So You Want to Be a Pirate, Eh?


If you've never played The Secret of Monkey Island, you should. It's a fantastic game that set the bar for my experience of digital entertainment. It is the laughable adventure of Guybrush Threepwood, a protagonist so desperate to be a pirate in spite of his obvious deficiencies, that he simply cannot be stopped. As multiple characters size our hero up, they often repeat the skeptical theme, "So you want to be a pirate, eh?" But sweet Guybrush never wavers. He is unflappable in his determination to achieve his goal.

Thinking about Guybrush existentially, he is a model of what it means to never give up on the things we truly want. Along the way to success, there are always plenty of detractors. We need to be more like Guybrush who unabashedly walks into the Scumm Bar and informs the pirate leaders of his aspirations. While sharing our goals with others may be hard, the harder part is not giving up when they tell us all the reasons why they think it just isn't going to happen.

There are three specific moments I remember that show our swashbuckling hero's dedication to his own cause and all of them can teach us plenty about what it takes to succeed. These challenges also focus on the undeniable fact that no matter what our goals are, we will all achieve them in a unique manner and ultimately, we will better inform many of our preconceived notions of what it is we really wanted.



At one point in the adventure, Guybrush is trapped underwater tied to a statue. Just out of reach are a myriad of sharp objects capable of setting him free by cutting through the rope. However, all of these shiny objects are merely a distraction. Guybrush manages to escape when he realizes that he is strong enough to simply pick up the statue and climb up to the dock.

What we all need to keep in mind is that we have unique experiences and skills. While we should always have a desire for improvement and learning, we should embrace our strengths and use them to our advantage. We don't do ourselves any favors if we focus too intently on the things that are currently just out of reach.


What a Waste of Time

Sometimes we need to do things that we don't want to do because we don't think they have any relevance to the goals we want to achieve. Well, tough. Sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do. Additionally, the lack of any relevance might be due to our own naivety or shortsightedness. 

Our friend Guybrush didn't want to pick flowers out in the woods because he thought it wasn't the type of thing a pirate should be doing. But he was later able to mix the plants with meat and knock out a pack of guard dogs. Just as there are detractors like the Pirate Leaders, there are sometimes people who only respond to hard work and grit.  Often, doing some flower picking can win these piranha poodles over. We should all be aware of the fact that there are plenty of times when what we are doing doesn't make sense at the time but can certainly come in handy later.


On Your OWN


No one is going to do the work for us. Whatever dream we are chasing, it is ultimately up to us to achieve it. Guybrush managed to get a crew together to help him navigate to Monkey Island, but they all saw it as a vacation and the wannabe pirate had to shoot himself out of a cannon to get from the boat to the island. Hopefully our goals won't require the use of a cannon, but what rings true here is that true support is hard to come by and the hustle needed for success comes from within.



There's a lot to learn from this plucky little pirate hopeful. When we feel like we're drowning, its critical that we lean on our strengths as we acquire new skills. During moments when we feel like things that are being asked of us are unimportant, always keep in mind that no task is too menial to make a difference as long as we put our all into it. And, of course, although we may be on teams, no one is responsible for our effectiveness other than ourselves.

So you want to be a (insert dream here), eh? Remember to be like Guybrush.

John FerriganComment