Captain Sullenberger, Preparation, Routine and Opportunities

Feb 11 09:30 2009 Andrew Cox Print This Article

Hats off to Captain Sullenberger and his crew and their rescue - I can't think of a better word to describe what they did - in saving the passengers and themselves when they had to ditch in the Hudson River. The accolades and gratitude and respect that the crew have received are well earned. And there is a real lesson for all of us as we go about the business of our lives

Hats off to Captain Sullenberger and his crew and their rescue - I can't think of a better word to describe what they did - in saving the passengers and themselves when they had to ditch in the Hudson River. The accolades and gratitude and respect that the crew have received are well earned.

And there is a real lesson for all of us as we go about the business of our lives - every day - some routine days,Guest Posting some difficult days, some boring days, some really special days.

The lesson can be summed up in a quote I read in the book "The Last Stand Of The Tin Can Sailors" by James D. Hornfischer.

"It has been written that so much of life is preparation, so much is routine, and so much is retrospect, that the purest essence of anyone's genius contracts itself into a precious few hours."

The quote refers to the heroism of the small destroyers and destroyer escort ships of the US Navy at the Battle of the Samar Sea in WW II. They turned into the teeth of a large Japanese fleet bent on destroying the carriers they were protecting. Outgunned and outnumbered, the tin can sailors attacked - and all the preparation, routine, habit and response they had accumulated contracted into the collective genius necessary to give the carriers time to escape - but at a very high cost to those sailors and their ships.

Captain Sullenberger and his crew saw all of their preparation, routine and retrospect contract into a brief period of genius that was the product of everything that came before it. Everything I have read about the Captain tells a story of a man constantly striving to be better, to rehearse scenarios, to understand the dynamics of what he spent so much time doing. And when those birds hit, all of that contracted into his - and his crews - particular genius - and lives were saved.

In these times when so much negative is reported, stories of true genius, of competence, of heroism, of people just doing their jobs can help us keep perspective. And realize that our own times of preparation, routine and retrospect can contract into a few hours when an opportunity presents itself that can be life changing.

It's tempting right now - when everything seems mired in negativity - to ask ourselves "what's the use?" Answer that question by remembering and thanking the Captain Sullenberger's and the tin can sailors - draw inspiration from them - and press on.

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Andrew Cox
Andrew Cox

Andy Cox helps individuals, teams and organizations identify and develop their Multipliers of Success - the unique set of Behaviors, Motivators and Personal Skills each client needs for success. Contact Andy at acox@consultgroup.com Visit his website for information on how he can help you discover and develop your Multipliers of Success. His website address is http://www.coxconsultgroup.com

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