British entrepreneur Mike Green has joined a round-the-world regatta Clipper Round the Worldwhose last season lasted 11 months and ended this summer. In his blog he told about the lessons he learned when he first got on board a racing sailboat in preparation for the world round. Green is confident that the knowledge he learned from there will be useful not only in the regatta, but also in his life.
Lesson 1. Hold on to the last
One of the rules of the survival course is to leave the lifeboat behind for one last time. If you're in a boat, take your time jumping overboard, even if the boat is damaged and leaking. It's safest to stay on the boat.
Life doesn't always smile at us - we need to learn to take it for granted. But it is in our power to choose how to act in such cases. In the first place, never give up. Too often people give up on the first signs of trouble. The best way to deal with trouble is to be result-oriented and not lose focus on what you do, because once you surrender you will not allow anything.
In the sea, when the «situation gets hot», such weakness will give you the grace of the elements, and you will be torn like a Tuzik hot water.
You may have no idea how close you are to the tipping point when things start to get better, but if you sit back, you will never get to it.
Lesson 2. Stop, breathe, take a step back and think!
Yachting, like any other challenge in life, can be daunting and stressful. Some people may panic. When we panic, we start to breathe shallowly, which causes our brain to lose oxygen and our thinking processes to dull. The best thing to do in this situation is to stop and take a deep breath. Not only will you get a breath to gather, but you will also saturate your brain with oxygen, restoring your ability to think logically. It is much better to lose a few seconds to calm down and make the right decision than to panic and make mistakes.
Lesson 3. Go with those who want to go, run with those who want to run, but never stand still with anyone!
During training, we went to Weymouth. On the way we had to face strong winds, which at night reached 45 knots. We split into groups and were on two shifts for 3-4 hours. We had to manoeuvre and sail all the time, fighting the current and the wind.
Every time we changed, the fresh team was looking forward to moving forward. But every once in a while there was no progress, and sometimes we even rolled back.
That's what happens in life: you feel like you're running just to stay put.
The alternative is to stop running, but in this case you will almost certainly move in the exact opposite direction.
It is difficult to remain persistent and not to leave attempts when you feel no return, but you must remember that the wind will someday weaken and change direction and the current will calm down. When this happens, the efforts you made when it was hard will pay off and help you get ahead of your competitors.
Lesson 4. Things going bad? Get used to it. It's not a failure, it's life.
We learn much more from our mistakes than from our successes. It is important to be able to accept negative experiences and use them to become stronger.
One night, during a storm, everything went downhill: a lobster trap blocked the steering feather, the steering cable burst, the sail broke, someone fell and lost consciousness. In the morning, we couldn't get into the harbor on our own, so we needed help from the National Royal Society of Salvation on the waters of Weymouth.
Episodes like this will be considered a failure by some people, by others a useful experience. The quality of your life depends on your vision of the world.
Mistake is just another event, not the end of the adventure.
I believe that mistakes and failures are just learning milestones in life, and when you go through them, you become stronger and more experienced.
Lesson 5. All diseases are in the head.
At this level of training, the first assistant captain helped me to understand the origin of sea sickness. Everyone who has suffered from it knows how exhausting it is. The first aide explained to me that the human body itself makes him sick because it recognizes the swing as a symptom of poisoning. There's a lot of information on this subject on the Internet. The main role in this process is played by the conflict between the signals that the inner ear and eye organs send to the nervous system.
Knowing the problem is one of the keys to solving it. Our skipper helped some of us with prosaic but effective advice: «Tell your brain to get over it». It really works.
This situation can be transferred to many other aspects of life. Ask yourself, how many other diseases and problems exist only in your mind? Do not sit idly by and take others' opinions for granted. Just because someone is sure of something doesn't mean they are right. Don't be afraid to challenge biased ideas and prove people wrong.
Lesson 6. Strategy and planning matter.
Many people think that speed is what will allow them to win the race, although we were all told the parable of the hare and turtle at school. One speed will not help to win the race if wrong strategic decisions are made, or if the boat (or business) goes in the wrong direction.
Although an ideal strategy and tactics cannot compensate the slow speed, winning requires perfection of all elements: strategy, preparation, control, speed and tactics.
Sir Bradley Wiggings demonstrated this when he became the first Briton to win the Tour de France in 2012. He knew that he would not be able to accelerate on the ascents like his rivals, and led his own race, following the strategy developed by his team, instead of painfully counting the time of others. This allowed him to negate his opponents' advantage and win.
The example of Wiggings and many others shows that if you carefully design your strategy and follow it rigorously, applying the other elements necessary for victory, you will be difficult to stop.
Lesson 7. Set extraordinary goals...
There are very different people involved in Clipper Race, but they all share the same goal of doing something extraordinary. When people come together and work in teams to achieve a common goal, amazing things happen.
Some people have lived a long life without really living it. Don't let life pass you by, you only have one, so why not make the most of it? Decide to do something amazing, experience the sublime sense of accomplishment that comes with this decision, and remember that it is never too late to start.