The skills of our forefathers must not be lost. I’m going to teach you a vital one in just a second… but first let me gripe about something.
You may even agree…
The long fingers of progress change everything. They’ve certainly changed what’s important to our everyday lives. The skills we need to get ahead aren’t the same as they were during our great-granddaddy’s day.
To the nostalgic, it’s sad.
To the folks focused on the art of survival… it’s downright frightening.
Fads come and go, but the beauty of self-sufficiency will always live on. Just as humans have always treasured a bucolic mountain scene, so too is a reverence for the art of survival built into our DNA.
It’s troubling, though, that we’re losing our skills.
We use a factory-built lighter to start our fires. We use a plastic tube that looks like a kid’s toy to filter our water. And what our phones can’t do, well, we don’t need to do.
With technology, who needs skills? Somebody else has done all the hard stuff – no need to waste time learning a skill, right?
Our Triad begs to differ.
If we want to reach our greatest potential – if we want to truly be fulfilled – science tells us we must nurture our skills. We must know how to get the job done… even if the need never arises.
It’s a proven part of being happier, healthier and even wealthier.
SAVING A LOST ART
I’ve spent much of my life on or near water. I’ve captained boats on the East and West coasts, through thick fog and hurricane-force winds… at night and in the rain… and even on a bluebird day or two.
Modern technology has changed the job. It’s not what it used to be.
The skills Columbus needed to explore the New World are long gone. Nowadays, a couple of gizmos attached to a battery contain all the “skills” we need.
Can’t see? Look at your radar screen.
Is it going to rain? Just hit the “On” button.
Lost? Let the satellites lead the way.
With each new gadget, another skill is lost.
Perhaps the skill mankind will miss the most is the ability to navigate with the stars. It’s a wonderful art when practiced well.
How about we don’t let it fade away… at least not on our watch.
It’s not something you’ll use later today or even tomorrow. But if the need ever arises, you’ll be glad you learned a few simple techniques. If things go as we think they will, the stars may someday be the only way you’ll get from Point A to Point B.
YOUR FATE IS IN THE STARS
Everybody should be able to navigate using nothing but the stars. Not only could it save your life, but it’s just plain cool. Entire books have been written about celestial navigation. Fortunately, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you don’t need them.
All you need is Polaris… aka the North Star.
It’s not a bright star, so it’s a bit tough to pick out of the sky without some help. Fortunately, the easy-to-spot Big Dipper has a couple of “pointer stars” that aim right at it.
Simply draw a line between the two stars that form the outer edge of the Big Dipper’s bowl and extend it roughly five times. It should point you right at Polaris, which happens to be the last star in the handle of the Little Dipper.
Because Polaris is the only star in the sky that doesn’t move as the night progresses, it’s the perfect way to know which way is north.
Once you have that figured out, you’re all set. Stand looking at the star and you’re headed north… turn left to go west… right to go east… and turn around to go south.
Look at you… learning a timeless skill. Your grandpa would be proud.
Now for a real challenge, shove off the dock and follow those stars into uncharted water.
I bet he did. And I bet it felt great.
P.S. No doubt many folks read today’s essay and thought, “That’s an interesting trick… but I’ll probably never use it since I’ve got GPS on my cellphone.” It’s an idea we’re constantly bucking. Because despite all the convenience offered, cellphones are downright dangerous. Not only do they make us lazier and – dare we say it? – dumber… but there’s mounting scientific evidence that shows they cause real physical harm. To see for yourself, click here.