Dreaming Big

There are many who are willing to say this is good enough and then there are other who just know in their gut that they can do better and are willing to go the extra mile.  That applies to relationships, marriages, businesses, traveling, etc.  I am not a fan of perfection as I do believe in the saying perfection is the enemy of the good yet how good is good. 

Someone told me this story the other day as it related to advice.  It continues to return to my thoughts.

You are dropped off on an island.  You are given supplies and told that there is fresh water there.  You begin to investigate.  How big is the island, is it inhabitated, where will it be safe to camp and more importantly where is the fresh water.  You come upon a large pond of muddy water.  You realize that you can could easily set up camp next to the muddy pond and boil the water every day.  You would completely survive.  Some people would just do that.  They would live with dirty water every day and just try and get through it by boiling the water.  Then there are others who would pass by the muddy water and go onward to find the fresh water where they could be happy and content without having to deal with dirt. 

An interesting observation about life.

Comments (Archived):

  1. andyidsinga

    interesting indeed ..there’s probably a way to view this through a hunters and farmers analogy. hunters may see the muddy pond and move on, game and better outlook being more desireable. Farmers may imagine a pond transformed ..with mud for building and planting and a water source transformed with filtering. 🙂

    1. Gotham Gal

      nice analogy

  2. johndodds

    Immediately made me ponder the parallels between this and the initial “good enough” mentality of launch fast and iterate. Yes, some push through in pursuit of excellence, but I wonder if the mentality has a deleterious effect on our general view of what is desirable.

    1. Gotham Gal

      To me it describes how people choose to live different lives and that includes entrepreneurs

    2. TanyaMonteiro

      mr dodds, this answer needs to be discussed. good to “see” you here. hope you are well

  3. Lisa Abeyta

    Interesting story. What I’ve found is that the individuals who push past the the muddy water to find something better usually create solutions that end up helping the ones who stayed behind.I’ve often envied what I perceived as simplicity of living for those who just accept their situation or surroundings, especially as one who, from the time I was small, always had this part of me who couldn’t accept the status quo. And I do think we can cheat ourselves out of ever finding rest when we spend our lives chasing the next shiny thing. But I’ve also come to embrace the part of myself that isn’t satisfied with doing something small, because there is a joy and vitality that comes with not only seeing the bigger opportunities but pushing through the barriers to create something bigger and better.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Pushing through the barriers is a wonderful trait to have

  4. Brandon Burns

    The thing is, most people don’t admit to themselves that they’re settling for dirty water. They tell themselves, instead, that what they’re doing is normal, or the best way to do things, or whatever excuse they may have.And even then, someone in the group may venture out, alone, in search of clean water, actually find some, bring it back to the group, and say, “Look! If we just go a couple miles that-a-way, we can camp near clean water!” And everyone will look at him and say, “Well, we’re already here! And our boiling system works so well! And while the sound of clean water sounds great, what if something happens on the way there?! We’re safe here! Let’s stay.”Finding the clean water is the least of the problems; for those who find it, it was probably in their nature to do so anyway. Dragging everyone else towards it, as they kick and scream and dig their heels into the ground, all so you can accomplish something together — now that’s the real challenge.

  5. Joe Wilkinson

    That is an excellent story, and really puts things in perspective.

  6. LE

    You would completely survive. Some people would just do that. They would live with dirty water every day and just try and get through it by boiling the water. Then there are others who would pass by the muddy water and go onward to find the fresh water where they could be happy and content without having to deal with dirt. I think many factors are involved here.You could use this to favorably describe immigrants who are motivated enough to leave their country for a better life elsewhere instead of just “good enough” life in the home country. [1]Or you could use it to look down on someone who decides to end their current relationship because it involves work and they just don’t want to put in the effort, they want a new start.What someone tries to do or how they spend their time or what they “put up with” depends on many factors. Something that is effort to one person might be pleasurable to another (not claiming of course that many people would get pleasure from having to boil water every day).Some men might leave their wife because they want one who will cook and take care of them. Other men might not need that and might actually enjoy cooking and boiling the water to make their own dinner. I’ve met both types.My point is that it’s not always a negative quality to be able to simply be happy in many situation instead of feeling that the water is cleaner on the other side and then to go searching for that clean water.[1] One of the reasons that the foreigners you meet and are favorably impressed with are not representative of the entire country. They have self selected and are motivated enough to get to the US. Or their parents were which reflects on their values.

  7. Yanique Barnes

    This is a riveting and timely post. Many of my friends have told me I am too busy chasing ‘happiness” and a “better life” when it is here and now, but because I came from humble beginnings, I know “best” is in my horizon, I just have to keep going until I become it. I find it sad when people just ‘settle’ for what they have, than becoming the creative director of their lives, and becoming who they can be.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Keep searching and moving forward

  8. Emeri Gent [Em]

    The empathic part of the story for me is to realize that people on this Earth do have to resort to drinking muddy water, and the appreciation of this is what creates an added dimension to success that there is fresh water.Fresh Water – Muddy Water – Salt Water is a continuum that makes sense to me. Then the muddy to fresh water story takes on much more significance – as it does in the real world where fresh drinking water is today’s chief concern.Metaphorical salt water is the problem because that means “not living”, or living a deathly existence without ever conceiving that one can flourish or begin to prosper by drinking better thoughts and more constructive emotions.To end a salt-water existence our thoughts must pour in a new way, in a way that isn’t toxic to our world or diminishing to ourselves – and then we can move forward, discover that we don’t have to settle at muddy water.The meaning of this for me then becomes about constant freshness and invigorating look at life, and that is the fresh water you speak of – that extra effort to start afresh and to wake up to each new day with fresh zeal.We are after all fresh water beings and not salt-water creatures. Success then in a nut shell is an awakening otherwise it is can become failure disguised as success, simply because we are not present in the much but merely seeking for the more.[Em]