Lost at Sea?

When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind. Seneca

shipIn olden days, the captain of a ship wouldn’t even consider leaving port without a destination in mind, numerous maps and charts, and instruments to determine where they were at any given time. He had to know what hazards they could face along the way, the type of weather they might encounter at that time of year, and any number of other factors that would affect their journey. Simply planning a voyage could take weeks before the ship ever left the dock.

The thought of a captain ordering his crew out to sea with no preparation, no planning, and without even a destination in mind other than “anywhere but here” would have been a recipe for disaster. Following whichever wind happened to be blowing the strongest would almost certainly have ended that voyage like the three hour tour of Gilligan’s Island. No, a good captain would have done as much preparation as possible to make sure his ship and cargo arrived safely at their destination.

But how many people, dissatisfied with their current circumstances, do that very thing? They’re unhappy with where they are, and simply start trying to get “anywhere but here” without any idea of where they really want to be and no idea how to get wherever that is. Then, when their ship ends up scuttled on the rocks, or turned back by storms, they wonder why life is so unfair that they can’t sail over the horizon to their own personal Shangri-La.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to chart a new course for your life. Happiness is important, and the circumstances in which we find ourselves can play a major part in determining our happiness. Sometimes a change is necessary. Sometimes it’s vital. But before you set sail for the new horizon, make sure you’re as prepared as possible. Most important, make sure you know where you want to be.

Once you have a destination in mind, do everything you can to prepare for the change. Take classes, read books, research what it will take to get you from where you are now to where you want to be.

In other words: Make. A. Plan.

Preparation is the most important part of any change, big or small. Make sure you have the tools and provisions you’ll need for the journey. You’ll still have obligations and responsibilities. Your regular bills won’t go away while you’re following your dream, so be sure you can cover them.

It took Christopher Columbus months to make the voyage from Spain to the New World, but he was firmly convinced he could make it. It could take that long or longer for you to find your New World, but if you’ve charted your course, and done everything possible to prepare, you’ll make it. Believe in yourself, believe in your destination, and set sail.

Bon voyage!

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