Lessons from Traveling Abroad – Urgency

Another lesson that I learned from traveling abroad is the sense of urgency. Now, me personally, I have three modes. Work mode, home mode, and vacation mode. Work mode, I am typically in the zone. I’m working hard to accomplish the task at hand. Or I like to say head down, butt up. I am always working to get the job done. Some might say “Nose to the grindstone”. Okay, I can’t think of anymore cheesy analogies. Home mode is more relaxed. I may need to do laundry or the dishes, but they can wait just a minute. There is no rush to do it immediately. Then vacation mode. Haha, here, nothing is getting done. My brain is literally turned off.

What does this have to do with traveling abroad? Well, whenever I go abroad I realize that Americans normally do fit the stereotype. Whenever I travel, I like to play where’s the American. We are usually pretty easy to spot, and very easy to hear. But, our stereotype is not seen any place better than our sense of emergency. It is almost like the rest of the world is on Jimmy Buffet “island time”. Let’s just live life. What happens, happens. I’ll pick you up at 9. Oh it’s 9:30 when you finally come by to get me, no worries. The “best” example I saw of this was at the Rome airport. When I was getting ready to board my flight to JFK, a man started to have a heart attack. People started screaming for help. All of the airline employees just kind of looked over in that direction then kept on working. There were more and more screams for help. The only people that were moving fast were the bystanders running over just to see what is going on. Finally a police officer walked over and radioed for help. By the time he walked over, several minutes have already passed. When having a heart attack you have just minutes to get help. But this was not the airline employee’s job, or the policeman. The only people that were in a hurry were the medics when they finally got there almost 10 minutes later. I have no idea if the guy lived or not. All I could see is that they were using the paddles to try and revive him.

Now I know if that was me lying on the ground needing help. I would hope that people’s sense of urgency was at an all-time high. But this goes to show that and emergency that you are having is not always someone else’s emergency. You have to weigh out if it is urgent or important, or both. Every day we have to prioritize everything that we do. If it is urgent and important do it right away. But if someone is screaming for help, I would hope that we would move faster than the people that I witnessed. What’s your urgency emergency today? Do you need to call out for help?

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