Jasper Schuringa: Being the Thermostat

Jasper is now a household name, he is getting his 15 minutes and then some. Unlike many who find themselves in the limelight for not so pleasant things, Jasper is the exception.  In fact, I say let’s give him more than just his 15 minutes, let’s give him an entire hour; Lord knows he deserves it.

Jasper is the heroic Dutchman who, while quietly sitting in Seat 20J of Northwest Flight 253 from the Netherlands to Detroit, saved America from a terrorist attack on Christmas Day. On December 28, 2009 the Washington Post’s Views Section posted this question about the secret to spontaneous leadership.

Just like those brave Americans on Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania on 9/11, Jasper is made of that little extra something that makes him instinctively act while others simply watch.   What that is, we may never truly know.  Could it be a strong upbringing with rock-solid values?  A diligent work ethic?  A Type A personality?  We could go on and on.

This past weekend I was struck by an amazingly concise and powerful concept that Jasper certainly exemplifies.  In life we have two choices in any give situation; we can be the thermostat or the thermometer.  We can either make things happen or simple react to what is happening around us.

Part of my New Year’s Resolution is to be more like Jasper … How about you?

Mary Ann


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