Monday, June 02, 2008

Unabridged Sterling Hayden: What choice will you make?

Ideas can change the world. I’ve always liked quotes because they are typically the distillation of an idea into a single shot of wisdom. The Sterling quote from the last post was from a friend’s blog, but was picked up by another blogger I’ve got a lot of respect for. Her post reminded me of why I started writing in the first place. It isn’t to bore you with details about boat work, but to try and inspire you, even just one of you, to take a chance and go after the dream you may have put on the shelf.

To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea... cruising, it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about. I've always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but I can't afford it." What these men can't afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it our lives are gone.

What does a man need - really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in - and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all - in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by, The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed. Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life? - Sterling Hayden in Wanderer

Conventional dogma tells us to go to school, get a degree, get a good job, get married, buy a house, have 2.5 kids, and he with the most at the end of it all wins. What if you took a step back and looked at your daily, weekly, and monthly routines? What could you be doing if you didn’t have credit card payments, house payments, car payments, gym payments, HD TV cable bills, and the rest of it? It’s our very desire to accumulate objects that eventually traps us in our routines.

In Walden Thoreau referred to those who chase comforts as though comforts themselves were life like this, “With consummate skill he has set his trap with a hair spring to catch comfort and independence, and then, as he turned away, got his own leg into it. This is the reason he is poor; and for a similar reason we are all poor in respect to a thousand savage comforts, though surrounded by luxuries”.

As I ponder my trip safety often comes to mind. What must I do eliminate risk where I can? All the toys, life jackets, life rafts, EPIRBS, and other things we buy to keep us safe are a poor substitute for taking responsibility for our security. Knowledge and experience are the only real safety nets any of us have. Henry Ford said, “If money is your hope for independence you will never have it. The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability”.

As some point people have to make a choice. Stick to the safe and secure that is known to you. Even if this isn’t providing you happiness or fulfillment it’s the path most people take. The other option? Choose. Choose to make the life you want. This requires thought, effort, and a sustained commitment to your dream. You have to ignore those who tell you that you “can’t” or “shouldn’t” do something. Your true friends will listen to you and encourage you. Whatever your dream is.

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless deeds and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now."

- Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe

1 comment:

Melissa Zamora said...

Yes Yes! You've captured how I truly feel now, and hence, the many changes I've made and am making in my life. You did inspire me, and I am forever indebted to you.

I may not be boarding a boat soon, but I've embarked on my own journey, albeit, through rough waters, but made the choice.

You're pretty kick-ass yourself.