You should turnaround| Story no. 36/101

A paradigm-shifting experience as told by Frank Kock in Proceedings, the magazine of the Naval Institute

Two battleships assigned to the training squadron had been at sea on manoeuvres in heavy weather for several days.  I was serving on the lead battleship and was on watch on the bridge as night fell.  The visibility was poor with patchy fog, so the captain remained on the bridge keeping an eye on all activities.

 Shortly after dark, the lookout on the wing of the bridge reported, “Light, bearing on the starboard bow.”   “Is it steady or moving astern?” the captain called out. Lookout replied, “Steady, captain,” which meant we were on a dangerous collision course with that ship. The captain then called to the signal man, “Signal that ship: We are on a collision course, advise you change course 20 degrees.”    Back came a signal, “Advisable for you to change course 20 degrees.”

The captain said, “Send, I’m a captain, change course 20 degrees.” “I’m a seaman second class,” came the reply.  “You had better change course 20 degrees.” By that time, the captain was furious.  He spat out, “Send, I’m a battleship.  Change course 20 degrees.”

Back came the flashing light, “I’m a lighthouse.” We changed course


De-briefing of this story             

Stephen Covey in his best seller book, “7 Habits of highly Effective People” has compared the lighthouse to Principles. In life, no matter how successful you are,  you cannot deviate from the principles – integrity, honesty, contributing to the society etc.

Principles are the natural laws that cannot be broken.


This story cannot be used to share importance

1- Principles

2- Letting go your ego


Story Source

From the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.

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