Resiliency Lessons From The Chilean Mine Triumph
Lesson one: Hope relies on possibility not certainty. Shift foreman Luis Urzua practiced intelligent optimism when he reframed the event and steadfastly refused to give up. He maintained his leadership position and convinced the miners to eat only every 48 hours for 17 days. Without optimism, it could have been anarchy in that dark hole. When the probe reached the men, Urzua's note that came to the surface expressed that hope. We are fine in the shelter, the 33 of us. This is not a note of desperation but one of optimism.
Lesson two: Action is the antidote to anxiety. The miners stayed busy, continually clearing away rubble, monitoring gas levels, praying, and using the materials and medicine that eventually were sent down the shafts. In short, they controlled what they could control.
Lesson three: Play to your strengths. Reports indicate that different men served different roles. Victor Rojas kept a journal throughout the ordeal and became the writer who sent updates to the rescuers. Yonni Rojas used his experience in nursing to serve as the chief paramedic. Mario Heredia and Jose Gonzalez became the spiritual leaders, with Mario even requesting that a crucifix be sent down so he could erect a shrine. Edison Villaroel led the group in song, requesting that Elvis Presley songs be sent down. Imagine Elvis the Pelvis gyrating more than a half-mile into the earth.