Sometimes, when we are surrounded by challenges, it seems very difficult to see a way out. It’s as if we’re surrounded by heavy fog and we don’t know which way to go.
This concept was brought home in a wonderful story that Peter, a subscriber to this program, shared with me in a recent e-mail. I’ll let him tell you what happened…
“Thanks for your excellent piece on changing your perspective. It reminds me that I learned the same lesson as a youngster…
Many years ago I took a long sailing trip with some of my sailing buddies. It was a hardy sort of trip starting in Labrador, sailing around icebergs and finishing up the St. Lawrence Valley north west of Quebec City.
We had a lot of adventure in this trip and those stories could fill a few more emails, but it is the last day of the trip that fits with the theme of perspectives.
On the last morning of the trip, my best friend and I were alone on the boat as the others had disembarked at a port more convenient for land connections than the port where we were to leave the boat.
That morning we were in a thick fog in a part of the St. Lawrence that is full of small islands and shoals and is also in the shipping channel.
GPS hadn’t been invented and we didn’t have any electronic navigation equipment on the boat except for a depth sounder. We were doing our navigation the old way. Well, we got disoriented in the fog and we started to panic. We could hear fog horns and sea gulls. Both warnings of approaching hazards.
Fog horns meant a big cargo ship or a land obstruction and sea gulls meant the shore or beach. The depth sounder was all over the map because of the difficult water we were in.
We had changed direction so many times in panic that we had no idea where we were on the charts. We were at a loss until my friend realized that if he climbed the mast, he might get above the fog and have a clear view of our location.
Well, that was the solution. From high up on the mast my friend could see exactly where to go next and we both learned an important lesson on perspective.”
Isn’t life sometimes exactly like Peter’s dilemma in that boat? Sometimes we just need to get a different view of our circumstances.
Sometimes we just need to focus on doing one productive thing without trying to solve a number of problems all at one time.
One question that has helped me greatly in the past, when I wasn’t sure what to do about a problem, is as follows:
“What is the most productive thing I should be doing right now?”
Then, go do that one thing. When done, ask yourself the same question again and do something else that is productive.
Before you know it, you may find yourself at the top of the mast and things might look a whole lot clearer.
A Clear View Affirmation
I do the most productive thing at any given moment.