How I Saw An Opportunity in a Crisis

When I read a proverb “Every obstacle has an opportunity embedded in it”, it appeared so profound that I sms’d it to many people.  That was just an intellectual exercise but when I experienced it yesterday, I saw the gigantic truth in this adage. Hence this share.

Late evening, I saw an article I really liked and wanted to share it with a couple of close associates.  I copied the contents in an email and when I tried to insert the email ids, I was in a shock.  The ids weren’t appearing despite my repeated trials.  Then I opened the address book in my outlook express and found it was totally empty.  Zilch!  Nothing at all!  For a minute, I was stunned.  It appeared that my entire life was at risk.

computer goes booom

Normally I would have wondered what had happened and what could have caused this address book to disappear so mysteriously.  I would have probably called my two sons and yelled at them making them responsible for the crisis.  I would have searched the net for a possible cause and solution.

Strangely, I did nothing of all this.  In fact, I was not even perturbed.

I decided to reconstruct the address book from scratch.  Well not exactly!  I remembered that I had exported my address book into an excel file sometime back and I searched for it and quickly found it.  The easiest thing would have been to import it back and everything would be business as usual.

(By the way, do you have a backup of your email ids in some form or other.  And more importantly, do you have a backup of the cell numbers that are currently being used in your cell phone?  If you don’t, take action right now and create backups.  You never know when you will need them!!)

And then I had an Inspiration.

I have been wanting to clean up my address book for quite sometime now.  There were duplicate entries, ids that were no longer in use and lot of junk.  But I have been postponing this task because it appeared too time consuming.  Now I saw the opportunity to do it.

So I opened the excel file, created another column called include and put a ‘Y’ against each entry that I wanted to retain.  Once I was through with the entire list, I made the column headings as auto filter and selected only those items that had the ‘Y’ against them.  Copied the contents into another excel file (so that the original data is still available should I need it later) and imported it back into outlook express.  The entire exercise took just about 30 minutes.  And now I have an uncluttered address book and the disappearance of the address book seemed like a minor blip rather than the catastrophe that I would have related to it otherwise.

By seeing the opportunity embedded in the crisis, I gifted myself power & peace.

I truly realized the truth in this adage and now I do not dread crises any longer.

If you feel that this would help (or even inspire) other people (besides yourself), please feel free to pass it on.

V S Badri Narayanan

February 18, 2010



  1. Paddy said,

    February 18, 2010 at 5:17 am

    good idea..

    • badrirag said,

      February 18, 2010 at 4:15 pm

      Paddy, what is the good idea? i didn’t really get it! pls clarify

      • Paddy said,

        February 18, 2010 at 4:35 pm

        Good idea

        1. to take a back-up of your contacts
        2. keep only the updated version of contact list

  2. Geetha said,

    February 18, 2010 at 5:50 am

    Dear Badri,

    Very well said, indeed!

    Thanks a ton for sharing this awesome learning.



    • badrirag said,

      February 18, 2010 at 4:16 pm

      Geetha, all of us have experienced this at different stages of our lives. if you have something in your life that inspired you, please share for the benefit of all of us here.



  3. N Ramesh said,

    February 18, 2010 at 6:13 am

    Dear Badri,

    This is what normally happens when the ‘Unlimited’ Universe takes over the control from the ‘Limited’ You.

    And this is what usually happens when the Sub Conscious Mind takes control over the Conscious Mind !

    And this is a very common phenomena experienced in the pyshic domain and nothing satrange about it !

    It is a natural and an automatic act which may appear to be an amazing one to any discerning onlooker !

    And incidentally one can even go on to (artificially) practice it and practically apply every time in life !

    Yes, one can have it happen whenever needed by merely allowing the Higher Consciousness to take charge !

    And all that one needs to do is to just permit the Higher Consciousness factor to seamlessly operate in you !

    And this is what is traditionally referred to as ‘Surrender’ to the Almighty in most of the Religious Texts !

