A lecture given by Roy H. Williams on top of the Wizard Academy in Austin, Texas.

There are four people in the ocean of Life that you will meet. There’s only four people that you meet and you meet the same four over and over and over. The first person that you meet on the ocean is Drifting. The winds and waves of Circumstance have pushed the drifter this way and that way. You know you’ve met a Drifter when they say, “Whatever. It’s all good.”

The second person you meet is Surfing. Now these people seem to be having a pretty good time. They’re just looking for a wave to ride. They’re looking for the next big thing and so they just paddle around until a wave rises up and they get on top of it. They don’t ever really get anywhere, but they have a nice time. They ride the circumstances.

The third person you meet is Drowning. Now if you’re normal and healthy and well adjusted you’ll only have to be rescued from drowning two or three times in your life. Financially, emotionally, relationally, maybe chemically, you know? There’s going to be some intervention by someone who loves you to help you out and help you get your head back together, ok? That’s normal, so that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about professional drowners. You’ve met these people. You meet them and they say, “This has been the worst week of my life, I don’t know what I’m gonna do!” So you reach out and help them. You get them all straightened out, you know who I’m talking about. You get them all straightened out and two or three months go by and you see them and ask how they’re doing. “Oh, it’s just been the worst week of my life, I don’t know what I’m gonna do!” See those people never come around me because word has spread that I will hold your ass under until you quit thrashing. Roy is not a mercy guy. And so people just need to know that. I help you once and if you don’t have your poop in a group I’m done. I’m sorry.

Drowners obviously don’t get anywhere. They’re just whatever. Now, the fourth category (and hopefully it’s all of us) is sailing. They’re Navigating. Here’s what’s interesting. The person that’s navigating can turn the sails to compensate for changes in the wind and they can turn the rudder to compensate for changes in the waves and they can steer the ship to get back on course only if there’s something that never moves. You cannot navigate by monitoring the wind and the waves. That’s the point. The circumstances? The changing circumstances? No. If you’re monitoring the circumstances and making your decisions based on that you’re surfing!

The person who has the North Star, something that is not attached to the ocean, a non-negotiable is what I call the mountain you’re willing to die on. What mountain are you willing to die on? What is the one thing not up for discussion, not gonna happen, non-negotiable, and that cannot move? You get to pick what it is.

In this week’s Monday Memo I asked a question and I ask it at least once a year. What are you buying with the hours of your life? Money can be replaced. Time cannot. What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it. What you do today is important. What we do together today is important because we are all exchanging a day of our life for it. A day we cannot get back.

So the idea is, you have to have a North Star and so this is a reminder in stone, like architecture. And when the Lochland stone is mounted in the next few weeks and we approach the tower’s finish and that landscaping is done and you stand there and you see that little dim light in the sky every other star in the sky moves slowly across the sky during the night. Every star in the sky moves. The only reason the North Star doesn’t move (and this is important) it is directly above the axis of the Earth. It is literally that point of light around which the whole world revolves. You understand? The light is just above the axis of the Earth and the whole world spins. It never changes position it never moves but every other star moves as the Earth revolves and as the seasons change. Not the North Star.

So here’s the question: What is the one thing around which your whole world revolves? Because until a person knows that you cannot trust your plans. You can trust your plans when you know this is the thing that’s not up for negotiation. This is the thing we protect at all cost. This is it. Now when you have more than one it is very important that they are prioritized. Because when two things that are important to you come into conflict like Justice and Mercy which one bows the knee to which? Honesty and Loyalty? Everybody gets to choose. You don’t have to submit your choices to anybody else but you need to know. And when you think about it, I hope these two never come to conflict but when they do that’s the one that wins. And so when the crisis happens you have no doubts, you have no anxiety, you’re not torn in two directions because you decided far in advance of the circumstances which of your values bows the knee to which of your values.