Far above the ocean, an engine bigger than a large car suddenly disintegrates blasting shrapnel and metal in all directions. The shrapnel punches holes in the world’s largest passenger jet's wing, damages flaps, causes fuel to spew from the plane and degrades 2 of the remaining 3 engines.
In quick succession an unprecedented 54 alarms appear in the cockpit of the Qantas A380 on route from Singapore to Sydney.
In an interview on 60 minutes Captain Richard Champion de Crespigny describes the situation and some of his key decisions. Part way through the interview he states, "I thought lets protect this aircraft at the most basic level possible. And that was to position it within gliding range of Singapore. And that’s what we did."
"That’s a big call, gliding an A380", states the interviewer.
I love the captain’s reply. It is simple, striking and relevant to many situations.
"And you prepare for the worst. And hope for the best."
“Prepare for the worst” means I’m not ignoring the gravity of the event I am in. I’m not hoping its something smaller than it is. Preparing for the worst means I am recognizing it for what it is. Preparing for the worst means I am doing everything I can to position myself in a place where I have the best possible chance of recovering.
Prepare means more than just hope. It means action.
“Hope for the best”. Hope is critical, without hope all is lost. Hope enables you to make decisions, to think through events, to believe in yourself and the people around you. Hope, I believe, changes your mental direction.
Preparing for the worst in a bad marriage means admitting it is disintegrating and taking steps to fix it. Then hoping for the best.
Preparing for the worst in business means confronting the brutal reality of the situation and takings steps to recover it. Then allow hope to drive you.
Prepare for the worst in health, with the kids, at your job, in your illness and in relationships. Take steps to recover them. With hope!
Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.