Sunday, July 7, 2013


Who do you invite into your lifeboat?

Taking an argument to an extreme is a logical fallacy often used in arguments to score cheap points.  But taking an argument to an extreme can also be used as a logical tool to test the robustness of a concept.

"Who do you invite into your lifeboat?" is a thinking exercise that allows you to explore your values with the freedom of the hypothetical, unbound by the tethers of habit, comfort and familiar.

How many people watched Gilligan's Island?  How many read Swiss Family Robinson by J.D. Wyss, Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Shackleton or The Navigator by Morris West?  How about the stories of Odysseus and Noah's Ark?  The basic story is not retold because we frequently find ourselves adrift in a lifeboat.  The story gets retold because it is a teaching tool that pares away the distractions and the extraneous.

Who would you invite into your lifeboat?  It is a small space with limited resources.  You might be able to shoehorn 10 or 12 people into one.  Assume you do not have the option of choosing family.

Studies on the six degrees of separation suggest that a typical person "knows" two or three thousand people.  So you can be very, very selective....even sticking with people you know.

Who I would not invited in:

  • Professional victims:  Gone
  • Negative people, whiners, complainers, gossips and backstabbers:  Gone
  • Addicts:  Gone
  • Enablers (with their inevitable shadows, the addicts):  Gone
  • Armchair Experts:  Gone
  • Lazy people, couch potatoes, passive consumers of electronic gibberish:  Gone
  • Mosquitoes, amoebic dysentery, and rats...the people who take up residence in your mind but don't pay rent:  Gone

Who is invited in?

  • People with callouses and broken, dirty fingernails
  • People with clothing that might be scuffed, stained or otherwise shows signs of use
  • People who have a modicum of muscular development
  • People with inquisitive minds
  • People with situational awareness
  • People who are reality based and do not live in a fantasy world.
  • People who can communicate complex ideas and feelings factually and efficiently
  • Often, these are people who are driven by a sense of mission
This list is not universal nor is it comprehensive (age, gender and actual skill sets would matter in a real lifeboat situation....where would Gilligan be without the Professor?) but it paints the background on the canvas.

I want to leave you, the reader, with two questions:
  1. Are the people who currently populate your life the ones you would invite into your lifeboat?
  2. What actions are you going to take today that would make you one of the 10 or 12 people that would be welcomed into nearly everybody's lifeboat.
By the way, Mr Ed Hall is welcome into my lifeboat any day.

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