TOLERANCE TO NEGATIVE THINKING
KEEPING ADVERSITY IN PERSPECTIVE
People who live their dreams
expect to encounter adversity and setbacks. It isnít a question
of whether itís going to happen; itís a question of when. Itís
impossible to do anything worthwhile without meeting up with
adversity and setbacks. You hope your judgment is right more
often than itís wrong, but mistakes are inevitable, and you need
to know ahead of time exactly what you are going to do when
setbacks come your way. A strategic plan increases the
probability you will survive adversity with your objectives
There are eight common sense
steps you can take when adversity pays an unwelcome visit.
Make a limited and
Sacrifice only those
things that are unimportant and expendable.
Assess the situation.
Marshall your resources.
Plan your counterattack.
positive, and fearless action.
Panic is a non-resourceful
state that makes it impossible to deal with adversity in a
constructive manner. Apparent calamity is a time for calm
determination. Step back from the problem, regain your
composure, and deal with adversity after you regain an objective
state of mind.
Panic causes you to lose your
perspective, and taking precipitous actions in a panic-stricken
state is likely to make your problems worse. When you feel
panic welling up inside, itís time to stop acting and start
thinking. Thatís not to say you shouldnít take immediate action
when there is a life threatening emergency; just be certain what
youíre doing is appropriate, and it actually makes the situation
better rather than worse.
In 2004, there was a massive
tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed nearly 200,000 people
and washed millions of tons of debris out to sea. We had to
sail our yacht from Thailand through all of that debris in order
to reach the Mediterranean Sea. There were three large debris
fields, and the only way to get across the Indian Ocean was to
sail through all three. It was scary to sail blindly at night
wondering whether you were going to run into floating logs or
even whole trees. The first two debris fields off Thailand and
the Nicobar Islands had smaller size debris, and except for
floating logs, werenít too much of a worry.
South of Sri Lanka, it was a
completely different story. There were hundred foot trees
floating in the water and if you hit one of them, they could
easily sink your boat. When we talked with other yachts on high
frequency radio, we heard tales of them sailing over logs in the
night causing damage to their rudder. This was a real
opportunity for the voice of fear to fill my mind with panic.
Fortunately, panic never got
the upper hand. In fact, we kept panic easily at bay by simply
taking down our sails at sunset and drifting alongside the
debris all night long. After sunrise the next morning, we again
raised our sails and carefully worked our way out of the debris
field, sailing past giant trees that could have damaged or sunk
If we had panicked, and
irrationally sailed at top speed through the night because we
wanted to escape the debris field as quickly as possible, we
probably would have sustained serious damage to our yacht.
Panic could have had potentially lethal complications.
When adversity pays an
unwelcome visit, make sure you donít let panic come in the front
door. You can handle adversity and setbacks as long as panic
MAKE A LIMITED AND ORDERLY RETREAT
It is rare that a mistake is so
large and so wrong that all is lost. You can usually assume a
fall back position. In any campaign, you should have fallback
positions prepared in advance for the moment of adversity. This
guarantees that if you experience a setback, you limit the
amount of damage and the amount of ground lost. A limited and
orderly retreat is preferable to total unconditional surrender,
and the amount of ground lost and assets compromised may be
smaller than feared.
When we sailed up the Red Sea,
we always had a fallback position and an alternate destination
we could head for. More than once, we had to make a limited and
orderly retreat because it was impossible to continue.
One evening, we left a secure
anchorage in southern Egypt, and motored north in flat calm seas
without a breath of wind. We thought we had it made in the
shade; our next destination was only forty miles north, and we
would get there just after daylight the next day. It was a
great plan except for one thing; at one oíclock in the morning,
the wind suddenly increased to forty knots directly on the nose,
and within one hour all forward progress stopped.
When the wind blows that
strongly, itís not long before the seas build up and start
breaking over the yacht. The boat motion becomes dangerously
chaotic, and it becomes progressively more difficult to keep the
boat safely under control. Thatís exactly what happened to us;
we were in trouble in the middle of the night, and we had to
make a limited and orderly retreat back to where we started
eight hours previously.
Although it wasnít fun getting
beaten up by strong winds and heavy seas in the middle of the
night, at least it wasnít an overwhelming problem, because we
had a fallback position to which we could make a limited and
orderly retreat. We were mentally and physically exhausted when
we put our anchor down in the morning, but at least we had not
lost ground from where we started.
Thatís what you try to do when
setbacks happen. Give up the least amount of ground possible,
and quickly regroup at a fallback position. Just because you
canít move forward, and just because you temporarily have to go
into reverse, doesnít mean you have to go back to square zero.
GO TO NEXT PAGE
RED SEA CHRONICLES DVD
When Dr. Dave isn't working as a flying doctor for the Indian Health
Service, He is sailing around the world on his sailboat. Find
out what it's like to sail on the ocean of your dreams by watching
Captain Dave's DVD.
Red Sea Chronicles DVD Previews