Dolphins Move Up-and-Down To Go Forward

A buoy also moves up-and-down but just sits there

Watching dolphins swim is such a pleasure, isn’t it?

It’s hypnotic.

They dive and surface, go up and down, over and over again.

That’s how they slide and move forward almost without effort.

A buoy also goes up and down constantly. But it’s chained to the bottom of the water. It goes nowhere no matter how many times it moves.

Are you a dolphin or a buoy?

Keeping busy is fine. Action has its own merit for sure.

But is it taking you forward? Or are you on the same plateau that you were a month or a year ago?

As some of my readers already know, I’ve spent many years in the past as a buoy while thinking I was a slick dolphin.

I did things that I shouldn’t have done (hindsight is perfect) like selling used cars, Mitsubishi and Ford trucks, selling Craftmatic orthopedic beds as a traveling salesman, knocking on distant doors five days a week…

I rationalized all that on two grounds:

(1) To understand America was to understand what marketing and sales were about. I still think this was a good reason for a sociology major.

(2) I had to earn money to take care of my family. That one is still valid as well.

But what was wrong was my assumption that I was “going places” selling cars, trucks, orthopedic beds, and display ads.

It’s clear to me now that I was just bobbing up and down despite one 70-hour workweek after another.

I was more active than an electron, working nonstop, but unable to feel happy and fine inside, unable to build a career or business that I could control, in short, move forward in life.

So in 1998, I was lucky to discover technical writing and I never looked back since. With my equal interest in writing and technology, that was a perfect fit for me.

My dolphin started to leap and surge forward.

There were still up days and down days but I have not chained to the bottom of murky waters anymore.

I’m at an age now where I take great pleasure in mentoring my younger friends in tech writing and communications.

One question I ask them is: “Are you a dolphin or a buoy?”

They first look at me with an empty stare but quickly get my drift.

I think it’s one of the best questions I can ask my mentees to make sure their time and effort are spent on things that really matter and bring them joy besides money.

To those who break their chains, brave the ups and downs of life, and keep moving forward around our blue planet!




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Ugur Akinci

Ugur Akinci

Top Medium Writer in Writing category. Fortune 100 writer. Top Quora author. Online course creator. Father. Husband. Brother. Mentor.

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