From the moment you entered this world, you were utterly dependent on caregivers to tend to your every need. When seeing the first earthly light, your brain capacity was less than 30 per cent of an adult brain size. Some experts estimate a human fetus would have to undergo a gestation period of 18 to 21 months to be born at a neurological and cognitive development stage comparable to that of a chimpanzee newborn.
This has to do with the hypothesis (yep hypothesis) about the width of the birth canal and, hence, the size of the baby that can pass through it. But that's a different topic. Let's just agree, unlike most other mammals, you are not ready when you are born. Completely useless (leaving cuddle and cuteness factors aside).
This is why from the very first second of your earthly life, your mantra is GROWTH. You need to grow, grow and grow and then even more. GROWTH.
This makes total sense, and it may also explain why we, as humans, are so much into growing.
From the moment you can walk and enter kindergarten, we continue to grow and learn. Japanese kindergartens are known for their hardcore learning curriculums. By the time Japanese kids reach the age of 6, they had 3 years of 7hour days of mathematics, science, social studies, music, crafts, physical education, and home economics. Other cultures take a more manageable approach, but all kids enter school by 6-7 years of age. I am talking the first world here.
Learning and growth continue throughout school and, if so desired, university years. As young adults, we then proceed to jump on the next continuous growth train.
A professional career. We follow the career growth path in our corporate 9 to 5 professional careers because we want to become "someone". There is always the next career level - better paid or cooler title. Who hasn't heard quotes like "standing still is the fastest way of moving backwards in a rapidly changing world" or "to stand still is to regress."
As you move from entry-level to management to the executive level, your days in the office become longer and longer. Time spent with your worldly possessions becomes less and less. Not to mention the little time you spend with your family and friends.
In parallel to continuous learning, we have now become a personal growth accelerator.
Non-personal growth is reflected in the things we buy, such as cars, houses and other stuff, after all, all that hard-earned cash has to go somewhere. But we don't stop there. One car becomes two, the 2-bed apartment becomes a 4-bed house and so on. You know the spiel.
We humans never stop growing; everything has to be productive, profitable, and, above all, needs to get bigger, better, faster, more valuable. Somewhere along our personal growth continuum, we swap personal growth with materialistic growth.
On a global macro level, we have been milking our planet for all its resources to grow industries and country GDPs to the extent that we are now facing a global climate change crisis and, at some point will face a resource shortage.
On a personal micro level, we humans have reached the highest levels of depression and anxiety cases globally since this has been measured. Almost 800,000 people die from suicide every year. That's one person every 40 seconds, and suicide is one of the leading causes of death in young people.
Ok, what does this all have to do with sailing, I hear you ask. Simple.
Over the last 4 years, more people stepped out of the rat race than ever before. Of course, Covid has something to do with this. Still, an incredible amount of people started living their nomadic lives, be it sailing around the world, travelling in a van cross country, or taking the kids on a world schooling adventure. There have never been so many people realising their dreams of sailing long term or even circumnavigating the globe in the bluewater cruising world. Rising bluewater cruiser boat prices globally are a good indicator for this as well.
Suppose you have a look at Google Search trends. In that case, searches for a digital nomad life, world schooling or liveaboard have been going up and searches for career, promotion, and professional development are at their lowest ever.
So maybe, just maybe, we should take a moment, stand still and think if constant growth is what we really need?
The world needs people who are more comfortable standing still. We keep the earth on its axis when everybody else is bouncing around. Bill Konigsberg
PS- if you are a sailor, check out some of my free downloads to make your life on the boat a bit easier. It's my way of paying forward without any growth aspirations.