Lessons From a Chilean Mine

Photo: CNN 
¡Viva Chile! This story has captivated us more than any other positive news in the last 20 years -- the last time we were that moved, we were in middle school in Mexico City and watched the Berlin Wall come down on a grainy TV. This time, it's different: thanks to the BBC's excellent live online coverage and underground cameras, we've been able to closely follow this incredible story -- a true triumph of the human spirit. 

Photo: AP/Roberto Candia
While we've been teary-eyed for the last 24 hours, it's wonderful to see that there is still something that can move us, as a nation or people, that's beyond bad news and reality TV. Even though at first we didn't think there was a connection between this story or survival and business, there really is. Tonight, we will celebrate with Chilean wine. As we write this, only three miners are still underground.

  • Put things in perspective. Having a bad day? Was a customer rude? Did your computer crash? Is everything going wrong, and not even the doggie you volunteered to walk at the Humane Society is happy to see you? It happens, but put it in perspective. Sometimes, the best thing that happens in a day is that you still have your sanity, and sometimes that's enough. It could be worse: you could be 700 meters below ground, buried alive. 
  • Surround yourself with good people. We are impatiently waiting for more details on how the miners organized their forced cohabitation underground: how did they ration food? How did they prevent riots? How did they stay sane? While we are certain that your survival will never depend on it, you should surround yourself with  professionals you trust. Your business' survival might depend on it.
  • Stay strong. Running a business is hard, but not nearly as hard as surviving in a mine. You can do it! If you don't believe you can, then no one else will believe it, either.
  • Think long-term. This can be challenging if you are stuck in a rut, not earning as much income as you would like, working too many hours, or dissatisfied with your work conditions. However, ultimately, you are in control, and you can always make changes to your business model. 
  • Focus on the small things. Videos from the mine showed the miners treasuring the few items and things they had to comfort them: letters, pictures, and a few mementos. Sometimes it takes little things to make your day, and there is always something that can make you happy, even if it's just a bird chirping outside your window. Look for the small moments of happiness to get you through any tough times.
Our hats are off to these hard-working men who risk their lives to feed their families. Here's to the true heroes of our society, their amazing rescuers, and to the world coming together to make this engineering miracle a reality.


Paula Dieli on October 14, 2010 at 1:59 PM said...

Ingenuity, commitment, teamwork and a great leader. Sounds like a recipe for success that applies to just about anything! And yes, it was truly moving!

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on October 19, 2010 at 9:03 PM said...

Exactly -- what a wonderful story. And those are skills that we can put to good use above ground, too. :)

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The entrepreneurial linguists and translating twins blog about the business of translation from Las Vegas and Vienna.

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