I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and one of my favorite things to do is to take a break from my office at lunchtime and head down to the harbor, where I can sit and watch the sailboats dart back and forth on the open water. I’ve always been intrigued by their beauty and precision.
A striking thing about sailboats is how the slightest movement in the rudder or wheel creates an enormous impact in the direction and, ultimately, the destination of the vessel. Imagine, for a moment (we can all dream!) attempting to sail from San Francisco to the Hawaiian Islands. If you happened to drift just five degrees off course, you could end up thousands of miles from where you wanted to be, lost in the middle of the ocean or on another continent instead of gliding into a beautiful tropical bay.
But by making just a small, yet critical adjustment in the steering of your boat, you’d be able to get back on course with very little effort. In fact, making small corrections as you go is a big part of the skill involved in sailing.
Making small changes that bring great rewards to your life is what this book is all about. Really, none of the “mistakes” all of us tend to make in our lives needs to lead us off course. Mistakes are not mistakes unless we fail to catch ourselves making them. When we recognize that we’re taking a wrong turn, it really is all good, because with just a few simple adjustments in our behavior, thinking, attitude, or spiritual understanding, our lives improve exponentially. Often just a simple reminder to ourselves, a slight alteration in our breathing, or even a thoughtful gesture can make a world of difference in the quality of our lives.
Over time I’ve zeroed in on those areas of life where we can get the most “bang for our buck” so to speak, where just a small amount of effort results in a large payoff. The suggestions I make for change are based largely on common sense, the wisdom of what I’ve seen work for others, what has worked for myself, and on the feedback I’ve received from thousands of readers over the years. These are little lessons I continue to work on in my own life, each and every day.
Of course, we’re all human, and we all fall short at times, but you’ll soon see that by making surprisingly subtle shifts, you really can turn a bad habit or a faulty thought pattern into a far more positive experience, for yourself as well as for others. It’s been said that, “Life is a series of mistakes, one right after another, with a little space in between.” Maybe so, but within all of these mistakes exist incredible opportunities to create miracles in our lives, opportunities to grow, to learn, to break free of destructive habits and move to new levels of awareness.
Just as there’s often such a fine line between winning and losing in sports or business, there’s also a fine line between leading a stressful, frustrating life, versus leading a life that we’d consider good. The difference lies not so much in making drastic life changes, but rather in seeing where we’re off course, just like a drifting sailboat, and then gently pointing ourselves back in the right direction.