There has never been a time like this

Visiting Tokyo with my fellow members from MSI, became a ‘never been a time like this -experience’. Here is why.

As I landed in Tokyo on Saturday morning after an overnight flight from Amsterdam, I really wanted to check the weather forecast. I just had this strange feeling about the forecast, which I had seen at home just before leaving, predicting around 177 mm of rainfall on Sunday. But instead, I ran into fellow members from MSI when arriving at the hotel and immediately forgot all about it. That was until I returned back to the hotel by bus that evening and our Japanese tour guide spoke her ‘historical’ words: “Tomorrow super typhoon LAN will visit Tokyo. But don’t worry, every year a typhoon visits Tokyo”.

The strongest typhoon since World War II

I guess I would just have felt OK if she would have left the message at this, but somehow she felt the need to continue with: ”Only super typhoon LAN, at this moment Category.4, will be the strongest typhoon visiting Tokyo since World War II. So be prepared!”

With these words circling my mind, I tried to get some sleep. But with a 7 hours' time difference it wasn’t very surprising that I found myself in the middle of the night reading Google search results: Super typhoon LAN was being named one the strongest storms on earth, creating 45 feet high waves! The expected path of the huge eye of LAN was apparently making its way straight over my hotel room. My (last?) thoughts went to family and friends. It was definitely not on my bucket list, but it was going to happen. Fortunately, the next day LAN collapsed just before Tokyo and was downgraded to a Cat.1 typhoon only, and it was fine. Only the heavy rainfall remained throughout Sunday, getting us ‘not wet, but soaked’ as we said to each other within MSI.

Try to matter

This lifetime-experience kept us stronger and brought the MSI family together even more; building up trust in the storm shelter hotel bar. It felt like a breeze to run through the conference program on Monday and Tuesday afterwards, stating ‘There has never been a time like this’. With many thanks to Paul Dunn, we now know we should not try to be successful, we should try to matter. Through many connecting moments we no longer just speak of a flower delivery, but a delivery of happiness. Then, Alec Blacklaw gave us an excellent presentation on how to build your business on trust. We were faced with question such as ‘what are you passionate about?’ This particular question kept me puzzled for a while, until the end of the conference. But before I get to that, I would like to mention the very interesting overview of China’s history by Nicholas Chen.

We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. We only know, we can stand together strong as a MSI family. And we now know, that the actual birth-rate in Japan will lead to a population decrease of 50% by the end of this century. An amazing example of cold figures.

But how do you know what you are passionate about? It might be, that you will only know the answer to this when things come to an end. You will stand up bravely, just to say many thanks for the good times and good bye. But instead, you will find yourself struggling to get control over your emotions, because it isn’t just a simple goodbye. You realise it was something you were passionate about. Thanks, James Mendelssohn! Thanks for your ongoing passionate leadership of MSI!

Erik van der Kooi

Erik van der Kooi

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