Although it's not clear to me what the cause or causes are of the catastrophic BP oil spill, there have been several explanations for it which would suggest that it wasn't simply an accident, but rather an event that might have been avoided.

One article I read suggested that some sort of oil leak cut-off system could have been put into place but wasn't because it would have required time and money, two commodities the oil executives were not interested in expending.

Another article suggested that more research was necessary in regard to oil drilling at the depths involved, but this, too, would have cost more time and money, with decreased profits in the process.

Neither of these scenarios may be true. Nonetheless, the overall impression I've gotten from the articles I've read is that BP was more interested in profits than safety, and that this "accident" was more a function of corporate convenience, corporate greed, corporate irresponsibility, and corporate shortsightedness more than anything else.

If this is true, then there is a clear take-home message for all of us: Whether we are developing a career or a product, it behooves us, before putting the career and product out there, to pay close attention and make wise choices.

We don't cut corners. We do our homework. We do the research. We explore all options. We do our due diligence to make sure that what we are doing will benefit and not harm. We spend the time and money necessary to do it safely and to do it right, so that we've put our best foot forward and we don't end up with  a catastrophe or crisis that is damaging to ourselves or to others.

It is wise to do these things even if it pushes back our launch dates and reduces our profit margin, because we may discover flaws and inconsistencies which we may be able to correct and adjust for, saving ourselves a lot of money and aggravation in the future which could cripple our goals and profits in the long run.

WHAT ABOUT OUR PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS?

The same advice applies:  We need to take our time. We need to pay attention. We need to do the research. We need to look before we leap.

The divorce rate is so high and many relationships are so unsatisfying because we don't do these things. When we meet someone "special" for the first time, there is an infatuation, there is chemistry, there is exhilaration, there are hormones jumping every which way. We feel energized and vitalized, overwhelmed with joy, excitement and sexuality.

When we look into the eyes and face of someone who is as excited about us as we are about them, it makes us feel excited about ourselves. We see our idealized self in the smiling face looking back at us, and all of this contributes to our jumping into bed and jumping into relationships prematurely.

So caught up in the immediate gratification of the moment, we don't consider the long-term consequences. We don't take the time to do our due diligence. We don't take the time to discover the real fabric of the person we have become intimately involved with.

Oftentimes, we see the red flags and warning signs that suggest to us that maybe we shouldn't go down that road, but because we are so enamored, so exhilarated, so charged up with infatuation, chemistry and lust, and having, perhaps, been lonely for a very long time prior to meeting this person, we look the other way, our common sense and intuition go out the window and we sweep the red flags under the rug.

Eventually, sooner or later, the chickens come home to roost. When the chemistry settles down and the infatuation goes away, we are left with a lot of unanswered questions.

Who are these people? What do they really stand for? Do they really care about us? Do they care more about themselves? Are they loyal and trustworthy companions?

All the questions that should have been asked at the beginning are asked after we have committed a great deal of time, money and energy to the relationship.

THE SOLUTION IS DELAYED GRATIFICATION

Taking the time to see what's actually going on before making a commitment is the critical component. We tend not to do this because we are afraid to confront those red flags, to challenge our newly-found partners to explain themselves, to define their ideologies, to detail their backgrounds and previous relationships, for fear that they may get defensive or angry, that they may go away, or that they may tell us something that will be so obvious we will not be able to ignore it and it will force us to go away.

Bottom line: it's best we have the courage to ask these questions before getting involved in a relationship, even if it means our loneliness will linger longer, because it will serve us well in the long run and provide us with the opportunity of finding someone who is worthy of our love and capable of providing us with a stable relationship based on mutual respect and consideration which will sustain us until our end of  days.