Let’s look at the quote again: “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” What does this even mean? If you are out at sea and the water is calm and flat (it’s a beautiful sight from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier), you can really feel the peace, the vast ocean of life before you. The sun is out and shining, it’s tranquil and harmonious, and there’s no real need for great skill. You can just sail through and bask in all its glory.
There is nothing magical or spectacular about this quote and saying it in your head might not make anything happen or change anything, but in certain times of trials and tribulations it has a power behind it, that if you believe in yourself you will pull through.
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s quote, “a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor,” is one of my favorite quotes ever! Not because I spent 20+ years in the United States Navy but because of the profound meaning I have for it. This quote, so simple in nature, is also very deep and profound and I believe it should be kept in everyone’s little book of favorite quotes.
When the seas are calm and you are steaming right along, this can represent when everything in your life is going great. You are getting good grades, you are getting hours at work, you are spending time with family and friends, and life just seems grand. There isn’t much skill needed for when things are going great.
Now, let’s look at the other side of the scenario. You are out at sea and there is a storm coming, the wind is blowing making big waves, the water is splashing over the boat making it hard to see or move around on the boat. The sky is getting darker making it hard to see the obstacles ahead. Now comes the rain! Now it’s even harder to see or sense the right direction. Now you have lost your bearings and are being tossed about between the waves. If you are a new sailor you will be forced to learn the skills on hand that are needed to try to overcome the situation, and if you are a seasoned sailor then the skills and experience from past storms will come to help. We can look at this as a point in our lives where it is not going so well. Something or things are happening in our lives that are testing our skills and making us work harder.
I have a greater appreciation for my Search and Rescue Instructors in making final practicals as hard as humanly possible. There are sides in a pool and even a bottom you can touch. Out to sea, there are neither within your grasp and you better put some of those skills to work or you may not make it back to the ship. Having to conduct a rescue at 2 a.m. in seas in which a 90,000 ton ship is being moved about can be very devastating in a Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) if you don’t know what you are doing.
I also love this quote because I believe God places a balance of smooth seas and rough seas in our lives to keep close to Him and to be able to help others in need. When the seas are calm we praise God for the blessing and we share the glory with others. When the storms are rough we are forced to put our faith in God and use the skills acquired over the years to help pull us through.
We grow in times of trouble, we grow in our faith (sometimes we lose it), we grow in experience, we grow in maturity and we grow in the relationship with others. All these things help mold us into the people we were meant to be. I truly believe we get tested and put in situations so that when we meet someone or when God places us in someone’s life who is going through the same or similar situation we will be able to help them.
Bruce Lee once said, “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” All in all we must embrace the days the seas are smooth and embrace the days where the seas are rough to become a well rounded sailor.
At Virginia TaeKwonDo, we strive to help our students know how to handle the tough times in life. With adequate training and experience, they can handle any storm that comes their way. If you would like to work on your survival and leadership skills, sign up for classes at our academy. Give us a call at 757-558-9869 or contact us.