Chapter 7. Think Ahead of the Curve: Notice Trends, Anticipate Threats, and Discover Hidden Opportunities

I take a flashlight with me on trips. I carry one in my car. We've got five flashlights around our house.

You're probably thinking, "What's the big deal? Why all the flashlights?"

I learned the value of a flashlight years ago, on a backpacking trip in the Grand Teton Mountains of Wyoming. The first day out, I stopped hiking toward evening, pitched my tent, and made supper. Then, with some daylight left, I decided to check out the neighborhood.

I meandered across a broad meadow full of scrub, scampered on a ways, and eyed a small oval-shaped lake. The setting sun broadcast the most amazing colors. I sat down on a log to take in the scene, and when I got up to go back to my tent, I noticed how dark it had gotten all of a sudden. As I started back to my tent, I worried about tripping over a rock or smacking into a tree. The next couple of hours I walked around with my hands out in front of me, trying to feel my way to my tent.

Giving up, I huddled underneath a pine tree with a Forest Service topographic map as my blanket. Since it was summer, I was in no danger of freezing to death. Still, it was a tad uncomfortable out there, especially when it started to rain.

When daylight appeared, I looked around. There was my tent—30 feet away!

Out of this experience, I learned two lessons.

First, being close to shelter does you zero good.

Second, things happen fast when you aren't paying attention. ...

Get Innovation is Everybody's Business: How to Make Yourself Indispensable in Today's Hypercompetitive World now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.