Show/Hide Navigation

Dedication is What You Do When Nobody is Watching

Dedication is what you do when no-one is watching

The last time I put to sea was with an injured soldier. Phil and I rowed together from England to France. Written on the boat were the words “Dedication is What You Do When Nobody is Watching”. It’s a saying that will serve me well crossing the Atlantic.

There will be four of us out there, thousands of miles from land in a little pea green boat. Two hours of rowing, two hours break, two hours rowing. Repeat for as long as it takes to strike land on the far side. We anticipate that will be somewhere between 45 and 60 days.

If you are rowing solo the equations are very simple: row harder = go faster. Rest and relax = stay still. The choice is yours. You will only reach the end when you have earned the end. In a team of four it is different. There is scope to not pull with all your might. You can not bother to repair something because someone else will do it eventually. You can give less than your all and still reach the finish line.

I know that at times I will be tired or demoralised. My arse will hurt (indeed I am still in a lot of pain from this) and the end will seem far off. I will be at sea with three virtual strangers. I know that our bond will grow into a strong team willing to help each other and work hard for each other. But before we arrive at that stage my motivation must really just be for myself. To do the job properly, to arrive on the far side satisfied that I gave my all and not to have any lingering feelings that I took the easy route at any time.

The video below is an excellent demonstration of this idea. Put your heart and soul into what you do, at all times, everywhere. Dance like nobody’s watching.

Read Comments

You might also like

Walking Home for Christmas 2017 Every year approximately 15,000 skilled and capable men and women leave the Armed Forces having served on behalf of their country. The majority transition successfully. But for a meaningful minority the departure from the structured world of the military is […]...
Too much to choose from The irony of finding in my inbox, three years old and still unfinished, the embryo of a blog post about “just get on with it”… So, in the spirit of those notes, which suggested that the time to begin is […]...
Urgent versus Important Frustrated at the continual interruptions of modern life, I headed to a bothy in the hills to get some work done on my book. It was the most productive three days I have managed in ages! The book – when […]...


  1. You rowed to France? Wow! That is utterly incredible! I thought about getting into rowing. I love boats and my fave machine at the gym was always the I would find rowing for one day a big challenge – I can’t imagine rowing for 60 days straight. I have so much admiration for you! It sounds silly in comparison, but I felt a huge sense of achievement just from doing a 104 mile cross country walk over 10 consecutive days. That was my biggest challenge to date. I am always looking for new challenges but I’m so impressed by yours! Wow. Just Wow.



Post a Comment

HTML tags you can use: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

© Copyright 2012 Alastair Humphreys. All rights reserved. Site design by JSummerton