Stop Floating, Live: For The Moments Of Weakness
Life is an ocean. You’re constantly floating sideways.
This post originally appeared on EfficientClub.com.
The moment you were born, the ovarian lottery dumped you somewhere in that ocean. Some of us landed in a middle of nowhere, struggling to stay afloat. Some landed on a multi-dollar yachts, ready to be served by the crew.
There is no fairness there. You can’t do anything about what your starting point is. You can get mad, upset and bitter, but that will only make it worse.
Now that you’re in water, you will need to learn how to swim. Again, some of us will get a personal trainer, and some of us will have to find their own way, or drown.
You’re lucky, you made it so far. You heard about some who didn’t. You now focus on breathing in the right rhythm. You’re swimming ahead, taking stronger and stronger strokes.
Suddenly, you bump into something hard. It’s someone’s raft. It was built from rubbish and logs, but they are sitting on it, hidden from the sun, out of water. Not struggling to stay afloat any more. They are looking at the horizon and trying to decide which way to go.
You realise you have been floating all this time. What you believed to be a straight line ahead turned out to be a slalom. You had no waypoints and the currents were not going your way.
You were floating, because you didn’t know how things worked. You just stopped for a minute, and you can see yourself moving sideways in a current. How could you miss that before ?
Winds and horizons
You don’t want to float any more. You want to have a direction. You look around. You realise there are all these other rafts, boats and yachts you hadn’t seen, because you were so focused on surviving.
You need an island, some land to build your own raft.
But there are no islands in sight.
You overhear someone’s conversation about an island this way. You swim this way. Nothing. Someone else is talking about another island that way. You swim that way. Still nothing.
You are tired. You’ve been submerged for too long. You finally take a leap of faith, and just swim ahead, to change the horizon. And you find it. A small island you can use.
You build your raft. Nothing fancy, just a couple of logs, and some branches to hide from sun.
Now you want to sail towards the better world. But you can’t. You don’t have sails, and the winds are taking you where they want you, not where you want to be.
You ask people on a boat passing by where they got their sails. They bought them. They worked hard and bought them, to be able to go where they want to go.
You start learning. You look at other people. They are fishing.
You don’t have a rod. You make one of the branch, and uncover yourself to the unforgiving sun. You can feel your skin being burnt, but you manage to get the first fish. And another. And another.
You buy a sail. And now you can move. You can go with the wind, quickly, or against it, constantly fighting, going slowly in a direction few will follow you.
You notice someone who hasn’t eaten for a long time. You give them a fish.
You can move, but you don’t know where to go.
You need a map. You need a direction.
You ask someone for direction. It sounds exciting. They’re on a boat, so they must know how the things work. You trust them.
They give you a map. You follow their directions.
The route takes you away from anything you know, far away. Suddenly, the people who gave you the map appear.
They want the map back. You give it to them. Then they ask for your sails, and your fish, and your raft. They hit you, and dump you back in the water.
You wake up again. Wiser. Not sure whether you’re happy to be alive. You’re hungry. But you need to rest before you can try to catch the fish. You fall asleep.
You wake up. The person you gave the fish way before wakes you up. They don’t have a fish for you, but they woke you up, so you will live.
You thank them. And swim. You know how to build a raft. You know how to fish. You know how to read a map. You know someone else’s map will not work for you. You know you can’t trust just anyone.
You’re wiser and stronger. And hungry. And ready.
You want a direction. But this time you will find your own.
Go and find it.
And sail where you want to be, against the winds and the currents that be.
Thanks for your time
I hope this piece made you feel better, go now and make someone else feel good in return.
About the author
Mikolaj Pawlikowski is a software engineer, entrepreneur and a student of the never-stop-learning philosophy.
He loves making things efficient: in his life, routines, work and plans. Share his obsession at EfficientClub.com