Oswald Letter

Be relentless in pursuit of what you want most

pirate treasure mapby Dan Oswald

In the blockbuster Disney movie Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Captain Jack Sparrow’s most treasured possession is his compass. This makes sense. Jack is a ship’s captain, and he needs his compass to do his job—navigate the high seas. The problem is that his compass doesn’t tell him which direction he’s going. The needle never points north!

But Jack’s compass isn’t as useless as it may appear. It actually provides incredible value to anyone who possesses it. The compass directs its owner to whatever he or she most desires. For Jack, it’s typically treasure.

Imagine having your own version of Captain Jack Sparrow’s compass at work! Whatever goal or objective you want to obtain most, you’d have a guide pointing the way. Wouldn’t that be great?

But knowing the destination—and even the route to get there—doesn’t mean you’ll reach your prize. Like Jack Sparrow in the movie, just because you know exactly where you need to go doesn’t mean getting there is going to be easy. You still have to navigate the obstacles that are bound to arise along the way.

If you set ambitious goals to find your workplace treasure, even with a guide in hand, you will still need to be resourceful. Let’s look at a few lessons we can learn from Captain Jack Sparrow about finding your treasure.

It takes a crew. Jack can’t captain a ship without his crew. There is too much work to be done to navigate the seas alone. To find his treasure, Jack must rely on his crew to perform, often under difficult circumstances. You need to have a team you can trust if you want to succeed. You can’t do it alone.

Allies and partners can be important to obtaining your goal. Jack makes some unusual alliances to advance his chances of finding the treasure. Even some people who at first seem to be rivals can be allies if you understand how to align your goals. Look for people with whom you can work for mutual benefit.

Be flexible. Very often, Jack must change course or adjust his plan to achieve his ultimate goal. He learns, repeatedly, that it’s not a straight line to what he’s chasing. The same is true for you. You must understand that sometimes you need to make adjustments to your plan to reach the destination.

You must persevere. Finding the treasure doesn’t come easy. The old adage “if at first you don’t succeed” is one certainly practiced by Jack Sparrow. Jack finds himself in some precarious situations, but he doesn’t lose sight of the ultimate goal. You need to pursue your goals in the same relentless manner in which Jack chases the treasure. It’s the only way you’ll get what you’re looking for.

It’s hard to say that Captain Jack Sparrow is a great role model for any of us, but there are some lessons we can learn from the buccaneer. The relentless pursuit of what you want to achieve is necessary for success. If you are unclear about what you’re after, if you get distracted by other objectives, or if you can’t adjust when things don’t go exactly as you had planned, well, then you’re not going to reach the prize. But if you can rely on your team, find the right partners, remain flexible, and persevere, you’ll likely find your treasure.