While you never can tame the elements, you can tame your mind

Now as Irma has left the Caribbean area devastated, another hurricane is closing in. At the same time, the weather in Sweden has been unstable – not in the same proportion, but nevertheless bad enough to stop any long-going sailing plans on all parts of the coast.

Most sailors are resourceful and stubborn people, quite like the mountaineers and other adventurers – if you are not enterprising, you’ll never even get past the winter maintenance and spring sea launch. There is a ton of equipment to take care of, and a lot to bear in mind – dependencies, risk analysis, routines, and deadlines. You’ve got to be persistent, to set a goal and work for it during long periods of time.


But while it’s important not to compromise at the face of challenges, it’s just as important to be humble before the elements. A gale or a storm is not a regular disturbance to ignore, it’s not a challenge you can invest time and resources to overwin, it’s not a personal trait you can force yourself to overcome, it’s just there. If not humble, you’ll be banging into it until you’re crushed, and have your project sinking down to the sea bottom.


In such situations, the real strength is to be flexible, to reef the sails, to seek temporary harbor, and try again after the worst had passed. It’s not giving up, it’s not a personal lost, it is but a tactical manoeuvre to fullfil your goals and win in the long run.


Most people recognize that it’s essential to choose what fights to take, and how. What’s also important is not to mix up real, physical storms, that might injure or end the project – with inner storms inside the mind. Inside of oneself, a violent storm may ravage and be just as intimidating as a real one. But remember, you are the only one responsible for your thoughts and feelings, and unlike the physical storms, you can control your emotions, fears, and insecurities by the power of your mind. Not necessarily eradicate or ignore – but steer the output, develop an understanding, create a perspective, and thus avoid being controlled by the input.


That’s the kind of storm you should not just wait out, but instead mobilize the same mechanisms that started it and kept on feeding it, and use them to constructively manage it. Analyse, communicate, and put full effort into optimizing the situation. Remember that the hardest battles we fight are inside ourselves, and these battles are the foundation to our personal growth. Our potential is always larger than we are aware of, so sail bravely as you’re sailing wisely!
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