09 May The Resilient Mutineers 230 Years Apart by Martin Wright
Resilience is recognised as one of the most important skills we need in business today as we face the challenges, technological changes and merging of our work/personal lives. But resilience has always been essential for our survival.
Channel 4 recently commissioned a a TV show called ‘Mutiny’, which showed a group of men, in an attempt to prove their resilience, trying to re-enact Captain Bligh’s epic journey on the Bounty. Hoping to recreate the situation as accurately as possible, they took the information from Bligh’s journal to create a replica of the boat as well as the severely limited rations that would have been available to him at the time.
By experiencing the same conditions as the men during the historic journey, they were able to highlight the strength of man’s resilience when put to the test of survival. In the case of the original men on the Bounty they showed it through necessity, and the team who took part in the experiement in the 21st century through their own choice.
In December 1787 His Majesty’s Armed Vessel ‘Bounty’ set sail from England, under the command of Lieutenant William Bligh. In the early hours of 28 April 1789, Bligh was awoken and was forcibly brought on deck where he discovered that mutineers, led by Master’s Mate Fletcher Christian, who had divided the ship’s company. Eighteen men, were forced off the ship into the Bounty’s 23-foot long launch. They begged the mutineers for provisions, and were provided with only enough food and water to support them for about five days on normal rations. The launch carried no maps or charts, although Bligh did manage to get a quadrant, compass, tables for navigation, and a broken sextant.
He diligently kept a ships log throughout their six-week ordeal detailing how they navigated, sailed and kept discipline on starvation rations. It is a testament to his professionalism and their resilience that through experiences almost too horrible to be believed, they still did their ‘duty’. “Not a Star to be seen to steer by and the Sea breaking constantly over us…….We are covered with Rain and Sea that we can scare see or make use of our Eyes….” (‘A Narrative of the Mutiny’ by William Bligh)
The Channel 4 programme ‘Mutiny’ attempted the reenactment of the experience and battle for survival by the Bounty’s men. The only difference being that this group of men enjoyed the safety of having a functioning radio, a safety tracker and the presence of a safety ship about 5 miles away.
We often saw the camera catching crew members complaining about each other, and showing various injuries; one man had to be evacuated because of a cut that he tried to keep secret. But let’s not take anything away from them. Altough they signed up for an experience that was essentially reality tv, they suffered mentally and physically by the experience which took most of them way out of their comfort zones of their own very different lives.
Their commitment to resilience was almost the end of them when in the final part of their journey, the ocean became becalmed and they ran out of water. When the captain and the ships doctor decided to bring on emergency water from the relief vessel many of the men had to be begged to drink because ‘Bligh’s crew didn’t have any water’ and the men considered it a failure to bring on extra supplies. However at that point in Bligh’s journey, the ocean was not still and had it been they likely would have died.
But that notwithstanding, the dedication and resilience they showed in achieving their goal has to be commended. A few weeks ago we shared the story of the Yorkshire Rows – the group of friends who decided to take time away from their everyday lives to share the goal of rowing across the Atlantic with minimum supplies and support.
If we had the same choice, how many of us would grasp the chance to battle against the elements and show ourselves just how strong our resilience could be?
Resilience is one of the key skills which the Advance Performance team believes empowers our clients to achieve their potential, and meet the daily challenges in business, leadership, completing projects and personal lives. Here are our tips to enable you to build your own resilience to survive and achieve in your life!