One Sunday afternoon, my Mom and I were out on a boat with some friends of mine. The owner of the boat asked me if I wanted to be the captain of the ship. A ship it was. It was quite a big boat. So I said to myself, “Why not? Most people don’t trust me with a $10,000 car, but you are going to trust me with a $250,000 boat? Man, there is something wrong with you!” But anyway, I took him up on the offer. After going straight for a while, my friend told me to take a different direction. So, he asked me to start turning the wheel to my right. I started to turn and turn and turn and turn and kept turning. But from my point of view, it seemed like the boat wasn’t changing directions. It felt as if we were still heading in the same direction.
Finally, my friend said, “Ok, that’s good. Start turning back.” I was wondering, why would we turn back when we never even really started to go in the new direction that he wanted us to take? He saw my confused look and said, “I want you to turn around and look behind you.” When I turned to look behind me, it seemed like everything was repositioning itself to support my new direction.
When a change in one component affects all other components in the same system, this is what is called interdependence. Life is the same way. When we make a major change in direction for our life, we must realize that sooner or later everything behind us will line up. Everything in the past will support the new direction toward which we are headed.
Because of my disability, cerebral palsy, it would have been a lot easier for me to keep the boat straight, rather than fighting my arms to turn it round. I think it’s the same for many people. Many times we don’t want to put the work into changing the direction of our lives. We would rather run into a brick wall than attempt to make the change. There is no doubt about it: Refusal to change direction will lead to a dead-end. Many times we are too stubborn to look ahead and see what is coming. If the forehead of your life is full of bumps and scrapes, it’s a good sign that you need to change your direction. A person who changes their direction— changes their life.
Sometimes we say, “Well, I don’t want to rock the boat.” Changing directions doesn’t mean you’ll rock the boat. Rocking the boat is when you go form one direction to another direction, and then back to the same direction. Changing direction means going on a newly-revealed visible course for your life. Though it may not be clear, you can see how this path will be a lot less bumpy than the path you are on now. There will always be new heights, deeper dimensions, and wider paths in life. People don’t want to change direction because they were prepared to only go a certain distance. This new direction in their lives requires them to go a lot further than they were initially willing to go. When you put a limit on how far you are willing to go, it is the same thing as someone else putting a limit on how far you can go.
This is an excerpt from my book Solitary Refinement.