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September 07, 2022

Tiller Towards The Problem

I recently finished a beginners sailing course on Lake Michigan with the Chicago Parks District. Learning to skipper a 26ft keel boat in windy conditions has been an absolute adventure.

One of my favorite learnings so far has been, "tiller towards the problem.”
The tiller is the horizontal bar that’s responsible for steering. Instead of turning a wheel, you simply move the tiller right or left. But it’s tricky at first because everything is reversed. Moving the tiller to the right means pointing the boat to the left. And vice versa.

Several times during the class, When we were facing a problem in the harbor or on the lake, there would be small doses of panic. The instructor simply advised us to “keep our eyes up and calmly point the tiller towards the problem.”

Slowly but surely, the boat would move away from whatever was coming our way. It was a bit of a hack, but it worked.

If you’re facing a challenge today, something you’ve been procrastinating, avoiding, or putting off, it might be time to point right towards it. What’s happening? Why is it happening? And what’s one small thing you can do to move it forward?

It may not go away, but every time you navigate through it, you’ll get better at knowing what to do next time.

Tiller towards the problem.

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