“We need to see past this pandemic and see us not just surviving it, but thriving thereafter. If we can do that now, while the fog surrounds us, we can know that we will make it through.”

A study was done a number of years ago that researched characteristics that helped someone survive being lost at sea or stranded in the wilderness for many months. What they found is that most often it was not necessarily the strongest or the smartest who survived. Actually, it was often the opposite. The characteristic found in most who survived was that they were able to see past their current situation and to a future hope. In the midst of their bleak surroundings, they could imagine a future when they were back together with family and friends and home. The characteristic of vision inspired them to not give up.

We do the same thing in life. When we are working hard at something, we envision the future and picture it when it is done. When we are training or running, we imagine the finish line or winning the game. When starting up a business, it is often the owner’s vision of what it can become that will sustain them during the difficult times.

In 1952 a swimmer by the name of Florence Chadwick attempted to be the first woman to complete the 26 mile swim between Catalina Island and the California coast. About 15 hours into her swim, a very thick fog rolled in and she and her support team could not see much in front of them. A little while after the fog arrived, she decided she could not finish her swim and she was pulled into the boat. Shortly thereafter, the support team and Florence realized that she was only about a mile away from completing the incredible swim.

Later when interviewed about the attempted swim, she admitted that not knowing how much farther she needed to go was too discouraging to her and her quitting was a direct result of that.

Two months later she again attempted to complete the 26 mile swim and believe it or not once again fog rolled in and obscured the coast line from her and her team. However, this time she was able to complete it and become the first woman to do so. When talking with reporters about her historic swim, she said that she was able to imagine the coastline and envision herself walking up out of the ocean and onto the beach. In the midst of the heavy fog, that vision is what made the difference.

This pandemic is difficult and worrisome. For many of us the fog has rolled in and we feel the discouragement as we see this virus spread across the globe. At this point we don’t know how much longer it will last, how much farther we have to go before it is over. But we do know this – it will not be forever. We will get control of this virus, a vaccine will become available and we will be able to return to having birthday parties, inviting friends over for dinner, and going out to the movies. For now we need to envision the finish line in our minds. We need to imagine walking up out of the ocean and onto that beach. We need to see past this pandemic and see us not just surviving it, but thriving thereafter. If we can do that now, while the fog surrounds us, we can know that we will make it through.

Please stay healthy and maintain hope that we are closer to the beach than we realize.

Written by Karl Steinkamp

Karl Steinkamp is passionate about Dalat International School and training up young people. Karl was a student at Dalat and returned with a degree in education as a student teacher, high school principal, and now Head of School since 2006.
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