Drop Your Tools

During the War in the Pacific, nearing the end of World War II, the Allies made many amphibious landings on Pacific Islands occupied by Japan.

The Allied leadership often did not realize, though, that many of these islands were protected by large reefs which prevented the landing boats from unloading the soldiers directly onto the beach.  This meant that the soldiers had to suddenly exit the boat in deep water and swim to shore.

These soldiers carried heavy gear that they believed (and their training had drilled into them) was crucial to their survival, even their identity.  But in this new scenario, plunged into deep water, the men who clung to their tools tragically drowned.  It was those who could, in a split second, change strategy and shed their heavy tools, who lived to fight. 

We have tools to help us navigate life: patterns of thought, routines, narratives, even our default personalities.  Do we also have the attentiveness to know when it is prudent to drop these tools and engage the world in a different way?