Fire Within 1.5 miles

Direction makes all the difference!

Camarillo Springs
Early Thursday morning a spark ignited into a small flame along U.S. Highway 101. The fire began only 1 ½ miles from my house in Camarillo, California. Hot winds were blowing in from the desert, and the temperature was over 90. Less than three days later, 45 square miles of terrain have burned, more than 11,000 hectares. More than 2,000 firefighters have worked in danger and exhaustion to preserve life and property.

Yet the fire was invisible from my home. Some of my family did not even know about the fire when it had burned more than 15 square miles the first day.

The fire burned away from my home. I live 1 1/2 miles north of where the fire started. The fire burned south.

Direction makes all the difference—not speed, not efficiency.

People and organizations get unnecessarily upset with themselves because they have not met their goals. They are not where they want to be. The bigger question: Are we moving in the direction that we want to go?

Other people and organizations lose their future to complacency: “Look what we’ve done! Look what we have accomplished!” Yet they do not measure their current progress. They may even miss that they have stopped moving forward.

When I taught in Chicago, I would ride the train in and out of the city. Occasionally, glancing up from my computer at the train window, I would think we were going forward when in fact the neighboring train was the only one moving. “Facts” lie if one is looking at things wrong.

Are you going in the direction that you want to go?

About Ben Unseth

Migrant executive and professor.
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