Monthly Archives: April 2016

Brightwork

Considering that I went a little heavy on the boat metaphors in the last post, I figure it wouldn’t hurt to keep it going in this one, especially since the topics go together.

In Trimming Sails, I talked about intentionality being the key to accomplishing goals. The other side of the intentionality coin though is discipline. Doing things with intentionality gets you going, doing things with discipline keeps you going.

My boaty metaphor for this one is maintaining brightwork. Brightwork is essentially exposed metal and wood on a boat; on a modern sailboat, you’ll mostly see it in wood toerails, handholds, companionways, and other trim. Maintaining all this wood that’s exposed to the elements all the time isn’t fun or easy work, but it’s the difference between a boat that looks good and a boat that looks disused.

It’s not easy to stay on top of it. It’s far easier to let it go for a day, week, month longer than you should. But when you grab a handrail in high winds and come back with a massive splinter, you’ll wish you’d had the discipline.

Do things with intentionality and discipline, and that’s how you win.

Trimming Sails

I think that intentionality is the most important factor in actually accomplishing anything in life. I  have been trying to pay attention to how I do things lately, and I have noticed that when I sit back, relax, and let things go on their own, nothing happens. When I’m intentional, taking deliberate steps to accomplish a goal, any goal, including writing blog posts, that’s when things happen.

It reminds me of sailing. With your hand on the tiller, your sails trimmed, that’s when you get where you’re going. Sometimes slowly, but you’ll get there. If you don’t pay attention, you let the wind and currents take you where they go, and chances are it’s not where you want to be.

Too much, I’m letting the wind and currents take me. I’m not moving as fast as I want to, so I let frustration hold the tiller. But intentionality will get me there, and my favorite part of sailing has always been the relaxing journey. So this is my reminder to myself to keep control and stay on course. Not only will I get to my port of call, but I’ll probably have a pretty nice tan.