Why Atlanta's Collapse(s) Are Good For Us

Yesterday late afternoon/early evening I was on the roof of the Atlanta Tech Village watching what seemed like a never ending smoke machine spewing out black clouds. Searching Twitter showed that I-85 was on fire. No good.

Thirty minutes into the political fundraiser for Peter Aman, I saw that I-85 had collapsed.

“Oh boy, that’s going to change my Uber ride home.”

After getting home and seeing that 350 feet of one of the busiest highways in the country had vanished, it was clear Atlanta is going to be a different city for the next few months. Significant, immediate impacts range from getting to today’s Braves opener to taking back roads to The Masters (or at least I-20) next week.


If Atlanta’s notorious traffic could be equated to a recording artist, the ‘album’ we dropped put us at #1 on the Billboard Top 100 for Traffic and Congestion.

Here is a little taste of what we faced this morning around 8:15 a.m.


This is not the only collapse we’ve faced this year.

On February 5th, 2017 we felt the effects of a similar collapse. This collapse didn’t contain concrete, flammable PVC pipe, and fifty foot high flames. The other Atlanta collapse was made by poor play calling, arguable penalty calls, and a comeback from the greatest quarterback in the game.

Remarkably, both collapses were caused by something catching on fire.

The results of the Atlanta Falcons losing the largest lead in Super Bowl history might as well of put the city in a proverbial traffic jam for a good month. As for me, my life has changed — for the better. Which is where I’m going.

I still haven’t watched any replays of the game and am still recovering from the loss.

It’s true, us Atlantans have seen some sheeeeeeat this year. A football-field-sized hole in the city’s main artery preceded by a flawlessly executed highway robbery has pulled our emotional strings. Both of them witnessed by the world.

But I don’t view it as a bad thing.

Hear me out.

We have some scars, there is no question. Scars add character. Failure forces you to get creative and have different experiences that in theory provide growth and a better future if played right.

Ray Dalio penned a great piece about failure:

“Great people become great by looking at their mistakes and weaknesses and figuring out how to get around them. So I learned that the people who make the most of the process of encountering reality, especially the painful obstacles, learn the most and get what they want faster than people who do not. I learned that they are the great ones — the ones I wanted to have around me.”

This is pulled from his book: Principles.

Let me show you how I did that on both of these collapses.

Collapse #1: Losing the Super Bowl after a 28-3 lead. 

Walking home 2 miles alone with my shirt off after one of the greatest highs in Atlanta sports history only to be devastated to zero in the span of 30-ish minutes will make you think about some things. Instead of turning this collapse into a pity party, I took notes. I studied how the greatest quarterback lived his life, made decisions, and persevered in the second half of the Super Bowl to cement himself as the greatest quarterback to play the game.

What Behaviors I Changed:

Eating. Here is Tom Brady’s Diet. I’ve changed my diet significantly since the Super Bowl. Staying heavy on vegetables, away from sugar and carbs, while adding lean meats in there frequently.

Drinking. Limited it by 80%.

Working Out. 4-5 Days a Week

Result: Lost 15 lbs in 2 months and feeling the best I have in years.

If we didn’t collapse in the Super Bowl, I would not have adopted the Tom Brady diet, reduced my drinking, and stuck to a structured workout program. If Tom Brady is not satisfied after 5 Super Bowls, I’m going to use that as inspiration to strive for greatness in every aspect of my life.

Another benefit was it forced Atlanta folks to either be a fan of the Falcons or not.

Collapse #2: 350 ft of I-85 Debilitating Atlanta Transportation

Starting in January, I began taking Lyft and Uber everywhere. I got rid of my car to see what it would be like. Exactly 3 months today into the new year, my whole transportation situation has changed for the better. Between, MARTA and ride-sharing, I’ve been able to get an extra hour of work done a day and have little stress from traffic. It’s incredible and I have very very little desire to battle traffic unless it’s through some sort of ride share where I can comb through email, write, read, or listen to an audiobook.

It’s had a been a game changer for me and yes, between Uber Pool and Lyft line, it is way more economical than owning a car.

What does this have to do with the collapse on I-85?

This morning I got onto MARTA as normal and it was packed. According to MARTA CEO, Keith Parker, the transit saw a 25% increase in ridership today. There were so many new faces. Most of them were a bit perplexed about which stops are on the Sandy Springs line vs. Doraville line. People were incredibly helpful. If a few thousand Atlantans can spend a couple months experiencing the liberation from traffic I’ve had for the past 3 months, I guarantee many will change to a less stressful way to get around Atlanta.

The collapse on I-85 will continue to force me to plan better, have more time to think, reflect, and read.

Us Atlantans have had some major setbacks and failures. It’s alright, we’ll figure out ways around them and come out stronger. Like Dalio, those are the people I like to be around as well. Take both of these collapses and internalize them into your own situation and come out stronger.

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