Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
Invictus; by: WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY
A few weeks ago, I attended a Crew Conference for the Maritime industry, where they had all kinds of high-tech, life size simulations for training the seafarer. Everything was built and designed to help the seafarer navigate and read data precisely as it comes up. As you can imagine, these vessels are huge - about the length of a 20 - 30 story building. And if you watched Titanic, then you know how steering such a large vessel and making the right calls are equally important, otherwise, accidents can happen. Aside from hitting icebergs, ships can collide with one another, and when crew men take safety on board for granted, engine rooms can spark and lead to combustion.
Preparing for the unpredictable
Kate Galliett, author of The Movement Manifesto, says that “the work you do in a conscious controlled environment is what prepares you for life in the unconscious, uncontrolled environment”. Whether you're training for a marathon, a board exam, or practicing your swings at the range, what you dedicate your time to in practice will prepare you physically and mentally for the challenges ahead.
Safety is key in the maritime industry. Everything they discuss has to lead towards producing significant results and lower probability rates for accidents, and they do this by focusing on training the individual to sharpen his skill sets and to prepare him for the change in tides. Seafaring is among the top 3 most dangerous careers to date because the environment is highly unpredictable; but one thing is certain - the waves will always rise and fall.
Rising and Falling
Much like waves in the ocean, we too face the different currents of our lives. Sometimes we feel a gentle ripple and on occasion, we meet a big tidal wave that crashes into our vessel, threatening our voyage. In order to survive the big waves, we turn to the right tools on board. Perhaps there are switches that we need to activate or deactivate, and manual tools to anchor or help us get to the other side. What matters is, we know what's available.
Let's imagine you were on your vessel, navigating your way through the rough seas. Visibility is low, your boat is being bullied by the waves, and you need to make sure you don't collide with anyone else who is out there. You turn to your tool box and in it are 3 of your best tools to help you through these situations. What are they? What can you use them for? And how will each tool save you from meeting an accident?
Basic Tools for Survival
After sitting through such a long conference, I learned three key tools for survival at sea, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that none of them were highly technical. The three tools that could save any human being during rough times are simple:
1) No matter what happens, learn to take responsibility. The maritime world sees blame culture as a hindrance to safety. It doesn't help when there's an emergency and people are pointing fingers. In order to survive a rough patch, we need to take responsibility for what's going on around us and how we can contribute to the situation. What can you control? What you add to the mix? And how can you help solve your current state? This is the best time to turn to your tool kit.
2) Acknowledge your mistakes and talk about them. In order for seafarers to analyze situations, they need to be able to back track on all the steps that were taken that led to it. Nobody is expected to be perfect in this industry, but they are however, expected to be honest. By acknowledging mistakes and talking about them, every element can align and work together towards achieving goals. What kinds of mistakes have you made? Are you willing to acknowledge where you've been wrong?
3) Pay attention to alarm signals. As I've said, seafarers are trained to analyze data precisely so that they can avoid accidents. Being able to see the signs and notice the symptoms early on are just as important. On a more personal level, it's good for us to turn inward and look into our personal weather forecasts at the start of each day. What are the alarm signals your body tends to provide for you? What are they telling you? And what will it lead to?
Take time to practice the 3 key tools for survival on a regular basis. Questions? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org