Sailing as a Life Lesson

Jun 20, 2023

When I was young, I owned a small sailboat. It was small and fun. I learned the basics of sailing and how to harness the wind to power the boat.

I had no motor on this sailboat. Larger boats usually do.

It was always fascinating to me that, as long as there was wind, a sailboat can move. With no wind there was no movement. What was even more amazing to me, is that even when the wind is blowing right at you, you can still move forward.

When you sail, you can’t sail directly into the wind. You have to sail at an angle to the wind. You adjust your sail so that you can use the wind to move you forward. It’s never straight into the wind, but at an angle. Sailing makes forward progress by zig-zagging back and forth towards the destination you have in your sights. The wind has to fill the sail from the side.

Rarely is the course in a straight line, unless the wind is directly at your back. And how often is the wind blowing in the exact same direction you want to go?

Isn’t that a bit like life? Wouldn’t it be great to go “right to the top” of the company, or directly to that big position you seek? That doesn’t happen. Instead, you have to go this way, then that way, and so on…all the while making forward progress.

When you look back at your life journey, you will likely see your zig-zag pattern, much like a sailboat’s.

It doesn’t matter how much “zigging and zagging” you do, as long as you are moving forward.

May you always have wind and a good sense of your destination.