The position of Polaris, or the North Star, is an important marker for celestial navigation.
What is your compass bearing?
Old Harry From Studland Bay
In committing yourself to act, what informed and guided your decision? How did you reach your destination? Do other factors influence the direction of travel?
Using a compass and its application to navigation as metaphors, I’ll pilot you, and guide you like the position of Polaris, or the North Star is to celestial navigation.
For a successful personal agency to make positive things happen, we need a guiding beacon. What’s yours?
One of the greatest poets of the twentieth century, the granite-faced, chain-smoking, W. H. Auden in his powerful, selfish tribute and immortalised poem by the film industry, painfully gasped:
“He was my North, South, my East and West.”
Wow. Beat that as a metaphor of a compass rose. Who guides you?
WHERE ARE YOU? WHAT IS YOUR DIRECTION OF TRAVEL? WHAT INFORMS YOU?
Let me tell you a true story and a nautical incident that I was involved in last month. The grounding and capsizing of the 42’ luxury yacht was due to a lack of diligence, poor seamanship, and as referenced by the title of this article, not using a compass or applying the basic principles of navigation despite having mountains of reference points, and explicit aides to prevent this incident.
On the 7 May, the Irish yacht, Dawn Glory, started a seven-day cruise around the Isle of Skye northwards through the Kyle Rhea tidal gate and fast flowing narrow tidal channel that separates mainland Scotland from the Island.
The cruise plan took a small fleet of the Howth Yacht Club to the Crowlin Islands, Rona, across the Minch to the Shiant Islands, along the east coast of the Outer Hebrides, and the back to Skye.
The crew and I were having a late supper after a long passage.
As darkness and the cold night enveloped the anchorage in the loch, sudden crunching noises and the boat rapidly tilting, capsizing from the vertical to a ninety-degree horizontal position, indicated that Dawn Gory had run aground and was falling onto a rocky outcrop.
The is the important issue and the key point, despite having detailed charts, the latest navigation devices, GPS chart plotters, and iPads with the best digital charts, this incident happened. It may have had very serious consequences.
Good seamanship, navigation, and the successful use of a compass in piloting a boat require expert insights with constant reference to guiding beacons, lights, and charts mapping out the course.
The causes of this yacht going aground incident were:
- Not listening
- Not responding to facts
- A lack of understanding and
- Poor seamanship
The skipper and first mate did not accurately know their position.
They did not use their compass to fix the boat’s position and did not respond, and ignored feedback.
My hypothesis in using this analogy to the personal agency in our, your lives, is that we need to be informed by a sound compass bearing to make well-informed decisions.
In reality, some constraints from the dynamics of family life, the communities expectations, and societies cultural expectations may inhibit this. Other obvious factors such as our finances, economic well-being, and personal health may impinge on our ability for personal agency.
However, by positively and successfully using our agency, it may be possible to overcome the negative influences.
What I am suggesting is that having clarity of thought, the ability to have informed insights and deliver solutions will impact upon our, your direction of travel and prevent catastrophes such as hitting the rocks and going aground.
Despite being told by the alert crew, the skipper and mate did not listen or react to informed insights.
In summary, I have used the metaphor of a compass, a compass bearing, and navigation regarding your direction of travel.
The true story of Dawn Glory going aground on a moonless night in a remote loch could have been catastrophic.
What do you use to guide, lead, and inform your life?
Are you well informed?
If you were in a four person life raft floating on the ocean and had to make a decision on which one of the five people had to be ejected for the others to have chance to be saved, who would you vote out? The skipper, the first mate, cook, the PR rep, or the mother?
What is your compass bearing?