    And this is precisely being prescribed as a measure cum activity to invoke the Divine at all points of time !

    And that is popularly called as ‘Sharanagathi’ in the Vedic Scriputure, which is one of the modes of Penance !

    Thus, it not only serves as one of the austere moves but also proves to be a mode for attaining ‘Moksha’ !

    These are some of the random strands of thoughts that race in and through my mind’s screen as of now !

    The Rest of this sermon of mine may be made available to you as when the full download is complete !

    Yours Gracefully,

    N Ramesh

    • badrirag said,

      February 18, 2010 at 4:19 pm

      Ramesh, I’m amazed at your perspective. Frankly, I don’t remember an explicit letting go but clearly it was an act of not resisting what had happened. I didn’t see the hand of the divine until your post but His ways are never easily scrutable are they?

      Thanks for bringing colour to this post.



  4. Lakshman Pillai said,

    February 18, 2010 at 6:26 am

    Badri: This is the power of positive thinking!

  5. subramanian said,

    February 18, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Good learning. I too have a lot of duplicates. Will wait for a similar chance. Ks

    • badrirag said,

      February 18, 2010 at 4:21 pm

      Subdu, hope u have a backup otherwise the duplicates will get wiped out with the singles as well! I’m really kicked up at your describing this as a chance but why wait?



  6. Anto Vincent said,

    February 18, 2010 at 7:18 am

    That’s a good sharing.
    From another angle, I find that belief in the adage
    “Every problem has a seed of solution”
    (or whicher way you word it !)
    helps us in emotional mastery.
    And, that’s what Badri experienced
    when it was possible for him to be cool without yelling at others
    or getting paralysed. Thanks Badri for sharing. Regards – anto

    • badrirag said,

      February 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm


      i’m really happy that you saw the power in my action from your term “emotional mastery”.



  7. Ravi Narayan said,

    February 18, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Dear Badri,
    With all your wonted discipline and organized functioning, if this has happened to you, there is definitely truth in Nicholas Taleb’s (of Black Swan fame) thinking, that random events (good or bad) cannot be planned for or against! This (backing up the contact list) has been on my to-do for quite sometime and keeps getting pushed down 🙂
    I am glad I came up a “Y” on yours 🙂

    • badrirag said,

      February 18, 2010 at 4:25 pm


      I’m happy that this post has atleast reminded you to take action on your backup (that was one of my objectives).


  8. uma said,

    February 18, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    hey badri

    have u ever noticed when we keep postponing things in our life , there comes a day when the “thing” becomes a necessity and there we are compelled to take action. wondered u r forced to go to a doctor on an emergency for one of the conditions u have taken easy all along; a wardrobe cleanup which becomes essential when the whole thing tumbles down when u have to go on a hurry; the mind takes control at one point forcing the event to happen to cleanse not only the clutter we face in our material life but also in our emotional and spiritual life. hope things are good at home

    • badrirag said,

      February 18, 2010 at 4:31 pm


      I’m surprised at the amount of focus on the backup element in my sharing both on the post and off it (via emails and sms). while that is important, what is even more vital is converting a disaster into an advantage merely by shifting our mindset. That is real power and perhaps I have not stressed it enough.

      all that you have said is really relevant and true but unless we operate from a different paradigm we will still not take any action. Rather we will continue to blame the genes, the environment and what have you!

      take care



  9. ashok sarrangan said,

    February 20, 2010 at 6:23 am

    Dear Badri

    Excellent experience well shared. During times of adversity exhibiting courage & calm thinking reflects true character resulting in success

  10. supraja sampath said,

    February 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    long pending work! do not know whn this would happen!!

  11. SATYA said,

    February 27, 2010 at 3:41 am

    Thanks for sharing your experience to care others. Great….!!!

  12. Ram said,

    March 2, 2010 at 2:38 am


    Finally I read it. Thank you.



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