Captain of our Ship
BY: T. Franklin Murphy | October 2018
We widen our vision by integrating the fate of circumstances with the empowerment of choice. With a clear vision we can more clearly evaluate and choose a path of growth.
Life is dynamic—it flows. When we stop the movement to gain insight, we lose some of the richness. Psychologist and philosophers offer many valuable tools to gain deeper understanding but each of these snapshots are incomplete. They never can embody the full experience of living.
Perhaps, the frozen moment we need for cognitive understanding contributes to attribution bias. We judge the experience of others according to confining labels while excusing ourselves from the same harsh criteria. “He is an angry person, you are touchy, I just look out for my rights.” From the “I” point of view we feel the difference. The heroin addict says, “I’m not like the other heroin addicts.” They rightfully see themselves with a host of other qualities beyond the addiction. Even when they live in a car and commit petty crimes to feed the demons living inside, they still miss the depravity of their situation.
"We judge the experience of others according to confining labels while excusing ourselves from the same harsh criteria."
Life flows. It gives, and it takes. There is no precise pattern conventional wisdom can offer to guarantee happiness, success, or health. We learn from the many snapshots of frozen life but must integrate the snapshots into the fast-moving waters of reality. We don’t ignore the wisdom, projecting the insights onto others but missing how they obtain to ourselves (because we are different).
As we engage in living, with all its richness, we have opportunities to expand. Some opportunities result from personal action others appear random. We envision the self-made person as a hard-earned reward. Sometimes, yes. But many of the success stories, have many unseen components—opportunistic timing or large inheritances. The opportunities that weren’t chosen often contributes more than the efforts; our stories are not completely self-written. We are, however, not powerless. Ultimately, we take the life that is given and mold it; we are the captains of our ships, and the sculptors of our tomorrows. We do not choose the river to sail or the marble to sculpt, but we do control the swing of the mallet and the position of the sail.
“It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll; I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” ~ William Ernest Henley
As we balance fate of circumstance with empowerment of choice, we begin to widen our vision, seeing beyond the psychological snapshots of frozen time. The intertwining experiences, with the liveliness of reality, can be directed. We can choose amidst the whirlwinds of activity. We can be mad and examine the instant of emotion for appropriateness. We can see someone else mad, and examine their emotion against a wider backdrop, giving them the same privileges of cause and effect that we give to ourselves.
Learn wisdom, be empowered! Start shaping the tomorrow you desire—today. Change occurs one small choice at a time as we consistently integrate knowledge into the dynamics of living by being captains of this wild and crazy ship.