A Question To Which There Is No Answer
Richard Jones - Ocean Rower
Let it never be said that there is no answer to the question. There is always an answer. Itís just that it lies deep within the individual. But because it takes time on the part of the speaker to explain, as well as patience on the part of the hearer to listen, the real answer is usually never forthcoming. Nenad knew this, and decided early on, as he began his preparation for this once in a life time journey, to give the short, flippant answer, rather than subject the inquirer to ten minutes of personal life philosophy. Others, when asked why theyíre doing something out of the ordinary, might reply, "Because itís there," "Because I can," "Itís a personal challenge." Unfortunately, Nenadís short answer inevitably gave rise to further inquiries.
Itís the same analogy as when people ask you, "How are you?" Theyíre not interested in the long answer. The short answer is all people have the patience to listen to, they donít really want to hear about all your aches and pains, or your philosophy for why youíre trying to do the unthinkable.
Concept 2, the people who graciously sponsor many of the ocean rowers with their lightweight, carbon fiber oars, made an interesting comment in their publication celebrating 25 years of operation, that relates to Nenadís situation They said, "We are often asked the question, ĎWhat was Concept one?í The short answer is there was no such product. The long answer describes a design philosophy that we try to incorporate in the engineering of our products from the start. It goes like this: The first solution to a problem is seldom the best one. It takes looking at a problem from many directions, coming up with many solutions and throwing out the ones that are mediocre. Not holding on to the first concept will result in a more innovative solution. We hope to follow this path as both our products and our organization evolve."
People want short answers to involved questions, they donít have the patience to listen to drawn out explanations. Nenad discovered this early on, and thus developed his quick, one line come back. Most adventurers do the same. The masses donít comprehend the intense drive that propels certain types of individuals to "push out the envelope."
I did not know Nenad personally, I spoke with him only once when he called me to inquire about the type of safety equipment (electronic devices) I used on my Atlantic crossing.
I knew Peter Bird, and I was absolutely crushed when I received word of his accident. I was no less hurt and pained at the loss of Nenad. He had come so far, and was so close to his destination, so tantalizing close. Jenifer and Dane Clark cautioned him to allow himself to be rescued before the onslaught of the approaching storm. He elected to go on. He trusted in his equipment, he had to, or he never would had attempted the voyage in the first place. Given the same scenario, and set of circumstances, I would have done the same.
Though I did not meet him personally, I know the type of man Nenad was, and I know why he went, and herein, lies the answer to the question.
He had a dream, and he couldnít let go of it, perhaps better said, it wouldnít let go of him. He was a man who knew how to get things done; his whole life experience prior to having this dream was one of goal setting and follow through. His experiences in life had taught him that he was capable of achieving what he set his mind to. He was a detail man. Nothing escaped his attention. He was a person who had "all his ducks lined up," before the action began. He was a man who was always prepared, there were never loose ends left undone. As time went on, he discovered that he was capable of greater and greater accomplishments, some things panned out, while others didnít, but his failures never deterred him from trying again. He was a visionary man, a man who believed in himself, in his ability to set a goal and accomplish it. He had a wonderful image of himself, an image that allowed him to soar with the Eagles. The self image that he developed essentially said, "There are no! limits to what I can accomplish, I dream big dreams." If it hadnít been an voyage across the ocean in a small rowboat, it would have been something else. Why, because Nenad knew there were no limits to his potential, and when a man/woman is possessed with the knowledge that all things are possible to him who believes, there is no stopping such an individual. All you can do is get out of the way, and let them pass through.
There arenít many like Nenad. But the world is a better place for his kind. He has shown the world that ordinary people can dream great dreams, and accomplish them. He can rightfully take his place with the Amelia Ehrharts, the Charles Lindberghs, the Thor Heyerdahls, and the Earnest Shackeltons of this world.
Nenad has momentarily slipped beyond our vision. We shall not see him for awhile, but he lives. Friends and family who knew him intimately can rejoice in his zest for life, and his desire to be all he was capable of being. He is a role model that all can look up to.
Thank you Nenad. We will miss you, but we will see you again.
Fri, 7 Dec 2001