The other night my wife put me in charge of coming up
with a movie that we could watch. After playing around
for a while with an online service similar to Netflix
I came up with a choice that would bring up some
memories of near death.
So I proceeded to lug my laptop downstairs and ask
if she wanted to watch Soul Surfer, to which my
10 year old daughter pipes in YES, YES, YES!
My wife was not all in at first, but decided to
go along as the kid was excited to watch this story
about a young teenage girl who had her arm tore off
my a shark while surfing in Hawaii.
This is based on a true story, so of course we knew
the main line. We had known about it for some time
as the story was all over the news when it happened.
The most amazing thing about it all, is that she never
really gave up on her desire to be a competitive surfer.
Yeah she stuggled, but then again, who doesn’t at times.
But trying to do something after a major trauma is
extemely commendable in such a short period of time.
This girl is a survivor because she never gave up.
She could have easily seen the fact that you can’t
be a great swimmer with only one arm.
She could have seen that she could not do a push up
on the board while being tossed by the ocean.
She could have easily seen that her body was totally
out of balance with one less appendage.
You know what though…
She saw none of that!
She saw herself getting right back up on the board.
Was it a struggle. Damn right it was, but she was
Regardless of what happens to you in your struggles
to make it in your business, how you see the future
playing before you is of utmost importance.
Having the proper mindset is your basepoint and this
is what this girl had.
So what does that have to do with my almost dying?
Well back in 1999, I was living in the Solomon Islands,
in the South Pacific as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
I was there as a science teacher (and math as well) for
two years and we liked to spear fish! Talk about a rush!
After a 20 minute walk down to our dugout canoe, it was
another 15 or so minutes paddle down the river to get to
the mouth where we would head over to the reef to see
what we could catch.
This time however was a little different as we got our
fellow teacher to take us in a motorized fiberblass
canoe so we could go outside the reef and throw out
a line. That’s us here with me on the right with
some Barracuda and snapper that we caught litterally
We wanted to spear fish as well and that is when the fun
began. If you consider near death experiences that is.
Now just to give you a little more background, we saw
sharks just about everytime we went out. These small
3-4 foot reef sharks would typically take off as soon
as we came around a reef corner and saw them.
So as we were spear fishing this day we ended up finding
a morey eel, so why not try to catch it and see what it
tastes like. The locals would eat anything, so we
knew it would not go to waste.
One spear in and it gets exciting. You can imagine it
was pretty pissed off to have just been stabbed by a spear.
A little puff of what looks like blood coming out from the
reef as the eels basically tore part of its tails off
as it struggled to get free from the spear.
One Shark….and not your typical reef shark, but this one
looks bigger than me and I stand 6’2″ tall.
He was circling me, my buddy and the eel, trying to figure
what was going on and assessing the situation because
of the sent of blood.
So my buddy is trying to get the eel out (as he was
speared again in the meantime) and I am watching the one
shark with my spear at the ready.
Two Sharks…now we have a mirror image of the first shark
circling us almost in opposite of the first one. Crap!
This is not looking good for us. Get us the “F” out of here.
Thank god for our buddy with the motorized canoe on this day.
Any wrong move and/or distress from us could have brought
these two sharks to a feeding frenzy on the two giant red-
heads swimming in their land.
We made it out safe of course and even ended up being able
to hook and pull the eel out without a scratch on our bodies
but with a definite respect for the unknown of the deep.
And yes, we did go back the following week and many times
after that to fish, because we saw ourselves being successful.
No one should go out with the mindset that they are going to
get eaten by a shark, though in the back of your mind you
need to know it can happen.
Being prepared is the best way to combat this. Having a plan
of action is what you need for the worst case scenario in
addition to the best case scenario.
So just like our Soul Surfer. Realize that no matter what
happens you can find a way to get back up on your feet
and be successful. If it is a struggle at first, expect this
and know it will get easier.
The other thing to remember is you can do it all on your own
or you can seek guidance from others who have been there.
So take action now and get yourself back up. Do something that
helps others be able to help themselves…Wait a minute, that’s
one of the main goals of the Peace Corps.
Don’t let the sharks round up on you, but make sure you have that
safety boat on the side waiting to pick you up when you are down.
Come for a ride on Daegan Smith’s Ship.