We are born in the ocean. Almost all of us are at least. But the ocean is not a very hospitable place. It's dangerous, full of sharks. We can't really eat in the ocean nor sleep adequately.
Luckily for us, there are islands all around us in this big ocean. Thousands, millions of islands, actually. Most are small, 2-by-2 islands with single coconut trees on them. But the coconut tree gives us water, food and minimal shelter against the sun. These islands are usually taken by other people. But it doesn't matter. There are so many of them that one can quickly swim to another, deserted coconut island.
There are bigger islands too. Ones with castles on them. Some with big castles, some with little castles. But castles, nonetheless.
Everyone says they want to live in the islands with a castle. But few do. Mostly because they're far, far away -- it's a big ocean we live in, after all. Many people are afraid of taking the plunge and swim to one of the castle islands. We hear stories about those who made it there, and we all know the stories of those who tried to get there but never made it.
The sad stories are of all kinds. Some folks tried to swim all the way, non-stop, but they simply swam in the wrong direction. Others got tired along the way and stopped at slightly larger coconut islands.
Some adventurous ones built sail boats or even motor boats to get to the castle islands, but didn't build a good enough structure and their boats sunk along the way, causing a lot more damage than if they had chosen to stay on the coconut island. Some who took other people's motor boats ended up exploding their engines and causing even more damage. Now they spend all their time building new boats for those who lent them the boat initially.
Some fail spectacularly, with explosions and boats, but failures can also be almost non-events too. There are those who swim a little, spend a little time in the coconut island and then swim some more, never really getting any closer to the castle islands.
On the other hand, the success stories we hear are of very few kinds. In fact, they all sound very similar. Excluding those who got a lift from a relative who happens to have a helicopter, most others who live in the castle islands now would describe their stories as the following.
Swim to the coconut islands strategically for a few years. Always in the direction of the castle islands. Take that time on the coconut islands to learn how to orient oneself, how to swim efficiently in case of an emergency (swimming fast is not desirable -- very few get to a castle island that way) and how to build a flotation device. Then build it -- slowly if one has to. Use the flotation device to go in the direction of the castle islands. Stop along the way in the larger coconut islands to build bigger and faster flotation devices. Some will sink. But as long as one keeps building them and floating in the right direction, day after day after day, the goal gets closer and closer.
Eventually, one makes one's way to a fake castle island. Everything looks real, but those who throw their flotation devices away and choose to stay will eventually be disappointed as the castle will vanish. The success stories though, tell us to enjoy the castle for a little bit, while taking the time to build a real boat.
That last boat is the one that will take us to one of the real castle islands.
How big your castle and island depend on many factors, such as the wind and the turns you took. But the biggest determinant is the power of your boat. Nonetheless, every castle island has a permanent castle on it. And it's yours forever. You can only lose it if you find a stupid way of imploding it. Some people do it, but it's not as common as those in the coconut island who build sand castles that later crumble on their own.
The common thread among the success stories though, is that it took having a plan to get there. And it required time and effort. There are really no honorable shortcuts.
What is your plan to reach the castle island?