Not long ago, the world waited with bated breath while watching the rescue of 12 boys, members of the Wild Boars soccer team, and their coach, who were caught in a flooded subterranean cave deep under the mountains of Chang Rai, Thailand. We witnessed the extraordinary worldwide commitment to their safe return to their families as rescue workers from different nationalities, ethnicities and cultural backgrounds dedicated their time, effort and means, once even at the expense of their own lives to the task at hand. Nothing mattered other than saving these children.

We see this kind of selfless devotion to the lives of others over and over again, during many times of crises, all over the globe. And once the crisis has past, we sigh with relief and turn our attention back to our ordinary lives.

But here’s the thing. If we so choose, we can infuse our ordinary lives with some of the heroism and dedication that absorbed our minds and hearts over the Thailand boys and their rescuers. We all face stressful challenges in our day-to-day lives (not as stressful as what those children and their parents went through, but stressful nonetheless). Instead of giving up, we can step up, and be the very best of ourselves in situations that cause us unhappiness, anger, grief or despair.


1. Adopt a more compassionate response toward others and ourselves.

None of the rescuers spent time or energy on the fact that they were in no way related to the Thai boys, that there would be no profit in it for them, that they had no obligation to help. The rescuers, regardless of background or belief, simply worked together toward a common goal.

You’re having problems at work? Or with your family? With your health? Appreciate a basic truth: everyone is simply doing the best they can with what they’ve got from where they are. Including you. Once you accept that, you can then forgive yourself and others for whatever pickle you/they are in, and seek to understand the situation. Understanding what’s going on from everyone’s point of view is what lets you effectively deal with the situation.

2. Skip right past blame and finger pointing.

The rescue workers in Thailand didn't waste time debating whose fault the crisis was, or insist that so-and-so be blamed and raked over the coals. They just pitched in and did what needed to be done. In other words, they got on with the solution.

Nothing good comes out of blame or finger pointing. It’s a giant waste of your creativity and mental capacity. Ditch it. Whatever your specific situation, aim yourself firmly in the direction of problem-solving and have at it. Just like the rescue workers, you’ll be much more likely to succeed.

We are all capable of far more than we think we are. It takes focus, a willingness to leave our egos aside, and engage our mighty selves (yes, you are mighty!) in doing what is necessary to resolve whatever the issue may be. It really doesn’t matter whether your personal crisis is small (your baby is crying – again!) or large (a dreaded diagnosis), a compassionate response, dumping blame and finger pointing and concentrating on finding a solution will serve you exceedingly well.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, consultant, popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad, and author of over a dozen best-selling books. Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and all others. She is the author of “Happy Healthy…Dead: Why What You Think You Know About Aging Is Wrong and How To Get It Right” (MindLab Publishing). Visit,,