As I head to the office today to work at a job I truly love, I can’t help but think about ships and harbors. Specifically, about what William Shedd is known to have said:
“A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what a ship is build for.”
Industrialization needs it’s factory and office workers to learn to stay in the harbor. It’s safe there. No need to think, venture, test or risk anything. All needs will be taken care of. In exchange, you forget about what you were built for.
Of course today, the industrialist has found his ideal worker. Robots, digitization and outsourcing are as safe a predictable as they come. In effect, the harbor is no longer safe because the harbor doesn’t need us anymore. We’re now living in a world in desperate need of ships navigating the high seas, but what we’re left with is a fleet terrified of sailing off. Safety is out there. We need boldness, testing and questioning.
It’s not a matter of rewarding silly risk-taking. It’s a matter of encouraging adventure and independence. It’s not a matter of making a living or finding extra income. It’s a matter of doing what you were built to do.
No wonder Seth Godin encourages us to be artists — artists are wired to push boundaries and venture boldly where no one has ventured before. I get that now.
No wonder we’re told the MFA is the new MBA. Why spend the time and money to learn what a computer can do better for cheaper? I understand that today.
It’s time to lift the anchor and yes, maybe set down a few wrong paths. But isn’t that’s safer than sitting tight, waiting for the harbor to kick us out?