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Here’s is my New Years Random Rant of Life and Sailing Thoughts.
Please enjoy (or not)!
Did you know that today is the first day of the rest of your life. And coincidently it is the new year so it’s time for some thought about life (mixed in with a little sailing too).
I’m speaking in this article to people who want to mix life up a little, to those who are committed to enjoying life and to those who seek.
To those who have been following many of my articles and watching the development of NauticEd over the past 7 years, you’ll rightly realize that I’m a bit of a renegade; I question the guard and the incumbency, I seek to always make improvements, I don’t take no for an answer, I ask why and why not, I say “might as well” rather than “let me think about it”, I jump expecting a net, and when things seemingly are falling apart – I say “it’s hard from this angle to see how it’s going to work out for the best but … I know it will so I’ll press on, I will get through this”. If I see something wrong I speak up. It’s not that I buck the system at all – I just question the sanity of the system if it is obviously wrong because here’s a big one – I have no time for special interest politics which only buggers up the system. Special interest is not for the populous. It is selfish to the core. I can see special interest a mile off.
My favorite words are: tenacity, audacious, bold, life, innovate, enjoy. And a favorite saying from purportedly the wisest man ever – King Solomon himself said something like “I have travelled many places and seen many things and the best I can make out about life is eat, drink and be merry”.
As Global Director of Education, I have lead NauticEd using a direct culmination of all the above. It could not have been developed if we’d listened to the guard. “It can’t be done”, “You’ll never achieve a global brand with such a small team”, “you won’t surpass the incumbent players”, “bla bla bla”. We can all be glad I never listened to that naysaying space junk.
Yet here we are now as one of the top sailing education companies in the world with students from over 90 countries. And without a doubt, we are the most advanced sailing education system in the world with no one even on the horizon. Our acceptance by the RYA in the UK as a shore based training center was a step jump in global awareness and acceptance. We can now issue the only true global sailing license, the ICC. Wow!
That aside, I’m using this time of the year to issue a challenge. It’s a challenge to be all you can be. Don’t subscribe to the grind. Get out there and make the best of whatever time you have left on this planet. Jump and the net will appear, ask and ye shall receive, plant and therefore reap. From my angle – I see that the Universe – God – Nature – Karma – whoever or whatever laws you subscribe to are really on your side. Humankind would not have made it this far if that was not true.
There is, I know, a lot of faith “in jump and the net will appear”. So note: this is not to be done with out a little preparation (sowing)… read on.
What I’m particularly excited about is that sailing (because it is so green) has a lot of analogies towards the way we can live our lives. With an expert hand, a sailboat can be guided to achieve any destination all the while going with the flow of nature not against it. Once, I read a stupid book that said “if it was easy everyone would do it”. The author kept on saying persevere, persevere, persevere and for years I pushed against the flow only to find out that it is much easier to use the flow. “Use the Force Luke”.
So am I creating my own dichotomy arguments here? “Don’t listen to the crowd” , “go with the flow”, “you can reach any destination”, “stop the mere persevering”. Well, I think it is a balance of listening to the universe and taking careful study and regard for its rules. A sailboat can go anywhere on water but it does need an expert hand. The oceans can throw some massive storms and obstacles at any boat. A good Skipper will wait out a storm or know how to out run it /side step it. The good Skipper will navigate around a dangerous reef, read the charts and the weather, learn what to do in emergencies. To sail into a storm not knowing it is there because of poor weather planning and without storm tactic skills is insanity everyone would agree. To expect luck in a storm or traversing a reef without charts is not a good plan. Thus, a destination is reached and a journey successfully traveled is done by preparation and planning, using the rules of nature. Note that preparation and planning IS part of the rules of nature. You can expect the net because you know it is there.
Another author I read from said “Diligence is the mother of luck”. For me that rings my bell. So a good plan if you want a good and bountiful “lucky” life then is to be diligent, skill up, gain the experience, prepare the boat, wait for a clear day to set the sails but don’t wait to long. Don’t wait for the kids to leave for college, don’t wait till you’re financially secure. This waiting around is killing (spending) your life. They also say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step and I’d equalize that with to sail around the world you first have to sail in your local lake. At boat shows I see many dreamers who would love to sail around the world but haven’t even joined their local yacht club to even get the most basic deck time. What dream can be fulfilled with out preparation? A yacht club is full of very skilled Skippers who are totally willing and enjoy teaching their crew (manytimes by fire however – haa but that is fun too). So what ever your big bold audacious goal, start by sailing in your local lake so to speak.
