It is so easy to let the currents of life just take us to interesting places and to life's milestones. It is understandable that we surrender to the forces of change, nature, and circumstance that can seem so outside of our control. So our little boat can get stuck or drift to uncharted or even unwanted destinations.
In my travels and encounters, I find most people trying to trick out their boats. They invest in their little sea craft so it can provide comfort to them. They are more interested in how their boat looks than where it is going.
If you want to build a ship, don't dispatch people to collect wood, don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. Antoine St. Exupery
Think about the "immensity of the sea" as your life's work and your personal legacy. What is the contribution you are making that is greater than you and your little boat? Yes, yes, why are you rowing so hard?! Why are you in such a rush to go further and further? Where are you going and why?
We do need bigger boats. Not because we need more luxurious space and amenities. Because we have to bring as many people along as we can. Not just our friends and families, but others who need our help.
Remember this scene from Jaws?
More people need our help than ever before. People you know and care about. People you don't know and should care about. We need bigger boats.
If we fully understand that while we don't control Mother Nature, we have great influence over how we react to her. And where we are going? Our boat attracts to it whatever we invest our time, attention and talent to.
When the wind dies, row! Portuguese proverb
As you know, I do believe in serendipity and the minor and major course corrections that life presents, but your boat needs to be propelled by what you believe in and care about. Yes, your boat runs on your passions and your values.
Many of you have either put these passions aside and others have yet to fully discover them. How you approach the sea of life matters. You need to be going someplace that resonates with your heart and then be open to what the sea presents.
I meet teachers who don't like teaching. Lawyers who don't like the legal work. Business execs who need more meaning. They have lost the joy of sailing. They need new boats and navigational plans.
Why suffer in a life that is not feeding your soul? Why sail on waters that have no appeal? Because it is the best you can have?
Many of these folks have defined their lives by their professional boat. Everyone, regardless of income, stage in life can have a small fleet of boats. Trying to jam everything into one boat is foolish and dangerous. You can launch other boats to new parts of the sea through your avocations, interests, volunteer work, causes, and side businesses. You should have several boats exploring and testing the waters.
Ships are safe in harbor, but that is not what ships are for. William Shedd
Whether you like it or not, you are connected to many other boats. Boats following you. Boats dependent on you. Boats you depend on. etc etc
Got way too many boats in this post now 🙂 And I have avoided any references to the Life of Pi—ooops. The point is you are the captain of your boat. Point it in the RIGHT direction, a direction that is based on who you are and who you want to be. Then keep your eyes open to the great immensity and amazing bounty of the sea. You are not headed to shore, your destination is the sea of possibilities.
Happy sailing and thanks for reading. John