An analogy for life

The objective:

One bright and clear morning a well-found ship set sail from port. The crew and captain knew everything about the ship, its best point of sailing and the names of the sheets, sails and halyards. They could find their way from one end of the ship to the other and name all the parts. They had spent time making sure they had all the necessary provisions and that the ship was thoroughly prepared. The wind blew steadily and the ship sped through the water. The crew and captain congratulated themselves on their knowledge and expertise. After a while they came across a man in a rowing boat. They hove to (for a non-nautical person that means stopped) and hailed the man. They asked if he needed provisions or perhaps a tow. There was some amusement that he had only a rowing boat and perhaps lacked the skills and expertise of the crew and captain of the ship. Where are you going? He asked. We are sailing with the wind on our beam, they replied.

I am going south west, he said, I will make landfall in a safe port by tonight.

But look at what you don’t have, they said. You have no sails, there is no one you can learn from; you are entirely on your own.

“I will get where I am going”, he said.

The crew and captain said goodbye to the man in the rowing boat and continued on their way. They discussed how little the man knew, how little he had on him: no sails, only one rope! After a while, the wind changed direction and the well-found ship and knowledgeable crew sailed on. Night came on and with it came a storm. The crew and captain were not concerned, but they worried about the man in the rowing boat, with the little knowledge he had.

The man in the rowing boat was safe. He knew what he wanted to achieve, he had followed a straight course and had reached his destination. He knew precisely what his objective was and he achieved it. The crew and the captain, with all their knowledge, skill and expertise, sailed on with the wind on their beam. As the wind changed direction, they turned in a big circle and ended up being dashed upon the rocks that lay in their path.

They in turn had reached their objective-because they had none. If you don’t know where you’re going, then wherever you arrive is your destination.

Only 3% of the population have written goals and achieve twice as much as anyone else.

Only 6% of the population have goals in their head they are half as successful as anyone else.

The rest go through life like the analogy above. These are true figures.

'In the absence of clearly-defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily trivia until ultimately we become enslaved by it.'  Robert Heinlein

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