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What kind of wood are you?

Thailand is a fascinating country. Ancient, rich in culture and diverse in its landscape.

On a recent trip out into the Andaman sea I had an opportunity to meet a local fisherman, Nick. A local Thai who had been fishing in the diverse basaltic islands that jut out of the Andaman at irregular intervals all his life.

Luckily I got to kayak with Nick into the heart of one of these basalt islands to explore an internal mangrove. Pretty crazy that there is an entire mangrove living in a secluded hollow within the island, only accessible through a sea cave that is open or closed depending on the tide.

What struck me were the enormous trees that grew 30-40m high in almost exactly straight lines inside the mountain mangrove. Having had a discussion with Nick about the famous Thai long-tail fishing boats I mentioned to him that these trees would make excellent keels for the boats. I said this because he had explained to me that traditionally the Thai people will make their keel from a single piece of wood and so a straight easily accessible tree seemed like an obvious choice.

Here he surprised me again. He said:

"No, we never use the wood on the inside. It is too soft for our keels, when the storms come the soft keel boats fail."

He then showed me where they get their wood, clinging to the almost sheer cliffs of the outer seaward side of the mountain he explained that 'good wood' is the kind that has been battered a bit, been tried in the natural school of wind and storm.

It never ceases to amaze me how our perspectives can be enriched and enlarged by an attitude of open amazement and wonder. Garnering appropriate insight has to be a function of good data and excellent presence.

My questions:

  1. What kind of wood are you? What are you doing to strengthen your personal resolve and adaptability to deal with this increasingly VUCA environment.

  2. Do you beat yourself up because you grew outside the calm mangrove and didn't get it 100% right 100% of time? If you do, stop it.

  3. What feedback loops have you got in your life to make insight powerful and the adjustments, if needed the right ones?


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