Live Like A Shipwrecked Sailor

Day 47

Last night I was drinking rum and playing Hold ‘Em with the crew.  On the turn I smiled inside, as that Jack of clubs had just given me a flush.  John was already all-in, and I lured Sayid into an all-in bet of 4 bottles of rum.  Jack was still in with more goods for me to claim.  They had 3 of a kind at best – Jack maybe had a straight.  Either way, I knew the spoils were mine.  The river came as a 3 of hearts and I baited Jack into all-in status with the rest.  In the pot was a total of 19 bottles of rum, 3 loaves of sourdough, 4 weeks of deck cleaning, and a nice seaman’s knife.

As I flipped my cards in celebration, the entire room shook as if a spear-headed whale rammed into the ship at 50 knots.  Water gushed in.  The hull was pierced by the shoals – captain never saw it comin’.

I scrambled to find useful items – the knife on the table, a mirror, and obviously as much rum as I could carry…and I dove into the ice-cold rough waters.  I dove before she went down and to the opposite side of the pierced section so as to avoid the shoals myself.  The sea tossed me around like a ragdoll as I struggled to keep my head up for occasional breaths.  I luckily managed to swim to a nearby beach and collapsed on the shoreline, gripping the sand in rage and relief.

Here I am the next morning. Stranded.  This island isn’t even on maps.  I know the chances of survival in this scenario are grim.  I was the only one to make it ashore.  I think the others were too drunk to even swim, or mercilessly dashed against the rocks as they wrestled with the sea.  As for me, the only thing I can hope to do is survive long enough to be found – and so I will.

~ Sawyer

Let’s reflect for a minute on Sawyer’s mindset right now – “survive.”  His life just got a whole lot simpler and yet more difficult, not by choice.  His perspective has changed in some very key ways (and a shift in perspective means life change).

  1. Sawyer is serious about surviving.  It is not just something he’d like to do, it is his mission.  At dusk on day 3 of island life, he chased a boar through the woods and his face was gashed by an outreaching thorn branch – he used the adrenaline to run faster.
  2. Sawyer has clarity and focus about what he wants and this simplifies his actions.  He never thought he’d drink his own urine, but when it didn’t rain for a while and his bottles were out, he had to do it to survive.  He does what it takes and he will not be stopped.
  3. With a clear end-goal in sight, Sawyer is very creative in ways he can reach that goal.  He figured out how to make effective traps out of natural resources to catch the animals on the island, used his mirror as a fire-starter, and made a spear to fish with.  He built fortresses made out of sticks/leaves/branches, sharpened his knife with rocks, and created a useful twine out of plants.

What if you approached your goals and dreams like Sawyer approached survival?  Sawyer is motivated by the strong will to live, as should we.  Our physical lives aren’t in much danger, but our lives in every other sense absolutely are.  If you’ve gone a couple/few years without coming closer to your dreams, then consider them to be in critical condition.

When you get serious about your dreams, you’ll start doing crazy things in order to pursue them.  You’ll fail here and there, be rejected and discouraged at times, and have to work your tail off.  It will not be easy, but as your face bleeds from the branches and the poison ivy itches miserably, you are thrilled to eat boar meat that night (sorry vegetarians).

Just like the boar example, pursuing your dreams is more difficult than not doing it.  But as you inch closer to reaching them, the battle scars become treasured souvenirs of your journey to live.  Also of note, the higher difficulty of dream-seeking is counter-balanced by your desire to reach your dreams.  This website is a part of my dreams, and I regularly work 12+ hour days on it.  It’s fun work.

If you’re not living your dreams right now, you have to realize that they are and will remain in serious danger and critical condition.  The only way to ensure you achieve them is to pursue them with the vigor that a shipwrecked sailor has to survive on an uninhabited island.  Others will resist and question your decisions along the way because pursuing dreams almost always involves risk-taking.  Be prepared to face and overcome that by having the right mindset in advance.

If you’re inspired by this, but aren’t sure what to do next, start a deep thinking session to come up with a basic idea for getting from A (here and now) to X (Dreamlandia).  Don’t make it too rigid though, because you’d be missing out on the crucial #3 point above – openness to creative solutions.  Sawyer didn’t have one method of getting food, he had several.  This is a smart and natural way to diversify risk.

driftwood beach

Day 7,423

My beard is really long.  I’ve nearly died 146 times if you count the poison ivy incident (I know I do).  I’m not sure how I made it 20 years on this island – I just had one goal and that was to live.  I wonder what it will be like to go back to civilization.  I’ve been talking with a boar’s head (Mike) and a coconut (Princess Coco) to keep up my conversation skills and retain knowledge of English.  I figure once I get back that even peoples’ nastiest expressions can’t be worse than this boar’s ugly mug.

Journal, my time here is up.  I was able to SOS a nearby ship and they managed to maneuver around the shoals.  Hmm…I bet I could start a TV show on living in the wild.  I have more experience than most.  One thing the island has taught me is that life is a gift – not something to be taken for granted. And as such it should be lived with the greatest intensity, passion, and vigor possible.  The very things I needed to survive this place.

~ Saywer

Note: fictional names were chosen in honor of LOST

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