The Motion of Your Ocean
One of my all time favorite movies is Finding Nemo. In case you haven’t seen it (and what a tragedy that would be), a father and son fish are separated and the father swims across the ocean to find his son Nemo. I’ve been thinking about one scene in particular this week: when Marlin, the father, has to follow the turtles on the East Australian Current. It’s a fast-moving jet stream that seems to be somewhere in between a high-speed highway and a water slide roller coaster through the ocean.
We live our lives in an ocean, surrounded by currents; fast moving waves of people all doing the same thing. The trick is to realize whether you’re in an ocean or a current. It’s easy to surround yourself with like-minded people all on the same path and believe that you’re in the middle of a current, instead of a school of fish. Go to a conference, join a Facebook group, sign up for a mailing list. These groups will sometimes feel like you’re in the middle of a fast-moving water slide roller coaster. You just go with the flow and it will take you, like everyone else, through your path until wherever it is you’re “supposed to be.” But maybe you’re just in a school of fish, everyone just trying to be like the next one just so you don’t get eaten by a shark. Maybe the water around you is static and you’re just fooled that the movement of the people is the movement of the ocean.
A real current is your calling. When you find something that you’re passionate about and aligns with your values and talents and skills. You won’t be able to control the momentum of your trajectory. You’ll be moving so fast, enjoying the ride so much that you won’t second guess where you’re going or where anyone else is on their path.
The key is to recognize where the motion of your ocean is coming from. Who’s pushing you forward? Or what? Is it the people around you imitating a strong current, or is it a flow moved by your desires and talents and values? Where are you in your ocean, where is the movement coming from? And then, only then, you should go with the flow.