Survival Against all Odds

This summer, while visiting PEI, I became engrossed in Blair’s book “Unbroken”. Written by Laura Hillenbrand, who authored Sea Biscuit (my favorite movie), her latest book is about war veteran Louis Zamperini who magnificently demonstrated the true capacity of the human spirit. 

As a young track star, he was six-tenths of a second shy of running the fastest indoor mile on record. But instead of fulfilling his gold medal dreams at the Tokyo Olympics, he was assigned the role of bombardier in the Army Air Corps and sent to war.

After their plane was shot down, the three sole survivors—Louis, his pilot friend Phillips and another soldier Mac—managed to stay afloat on a raft for a record 45 days!

What’s most fascinating to me about this story is the uniqueness of each man’s personality.  A natural optimist, Louis approached the challenge with determination and confidence in his ability to survive. Phil, being a deeply religious man, drew on his faith to keep his spirit alive. But Mac had neither confidence nor faith, and was haunted by negativity.

While Mac did less physical work than the other two men on the life raft, his body was the first to fail. Louis reported that his fear and lack of hope drained his life energy, eventually killing his body.

On the flip side, not only did Louis and Phil survive 45 days on a raft, fighting off sharks and patching holes, they somehow sustained themselves through three long years of unimaginable cruelty as POW’s.
Reading about Louis resilience and perseverance, I am reminded that each day, we have the choice to approach life with an attitude of doom and doubt (which consumes a great deal of our energy) OR with a perspective locked on possibility and best case scenarios (a way more efficient path).

As if your life depended on it (which it does), what perspective are you choosing?