There are two ways of making life decisions and living your life. You can be a power boater or a sailor.
For power boaters, getting to the goal is the objective. The fastest and straightest line to that goal is the objective. Want to go fishing? Power there, drop a line and then power home. Want to go sight-seeing, power there, power back. It’s easy. Turn the switch, engage however many horses you have behind you and motor along. It’s the “getting there” that’s the main thing with a motor.
On the other hand, sailing is a different sort of thing. While a sailor often wants to get somewhere, the journey is the important thing. It’s how you accomplish the process of working with wind and water that’s important. And sailors sometimes turn into power boaters when they need to get somewhere within a time frame. They too engage the motor, lean back and let those horses do the work.
To fully illustrate this difference, let me point out that sailors will often go “sailing” for the day and this entails simply using the wind to power a boat across the lake and back. No matter how many times they go across that same stretch of water, the experience is seldom the same. If you’ve ever lived on the water you’ll understand this because you’ve seen those boats out on a sunny Saturday afternoon tacking back and forth like they have every Saturday afternoon. Power boaters seldom simply go back and forth across the same stretch of water in the same way. (And yes, before you comment, some power boaters go cruising for no apparent reason but again, the focus is on the journey -going around the lake- and not on the process of the travelling, of interacting with wind and water.)
The thinking between sailing and power boating is different. The intent of sailing is to enjoy the process of the event while using a motor boat indicates an intent to complete the event.
This came to my attention again this past week when I took a course on dry stone construction. For the entire week I got to watch as the different intents were put on display within the class. There were some who thought getting the “project” done on time was critical. There were others enjoying the process of learning and involved themselves in how it was done and didn’t particularly worry about the speed or end project completion. It would be nice if it happened but it wasn’t their primary concern. For some, the project became the reason for being in a course. For others, it was how much learning and understanding they took away.
If asked, I suspect most would be happy with the result of both the project and the learning.
If you expected me to suggest one way was better than the other, I’m not. My sense of things is that both decision making systems have their time and place. But I do believe it’s important to understand which is which and why you’re making that choice.
I own two sailboats and don’t own a motor boat. When I garden, I’m in sailor mode. For me, gardening is a process – an ephemeral moment in time that’s weather and plant dependent.
For the moment, I’m also in sailor mode with much of my writing. I’m turning out thousands of words per week but posting none of them. My intent is to learn a ton with every 1000 words rolling up on my screen. The small bit of writing that is turned out on motor boat mode is in class work to meet deadlines. See the 5000 words, be the 5000 words. 🙂
Bottom line: We all have our primary working and life orientation – be it sailor or motor-boater – and I believe it’s helpful for me to understand which mode I’m in with every project and not confuse the two.
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