A Seaman's Journey

Adventures of a Lifetime

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Preface

Humans Tell Stories

Story telling is fundamental to the human experience. Stories are intended to impact both the intellect and the emotions. Stories call people to take action because behavior is controlled by our emotions.

We can all relate to the feeling of knowing what we must do but feeling powerless to do it for lack of motivation. Once the emotions are stirred then we find the will to do what is needed. Feelings are the fire that drives the engine.

We like to believe that humans are rational beings that emote, but in reality we are emotional beings that rationalize. Emotions always drive behavior, and the intellect attempts to come up with a decent rationalization.

A great story motivates and guides by engaging both the heart and the head. While the intellect may guide us in the right direction, it is necessary to touch the emotions to get us to move.

Stories provide us with a guiding narrative that allows us to make sense of our lives. Our story both reveals and shapes our beliefs and values. By changing the guiding story of your live, you will change what you value most and what you believe to be true.

Your story is a narrative that reveals what you believe. This is far more accurate than listening to what people say that they believe. For example, I may claim to be humble and generous, but if my life story is about winning at the expense of others then which one is true?

Writing My Story

I first became interested in writing my life story when my dad published his memoir seventeen years ago. In reading through his book, I realized what an extraordinary life he had lived.

From abject poverty and abuse, he went on to accomplish things that few others have ever done. What stuck me was, not just the depth of progress that he made in his career field, but also the breadth of activity that he sustained throughout his lifetime.

This got me thinking about my own life. I began to see that I have had some amazing experiences over the years. It has always been my intent to live life with a passion. I have been deeply committed to lifelong learning and a desire to truly understand things at a deep level.

As I rolled north of sixty, telling my story became my primary focus. I realized that the clock was ticking and that I had insights that I needed to pass on to others. I've been working steady on the project for the last couple of years.

True Confessions

When I tell people I am writing an autobiography, they often seem to think that it is some sort of vanity project. Why would anyone have the temerity to write a book about themselves? Who would want to read such a thing?

The approach that I have taken is anything but a trumpet-blowing exercise to garner adulation. Instead I treat this as a confessional where I can come to grips with my own brokenness. I have spent years being very guarded and self-protective, but age has given me a willingness to let the guard down.

I have spent six decades in the School of Hard Knocks and I must have the equivalent of a PhD. Success has often come easy to me and I have been able to chalk up many accomplishments. But I've also had some colossal failures that have produced great pain for me and others.

In this book, I intend to be brutally honest and not soft-sell the truth. I believe that everyone is broken at a fundamental level. Each person's flaws are different but everyone has them.

Our brokenness is where we find our true humanity. Many people spend their entire lives running from the brokenness, but for those who have the courage to take a good hard look, there is healing. It is my hope that reading about my struggles will help you in dealing with your own.

Adventures

My life has been highly dramatic. I never really thought about it much until I started telling people about weird things I've done and strange people I've met. Finally it dawned on me that I have been places and done things that could occupy three lifetimes for most people.

My primary challenge is to make these experiences interesting to others.
I try to relate stories first hand, about things that I actually experienced. In some cases, I relate the stories from people I've known and spent time with.

I have opinions about how the world works and how it could be improved. Along the way we will look at history, technology, economics, politics, and religion. I can't really tell my life story without touching on these areas. But the real thrust of this book is relating the experiences that I've had and how they shaped the man I am today.

Contrarian

My most dominant personality trait is that I think independently. This has often been a detriment to my social relationships. But it is also my primary strength. I am all but immune to peer pressure and love to work things out for myself.

I thrive on solving big problems and love to produce creative breakthroughs. Highly dynamic environments with lots of innovation get my blood pumping. But I am easily bored. I do not do well in environments that are authoritarian and heavy handed. I am among the first to rebel when there is going to be a rebellion.

I am highly skeptical and need to understand the reason why I should believe a certain thing. Sales people frustrate me and I typically don't trust anyone that is overly friendly.

I've had to learn to temper these characteristics in order to fit in. But these are also extremely valuable attributes that have allowed me to thrive when others could not. I now accept these things as being core to my identity.