Following this then; start planning your journey, start the diligence, begin setting small sails now to gain the experience. But whatever you do make sure you get out of that safe harbor – there is no adventure there – there are no nets to practice on.
I’m hoping that you’re getting that the above is not about sailing.
For me, 2015 seems like a particularly good year to get going. Why? For one it is now and now seems like a good time to get going (profound – I know) and two it seems like everyone is talking about achieving stuff by 2020. That only gives us 5 years – better set sails now.
Bringing it back specifically to sailing and being on the water, we’ve had many emails from students stating that reaching their water born goals seemingly conflict with their immediate financial and work goals and so they put off their recreational life goals. We can see that on face value this might seem the case to the layman. However, someone once told me that he had mistakenly spent his health getting his wealth and now was spending his wealth to try unsuccessfully to gain back his health. That he should not have pitted his health and wealth against each other.
In a universal nature, health and wealth work to promote each other. There is an old adage of a dying man never saying he’d wished he’d spent more time in the office. You can bet that the reason he is dying today is that he did not spend enough time on the water relaxing and being at peace, stilling his mind, calming his nervous system, allowing his immune system to be strong, enjoying relationships with people rather than stressing over an excel spread sheet. Dr. Vincent Peale wrote a book called “All you can do is all you can do and all you can do is enough” so true – so true.
As I reflect on this I see what a great job I have. Convincing people here to enjoy life, to take up their own challenge, to educate them so that they are safer doing what they love to do. To inspire people to enjoy life and to enjoy it with others. Imagine this, you’re Skipper on a 45 ft sailboat in the British Virgin Islands anchored up in The Bight – Norman Island with your favorite people on the planet. The sun is setting and a warm 5 knot breeze dries your skin from the refreshing snorkeling you just did at the famous Indians rocks in 85 deg F water. The smell of fresh nutmeg wafts from the tall rum drink with a colored straw and orange garnish.
Whether that is your dream or not, ask yourself “what sails do I need to set today to navigate to that kind of place tomorrow?” Yes continue to imagine and also continue to making them become a reality.
Feeling resistance? Your small voice talking negative crap to you? Consider this as an analogy to how easy it is for your own goal.
Goal: The Bight, Norman Island BVI (realistic time frame from scratch – 2 years)
1 Learn to sail
2 Get some experience (confidence and competence)
3 Round up your mates
4 Book a boat and a flight
5 From Roadtown make your heading 195 deg T past The Indians then round up to about 140 deg T into The Bight.
6 Head to wind and drop anchor
Usually, you’ll find that 1, 2 and 3 are the hardest. They involve work, sticking with it and commitment. But you can see that almost anyone can achieve this – here’s the big BUT. But you have to start and you have to keep moving.
Here’s how to deal with that little naysaying voice on your shoulder. You say “I appreciate your input but I’m going to do it anyway”.
If you want sailing to be part of your life – then make it part of your life. If you’ve started a course, finish it. If you’re thinking about joining a yacht club, join it. If you’re thinking about on the water lessons, call one of our schools. If you’re thinking about gaining your international sailing license (the ICC) then gain it. Nike got it right on – “just do it”.
In closing my new years ranting thoughts; One of the wisest men I have personally met is Peter Daniels. He is a sort after international speaker and self made success from illiterate brick layer to successful business man. He also engages in many global philanthropic projects and I was lucky to see him speak at a little Church in San Antonio, Texas many years ago. His words to me after I asked him “what is the cost of success?” were “the cost is your life – you are going to die – success or not, the cost is always your life”. That rang my bell pretty hard. Hard enough to shake me up and stop me mucking around. It means; whether you are a successful father or not, the cost is your life. Whether you travel the world or not, the cost is your life. Whether you get that nice house or not, the cost is your life. Whether you get to Norman Island or not, the cost is your life. My conclusion: might as well be a successful father, might as well travel the world, might as well get a nice house, might as well get to Norman Island. Why not?
Why not! Might as well!
I am going to die (just not today)!
Today is the first day of the rest of my life!