Houseboats and Differential Thinking

In September of my senior year of college, I had accepted an offer to go work at an international bank. That means that I had 8 solid months of two things: doing absolutely nothing and planning for the future. As I'm sure you are aware, I didn't do much planning. I did become fixated on one idea though: houseboats.

My home base for my new career was going to be Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken, NJ. Weehawken is most notably known for being the shortest bus ride into Times Square and for the home of the famous duel between Aaron Burr and Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. I wanted to find a place to live that was close to work, so it seemed like Weehawken was the answer. Weehawken and houseboats.

First a pitch for houseboats. It's a house that floats on water. Most people don't need more convincing than that, but I'll keep going. They come with amazing outdoor roof decks with full service bars, and some even have a water slide from the roof bar to the water. Remember, this was 2005 / 2006 which didn't really mean much to me at the time other than housing prices were very high compared to houseboat prices. I could get a brand new, custom built 4 bedroom house boat with roof bar and water slide for the less than I could get a 2 bedroom, 1000 sq ft apartment. Add on top of that, the image above is of the harbor where I was going to store my houseboat, which was directly across the street from my new office. As if that wasn't enough, I had this glorious idea that I would run weekend trips down to Atlantic City in my house which was a boat.

I was totally into houseboats. Remember, I had a lot of free time on my hands. I researched makes and models and shipping options. I was going to get some fun roommates to live on board and help me pay for the thing. The plan was amazing. And then it sank. My plans sank. Not the boat. I never got the houseboat.

In speaking with the harbor master about prices for docking slips, he told me that houseboats weren't allowed because they had a flat bow. The rules of the marina only allowed for boats with a pointed bow. Quite possibly the dumbest rule of all time. I tried to find ways around it, but it was this rule that crushed my dreams of living on a houseboat.

Time to Differentiate Our Thinking

My favorite people on earth are those who think differently. They look at the same exact world that everyone else sees, and yet they don't accept things for what they are. They look at the world and ask what ifs and why nots. These are the innovators. These are the people I aspire to be.

These innovators are masters of differentiated thinking. Everyone sees a problem and they see an opportunity. They are the chess grand masters of life. They are able to see tiny changes in the world and predict the next 16 moves in advance. They ask different questions, get different answers and live by different rules.

These people don't rush out of bed to avoid being late for a cubicle job; they develop morning routines that allow them to thrive. They don't eat whatever sounds tasty to them at a particular moment; they realize that food must nourish them and eat accordingly. They don't try to create a work / life balance; their work is their play and they've gotten really good at playing.

This is why I want to differentiate my thinking. The houseboat was a brief moment of genius / insanity that went undeveloped. It's time to bring back that mindset and view the world from a different playbook: my own.