My Java Journal

On Navigation: Helpful Tools For Life’s Journey

Only lost in thought; not place or direction. Navigation was a favourite task from my time in the infantry.


If the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced one fact about life it is truly how little control we have of what circumstances are going to be thrust at us. It hasn’t been especially easy navigating our way through these times.

In life you likely have dreams, an objective or a goal you are striving for. That is important. You need to be steadfast and determined, persistent and unapologetic in your pursuit. However, sometimes you need to react to a change or obstacle you can’t control. Navigation offers some tools that can help – (yes, this is the shit I think about when I am out walking or paddling alone).

Navigating Life

In navigation, one needs to know where they are, and where they want to go. Your start-state and your end-state. Sometimes though, you have to step around a tree or skirt a lake. You can’t control all the factors or circumstance. The key is knowing how to get back on track. It is important also to not dwell on the deviation, only to accept it and work the solution.

In navigation, as in life, there are tricks and tools to keep an eye on the objective and maintain forward momentum towards it; while working around the unexpected obstacles, or circumstances that will arise.

Aiming off, pacing, and adaptability are navigational methods that can help along the way. In fact, they are critical and necessary in the pursuit of the objective.

Aiming Off

If your goal is distant, or you anticipate it to be hard to vector on to, then you can aim off on a mark that is easier to make. In navigation, that could be marching deliberately towards a lake or knoll, such that once you get to this more easily found objective you know to turn, say, west, toward your true mark. This method brings you much closer to your objective without having to be precise. It narrows the margin for error.

In life, this could be working to gain the certifications and qualifications, skills or knowledge you will need to ensure that when you get closer to your goal that you are prepared for when you get there; thus, narrowing your margin of error, or perhaps better stated, bettering your chances for success.


Knowing your stride and how many steps you generally take to cover a certain distance gives you a better overall sense of distance and place when moving through dense terrain. Sometimes you don’t have the landmarks to inform your location. If you know where you started, and know, generally, how far you’ve gone towards your objective, then you can better assess your progress and path.

Knowing, generally, your strengths and weaknesses as you continue on life’s journey, knowing your ‘pace’ will help you find your progress and place when you lose sight of your goals. Or perhaps they become challenged by other opportunities or obstacles that present themselves along the way. If you know your pace, then you can better assess your progress and path in life.


If you step to the right of every obstacle that comes before you, then over time you will start to veer off. This will be a nuanced deviation and hard to gauge. It can make the finding of your path more difficult; only exacerbated the farther along you travel without correcting it.

If, on the other hand you step left for every step to the right you make, knowing you have a heavy ‘right foot,’ then you will better balance your path, and way forward. This small adaptation, based on your known weaknesses (or strengths) is a valuable way to correct for known variables.

Some are loath to speak in public, others to have their work critiqued. A short temper, or lack of empathy can cause havoc to relationships, and deny success in certain goals. Take the time to know yourself. Be honest. Find adaptations and methods to correct or assist in your chances for success.

The Reality

The path will be hard. The journey though, so often you will find, either already, or you will come to realize, is the destination. So, make those dreams come true, but along the way don’t lose sight of how those dreams evolve, mature, change, or maybe just become resolutely reaffirmed. Keep your bearings and good luck.

COVID has knocked some of us off our bearing. That doesn’t mean we can’t find the path again. You know the situation now – you know where you are. You understand what is possibly our new reality. Take stock. Consider where you are going. Find the tricks and tools you need to navigate your way back. It starts with knowing yourself, the distance and challenge of your goal, and your pace. You got this though. Your goal may look a little, maybe even a lot, different, but some things you can’t control. Accept them and use what you can. Adapt and work the solution.


Here is a site that has some simple and easy to grasp navigational concepts. Great if you decide to get outside, but it also offers other tools that might be, metaphorically, helpful in life’s journey.

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