Do you laugh in the face of adversity?

This week I watched the 1993 film, Alive (Aff link). It absolutely gripped me. I watched ‘the making of’ documentary, read all the wikipedia articles I could find and the life stories of the remarkable men who were involved.

If you’re unaware of the story, in 1972 a plane carrying a Uruguayan rugby team to Chile crashed in the Andes. There were 33 survivors. After 8 days, a search from 3 countries was called off as it was presumed there was no way anyone could still be alive and they couldn’t see the plane (which was white) in amongst some of the worst snow fall they’d had in years.

Over the next few weeks a number of the party died due to injuries and then as if this wasn’t bad enough, they were then caught in an Avalanche! 19 Survived. After running out of rations and in order to keep alive they had made the difficult decision to eat the bodies of the deceased (their friends and family)! A horrendous thought but one that ultimately saved their lives. The avalanche had hit on the 17th day and they went on to stay alive on that mountain for an INCREDIBLE 72 days in total. Without wishing to cut this fascinating story short (I recommend you watch the film/read the book – aff links) what happened towards the end of this story amazes me even further. Two of the a group – Parrado and Canessa took it on themselves to trek from the crash site, across some of the most difficult mountain terrain for 10 days before they finally found a Chilean Huaso and they were able to get a rescue crew to the others. In total 16 survived the 72 day ordeal.

Why am I writing about this? What bearing can this possibly have on your business? Well I hope the clue was in the title. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I have been completely gripped by this story. These people didn’t give up in what must have been some of the worst conditions ever endured by man and not only did they not give up, two of them became hero’s to the others, performing a feat which would be remarkable given the latest modern day equipment, warmest clothes and tents possible, let alone after 62 days living in the conditions I’ve mentioned above.

What can we take from this? Heart I hope. In our lives we all come across difficult times. In our businesses we’ll take hits. There will almost certainly be ups and downs.

Remember that it’s not the situation itself that is a problem or depressing or puts you in a bad mood – thats your choice – you decide how you’re going to react to what’s been served up to you. Your attitude will dictate the way you deal with the various challenges thrown at you in life.

I have so much respect for those 16 people (especially the two that made that trek). It put some of the minor trials and tribulations in my own life clearly into perspective and I hope that when I’m next feeling overwhelmed by something, that I will remember this story and what was humanly possible when faced with adversity.

I hope you will too.

Now Your Thoughts

  • Do you have any methods you use for keeping calm and carrying on?
  • Have you watched the film/read the book? What were your thoughts?

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