Overcoming Real Adversity

Have you ever wondered how well you would stand up to real adversity?  I mean the real stuff.

Imagine, for example, that you survived a plane crash, and you are now in a life raft floating all alone in the middle of the South Pacific.  Well, you’re not completely alone.  As you sit in this life raft that is not much larger than your bathtub, you can feel the course skin of sharks rubbing against the bottom of the raft.

This is what Louis Zamperini experienced in 1943 after a plane crash.  Louis and two crew mates somehow survived, but now they were surrounded by sharks.  To make matters worse, they only had enough provisions for a day or two, they had no way to desalinate the water that surrounded them, and they had no radio to call for help.  In addition, they were in the middle of World War II.  But Louis was resilient.

He and his crew mates found a way to trap rain water from the occasional storm that would provide just enough moisture to pull them back from the brink of death.  They also became adept at catching any stray birds that happened to land on their life rafts.

In Laura Hillenbrand’s bestselling book, Unbroken, she tells the story of Louis Zamperini.  Somehow Louie and the others survived far longer than anyone else had in similar situations, forty six days at sea in which they drifted approximately 2,000 miles into Japanese controlled territory.  They lost approximately half of their body weight, but they survived.

In fact, survival at sea was just the start of what awaited Louis as he entered a Japanese death camp for the rest of the war.  Time and time again he was pushed to the brink of survival, but the spirit of resilience is why Louis is alive today at age 94.

If you are inspired by those who survive against all odds and who truly embody the word resilience, I encourage you to read Unbroken.  Not only is it a book that will inspire you long after you close the cover, but it will also show you what it takes to overcome real adversity.

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