When I graduated high school in 2008, my journey was carefully mapped out since a long time back. I was graduating in June, and moving to California in August. At my high school graduation dinner, my grandfather (who by the way is not the most outspoken person in the world, so that makes this scenario even more special) gave a speech to me about life. To tell this story he had carved two boats out of wood and painted them in different colours. There was one bigger, and one smaller boat.
His speech was quite long – about important experiences, insights and learnings from his life – and it all boiled down to these two boats: When life is going well and things are happening in your favour, life is like a large boat on still water, with the wind gently pulling the sails and steadily moving forward. When life gets stormy, with obstacles – high waves and strong winds – one has to get on with life the way a smaller sailing boat manages to cruise through the toughest of seas. Learn to sail with the wind and waves until the storm settles.
In life or at sea, know that there are different boats for different weathers, and its more about how you plan and play rather than about the troubles that come up in front of you. A small cruising sail-boat can survive a stormy day at sea because of the way it adjusts its sails and tackles the winds. A large, majestic sail boat may not.
When I was back home visiting this year in July, nine years after graduating high school, my grandfather gave me a third ship – this time a medium sized one. “For someone who’s learned to sail both a big and a small boat – here’s a reminder that there are also boats which are suited for all kinds of weathers. Always be that boat.”