The Art of Rowing in the Rain

The following things are expected of you at any given point in time:

  1. Know what the right next step is (in life, career, that one project)
  2. Have long-term goals (who are you going to be in five years?)
  3. Learn and make progress along the way

Sometimes this balance is impossible to find; it can feel like you are on a boat with a few holes along the bottom, being asked to race forward. And then it started raining. And also it’s a bit foggy so it’s unclear what “forward” really means. Yeah…

The times of greatest progression in my life were those where I took a deliberate pause beforehand and re-found my inner desires— an intentional break in the race. For those moments, I was losing. But what comes out of those periods is a directed push that is unrivaled by those who just keep going, who say “everything is fine — just keep pushing!”. The combination of honest purpose and direction leads you to take actions more drastic than others, to dig in harder when the waters get rough.

As time goes by we maybe achieve that vision that we once had, or its lure was maybe not as strong as we once thought. Maybe it was a mirage — so what? Disillusionment should just be followed by another period of self discovery, and again you will progress rapidly.

Don’t be afraid to take this time to rediscover yourself. Cherish it because it means that soon you will be growing once again.

This symmetrical composition- the same motif appears at the beginning and at the end- may seem quite ‘novelistic’ to you, and I am willing to agree, but only on condition that you refrain from reading such notions as ‘fictive,’ ‘fabricated,’ and ‘untrue to life’ into the word ‘novelistic.’ Because human lives are composed in precisely such a fashion. They are composed like music. Guided by his sense of beauty, an individual transforms a fortuitous occurrence (Beethoven’s music, death under a train), into a motif, which then assumes a permanent place in the composition of the individual’s life… Without realizing it, the individual composes his life according to the laws of beauty even in times of greatest distress… The brain appears to possess a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful. — Milan Kundera
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