Lessons for the Journey
The term “outward bound” often describes a ship as it leaves the safety and security of the harbour and heads out to face the challenges and risks of the open sea. For sailors, the phrase implies commitment to a long journey and, of course, adventure. That’s why Outward Bound Canada is such a fitting name for our organization, as we utilize adventure and community service to help youth develop the confidence, compassion and resilience needed to thrive in a challenging and unpredictable world.
When he founded Outward Bound in 1941, Kurt Hahn outlined Five Pillars—or skills for life—that he felt were foundational to the development of young people. With the world experiencing so much disruption and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hahn’s philosophy remains just as relevant today as it was during the Second World War.
1. An Enterprising Curiosity
In order to overcome obstacles, it’s essential that we find opportunities for creativity and resourcefulness. It’s also important that we remain open to considering new ideas and critically examining our beliefs and assumptions.
2. An Indefatigable Spirit
Indefatigable means being persistently tireless, unwavering, inexhaustible. With so many things currently out of our control, it can be easy to surrender to feelings of failure, negativity and helplessness. However, we can draw on our inner strength and resilience as we focus on the ways in which we can respond to adversity.
3. Tenacity in Pursuit
What are the key things you want to accomplish right now? Do you want to complete a difficult project? Do you strive to be a better friend, family member or employee? Are you trying to remain compassionate and kind in the midst of a stressful situation? Do you want to develop a new skill? If it’s within your control to make your goal happen, don’t give up, regardless of how stressful things are right now.
4. Readiness for Sensible Self-Denial
In crisis situations, it’s hard not to focus on our own immediate needs and interests, but it’s critical that we prioritize the wellbeing of others as well, particularly the most vulnerable in our society. What we can be doing (and perhaps even giving up) to help those around us and serve our community better?
These are difficult days, which can bring out the best and worst in all of us. Strive to be kind, patient, understanding and forgiving… not only to others, but to yourself as well.
As we navigate through uncharted seas, we can all benefit from embodying these five important qualities.