I watched a documentary the other night, called The Secret Life of Waves. If that sounds desperately dull, let me try to convince you otherwise…
Did you know for example:
- Waves are about the transformation of energy. So are people, and just about everything else in the world. The height of the wave directly correlates to the wind energy injected into the wave.
- In World War II, oceanographer Walter Monk found he could successfully predict the height of a wave by measuring wind at the wave’s source. This intelligence was essential in selecting the right days for amphibious landings in North Africa and France.
- After the war, Monk began following waves. He found that a wave originating in an Antarctic storm could travel 7000 miles, breaking on the shores of Alaska two weeks later as a 2 cm capillary wave.
- Until it gets close to the shore, the movement of a wave is very efficient. A wave ‘breaks’ because the encroaching sea bed makes the wave top heavy.
- The ‘ploop’ noise when you drop a blob of water into a bigger mass of water actually comes from vibrations on a tiny air bubble under the surface…
… The noise as a wave breaks is trillions of underwater bubbles from air trapped in the top-heavy wave. Each bubble is like a bell giving out a note.
- The water inside a wave doesn’t actually move. A wave is a transfer of energy, not water. Which is why objects on the ocean just bob around on the surface.
Waves represent the ongoing process of creation and destruction that happens all around us, but on a timescale we can observe.
Most of the time we see the world as a collection of objects, because much of the time the processes are invisible. You can’t see a coastline eroding, or a building decaying. But you can see a wave crashing against the shore.
You’re actually more like a wave than you might think. Like the water inside a wave, the atoms that make up your body are all borrowed. Your interests and skills are always changing. Everything about your life is a dynamic process.
Telling your story is also a process. The story you tell today isn’t the one you told last year, or the one you’ll tell in five years time. You can’t just create an ‘evergreen’ series of emails, and expect them to still be working for you long into the future.
(Long time readers will have seen my own message change over the years. You probably signed up about AdWords, and now you’re learning about waves!)
And that’s what regular meaningful communication allows you to do. Old messages crash on the shore and die out, while new ones are created that reflect your new skills, interests and direction.
Get to work.