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My 3 Incredible Life Lessons From a Killer Whale Attack

Recently I found myself awake, unable to fall asleep at 1 o’clock in the morning. With my beautiful wife and daughter peacefully asleep I found myself sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee in hand (of course) browsing Netflix documentaries.  Blackfish, a documentary recommended by friends and family caught my attention. Since I found myself with a few hours to spare, I decided to give it a go. The movie Blackfish pulls you in and doesn’t let you go. It’s riveting, challenging, and extremely controversial. You may dive head first into the belief that Seaworld abuses(ed) their Killer Whales, signing petitions, boycotting the Animal park. Or you may not believe it at all, seeing that every story has multiple sides, doing further research and finding some strong arguments on the defense of Seaworld.

Now, if you think I’m going to give you my opinion on the movie, you’re wrong. If you have already watched Blackfish, you probably already have a strong opinion one way or another. If you haven’t watched Blackfish, I encourage you to do so. There is a clip from the movie that you’ll see below when clicking play on the youtube video – Watch it closely and we can dive into dissecting it together.

(Click Here if the YOUTUBE Video doesn’t automatically play)

In the clip above, you see Ken Peters, who is said to be an experienced trainer be pulled under by Kasatka, a female Killer Whale. The trick has gone wrong, in which Kasatka has grabbed onto Ken’s foot, initially pulling him under for over a minute. You see Kasatka bring Ken to the top, let go of one foot, only to snag the other a few seconds later and rip Ken back under the water. This happens several times in which you question if Kasatka is playing a game or about to live up to the “Killer Whale” brand. You hear the narrator say “He didn’t panic, he didn’t scream. Maybe he’s just built that way.” I was glued to this specific scene – My mind continued to race as Ken was pulled down for a minute/minute and a half every time.

In this picture, Kasatka has pulled trainer Ken Peters under water for approximately a minute.

In this picture, Kasatka has pulled trainer Ken Peters under water for approximately a minute.

I think this clip resonated with me because I could parallel it to life. There are times in life that it feels like something, whatever it is, is dragging you under and you feel like you’re grasping for air. The thing is, most of us thrash. We fight, we struggle, and we lose our breath trying to get back to the top. We often still triumph over our struggles, but may be left with no energy, damaged relationships, or a lack of passion.

To share a personal story, I’ve been struggling with the limited time I get to see my daughter. My wife and I both work over 50 hours a week, and my hours vary depending on the week, often getting home after Ellie has been laid down for bed. These two women mean more to me than life itself. I initially remained calm with how my hours and job have changed the past six months.  However, I recently began to thrash. I see Kasatka grabbing my foot and dragging me under, but instead of coming back up and stroking her, building on the relationships I have, I keep taking my elbow to her head and trying to get lose.

Maybe you feel like I do. Maybe you have or will soon. You may be a single mother, working and going to school. You see the future, but your support isn’t available for one week and you want to thrash, kick, scream. Or maybe you left your company and started your own. Being on your own can be scary- The fear that maybe you will fail, maybe you can’t make it on your own, so you take out your fear on your spouse after a long day of what you see as failure.

There is hope, though! Below are the 3 Life Lessons to apply to the moments when you feel like the Killer Whale, Kasatka, is dragging you under.

Lesson One: Build Relationships Daily

Strong relationships are the only thing that will pull through. My Marriage, Friendships, and Team are a foundation – I can’t lose sight of building on these. Like Ken Peters, a solid relationship with Kasatka probably saved his life. He had worked with her daily for several years and understood how to react when she lost sight of their goal. Marriage, friendships, work relationships – They are all the same in this aspect. You have to build them to overcome the challenges that are in front of you. Lesson one: Build relationships Daily

Lesson Two: Control What You Can Control

We all have a choice. I can come home upset, play on my phone, wasting my family time, and then go to bed. Or I can come home with a smile, be appreciative for my job, my family, my friends and understand that I can’t control everything in life (Despite wanting to). Ken Peters displays great control in this video. He “Controls what he can control” – He controls his breathing, his fear. He taught me that no matter what the “now” feels like, there is a future and you can’t let your emotions get the best of you in that moment. Lesson two: Control what you can control

Lesson Three: Don’t quit. Don’t give up.

This is the most powerful – and while we may say it a 100x’s a day, it is the hardest of the three lessons: Don’t quit. Don’t give up. There are days lately I simply struggle to be present in what I’m doing. The stress builds up and I question why I’m doing what I do. Yet, if I walked away, I would actually be throwing away my life – My long term goals, my joys, and my passions. It temporarily would feel good to quit, only to realize what was lost later. Ken Peters was attacked by Kasatka is 2006. In 2011, he still worked with Seaworld and Orca’s as an Animal Curator. Ken deserves a lot of Credit, as he still hasn’t given up. He used the Killer Whale attack to strength what he’s doing.

As Mission Arabica has developed, I realize how these 3 Life Lessons apply to what we are doing. First, building relationships: We continue to meet new people, and develop new relationships every day. We proudly partnered with Bearded Apple and Thrive Coffee in creating our own coffee that will Launch on April 23rd! Second, we control what we can control. With Chris as our detailed, driven CPA, Adam as our “outside the box” NASCAR driving entrepreneur, and myself, well, I’m the rivetingly handsome salesman- We can only have so much control in what we do – But the things we can control, we want to be EPIC. We want to do them with excellence and ensure they are done to a high standard. Finally, we believe so strongly in our Mission that I can guarantee we will never give up as we pursue helping Laos develop.

I doubt you or I will ever be attacked by a Killer Whale. But when life feels like it, remember the 3 Life Lessons from a Killer Whale Attack. They may just save your life!