A hundred years ago three identical sister ships were built at Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast.

They were the biggest and grandest ships in the world.

The Olympic was the first to be launched, in 1910.

Violet Jessop was 24 years old and applied for the job of stewardess.

The Olympic was one of the three magnificent sister ships and she thought she was the luckiest girl in the world to get the job.

On her first voyage out the Olympic was hit and nearly sunk by a Royal Navy cruiser.

HMS Hawke was built with a huge ram at the front, it smashed into the Olympic at full speed ripping a huge gash below the waterline.

Water poured in, the Olympic listed, but the crew managed to stop it sinking and it limped back to port.

It was so badly damaged it would take ages to repair.

Meanwhile, Violet was offered a job on the Olympic’s sister ship.

This ship was identical, but even newer and even more luxurious.

Again Violet thought she was the luckiest girl in the world to get a second chance.

The sister ship was the Titanic.

In 1912, on the fourth day at sea, the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank.

1,517 people drowned.

Violet managed to save a baby and escape in a lifeboat.

She was eventually picked up by another ship and returned home.

Violet was offered a job on the Olympic’s, and the Titanic’s, sister ship.

This ship was the newest of the three: the Britannic.

World War One had just started and the Britannic was turned into a hospital ship.

Violet was lucky enough to become a nurse on the Britannic.

In 1916 the Britannic struck a mine which blew a massive hole in the ship’s side and it sank straight away.

Violet managed to get to a lifeboat, but as the ship went down the huge propellers began chewing up everything in the water.

Violet managed to jump off the lifeboat just before it was crushed.

But the ship’s keel smashed her head as it sank, and fractured her skull.

Somehow Violet survived.

She had served on three sister ships: the Olympic, the Titanic, and the Britannic, and all suffered terrible calamities at sea.

Which must make Violet the unluckiest person in the world.

Well that’s one way to look at it.

Of course the other way is that she’s the luckiest person in the world.

We can say that she was nearly killed three times on identical ships.

Or we can say that she escaped death three times on identical ships.

All that’s changed is the two words in the middle.

Which of course changes everything, including how you view your entire life.

Either way the same things happen: three ships, three escapes.

What our mind does is look for a link between them.

Finding a link, we interpret it one way or another.

In that instant the interpretation becomes the truth.

And that truth then governs our lives.

We then live our lives as the luckiest, or the unluckiest, person in the world.

And we have a miserable, or a wonderful, life based purely upon our interpretation.

In a millisecond we interpret what happened.

That interpretation becomes the fact.

Which then dictates the interpretation of all subsequent facts.

Of course we don’t know it’s all interpretation, we think that what we think is the actual fact.


As Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet: “There is nothing, either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”