Living Smaller Slower Better

by Mike on January 13, 2010

Living Smaller, Slower and Better

An experiment begins – an experiment to find the gold, the elixir of life. There is no cast of characters, only one man, perhaps a fool, experimenting on himself. Perhaps the idea of finding the elixir of life is a bit grandiose, but it’s a metaphor, so why not go big?

There is no doubt that we are connected to each other in numerous ways, but at the same time, we sail through the waters of life alone in own little boat. It’s the mix of the two that add up to our singular and collective existence.

To create an analogy, I picture myself on a boat of my own making, but I’m sailing through a river and ocean system that is not. These waters, taken as a whole, with my little boat sailing through, make up the picture of my life.

Once we take our boat and push off into a stream, we must navigate that stream. We use all our sailing skills, but the stream sometimes turns into a raging tempest of an ocean storm, but at other times, it turns into a smooth Alpine lake on a lazy summer afternoon.

The point of my experiment is in the selection of the water to sail, the seaworthiness of the boat and the sailing skills of the captain.

I think my life is too complex, and to paraphrase Descartes, if I think it’s too complex, it is. The complexity is a combination of all three factors above, the waters, the boat and the captain.

Now, it’s very interesting that although we can only sail on one body of water at once, we don’t. While drifting on the smooth Alpine lake, we are also attempting to sail on many other streams, rivers and oceans at the same time.

When I was involved with a start-up manufacturing company in 1988, we took a vacation in Key West. My little boat should have been sailing in Key West, but it was also sailing on the waters of my plant in St. Petersburg. It was three days after my boat arrived in Key West when the captain finally made it. I spent the first three days running my business in my mind, not enjoying the smooth Alpine lake of Key West (hey, it’s a metaphor).

So, the question for me, and anyone else who wants to play along, is; “If I simplify waters I sail on, the boat I use, and the skills required of the captain, will that simplification lead to a simpler, slower, higher quality life?”

I am not a Luddite, technology as a tool is a modern requirement and I’ve made my living in high tech for years. Nor am I harking back to some simpler time, that’s not in my experience. My focus will be on the present and making the best choices of the waters I choose to sail, the condition and capabilities of my boat and my skills as a captain.

I don’t know where this experiment will lead, but onward, or Sail Ho! Smaller, Slower, Better!

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