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Who Would You Put In Your Lifeboat?

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This Lifeboat exercise is not an original idea that I can claim germinated in my creative unconscious. Unfortunately, I don't know whom to give the credit to. It's been a part of my knowledge base for a long while. Kudos to the creator!

Once or twice a year I recreate the Lifeboat experience in my journal. Over time, some of the individuals chosen have remained; others whom I selected are replaced at a later point. This exercise reminds me to appreciate those people who are important to me, people I trust my life with.

Sometimes the most challenging part for me is being honest with myself about my true feelings for family and friends. As I seek to identify who is set adrift with me and why, I examine my reasons for excluding certain people. This is one of my "Food for Thought" exercises for my psyche and my life. I hope you find it useful too.

Once upon a time (isn't that how all fairy tales begin?) you find yourself in a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean. You are there through unforeseen and unknown circumstances, but nonetheless you are there. You're allowed to choose nine others to be with you in the boat.

There are only two rules in making your choices. First, the people you select to accompany you in your seafaring craft must be those individuals you really want to be there. Adding family members out of a sense of obligation, not desire, will negate the experience and your boat will sink.

Second, although the nine people chosen can be alive or deceased, you must know (or have known) all of them personally. Sorry, no Winston Churchill, Shakespeare, Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus, Biden, McCain, Obama, or Palin. (Although the last four in a lifeboat, with or without six others, would be fascinating.)

You can take as much time as you need to complete your list. Be as honest as you can, but only you will know the truth of your choices. If you are comfortable with sharing your selections and the reasons for them, write them in a comment below. Bon Voyage!

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About Dr. Juliann Mitchell, PhD

  • I like this, the life boat is kind of like who could you trust with a gun in your fox hole during a conflict. Some people will always have your best interest at heart and can be counted on in the fox hole. Yes, the life boat exercise is very good and I can envision everyone reading this article giving thought to their choices. Bravo Doc and thanks for the insight.

  • An interesting exercise, to be sure. Of course, I would put my immediate family members in there. Plus my maternal grandmother, and several internet and regular friends.

  • Joe

    Only people who are a part of my life that I feel strongly for can go in the boat? Then nobody, not even myself. I’d take a needle along and puncture the boat so that I go down as fast as humanly possible and put an end to this pointless crap.

  • merrime

    Why would u take these ppl safely off land to endanger there lives n a life boat??? I chose no one.. thus proving my love for them 🙂