by Lesli Hill
I watched the news of the Carnival Triumph debacle in 2013 with great curiosity. The Triumph was the cruise ship that lost power at sea, putting its 4,200 passengers through days of obviously unsanitary and less than desirable emotional experiences.
As eager reporters crowded around the departing passengers, I noticed two interesting and diverse patterns emerge. Some individuals exhibited an abundance of positive attitude, while others vowed to sue the cruise line for intolerable, inhumane, and emotionally damaging treatment. I wondered if the journalists had grabbed passengers from two different ships.
While I listened to the individual stories, I concluded that the differences between the two groups were in their attitudes and what the passengers chose to pay attention to. While some shrugged off the experience as something that just happened, others aired their considerable and valid laundry list of complaints. Some related the positive life lessons they took away as others complained about what was taken from them. Some families shared their gratitude for the blessing of survival, for being tested and finding depth in their interrelationships, ones they took for granted before the cruise. Others failed to see the opportunity to explore a new personal testing of strength. Friends talked about the incredible bond that developed and will endure for the rest of their lives.
The positive people laughed and related the importance of keeping a healthy perspective. No one died, the ship didn’t sink and lives were not torn apart. They used words such as humor, fun, and blessing. The negative folks were, well, just negative.
I found myself wondering what group I would be in, how my attitude would be portrayed for the entire world to view, especially as I go through daily pain. Would I prove to be a positive person, staying mindful of the perspective of a vacation gone wrong? I am hopeful that I would be. Intentionally choosing to be resilient takes practice and I am a mere novice. I do, however, know where to find some great mentors. They were the ones with the big smiles triumphantly disembarking the Triumph.