Jim Collins, quoting a conversation with Admiral Jim Stockdale, who spent seven years in a North Vietnamese prison:
He said, “Well, you have to understand, it was never depressing.
Because despite all those circumstances, I never ever wavered in
my absolute faith that not only would I prevail?—?get out of this
— but I would also prevail by turning it into the defining event
of my life that would make me a stronger and better person. Not
only that, Jim, you realize I’m the lucky one.”
I said, “No, I don’t.”
He said, “Yes, because I know the answer to how I would do, and
you never will.”
A little later in the conversation, after I’d absorbed that and
said nothing for about five minutes because I was just stunned, I
asked him who didn’t make it out of those systemic circumstances
as well as he had.
He said, “Oh, it’s easy. I can tell you who didn’t make it out. It
was the optimists.”
A lesson for our current moment.