A few months after I moved out of the US, just near my erstwhile apartment building, a plane landed in the Hudson River, near New York City.
The US Airways flight had a complete engine failure due to a bird-hit and had no power left. Yet, Captain Sullenberger, a former Air Force fighter pilot, displayed unprecedented courage and skill to land it in the Hudson River.
After this incident, Captain Sullenberger was hailed as a hero, which he absolutely was. Yet, when you read this story, you imagine a man with nerves of steel, who knew no fear.
But the reality is a bit different.
The incident was so traumatic that for weeks, Captain Sullenberger had flashbacks and stress-induced sleeplessness. He later described it as the ‘worst sickening experience’ he ever had.
Despite that, he held his nerves and landed the plane in a narrow strip of water, saving everyone on board. That is real heroism.
When we see successful and courageous people, we imagine that they are always calm and composed. And we wonder, why do we get jitters while others are so much in control?
The reality is, we all get the jitters. It is all about how we handle those jitters.