Many amazing and also tragic stories came from the earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan a few years ago.
Even though I lived in Japan for a while and had a deep respect for the culture and attitude of the Japanese, it was taken to new heights after hearing many of the stories that came after the earthquake and tsunami.
One such story just came to me as I sat down to write. The story is of a fisherman who after receiving the tsunami warning over the loud speakers made a very unpredictable, zero common sense, but courageous decision.
Everyone immediately started running for the hills, but 68 year old Sugawara, went the opposite direction and jumped into his boat, a boat that had been with him for 42 years. He steamed out into the big blue on full throttle, meeting a twenty metre wall of water, which he attacked straight on.
His old fishing boat climbed the wave, which seemed to never end, until it was over the top and Sugawara’s eyes met with the horizon once again. He rode over four or five giant waves on his way out to sea, before heading back in to land once the sea’s had calmed.
His boat was the only one to survive the tsunami because of his seemingly insane decision. He was then able to be the most valuable asset in the rescue operation, bringing supplies and people from the mainland to Oshima Island. His decision made him famous and a hero to all remaining survivors on his island.
Sugawara’s unpredictable action was simply him thinking outside the box and not conforming with what everyone else was doing or what was expected of him. “A tsunami is coming, lets go boating!” is not the first thing one would think of when hearing that news. It takes a warriors spirit to attack when the odds seem insurmountable, but that is what makes a hero.
Sugawara did not use common sense, he used “uncommon sense”. he definitely used his sense, but it was a sense that he had acquired and cultivated over a lifetime on the water. If he was using common sense then most of the other boat owners would have done the same, but he was alone, going in one direction while everyone flee’d in the other.
Sugawara knew that he would be no help at all to the people of his Island without his boat, so he took a chance, a risk that paid off. he wasn’t just thinking of his own survival, he was thinking of how he could serve his community and this is what made his decision so courageous and heroic. You see, when we put our attention on helping and serving others, our fears diminish greatly!
Sugawara was just an ordinary man, put in an extraordinary situation. What made he and his story extraordinary was his attitude in that situation.
We may not get to ride monster tsunami’s in our life, but we do get to exercise our attitude on a daily basis, and how we show up in each and every moment is our choice; and through our moment to moment decisions, our attitude is shaped tempered.
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