The last couple of days I’ve been watching the dramatic rescue of the 33 Chilean miners. I’ve kept in touch with the story off-and-on since they became trapped but with their rescue over the last two days I’ve kept close tabs as they were pulled to the surface. It’s a great ending to what could have become a tragic story. It required a herculean effort by hundreds of people to pull those miners to safety. I couldn’t help but notice how the entire ordeal seemed to pull the country of Chile together and captivate the world.

As I watched the first miner, Florencio Avalos, being pulled to the surface late Tuesday night and the last rescuer, Manuel Gonzalez, stepping into the Phoenix Capsule to make the journey up last night, I couldn’t help but think about what it took for those 33 men, the rescuers, and the country of Chile to make it through the entire ordeal. Here’s what I think it required:

  1. Teamwork. There were two distinct teams in the rescue – the trapped miners and the rescuers on the surface. In the mine the 33 miners relied on each other in order to survive. They had to work together in order to live in inhospitable conditions while at the same time keeping their sanity. The rescuers had to work as a team in order to pull off one of the most, if not the most, difficult rescue ever attempted. They brought in expert American drillers, consulted with NASA, developed a plan, and executed it flawlessly. Neither of those groups could have accomplished what they did without teamwork.
  2. Determination. Trapped for 69 days. 2000 feet below the earths surface. 85F temperatures. Limited food and water. These are the conditions the miners were having to deal with. Those of us sitting in the comfort of our homes can’t comprehend the hardship those miners went through. It required a strong will and tough mind in order to do it. The same for the rescuers. Without a determination to do what was necessary to rescue the miners it would have been easy to say that it was too difficult, too dangerous, or too expensive.
  3. Patience. It took 69 days to rescue those 33 miners. We live in a ‘now, now, now’ society and can’t, or won’t, be patient long enough for things to happen or change to take effect. Those miners waited patiently as the rescuers drilled to their location.
  4. Leadership. Without a strong leader the miners may have never made it out alive. The last miner to the surface, Luis Alberto Urzua, was also the Foreman and took the leadership role in keeping them alive. He rationed food and water, pulled them together as a team and motivated them so they could survive until assistance arrived. Up top I couldn’t help but notice the President of Chile throughout the entire rescue. He was there to greet each of the miners and rescuers as they came to the surface. His presence signified how important the lives of those men were to the country of Chile.

So, what does the rescue of the miners have to do with cycling for weight loss? Nothing directly but I do think those of us trying to lose weight can learn from some important lessons. How is that? Look at my four points above. Think any of those might help?

  • Trying to lose weight, and keep it off, isn’t easy. It requires strong determination and willpower to do what’s necessary to shed the pounds whether it’s following a strict nutrition plan, working out every time we’re supposed to, hydrating properly, or getting the sleep we need. If we don’t have the determination to do those things then we’ll never be successful in losing the weight.
  • Teamwork, or a support network, is vital. We need others who can encourage us when we’re struggling, congratulate us on our successes, or provide direction when we need it. The power of a compliment of word of encouragement can be an awesome thing.
  • Patience is sometimes the hardest thing to deal with when it comes to losing weight. It takes a long time to get the weight off properly and we won’t see results overnight. In fact, it may be weeks before we start seeing improvement. We have to have patience to stick with our plan in order to see the results we want.
  • Leadership in the form of an expert or trainer can be a huge help. Trainers have the knowledge and experience to guide us on our mission too lose weight and get healthier. They can help us avoid the pitfalls of not following a plan, over training, or not eating correctly.

What do you think? Are there other lessons to be learned from the rescue of the miners?

Thumbnail PHOTOC: The Sacramento Bee and AP / Jose Manuel de la Maza.