Learning From Captain Mal

In life's journey, I've learned some things, forgotten some things, gained some wisdom, discovered a lot of foolishness. But this I know: Everything I Need to Know in Life, I Learned From Captain Mal.

Location: Hillsboro, Oregon, United States

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mal's Rule: Be Direct

“Let me make this abundantly clear.”
Mal to Patience, Serenity

People say the ‘verse is a complicated place. I disagree. Now, I’m not one to say a body can’t make it complicated if that’s their notion. You can conjure up excuses and excursions and alarums ‘til the cows come home. I guess most folk do this most of the time. But really life is very simple. Sometimes it’s hard, but hard and complicated ain't one and the same.

Keeping life simple is just a matter of being direct. The word direct, I’m told, comes from the word direction. Moving towards what’s important without going the long way round. Being direct is pretty much the same thing. Being direct is just stayin' on track.

Now some of the advice I’ve given you falls under the heading of ‘do as I say…’. But this time I’m talking about one of my specialties. Whether I’m dealing with some fed who wants to make a hostage out of Kaylee, or I’m working out the best way to get from here to there, I tend to towards directness. Some say a mite too much so.

The philosophers make a big deal out of how people need to build their minds, spirits and bodies. This is pretty much the same thing. To remain direct and keep things simple, a body has to keep his mind, actions and word direct and on course.

Staying direct with your mind means focusing on what needs done. Irrelevant ideas can cloud your mind, discourage you or get you off track. Some examples of irrelevant ideas are stuff you can do nothing about, other stuff you can do nothing about right now, and stuff that doesn’t even need anything done about it. Other irrelevant ideas are things like worry and jealousy. Keep your mind on track, focus on the job as I’ve said earlier.

Direct action means to set yourself up to avoid complications. Distractions in the mind are the same as complications in the real world. How many times has a good plan gone south because somebody threw in just one more factor? Once you have a plan, follow the plan. Trust the guy (you) who made the plan when he was well rested, calm and had a birds-eye view of the situation. Don’t go thinking that you now, all stressed and in the thick, can think better than that other guy. Trust your plan and stay direct.

Sometimes complications pop up despite your best intentions. The thing to remember here is to stay away from those irrelevant notions like frustration and worry. Deal with the complications, defeat them and move right along your chosen path. Stay direct.

Being direct with your word is just a matter of speaking plainly. Some folk are great at using fancy words to make lies seem true. Direct talk comes from not fearing the truth. That temptation to solve things with complicated words comes from not trusting the truth to do the job. So you pretty up the truth instead of keeping it simple. Trouble is, eventually the truth comes out. Better to be the one who picks the ground on that. Tell the truth and trust it, keep your words simple and plain.

Being direct brings change, success, victory. Being indirect complicates things, brings trouble and defeat. Staying direct with your mind, actions and word helps things go smooth. People will watch from their complicated lives and wonder how it is you do so much with what you have. Your crew will see it and follow you, knowing that no matter where you stand you’re going on to something bright, bold and beautiful.