Fezywig Day & The Equation of Progress

by EMILY ORTON on FEBRUARY 8, 2017

February 8 is Fezywig Day at our house.  That day in 2014 we moved aboard our sailboat, Fezywig.  It was the culmination of 6 years of preparing, planning and dreaming.  In honor of going for it, whatever it is, I offer this post from my old blog about how we can move from wanting to do something to actually doing it:

 Our first night aboard  Fezywig

Our first night aboard Fezywig


“Do you really have the guts to do all the things you say you’re going to do?  I hear a lot of talk, but I’m not seeing any action.  Why don’t you just do it?!” Karina asked us.  Fourteen year olds are pithy like that.

All the “things” we are yammering about include:

  • becoming digital nomads living out of our van while traveling the world
  • ditto on a 30-40 foot sailboat
  • homesteading some farmland where we grow our own food, raise some chickens and maybe a cow or goat
  • putting a sleek, environmentally friendly, prefabricated house in the middle of a wooded lot where we write daily and spend the rest of the time running the woods like characters from our favorite Gene Stratton Porter books.

These dreams ask, Should I stay or Should I go?  At the root they are the same dream of spending the time of our lives in the ways we feel will be most satisfying and significant to our family:  independence, travel, nature, creativity.  These are all powerful draws.  As Erik said at his workplace this week, “The only thing between anyone and this place is two weeks notice.”  We’ve got the itch, the anxious hollow belly feeling that something BIG needs to change.  So why don’t we just do it?  I can answer that with an equation.

 The Equation of Progress by innovation expert Bob Moesta

The Equation of Progress by innovation expert Bob Moesta

My friend Whitney just posted this equation in regards to social media, but as soon as I read it I realized I had the answer to Karina’s question.  The push of our current situation and the pull of our big dreamy ideas is not yet greater than the sum total of our allegiance to our current situation combined with our anxiety about making the necessary changes.

In all fairness, we have spent the last three years learning sailing and recently certified to sail 50 foot boats.  We planted seeds this year.  We bought rock-climbing shoes.  We repeatedly decrease our total possessions.  We’ve spent weeks road tripping and even took the kids camping.  Our toes are nearly over the edge.  Still, a slight decrease in F4 (anxiety of new solution) could result in the net guts required to pack our passion and go.  I’m not sure how long I’ll be working on this equation, but the math has never been more engaging.

 Learning to sail in Long Island Sound

Learning to sail in Long Island Sound

 Driving across the Simpson Bay Lagoon, Sint Maarten, Dutch Antilles

Driving across the Simpson Bay Lagoon, Sint Maarten, Dutch Antilles


Bob Moesta, The Equation Maker, left the following comment:  

Having lived this equation my entire life. . . the equation is not as precise at the math implied and the incremental small changes in the physical side never make the tip happen. It usually is a BIG change in one of the forces emotionally that causes the flip to the new behavior. So look for a frustrating last straw, a calming confidence, a boat you love, or a big picture ah ha moment that breaks your allegiance to the past, to flip the switch. What is clear is you are ready, now feel the wind, be ready and . . . . . . .