Apr 13 2012
The wind doesn’t blow every day. In fact, sometimes when it blows, it’s actually right in your face.
As Lewis and Clark made their way west across the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, life on the water wasn’t romantic most days. In his biography on Lewis, historian Stephen Ambrose describes how their 55-foot keel boat moved:
The boat could be propelled by four methods: rowing, sailing, pushing, and pulling. In pushing, the crew set long poles in the river bottom and pushed on them as they walked front to rear on the boat. Men or horses or ox used ropes for pulling, sometimes from the water, sometimes from the shore.
Of the four methods the boat could be moved, note that three of them required grueling manual effort. Even in fair winds, a river’s current often demanded Lewis and Clark’s men use their bodies to move the boat.
The wind will rarely be at your back in this life. If you only wait for those glorious days, not much will ever get done. The winds and the current conspire against us. The majority of days are INGLORIOUS – headwind, crosswind, head current, still current. The magical tailwind is rare and who can predict when it will arrive?
Explorers aren’t often pushed along by tailwinds. They’re pulled on by destinations. The road (or river) is long and hard and dangerous and exhausting. What makes the grinding, inglorious days bearable is a goal which is glorious. Explorers are willing to pay a steep price because at the top of that price mountain is a phenomenal view!
For too many today, the only real destinations are deadlines – small mole hills – whether at school or work. The payoff when we meet those deadlines is usually disappointing because we endured inglorious days to get there and got so little in return (most of us, oddly, don’t consider a grade or salary a reward – which is proof those are boring).
The way to make inglorious days bearable is to seek a glorious destination. Then day-to-day work can be about getting to that final place – even while meeting “boring” deadlines.
The winds and the current will probably be unfavorable today. And tomorrow. And the day after that. Rowing. Sailing. Pushing. Pulling. If your destination is worthwhile, you’ll find a way there no matter what the days bring.