© 1999 Michael S. Hyatt
As much as I hate to admit it, it is time to face the facts: we have lost the battle for Y2K awareness. Over the last several months we have faced an avalanche of spin control and outright disinformation from government bureaucrats and corporate executives. Unlike the little Dutch boy who stuck his finger in the dike and prevented a flood, all of us who understand the threat of Y2K have simply been deluged by Y2K optimism. As a result, the public is happily swimming in a sea of complacency.
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At this point, I think it is a waste of time to try and warn people about the dangers ahead. At best, you get laughed at or ridiculed. At worst, people won't prepare, but they will remember that you did. Since so few have, in fact, prepared, this could prove to be a monumental security risk to you and your family. Therefore, I would suggest that you do your best to keep a low profile. Specifically:
- Stop trying to convince people that Y2K is a serious threat. The issue is not that there aren't enough facts; there are plenty. In survey after recent survey, it is clear that a large percentage of even the biggest and best companies will miss the deadline. No, it's not about facts or evidence. It is about a stubborn addiction to prosperity. People do not want to face the prospect of disruptions and they have simply stuck their collective heads in the sands.
- Encourage the people who "get it." Frankly, this is the sole reason I am continuing to do radio and TV interviews. I am sick and tired of talking about Y2K. (I've done over 600 interviews.) I would be thrilled if I never had to utter the phrase again. But I know there are people out there who are beat down and discouraged. They know they need to prepare, but the naysayers have made them second-guess their decision. I want to "speak a word in season to those who are weary." You can do the same thing with your friends who are preparing. This is where we need each other the most.
- Focus on getting your preparations done. There are now less than 80 days until the century rollover. Where has the time gone? Jan. 1 will be here before we know it. This is the time to stay focused and work hard. Each of us needs to be like the ant. "Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest" (Proverbs 6:6-8).
- Don't talk about your preparations. At this point in the "end game," being perceived as one who is prepared could be dangerous. You don't want to be a target. How many of us have heard our disbelieving friends and associates say, "I'm not going to prepare, but if something bad happens, I know where to go." They always say this with a laugh, but you and I both know they mean it. That's why I now want to be as invisible as I can be. I would encourage you to follow suit.
- Do your best to stock up for others. It should be obvious that you are in the minority if you are preparing. If Y2K ends up causing significant problems, most people will be unprepared. I want to be in a position to help, if I can. (But I want to do it on my terms, if possible; hence, the admonition above to prepare quietly.) Not only do I sense the moral imperative to be my brother's keeper, but being in a position to help might also be the easiest form of self-defense.
Though we lost the "Y2K awareness war," we don't need to be discouraged. We did the best we could. But the time has come to change strategies. We need to focus on getting our own families ready, so we can get through what ever may come.