Full Speed Ahead

On August 5, 1864, Civil War Union Admiral David Glasgow Farragut ordered his fleet of battle ships to charge Mobile Bay. The bay was filled with floating enemy mines, which in those days were called “torpedoes.”

From his flagship, USS Hartford, Admiral Farragut gave the command “Full speed ahead.” When the lead ship, USS Tecumseh, struck a torpedo and began to sink, the second ship in the column started to pull back. Farragut then climbed the rigging of the Hartford and screamed out, “What’s the trouble?” to which he received the reply, “Sir, the torpedoes.” It was then that Farragut uttered his famous saying, “Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead.”

There are always torpedoes in the waters of life and business. Many individuals and companies retreat as they see others sinking. Some, however, choose a different approach. While not being ignorant of the danger, they nevertheless declare “Full speed ahead” despite the torpedoes.

Thank you, Admiral Farragut, for a lesson in facing challenges.

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The above is used by permission from the book Three Years Of Tuesday Mornings: 156 e-mails about business and life by Steve Fales.

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