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Approaching six years ago my wife, Alex, and I got married.
————- I’m actually finishing writing this on the 6th anniversary of us getting engaged funnily enough ————–
My two sons and Alex’s daughter were the Best Men and Chief Bridesmaid.
They were only 4, 5 and 6, bless them.
We went on the mini-moon to North Wales the next morning.
And the main ‘Family-moon’ was a few months later.
The five of us hired a villa in Ibiza (or Up-Beefa as the youngest kept calling in).
The Friday of that week was one of my favourite days ever.
We started the day on one of those giant inflatable assault courses in the bay at San Antonio.
Back to the villa for a bit.
Then we hired a little motor boat to drive around the bay before “dropping anchor” and watching the sun set just in front of Cafe Del Mar.
Oli and I both got stung by a jellyfish in the sea, but that didn’t mar (see what I did?) it too much.
It must have been two different jellyfish (is that the right plural?) as we were on opposite sides of the bay when it happened.
Anyway, do you know who the best driver of the boat was?
The four year old (I know – the title gave it away).
He drove it perfectly.
Straight as a line.
A few years later we were on a big speed boat type one in France having been parasailing.
And he asks me if I think the driver might let him have a go.
“You don’t ask, you don’t get” I tell him.
Seconds later he’s at the controls for about half an hour – even driving right up to the harbour and getting worryingly close to the expensive yachts.
He was bang on that time as well.
Despite being a restless maniac who can’t sit still the rest of the time, he can drive a boat better than anyone I’ve ever known.
Eyes straight ahead.
Just looking where he was going.
In control of the engine via the throttle.
And the direction via the wheel.
No point looking behind.
At the wake.
Because there’s no benefit.
That doesn’t power the boat.
Or affect it’s direction.
It’s in the past.
Can’t be changed.
It has no influence on where we go.
But we do the equivalent in the rest of our lives, don’t we?
Spend more time looking at the wake.
What’s happened earlier today, this week, since last March and so on.
And what’s potentially coming up in front.
Not concentrating on our controls.
And what’s immediately ahead.
We can, of course, learn from the past.
But there’s definitely diminishing returns.
An amount of time “spent” in the past benefits us.
But more brings less and less benefit.
Past a certain point it usually makes things worse for us.
Depression can breed there.
Knowing what’s in the distance and the direction we need to be going is useful, of course.
But too much time spent in the ‘distance’ is where anxiety can brew.
All we have control over is the next few metres.
The turns of the steering wheel, the movement of the throttle.
What we’re doing now and in the next few minutes is all that really exists.
Never forget that the wake doesn’t power the boat!
Jon ‘Up Shake-Up’ Hall