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There was recently a big news story about a cruise ship that was stranded at sea 80 miles off the coast of Mexico with dead engines, no electricity, and 4,500 passengers. Sounds like a fun time, don’t you think?
As I watched and read the varied news coverage of this event and the subsequent rescue of the ship, it was immediately apparent to me that the plight of this ship and its passengers was a good metaphor for many of the stressful situations in which we find ourselves. Let’s see what we can learn from this.
1. Everyone has an agenda, which means that you can’t always trust that things are really the way they’re described. When you hear anyone describe a situation that you find stressful, be sure to consider that person’s agenda--everyone has one. Headlines read “Nightmare at Sea” and “Showers in the Dark;" sounds pretty awful, doesn’t it? Consider their agenda--to sell advertising. In order to do that, they have to make it sound as awful as possible so people will read/watch it and therefore drive up their advertising value.
I don’t mean to suggest that peoples' agendas intentionally mislead, it’s just that everyone sees every situation through their own “lens” and that lens can alter the way it is described. Some people like to be dramatic and use extreme terms, which may not be representative of the actual situation they are describing. Others need attention so they may put a personal spin on something. The lesson: when someone is describing a scenario to you, take their point of view into consideration before you take action.
2. You choose how you respond to your world. Passengers were interviewed as they were leaving the ship, and there was a wide variety of responses. Some said, “This was the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I will never go on another cruise” and others said “it was an adventure” and “people really helped each other” and “what a great story this will be for our children and grandchildren!” They all had the same basic experience, but they sure came away with different reactions to that experience. How would you have reacted had you been on that ship?
3. If you need help, ask for it.