I’ve heard Jeff Bridges talk about this at least twice, and both times it has resonated with me deeply. Channeling Buckminster Fuller, Bridges makes an analogy about making big changes in life to how large ships use trim tabs. Basically, the little rudder on a big boat loves the big rider, which turns the boat. I think he is on to something here, maybe one of the keys to a great life.
All of us are trim tabs. We might seem like we’re not up to the task, but we are, man. We’re alive! We can make a difference! We can turn this ship in the way we wanna go, man! Towards love, creating a healthy planet for all of us.Jeff Bridges
A Great Life Is Possible
When I feel overwhelmed, which happens a lot lately during COVID-19, it can sometimes seem hopeless. But I refuse to fall into negative self-talk because I know where that leads. I get anxious and depressed. I go dark. I become insufferable. It sucks for me and for everyone around me. It’s not fun.
But the analogy holds. It frames things in a way that feels empowering. As if I can handle my shit. One thing at a time. Small changes. Keep going. Don’t quit. Come with love. Always. That’s the key to a great life.
I plan to write soon about a dense, strange book called “My Big Toe,” by Thomas Campbell, eventually. His big theory about everything (aka Big Toe), talks a lot about evolution, consciousness, and love. From my simple understanding, consciousness itself is evolving, albeit slowly. Small, positive changes lead to more small positive changes. One after another, Darwin style.
Changes that are positive win, negative ones lose (and go extinct). Over the millennia, these little wins add up. We get ever sophisticated forms of life, consciousness and societies. When I try to wrap my head around this, I once again revisit Fuller’s trim tabs.
In order to stay grounded, I try to stay focused on my own life. My own decisions. If there is free will (is there?), then the decisions I make matter. When I make them with love and with my big self, I evolve positively. When I think small, and make decisions grounded in my ego, that’s me moving in the wrong direction, trying to move the big tab, without first moving the trim tab.
So I guess, the key to a great life is small changes, made with love. Over and over again, endlessly. Relentlessly. Driving towards a great life.