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You can make the best of the situation.

You can make the best of the situation.

Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out. John Wooden

Years ago, as many of you already know, I lived on a Catamaran in the British Virgin Islands. It was everything one would expect it to be and more. The sea was turquoise blue; warm, glorious weather all year round; stunning, unspoiled reefs with an abundance of colorful reef fish. When free diving off the back of the boat you would always see many lobsters in coral cracks and caves. Pure paradise! But even in paradise we had our threats. 

Once hurricane season started, every morning it was imperative we got the latest weather report over the ship radio for there was no Internet coverage in our neck of the woods. We tracked all tropic depressions leaving Africa, heading our way. You could not afford to be caught unprepared, because in our case, since we were living on the yacht that could be “bye bye” boat or worse “lost at sea.”  Many yachts “hauled out” when the reports got too bad, meaning they put their boat on dry land and left the island to travel the mainland. Many times we chose to stay and ride out the storms. We enjoyed having fewer boats around. The weather was great and we got lots of charters during those months. A busy boat is a happy boat!

​But, yes, strong hurricanes did come. It was very interesting to observe how people react to fear. My friends and I that chartered and lived on yachts had well thought out contingency plans for “the big ones.” These plans and back up plans were essential due to where you would be when you first heard the hurricane alarm. If you were too far from the dock, whilst dropping off guests at their desired point of exit, for example, chances are all the slips would be taken by the time you got back. At this point you faced many dilemmas. Where was the safest place to secure the yacht? Would there be enough space there for your vessel, or would it already be jam packed. What path was the hurricane going to travel? Did we need to be on the east or west side of the island? From the swamp area where we would now have to secure the yacht, would we have enough time to get provisions, extra lines (ropes) and anchors from our storage facility in the main town to secure our vessel? Would our yacht fit through an entrance into the swamp or would we have to dive down in the muddy and now turbulent water to dig a trench to get the rudders through safely? The list of variables was endless, even with meticulous planning.

Fear always swept rapidly across the islands. People for the most part panicked. Gas stations ran dry. Supermarkets and convenience stores were picked clean. The mood around the docks was tense with high activity. Everyone was running around getting extra lines and anchors, taking down main-sails and water proofing any possible port hole in preparation. After five years, and probably 8 to 10 strong hurricanes under our belts, we became experts at the drill.

The main lesson I took from these wild experiences, is a lesson that has helped me navigate through my day to day life ever since. The lesson is not toget caught up in the fear, the exaggeration, the doom and gloom that seems to cloud our society more and more every day. “Every hurricane headed in our direction was the worst, biggest, deadliest hurricane ever. It would surely mean total destruction of the island; yachts would get tossed around like play toys, people woulddie.” It was always the same hype. Yet the reality was always so different from the preceding tales.

Listening to the media and certain individuals you would think the world is coming to an end. Fear is causing people to act out and do things they would not normally do. Don’t let fear and doubts steal your dreams.

“You can’t change the circumstances, the season, or the wind, but you can change yourself.” – Darren Hardy

The reality is that one man will never be able to destroy the world or the United States of America. Stop listening to the media and the doomsday rhetoric. Be calm, quiet and stay true to your values. You control your life. During President Obama’s eight-year term of office there were literally thousands of people that became very successful as there were thousands that lost fortunes, and not because of President Obama. During the next few years the same thing will happen. Not because of President Trump. Focus on executing your plans, your goals, and live your life the very best you can. It’s not who is in power that determines your life. You decide! You have the power! You are the best predictor of your future. After all, we still live in the greatest country in the world, where dreams do come true!

Be thankful this season!

Ralph Harris