply.


Don’t panic.


  It will all be over very soon.



  There is no reason be scared.




All this having been said, this information is for the first person that gets caught in a riptide.  Why is that?  Because if someone has been in a riptide that day, this means there are riptides in the water.  


         And if there are riptides in the water . . .

we don’t go in the water!

I know this might seem overly simple to you, but for years, I have been trying desperately to gather wisdom for all parts of my life.  Having gathered at least a small amount, I endeavor to dispense it in palatable form to readers and audiences around the world.  And there is one thing I have become very sure of:  


What you don’t know . . . CAN hurt you!

Mastering the Seven Decisions Tag

The second decision in Mastering the Seven Decisions and The Traveler’s Gift is: I Will Seek Wisdom.  Incredibly, I have paid more attention to the word “wisdom” over the years than I have to the most important part of the principle . . . the word “seek”.

In short, our success in everything we do (and sometimes our very lives) hang in the balance between what we know and what we don’t know.  Your financial success will be largely achieved by what you know, but in turn, your financial life can be devastated by what you don’t know.  Our children’s lives will be happy and productive and safe according to what they know . . . or don’t know.  

Therefore, I propose that you and I lead lives of permanent purpose.  Knowing that your family and career is of the highest importance to you, I strongly suggest that we pay very close attention to what we read or watch and the things to which we listen.  

At every moment, we are gaining knowledge and wisdom that can make the difference in our lives . . . or we are reading, watching, and listening to things that (in the long term) mean absolutely nothing. 

Question:  What small period of your day will you begin to use in a more purposeful manner?  How?  Thanks in advance for your answer.  It will direct and inspire us all.

Your friend,







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