Your House is on Fire

I mentioned this tragic event in a previous post and this story is an excellent illustration of the What Next attitude toward life. Julie and I were dating for six months when she got the following text on her pager “Your House is on Fire.” She wasn’t home because I had to go to work that day, Sunday, and we decided to stay at my house so Julie could drop me at the train station on her way home. What would you think if you got that message? Maybe you feel like something in your life is burning out of control?

House FireThinking it was a sick joke or a minor incident she went to check and nothing was ever the same again. The house was completely destroyed and everything in it was gone including the parrot and the dog.

How do you answer the question What Next when something so devastating occurs? The outcome of this tragedy depends on whether you ask what’s next (with the apostrophe) or what next (without the apostrophe).  Why does it matter? I’ll let a twitter friend explain it:

Mark's TweetI was excited to see that Mark understood that asking “what’s next” is passive, it’s wondering what will happen, it’s based in fear, dread, and confusion, it’s sitting back and waiting. Asking what next is active and exciting, it’s taking action to manage the situation, it’s based in confidence and power. What next has the ability to turn a bad situation into a good one. Julie asked what next and prevented one tragedy, the fire, from becoming another tragedy, being taken advantage of by the insurance company.

Rising from the ashes the new house.

If we could be proactive after such a devastating loss, in an emotionally fragile state, then it should be easy to be proactive when things are going well. Most people, however, take that opportunity to coast, waiting for a reason to react, putting themselves at a disadvantage when trouble arrives.

Have you, or someone you know, overcome a difficult situation and not only survived but thrived? Share you story with me in the form of a profile I would write or a guest post you would write. Contact me through the Contact Page on this blog.

To learn how to be more proactive and live with confidence in the future sign up for The What Next Trail-Map to Success.

Posted in General, Success, Taking Action and tagged , , , , by with 1 comment.


  • nancy boan says:

    The pictures alone tell a story…..We can be like the mythical Phoenix rising from the ashes unless we let tragedy take over our lives……..When it is harder to keep going and it seems that life has thrown overwhelming obstacles in our path, that’s when we either find our strength or find ourselves defeated…….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *