What the Chilean miners can teach us
Posted by Kevin Salwen on 08.27.2010Share

There's an old story about Alfred Nobel. It seems that when his brother died, late in the 19th Century, an obituary writer got the story wrong. Instead of writing about the brother, the paper's obit mistakenly said that Alfred had died. Worse yet, it described him as the inventor of "the most destructive substance ever created."

This apparently bothered Alfred Nobel so much that he created the Nobel Peace Prize, a way to celebrate those who work for the good of society instead of its destruction. (BTW, he created dynamite not as a weapon but as a way to help in the construction company his father started.)

I tell that story sometimes when I speak to audiences because it's a great way to have people reflect on their own legacies. What will people say about you at your death? If you could write your own obit, what would would the headline be? A bit morbid, maybe, but effective.

Now, there is a mini-version playing out real time in Chile. The miners trapped miles below the Earth's surface have a long, long time to wait before their rescue. Some estimates say they likely will wait months before they are extricated. And, no doubt, they have had to ponder their own mortality and the relative importance of the different pieces of their lives.

So, I was intrigued with the New York Times piece about the video that the men sent to the world with the video camera that had been lowered down. Try as I might, I couldn't find a single mention of "I miss my house, I miss my car, I miss my stuff." Duh, of course not: They miss their families, their friends, their loved ones. They miss their communities.

Why do we spend so much time and effort on creature comforts and objects that never really matter? The miners would tell you: Focus on the relationships. You never know when they might be gone.

The story of Chilean miners is an inspiration to all miners who are working so hard for their family. And today, nothing can be compared to the happiness that they and their families feeling right now. At 12:11 a.m. Wed morning, the first Chilean miner was rescued from the San Jose mine where they have spent the last 69 days. And few days later all 33 of the Chilean miners were pulled out of the mine. One quirk of the Chilean miners rescue live is that many people were confused with the flag of Chile, which was getting flown at the recovery site, with the Texas flag.
Posted by Meil at 01:04am on 10.16.2010

I'm not a religious person, the idea of heaven and hell have never been a motivation for me to do good things in the world. For me, it's completely about what I leave behind in the world. The only way I see to achieve immortality is to end up with my name appended with "the Great". (And honestly, the alliteration of Grant the Great entertains me.) But in seriousness, what motivates me in life is to create a positive impact on the world that will continue on after I'm gone.
Posted by Grant at 01:37am on 09.11.2010