We should not moor a ship with one anchor, or our life with one hope. – Epictetus
What does that mean?
Back in the days of this quote, almost everything about a ship was organic. Organic compounds and water are not the best mix, and frequently end in some form of rot or degradation. Eventually, the rope tied to the anchor would part, the anchor would be lost and the ship would be adrift, at the mercy of the winds and tides (and rocks).
The quote urges us not to attach our life to only one hope. What would you do if you lost that hope, either by finding it impossible (broken rope), or by achieving it? Are you adrift, without a hope? I would expand the quote to include dreams, aspirations and goals, but the basics are the same. With only one, what do you do when it is gone?
Why is having options important?
I try to always have a Plan B ready. Lots of the time, I have Plans C and D waiting in the wings, just in case. Just as an anchor rope might break with little or no warning, so too might Plan A go all pear-shaped on you. If you only have one plan, one hope, one dream, one aspiration or one goal, what do you do now?
By having options, you can try a different approaches. You might be able to send a diver down with a new rope and rescue the first anchor if a second anchor held you in place. You might at least save the ship from the rocks of shore, if you had a second anchor. Or you might choose to wake the crew early and get underway, if you have another option in mind.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Let’s start by thinking about your hopes, dreams and aspirations. They all map to roughly the same thing, with some nuances. What is it you want to do, want to become, want to achieve? If all you ever wanted to do was play Pro Football, then mangle your knees, what do you do next?
While that is exactly what happened to me, I also had other interests and hopes and dreams and aspirations. Some have been achieved (in varying degrees of success), and some are still before me. I was also fascinated by how things worked in general and electronics in specific, so I went into engineering instead. Don’t need good knees at a desk.
Grab some paper (you didn’t think I forgot, did you?) and jot a few things down that you want to do with your life. Answer the question: What is it you want to do, want to become, want to achieve? Take a few moments, and make sure you add in some of the things you are still doing, where you are part of the way through the process of achievement.
Start with something you are already doing. For me, I chose passing my love of knowledge and curiosity to my kids. It is most of the way done, but to achieve my goal, I want them to be always curious, for the rest of their lives. I don’t know if they’re that curious, yet. Time will tell. What are you in the process of becoming or doing, and what is left to be done?
Most people have a few things going on. Look over the rest of the items on the list and find something that really interests you, something compelling. It should be something so important or interesting that it will pry you off the couch and keep your interest even when things don’t go as planned.
Please understand that you might have to drop something else to make room for this new task in your life. Consider carefully what you will set aside to help make room for this new project. Also remember that you will have to manage whatever is your scarcity, typically time or money or resources. If the dream is big enough, you will find a way to get there.
Now get a basic plan together, what are the big chunks. You can even start as simply as preparation, action, cleanup. Now break up preparation phase: what needs to be gathered (cash, material, knowledge, buddies, …). Break up the action phase: what needs to be done (action steps (first this, then that), skills, …). Then break up the cleanup phase: what needs to be done to be officially done (certification, paperwork, returning tools/books, …).
Repeatedly break down steps until you know what each step entails. If you were planning a party, one step might be to bake a cake. If you know how to do that, you don’t need any more details. If you don’t, you might need to do more prep work, and make the shopping list (prep phase), recipe (action phase), and make sure you know where you’re going to safely store the cake (cleanup phase). Or list “Call bakery – sheet cake for 24 people.” 8)
Now you have some options. You might what to have a Plan C, just in case you get to a point where (due to circumstances) you can’t work on Plan A or Plan B. That’s why I try to always have an interesting book or magazine handy, something to read so that my slack time isn’t wasted.
It’s your life, plan it, live it, enjoy it. Sometimes a plan isn’t necessary, some days you just go with the flow. But long term, you should have some direction, some idea where you want to go in your life. I prefer to have options in my life, how about you?
From: Twitter, @philoquotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/epictetus399744.html
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