After a particularly taxing week I found myself having some trouble sleeping. I was lying there and decided I would go out to the couch to get some work done. Why not be productive since I am obviously suffering from insomnia? I turned on the television for some background noise but had high hopes I wouldn’t be too distracted. I flipped through a few sports channels before landing on a movie. It took a few minutes to decide if I would commit to watching Moby Dick, but boredom won the fight.
I recognized a few familiar faces in the flick and it seemed to have an element of action. So I closed the laptop and kicked back to check out man’s epic battle with himself and nature. Ahab versus the big fish. To be honest, I never read Herman Melville’s Moby Dick in high school. I think I peeked at the Cliff Notes, but that’s about it. But who hasn’t heard of it? A whale, an angry ship’s captain and a crew lost at sea. I got the basics, right?
As I watched the movie, I saw interesting qualities in both the captain and each crew member. Young mister Starbuck, Queequeg, Tashtego, Daggoo and of course, Ishmael. What a bunch. They seemed to bump heads immediately. Not to spoil the plot and ending, but Ahab ends up dead and everyone, with the exception of Ishmael, perishes. The following day I went to the internet to do some follow up research on Melville and his book originally titled The Whale.
Much like Ahab, we all are on some sort of quest these days. To be a better parent. To earn a better living. Some want to climb the corporate ladder. Whatever you are after, it will take both self-leadership and perseverance to accomplish the goal. I began to draw some similarities from Ahab, his crew and their mission that make for good advice as we are in pursuit of whatever is out there for us. Here are a few lessons we can take along for the journey:
At the end of the movie, Ahab was tangled in a line attached to the harpoon he stuck into Moby Dick. Ishmael managed to swim to a coffin from the ship and climb on. After floating for some time, he is rescued by a fellow Nantucket ship and lives to tell the tale. Every other member of the crew died. Ahab’s legacy was clouded by his disregard for everyone else and relentless need for revenge.
Often it isn’t what we do but how we go about it that is the problem. He passed over multiple chances to regain his senses and turn around. He pushed his team through dangers, storms and lack of supplies. All for Moby Dick! And in the end he had nothing but bitterness to show for it. I hope for us we see these tips as signs and turn our teams back to safety. As it was written in book’s epilogue; “The drama is done. Why then here does any one step forth? Because one did survive the wreck.”
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