I know I said in my last blog post here that my next post would be about Tradionalism. Minor change of plans…
I wrote this up a few weeks ago after cleaning my boat following the Labor Day weekend, and with boating season officially coming to a close, I thought it was appropriate to share this now instead of holding off on it for a later time.
There will also be one more post before my What Is Tradionalism post is published. For those following me on Facebook, you’ve seen my “Inconvenient Truth” posts recently. Number 5 will be released next week, and my next blog post will be a consolidation of the first five of these Truths I’ve written and shared on my personal Facebook page. My What Is Tradionalism post will be published following the first of what will be a multi-part series of “Inconvenient Truths”.
So…why is it that I clean my boat every week then?
Shortly after Labor Day Weekend I was cleaning my boat on what was a very hot and humid evening. It was one of those days where it didn't take more than to stand outside for a few minutes before the sweat came dripping down your face.
Nonetheless, I had a task. And that was to clean my boat.
Many boat owners have this routine of cleaning their boats twice a season - once at the beginning and once at the end.
Not me. While there has been a week here and there that I've missed, I have, for the most part, made it a strongly instilled habit to clean it once a week - ongoing four seasons, now.
My reasons for instilling this ritual into my summer life vary, but most of them come back to a few key principles.
One reason is discipline. Just like I've made it a habit to make my bed every morning, cleaning my boat has reinforced this value of mine. Sure there are times where I don't necessarily want to clean my boat, especially when I know that my clothes will be drenched in sweat, but it's the practice of doing something you need to do over what you want to do that enables you to appreciate what you have that much more. And if you don’t - more often than not - prioritize the things you need to do over the things you want to do, then how do you expect to achieve the bigger things you want to accomplish in your life? Every decision you make, even with things as seemingly small as cleaning your boat, compounds over time.
It also instills a level of responsibility in myself to put the things I need to do ahead of the things I want to do that goes beyond the level of responsibility that most people hold themselves accountable for in their own lives. If you want to raise your own standard of living, no one else is going to do it for you - you will have to do so on your own. Taking ownership of your life and the things you need to do will reap endless rewards - most likely none of which will be immediate, but rather, over the long term. It is in the mindset shift of the former to the latter that you will begin to see your growth and in which the standards you uphold in your own life will start manifesting.
A sidebar here that responsibility and discipline are not the same thing. It is in responsibility that you are held accountable for something. It is in discipline that the something gets done. A responsibility for something cannot be upheld if you do not have the discipline to do that something. I have a responsibility to myself to offer my guests an experience they won’t get anywhere else when they come out on my boat, and offering them a clean boat is part of that responsibility. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I have the discipline to do it. Discipline is trained and developed over time - it is cultivated through routine and continuous practice. Fulfilling responsibilities in their entirety can be met once discipline has been achieved.
The second and probably most important reason I clean my boat every week is because our personal characters are direct reflections of the standards we uphold. Have you ever asked yourself what kind of standard of living you want to have? What are the qualities you possess in this lifestyle? Are you really maintaining the level of responsibility to uphold this standard of living? If my boat is messy and dirty, then what does that say about me? To me it would say that I am, then, a messy and unkempt person and so the standards I'm upholding in my own life are not very high. It would say that I do not value myself or the things I have. If my boat is clean, on the contrary, I then project the image that I hold a high regard for my possessions and that I care about the comfort of my guests when I have the honor of entertaining them on the Lake. Presentation is more important than you think, and to anyone who says otherwise, you are only kidding yourself. We are the direct reflections of the standards we uphold.
The third main reason I clean my boat every week is just out of pure respect for the things I own and have. I believe the consumer-driven society we live in has enabled us to lose sight of the value we've put on the things we own, expensive or not. The "I'll just throw it away and buy another one if it breaks" mentality has corrupted us to the point that we even now throw people away. And while I will argue that there are definitely valid situations in which breaking ties with people is acceptable - as you will see in a soon to be released post - this general truth about our time should not go unstated and should not be honored. How can respect be built with anything or anyone when you treat everything and everyone as replaceable? It can’t.
It may not take an army to clean a boat. It might seem like a seemingly trivial thing to do on a routine basis. Even making a bed every single day is a difficult task for many. But it all comes down to what you value. What are you proud of? What image are your projecting to the world? What statement are you making to not only yourself, but to the people around you? For me, those are the values and the image of discipline, responsibility, respect, and development of character. What say you?