Life is more fun if you know where you are going


My grievance with contemporary society is with its decrepitude. There are few towering pleasures to allure me, almost no beauty to bewitch me, nothing erotic to arouse me, no intellectual circles or positions to challenge or provoke me, no burgeoning philosophies or theologies and no new art to catch my attention or engage my mind, no arousing political, social, or religious movements to stimulate or excite me. There are no free men to lead me. No saints to inspire me. No sinners sinful enough to either impress me or share my plight. No one human enough to validate the “going” lifestyle. It is hard to linger in that dull world without being dulled.”   William McNamara

In 1952, young Florence Chadwick stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Catalina Island, determined to swim to the shore of mainland California. She’d already been the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways. The weather was foggy and chilly; she could hardly see the boats accompanying her. Still, she swam for 15 hours. When she begged to be taken out of the water along the way, her mother, in a boat alongside, told her she was close and that she could make it. Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted, she stopped swimming and was pulled out. It wasn’t until she was in the boat that she discovered the shore was less than a half mile away. At a news conference the next day she said, “All I could see was the fog….I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”

Consider her words: “I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.” The ability to see where we are going, whether its life, relationships or in our careers is powerful. Not many of us can sustain the motivation it give our best over the long haul if we can’t see where our daily efforts are taking us. There is a proverb that says, “Without a vision, the people perish.”  I don’t know if the author meant that people perish physically or emotionally. Either way, it’s true. Many soldiers have died on the battlefield due to a lack of strategic vision. Many more of us die emotionally due to a lack of vision in our lives. Relationships die because couples don’t have a vision for their relationship.

How many could have been saved if they had just taken the time to dream and create a vision for their marriage. City streets are filled with homeless people, living from day to day, without a sense of where their lives are going. Somewhere along the way, the vision they once had as a youth was lost or stolen from them. Something within them died a long time before the physical necessity of placing their bodies into the ground. They lost heart. Not having a clear sense of where you are going can do that to a person. On a more positive note, I can tell you from both personal experience and from those clients we have helped figure this out, that there is nothing more rewarding than living one’s life from a single, focused purpose.

Steve Johnson, The True North Group, Puget Sound