Mike Thexton experienced 16 frightening hours on a hijacked plane. 4 Palestinian terrorists managed to get onto the jumbo jet he was on, armed with fully automatic guns and grenades. The pilots managed to escape before the plane left the ground so the passengers were held hostage whilst the terrorists tried to find some way to get a pilot. One man was immediately shot and thrown out of the door onto the tarmac to prove a point. These terrorists were against americans so they collected passports from the passengers to see who to kill next, but a brave member of the cabin crew hid all of the american passports. As a result of that the British Mike Thexton was called to the front of the plane first, as he walked away a little girl asked “what happened to the hippy man?”
Mike Thexton was called to the front of the plane and held at gunpoint for 16 hours, he was there so that if anything went wrong with the negotiating he would be shot. He was terrified, how could he not be when terrorists were holding him at gunpoint threatening to kill him. He truly believed that it was going to be his last day on Earth. He was paralysed with fear and could see no way out, people ask him why he didn’t jump out of the nearby door and he tells them it’s not like the movies, real life is far more scary. But Mike survived that day, the power cut out on the plane after the 16 hours and the lights cut out, when everything was dark the terrorists opened fire but it gave a chance for some of the passengers to escape. The terrorists shot blindly in the dark and threw grenades into random areas of the plane, in total 20 people were killed, many more were injured and lots of people were disfigured for life. Luckily for mike he found his way onto the wing of the plane and escaped.
Mike says he experienced something rather profound as he sat on the floor at gunpoint believing he was going to die. He said to himself he wasn’t going to dies scared or hating someone, he said the terrorists had their own reasons and if one of them was about to kill him he would have shook his hand. When he said that to himself he apparently was no longer scared. He sat for that day in peaceful prayer, the plane was silent. He even managed to get himself some sleep. In the days after the hijack he says he had a new-found appreciation for life, he found usually mundane objects like staircases amazing and would stare at them and mouth the words wow. His experience really put his life in perspective. Here are the main points I took away from the book:
You’ve Got Nothing To Complain About
I think that it is good to read books like these to put our own lives in perspective, too often do you hear people complaining about the silliest things like a bad hair day or a long day at work. Reading a book like this really shows you how insignificant these things are, are lives are luxury compared to some of the horrors the people experience. Mike himself got away from that reasonably unharmed with only a graze on his elbow and a few nightmares over the rest of his life. He wasn’t psychologically or physically damaged but others weren’t so locker. Other people were disfigured for life from grenade blasts, they could no longer carry out their normal everyday life. So next time you go to complain about something stupid think of these people who experienced 16 hours of horror that has stayed with them the rest of their lives. Most of you have no right to complain about your lives.
Hold No Grudges
What I also found amazing about this book was how he managed to forgive the terrorists, he held no grudges against the people he believed had purely been brainwashed. Mike said that the best way for you to feel better is not to punish the criminals but to let go of your hatred. If Mike Thexton could forgive and have respect for the men who held him at gunpoint for 16 hours, threatening to kill him then you too can forget your grudges. All too many people have hate in their lives for people who have done them wrong, whether this be family or friends. The only people who suffer for your hate is you.
Public Speaking Takes No Courage
Your courage can be far greater than you believe, there is no need for you to be scared of public speaking or anything of that sort. If someone on that plane could have the courage to hide passports from terrorists, an act that could have cost her her life, then surly you can give a speech to your peers. Too often people forget what is truly terrifying in our world, it sure as hell ain’t public speaking. I highly recommend you read a book like this every few months to put your life in perspective, a westerners life truly is luxury.
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