Castaway

To reach any BIG goal, you must grow to the person who can achieve it. You grow by taking one small action after another. In this way you prepare for the opportunity when it appears.

Do you remember the movie, Cast Away, where Tom Hanks is stranded for several years on an island in the South Pacific? In the movie, Hanks is a time-obsessed trouble shooter for FedEx. At a Christmas dinner with family, he is called to resolve a problem in one of their foreign offices and leaves the dinner to catch a flight on a FedEx plane.

Then, in a violent storm, the plane crashes. Hanks is the only survivor. He manages to climb aboard an inflatable life raft which carries him to a deserted island. Much of the remainder of the movie tells the story of how he learns to survive on the island. He eventually builds a raft that allows him to escape. A cargo ship finds him drifting on the ocean and rescues him at last.

Now, I want you to consider two other castaways.[*] Call them Tom and Hank. Tom and Hank are both ship wrecked on similar islands about 1 mile apart. Both of them decide that they don’t want to remain on the islands forever. They both desire to be back among family and friends, enjoying their lives with the ones they love.

Hank and Tom go about on their respective islands, seeking water and food. They each find a stream of fresh water and locate fruit, shellfish and fish that they can live on. They each construct a shelter to shield them from the sun and the elements. Tom and Hank discover that they can gather enough food and water for the day in a few hours. How they spend the rest of their time is an interesting story.

Tom spends several hours a day walking the beaches, looking out to sea, hoping to spot a ship. He dreams about his wife and family and thinks about how much he wants to be with them. He sits for hours, ruminating and remembering his former life and dreaming about his rescue.

Hank, on the other hand, spends his time gathering different types of wood and plant material. He tests them to see which ones ignite the quickest and burn the brightest and which ones make a lot of smoke. He gathers stock piles of the material and devises ways to keep it dry. Hank keeps a small fire burning at all times. He finds old logs and uses them to spell the word “HELP” on the beach in huge letters large enough to be seen by a low-flying plane. He stacks three large piles of wood in another area of the beach. When it rains and the wood gets wet, he spends time replenishing the stacks with dry wood from his stores. In the evening, Hank sits on the beach, watches the sun set, and dreams about his wife and family, thinking about how much he longs to be with them.

One day, Tom and Hank both spot a ship sailing by within sight of the islands. Tom is frantic. He jumps up and down on the beach, waving his arms. He runs around hastily gathering whatever wood he can find. He tries to light a fire, but the wood is damp and merely smolders. Tom watches in agony as the ship sails by.

Hank sees the ship, too. He quickly lights a torch from the fire he keeps burning day and night and runs to his three piles of dry wood. He lights each fire and then tosses on the plant material he already knows will make a huge pillar of smoke. Three smoke signals rise up in the air. The ship slows and soon Hank sees a small boat coming toward his island. The crew helps him in and Hank heads back to the ship and to home.

Meanwhile, Tom can only watch as the ship disappears over the horizon. He sits on the beach, dreaming about home and family and cursing his “bad luck”.

“Opportunity is missed by most people,” said Thomas Edison, “because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Sometimes we have a goal but aren’t sure about how to achieve it. If it is a sufficiently large goal, it may seem a bit overwhelming. Alright, a lot overwhelming.

So what can you do? Do what is in front of you. The Universe (or God, Source, Creator) is your partner in any endeavor but you must do your part. You won’t always know the best thing to do or the step that will be a giant leap in the direction of your goal. Don’t spend too much time looking for those. Do what is in front of you.

Recall the difference between motion – doing the planning and preparation, and action – doing the activity that brings a result. Understand that some planning and preparation may be in order to enable the steps that bring the results you seek.

Consider the result you want. What action will lead to that result? Write it down. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Got it? Good! Are you prepared to take that action? If you are, take it. If not, what steps will you take to become prepared to take the action? Write those down.

OK. Now you have the list of steps to take to prepare you for your desired outcome. By taking them, you make yourself ready to grab the opportunity when it arises. So . . . when will you take the 1st step?

One small step. Then the next small step. God will guide you but you must first be moving. Do what is in front of you, and let God, aka The Universe, do the rest. That is embracing the Excelerated Life™.


Taking Excelerated action in pursuit of your goals is one step in creating your Excelerated Life™, a life of flourishing, of well-being, meaning, and purpose.


Footnote:

[*] Although this story is in my own words, I got the idea from a book I read years ago. Now, I can’t remember the book and can’t give credit where credit is due. If you recognize the example, please let me know where it came from. Thank you.


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