Set audacious goals and achieve them...
Photo Courtesy of The Epicocity Crew
Have you ever had a really knotted piece of string? Fine string
or light line really balled up about the size of a bowling ball?
Imagine if one end disappears into the knotted ball and,
miraculously, another end sticks out on the other side. What do you
say or think if you have one of these and you really need to use
it? Are you a "cut it" person? A "throw it away" person? A "hide it
and let someone else deal with it" person? Or do you relish the
challenge. I recently had one of these balls of string. I needed it
to hang some kayak slalom training gates across a river. What
surprised me was the response from my students when I handed them
the knot. "Impossible," said one. "Let's cut it," said another.
Others just busied themselves with other jobs, hoping I wouldn't
ask about it. In the end, I was the one who had to sit down and
sort out the ball of string — something I seem to do quite a
How do you solve problems or tackle challenges? The ball of
string model surprised me because the logic is incredibly simple
(even for a paddler of small brain) — the string is not
broken, there are two ends and it's simply a matter of persistence
before all the knots and tangles (obstacles) are worked out.
Persistence is a powerful tool.
The outdoors makes a great place for dealing with "balls of
string" because it has, literally and figuratively, so many of
them. The other great thing is that the feedback loop for not
dealing with your "ball of string" is very short because it
normally involves your safety or comfort, or a combination of the
two. Action and reaction, or the need for initiating reaction, are
often separated by mere minutes or even seconds. This makes the
lessons we learn in the outdoors and the metaphors we transfer to
"other" life so incredibly relevant.
Over the last few years I have been encouraging people to make
audacious plans and goals and set about trying to achieve them. How
much hard work is required, how long it might take and how many
"obstacles" might pop up on the way mostly surprise them. They also
discover there is no such thing as a free lunch. Obstacles are the
things we see when we take our eye off the goal. In our present
society it's very easy to just see the barriers and obstacles
rather than focusing clearly on the desired goal. Once the goal or
action has been established then it's time to apply a healthy
measure of persistence. The only language a "ball of string"
understands is persistence.
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful people
Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
Use your own "ball of string" as a free consultation with the
skills of persistence and then use those skills to set about making
some other things happen for you. Next time someone congratulates
you on achieving a goal or task, just tell them you have "balls of
Graham Charles is part of the Adventure Philosophy team.
Check out their website at www.adventurephilosophy.com