Have there been moments in your life when you thought you were right, and did not see the need to change, only to face a big disaster? There’s an old story of an encounter between a large naval ship and what at first appears to be another vessel, with which the ship is on a collision course. It’s a classic anecdote, which illustrates the perils of stubbornness and the need to change.
The naval vessel requests that the other ship change course. The other party responds that the naval vessel should change course, whereupon the captain of the naval vessel reiterates the demand, identifying himself and the ship he commands and sometimes making threats. The following is a transcript of that encounter.
The Naval Ship: “Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.”
The Other Party: “Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.”
The Naval Ship: “This is the captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.”
The Other Party: “No, I say again, you divert YOUR course.”
The Naval Ship: “THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES’ ATLANTIC FLEET. WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY THREE DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS. I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH. THAT’S ONE-FIVE DEGREES NORTH, OR COUNTER MEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THIS SHIP.”
The Other Party: “This is a lighthouse. Your call.”