Lesson 2 – It is easier to apologise than it is to ask permission
I say this reservedly, but we found the more we tried to do the “right thing” by people, friends, officials etc, the more walls we faced. When alerting authorities of our intentions, when speaking with the National Parks authority, when consulting people, we were not only denied access, denied permission and not given alternatives, we were outright shutdown. Consequently, I believe that whilst it is important to do the right thing, sometimes political red tape makes it practically impossible, and one must use their intuition and judgment when deciding what actions will be fair and reasonable, and what would be divulging too much. One is free from moral judgment so long as the actions are for the greater good of the greater people, and no-one is put in danger or harms way. At risk of being too liberal, I will say no more on this subject.
Lesson 3 – Resilience and commitment will withstand the force of any diversity
The power of commitment is what ensured our success. It was very tempting (albeit for just a brief moment) to just throw our paddles in the shed, put up the kayaks and leave them for the occasional weekend paddle, and accepted that we were defeated. That was the easiest and cheapest thing to do. The absolute inconvenience of logistics, the discomfort of being in a kayak for that long again, the costs involved, having to get more time off work, not knowing if we were even going to get favourable conditions, losing our most experienced team members (went from 7 members to the final two) was enough to do what most expected us to do – that was throw the towel in. The value of commitment is severely underrated in today’s world. We all just want things now, for nothing, for no effort, and we are not willing to give up anything for it.
The problem is this. Committing to something usually means we have to give up something else. I liken it to a dog dying of dehydration – he has a bone in his mouth, and is offered a bowl full of water, but he refuses to let go of the bone. What aspirations, goals, dreams of yours are dying of dehydration because you won’t let go of something else that clearly isn’t serving you? What are you holding on to that prevents you from committing to action which is going to get you closer to what you want? Tough decisions, hurdles and hard times are simply testing one’s resolve, willingness to learn and grow, and challenge the sincerity of how much we really want something.
Lesson 4 – There is a difference between responding and reacting
In our first attempt to cross the Bass Strait, we were reacting to everything. In our second attempt, we were responding. To be successful in our second attempt, a change of thinking was required. The very thinking which got us to the start of our first attempt, was clearly not going to sustain us if we wanted to grow, if we wanted to learn and improve and be successful.
In our first attempt, we were merely reacting to the variables as we were fixated on things unfolding in a particular way. In the second attempt, we knew a lot was out of our control, but focused on the things we did have control over - our fitness, our resources and our decision making. It is human nature – we all want to improve, be more successful in areas of our lives, be better, richer, smarter, thinner etc, but if we do not yet have what we want, then we need to review our approach and mind set. Are you reacting to everything in life, or are you alert, limber and responsive?
What amazing life lessons Nick has written about. He really makes you think and relate to your own life all the choices you make and mindset decisions that each of us must make everyday as he kayaked across the Bass Strait. I especially like the metaphor about the dog and his bone. It is so easy to hang on to old beliefs rather than letting go, and moving towards the very thing which will save you from misery. How many of us have let their dreams die rather than making those tough decisions in our lives?