Ted Ericksen once told Dale Carnegie how he used to be a terrible “worry wart.” But in the summer of 1942, when he was a young man just starting out on his life’s path, he had an experience that banished worry from his life for all time, and made every other trouble seem small by comparison.
For years Ericksen had wanted to spend a summer on a commercial fishing craft in Alaska, so in 1942 he signed on a thirty-two foot salmon-seining vessel out of Kodiak, Alaska. There was a crew of only three: the skipper, who does the supervising, a number two man who assisted the skipper, and the general work horse, the job that Ted Ericksen took on.
Ericksen worked twenty hours out of twenty-four. He did everything that nobody else wanted to do. He washed the craft and put away the gear. He washed dishes and repaired the boat. His feet were always wet in his rubber boots, but he had no time to empty them due to his main job, which was pulling what was called the “cork line.” That operation simply meant placing his feet on the stern of the craft and pulling in the corks and webbing of the net. He did this for weeks on end and ached horribly for months while on the boat. When he did sleep, he did so on a damp, lumpy mattress.
His existence on the boat helped him later in life, however. In subsequent endeavors, whenever he was confronted by a problem, instead of worrying about it he would think back to his younger days and say to himself, “Could this possibly be as bad as pulling the cork line?” And his answer would invariably be, “No, nothing could be that bad!”
As you venture down your professional road in life, if you’re forced to endure an agonizing experience, approach it like Ted Ericksen and think of the times you’ve hit bottom and survived. It will make all your daily problems seem easy by comparison.
For more information on young adults preparing for the real world, join us at our Generation.Next program in Hamilton on Sunday, May 19.
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