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Think First

Navy Law: If you can keep your head when all about you others are losing theirs, maybe you just don’t understand the situation.

Test pilots have a litmus test for evaluating problems. When something goes wrong, they ask, “Is this thing still flying?” If the answer is yes, then there’s no immediate danger, no need to overreact. When Apollo 12 took off, the spacecraft was hit by lightning. The entire console began to glow with orange and red trouble lights. There was a temptation to “Do Something!” But the pilots asked themselves, “Is this thing still flying in the right direction?” The answer was yes—it was headed for the moon. They let the lights glow as they addressed the individual problems, and watched orange and red lights blink out, one by one. That’s something to think about in any pressure situation.

If your thing is still flying, think first, and then act.

Capt. Alan Bean, USN, Apollo Astronaut, in Reader’s Digest