What Ship Does Your Life Resemble?
Your life resembles a ship. You are the captain of the vessel, and your possessions and commitments constitute the ship. As you go about your activities each day, the choices that you make steer this ship. You are on your way to some distant port. The question is, what kind of ship are you?
Asking yourself this question will allow you to identify what your goals should be and how to attain them. Thinking of your life like a ship will also help you to think like a captain. You will identify the weaknesses of your vessel and how to make it more seaworthy.
What Type Is Your Ship?
Perhaps your life resembles a small frigate or yacht. This small vessel is fast and able to dart about very quickly. Free of the weight of heavy cargo, its flexibility allows it to make rapid headway. It is small, fast, and highly maneuverable. This type of life, without a lot of commitments or possessions holding it down, is free to pursue new ideas, travel to distant places, and reach goals quickly. However, the temptation is to use this boat as a pleasure boat – drifting around exotic isles without ever doing anything useful. If you find yourself in this position, be sure that you are actually using your vessel’s strengths (speed and flexibility) to accomplish valuable goals.
For others, life looks more like an ocean liner or a battleship. This type of ship is large and difficult to maneuver. Once it sets a course, it is almost impossible to change it. This type of life may not seem as ideal as the yacht or frigate. However, a large ship (or a life with many commitments or possessions) may actually be engaged in much more useful work – it takes a battleship to bring in the big guns, and ocean liners can carry more cargo than sailboats. Such a life may have significantly more influence, but it isn’t easy to change course. They key is to make sure that you are on the right course, and that your holds are filled with really valuable things. Just as transporting a cargo of paper clips won’t be as profitable as a cargo of luxury cars, so life should be filled with valuable activities and commitments, not the things that waste time and energy.
What Is the Condition of Your Ship?
Even a well-designed ship needs to be assessed from time to time. Is it still seaworthy? Cargo ships may be able to carry tons of cargo, but it still needs to be loaded properly. Putting up the wrong sail at the wrong time can tip a sailboat.
Is your vessel trimmed for the course? Is the anchor up and the sails unfurled? Look at the possessions you own and the commitments you have. Do they help you in your goals, or do they hinder you? Do you waste a lot of time managing them, or do you have systems in place that ensure that you are effective in your work?
Are your personal commitments helping you advance toward your goal, or did you agree to them simply because you felt forced into the situation? Your friends, in a sense, are like the crew on the vessel – they can help you manage it (by providing wise input and assistance) or they can ruin the ship (by giving the wrong advice, wasting time, and leading you off-course). Do you need new crew?
Sometimes it is good to step back from life and get a fresh perspective. By thinking of your life like a ship, you can re-examine what needs to be done. You may feel that everything is going well – but when you examine your life like a captain examines his vessel, you realize that you aren’t even sailing in the right direction to reach your destination. Or, perhaps you are overburdened by excessive cargo that you don’t even need. Do something. Get your vessel seaworthy, and head toward the harbor!