Philosiblog expands that idea in a post of the same name.
Using the analogy of riding a river shows we have a major role to play in our future. We can even create our future.
Think of two people in a river. One is just floating on a raft, unable to predict what is coming, because they aren’t looking around and aren’t doing anything to move or steer. The other person is in a kayak, looking for the path they want, and actively steering and moving themselves to that point.
Which one is predicting the future by inventing it? Which is more likely to be surprised at where they end up? Yes, there are times to relax, but there are also times to paddle like crazy.
You may have to backfill your history and your skills, filling in the holes (oops – mixed metaphor – sorry). That would be like making sure your basic equipment is good and ready to roll.
You have to paddle like crazy trying to read what is in the immediate future.
Sometimes you have to make changes:
Life is a largely uncharted river. You may have heard something about rocks after the third bend, but how difficult are they? Knowing your equipment and your skills, you can start taking control. You decide when to paddle forwards and when to back up. You decide what line to take and when to get out and portage (carry the boat).
I like that portage analogy – sometimes you have to get out of the water and go around.
In life, like on the river, you have to rely on your ability to plan with the knowledge you have. You have to execute that plan to the best of your ability. You have to be able to notice what is going on. You have to be able to adjust your plan. And then you repeat. And repeat.
Wouldn’t a trip on a kayak be more fun than an unguided raft? Using that analogy, you are in the fast-running river which we call life whether you want to recognize it or not. You have a better chance of getting where you want and having a ton more fun if you get in the kayak and paddle like crazy.
Check out the full pondering. I really like it.