Character · Coaching and Managing · Inspiration · Leadership · legacy · Living

Have Substance, Be Deep

Quite a few years back, I went with my brother and a friend to a local boat race, The Tarheel Regatta.  The lake was not large enough for the high-end racing boats, but it was still quite entertaining to see some of the mid-to-smaller classes of boats racing.  It was something different, and have always appreciated the technology of racing, stretching the limits of machine and men.

I was thinking about it recently, and remembered one particular boat.  As we watched the boats from this class come out onto the lake, we’d see some that were sleek and with bright colors.  Some had tinted canopies, and just looked fast as they warmed up.  Then there was one named “The Lobster Boat”.  This one was ungainly and awkward looking.  The driver sat close to the front, and just look unbalanced.  It had no canopy, nor fancy graphics or bright colors.  It was drab, like a maroon color if I remember correctly.  Needless to say, as soon as I saw it, I had it pegged as a hobbyist, someone just there to have fun.  A back-marker as the term goes for the slower racers.

Boat racing in these smaller classes in like some of the track and field meets.  Several short heats as the field was narrowed to the fastest for that particular category.  The Lobster Boat hit the start perfectly and won easily.  The performance was dominant and there were no other boats on par.  As the day went on, I noticed that he would win every time out in the water.  It didn’t matter if other boats looked better, or looked like they had high technology working in their favor.  Every boat in this particular class, was outclassed.

I went to about two or three of these races over a short span in the 1990s, but every time I went, the Lobster Boat dominated.  He won everything in his category.  Every heat.  Every race.  The driver timed the starts perfectly, and always positioned himself to win with ease.  While others would race a hard lap, but then experience mechanical issues, the Lobster Boat was always there, fast and reliable.  There is a lesson here.  Other boats may have focused more on looks and appearance, but lacked the substance to win. 

I see it quite often.  People who put forth an image, but have no deeper meaning, no substance.  These seem to be all flash and style, but carry little weight to things that really matter.  These may be all about boasting and talking, but have little results to back it up.  They may pass judgment on what kind of car you drive, or what brand of clothes you wear.

Looking your best, or enjoying the finer things in life are good to be able to do.  If you enjoy driving a sports car, or getting some of the bigger name brands, there’s nothing wrong with this.  But at the end of the day, we should be more than what’s on the surface. If we have no depth, we’re like these really nice looking boats that struggled to finish the race. 

The Lobster Boat was reliable, fast, and functional.  The driver was professional, and I could tell he worked on his craft.  Other boats were nicer looking, but as I watched the races, they would have poor starts, their boats were unreliable, or they were just too slow to be competitive.  Take this lesson to heart.  Practice and work in life and profession.  Take time to be the best parent, brother or sister that you can be.  Learn your craft and be a model employee, coworker, or teammate.  Look and feel good, and drive a nice car or wear something fancy as you see fit.  Don’t neglect the depth and substance of character and personality. Make sure you give thought on the results of your words and actions.  There’s much more than the surface of all things.  Have substance in all your actions.  And always strive to be your best, both in life and profession.  And throughout life, you’ll excel and leave a lasting legacy

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