This week, we’ve been asked to think of a real battleship, sitting there in the water, and how it came to be.
So at first I thought of the actual parts, how they had to be ordered, and shipped there, and how men had to be employed to construct the ship. But before that, the parts had to be made in factories, and those factories had to have supplies, and those supplies had to come from somewhere:
- steel for the hull, the guns, the decks, the railings, kitchens, plumbing, fuel/water/waste tanks, and so on
- food for the men had to be grown and converted for long-term storage
- fuel for the ship had to be pumped and refined
- electronics had to be assembled out of all the rare elements that such things require
- plastics had to be formed
- perhaps wood had to be shaped for various parts
- bedding, mattresses and pillows for the men had to be created from cotton, and so on
- and of course these things came from the earth itself
But before any that was required, someone had to design the ship, someone with a passion for designing battleships. This person had to know what was needed, how to make it all fit together, and how to draft a set of many blueprints that the builder could use for building the ship itself.
And how did any of these people know what to do? They each had training from teachers, from history, from experience. Each of these different lines of production and thought could be imagined as a web streaming back into the first men and women who observed that logs float, or that drying food allowed it to be stored safely for later.
But someone had to commission the architect to design the ship, and others had to see the need for its creation. Who were these men and women? Master strategists in the military, reporting to the Secretary of Defense, who saw that a battleship would fill a gap in their grand plans. They may not have even been on a battleship before (I’m not sure about all that), but their minds envisioned this battleship long before it ever came to be.
And of course, they each had training, experience, and knowledge of history.
But today I want to talk about choice and decision.
If you look back at the roots for each word, you see that they mean slightly different things. The root for choice comes from a French word meaning to perceive. The root for decision comes from a Latin word meaning to cut off.
At each step in the production of this battleship, there were many choices: what color to make a certain area, which suppliers to use, what size would be best for a certain sheet of metal.
But at some point, a decision was made, and this is how the battleship came to be. The battleship is real; it sits there before us. Therefore real decisions were made: first, to commission it, then to design it, then to build it.
Think about a decision you’ve made in your life. Perhaps you decided to go into a certain career, or to move to a different house, or to buy a particular car.
That moment when you decided YES I will do this action, you instantly CUT OFF all other possible actions. If you decide to move to Canada, you can’t also decide to move to Peru. You might make a later decision to move to Peru, or to buy a home there, but you can’t move both places at the same time.
You must decide before it can happen.
Think of a decision you really made, that really happened in real life. Remember the FEELING you had when you made whatever decision you made. This is important.
I believe that this act of deciding does something inside you, something physiological, that sets your subby into motion. You have decided: it’s going to happen; there is nothing anyone can say or do about it; the universe can either help or get out of your way.
This is, I feel, the most important thing in the world. Nothing happens without a decision. You would not be here without many decisions being made. You would not be who you are without many more decisions being made, by both yourself and many others who raised and sheltered you.
But what I find most pertinent to this course is that I need to have the same attitude towards my DMP (Definite Major Purpose, aka WHAT DO I WANT?). I must decide that this will happen, and there is nothing anyone can say or do about it, and the universe can either help or get out of the way.
Or else change it to what I really do want. But until I decide, nothing will happen, and that, I think, is why some people do this exercise and fail to get what they say they want. Like the person who waffles about where to live, they are waffling about what they want in their heart of hearts. They never decided.