The Navigator’s Station
“The winds and waves are always on the side of the ablest navigators.” – Edward Gibbon
Some days everything clicks, and some days it pours stress over you like an ice bucket challenge run amuck. In general we try to steer our lives in the right direction, even when we drift off course now and then. The trick is to know where you want to be go and how to change course to get there. That often starts with sitting in your navigation station and sorting through where you are, where you’re going and what needs to happen to bring you there.
The writing desk is my navigation station. I normally write at the same time every day, and I’m out of sorts if I don’t do it at that time. The last two days I’ve been out of sorts, writing late in the afternoon instead of with my first mug of coffee for the day. And that makes me feel largely off course for the entire day. This is the combined power of routine and the state change achieved through the flow of writing.
Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to be challenging that routine trying new habits out for size. I’m also beginning to get out of the house and feeling out the new normal of work away from a computer screen. These forces are already disrupting my state, and I can feel the need to spend a bit more time at the old navigation station to fully absorb the changes.
Changes are inevitable in life. Really, life is change. Life isn’t all about blind luck and chance encounters, there’s a healthy dose of magic when it’s done well. And that requires execution at a high level and embracing the role of navigator instead of merely being a passenger along for the ride.
Where do you go from here? Have a seat and sort it out. Invest time where it will help the most – at the navigator’s station.
I’ve been hopelessly stuck before (you certainly know), but have learned to chart life’s course in bigger chunks – seemingly getting bigger without thinking about it too much. Every day, I habitually navigate toward that bigger goal, perhaps years away. It’s like an unconscious autopilot, or more like bumpers on an alleyway where I’m just rolling along, more focused on the desired end goal. Advice: Pick a general course, an achievable longer-term goal, and use that as a filter for _everything_ you do, every day. Forget about the daily routine and lengthen the path, and identify the steps needed- perhaps baby steps, as long as they’re in the right direction. Even if speed bumps and stormy water get in your way, just relax, work your way past, just keep going, and the goal seems to get closer. Ups and downs aren’t a problem when you focus attention on the further point of the horizon. Don’t dwell too much on the present problems beyond just doing enough to push you closer to that goal. I think people fester too much on their problems and not on what their life could be with a bit more perseverance.