I think looking at our lives as ships - yes, physical ships - can help us make the decisions that are most likely to make us happy. And likewise, it can steer us clear from making decisions that might make us miserable for a while.
A cruise ship for example, is a pretty awesome sight. To see up close something that is essentially a skyscraper floating on water is something to behold. There's all the food you could eat, a climbing wall, 15 bars, swimming pools, stages, room for thousands of people, and on and on and on.
In fact, I'd love to have a cruise ship, wouldn't you?
But wait, what if you want to go water skiing? Or what if you don't want to depend on carbon fuel? Or what if you want to be able to travel inconspicuously? Or what if you don't want to have a staff of 300 people to manage?
Hmm. Maybe I don't want that ship after all.
Okay, how about a speed-boat? That's a great ship! It's quick, nimble, pretty unremarkable so you can travel in secret, doesn't require a crew, and you can water ski behind it. Awesome!
But wait, what if you want to have a party on your ship? Damn, maybe that speed-boat isn't right either.
Most of us were raised that what was right was to get an education, get a job, get more education, buy a house, buy a bigger house, by a bigger house again, by a bigger car, make a bigger garage on our bigger house so we can fit our bigger car in it, and on and on and on.
And if you have a business we're taught to scale, get bigger, get faster, become more efficient, make more money, work on your business - not in it - make more money, make more money, make more money, and make more money.
But what if you don't want that ship? What if you don't want the burden of employing people? Or what if you don't mind having employees, but you don't want to hire someone to do the one thing that you're great at?
Or what if you're more concerned with how you're business can give you more time with your family instead of how it can get you a fancier watch or a faster car?
My point is that our lives, and our businesses, are like ships. There are trade-offs. Get one thing, give up another.
Are you getting what you want? Are you giving up something you need?
Life is a ship. Spend some time thinking about which kind you want to build.