“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
This quote has guided me in both my professional and personal life. To me, it speaks to the importance that passion and curiosity play in achieving goals. There’s no denying that you still need to gather wood and nail it together to make a boat. But the most crucial element is the desire to explore and to innovate. Without it, you might as well not weigh anchor. The sea is a metaphor for the unknown but also a reward for a job well done. Sure, you might have gotten splinters, but isn’t the feel of salt spray on your face worth it?
If I ever feel mired in the nitty-gritties of a task, I remind myself: “the endless immensity of the sea.” Whether that refers to the value of a service for the end user, finding the answer to a vexing question, or simply learning something new, it doesn’t matter. What’s important is the promise of beauty, just over the horizon.