Keep Moving

The sailboat was coming slowly into the marina under power. There was a south wind blowing about 15-20 knots, and it was beginning to rain. The helmsman appeared confident and had several crew aboard, so I elected not to walk over to the other dock and offer assistance. But I kept an eye out just in case.

As the skipper made the turn into his slip he slowed even more—so much so that he stopped. It was then that the wind pushed his bow around and, before his crew could fend off, slammed it into the end of the dock. With another go-around, they recovered and eventually tied up safe and secure. The hull’s gel coat probably wasn’t damaged nearly as much as the pride of her skipper.

Always wanting to learn from my own or others’ mistakes, I thought about what happened and how it could have been avoided. In my opinion, this skipper violated one of the basic principles of seamanship: keep the boat moving.

In his well-intended effort to be cautious, he lost steerage because the boat stopped its forward motion. Without water flowing past the rudder, he had no ability to direct his vessel. You don’t need much headway, but you need enough to make the rudder responsive—to maintain control.

Our lives are not ships, but it’s a good metaphor. Safe in harbor, we need times of rest and reflection where action is not required. But in the marketplace, when we take action, we need to be doing enough to give us headway—enough to guide and control our forward motion—to maintain momentum.

When we’re moving ahead, we see things we wouldn’t see at rest. We experience events that otherwise wouldn’t have occurred. Oftentimes, the goal we start out to accomplish turns out not to be what we wanted but instead leads us along our true path. All because of our forward motion.

A universal principle states that, “a body in motion tends to remain in motion.” Conversely, a body at rest tends to remain at rest. And as we saw in the story of the sailboat, we can be blown about by all manner of things that can, and most often are, contrary to our intention.

When we rest, we should rest, but when the time comes for action, keep moving!

Author's Bio: 

Michael Angier is founder and CIO (Chief Inspiration Officer) of SuccessNet--a support network helping people and businesses grow and prosper. For a free subscription to "SuccessNet Strategies" along with you free copy of "10 Keys to Personal Effectiveness" go to