Inspirational Insight: Lighthouse vs. Tugboat

The daily grind of work and responsibilities can sometimes leave us in a whirlwind of anxiety. Our lives are filled with stressors but we DO have the power to take charge. We can be the force in our own lives to transform a slump into true motivation. Take a step back and ask yourself, what are my goals? Am I on the path to achievement, to happiness or both? What does your future really look like?

There is a Jiu Jitsu Club in Austin with a fantastic coach and this message today was inspired by him. It is the concept of being a lighthouse versus a tugboat.

Both a lighthouse and tugboat provide a purpose. They both have a view of the ocean, similarly they are both designed to help guide boats to safety. Ultimately, it is HOW they serve their purpose that defines the difference.

Tugboats travel out onto the ocean and use force to tug huge ships back to port. They pull and push will all the might they have to bring the ship back to the harbor. Metaphorically speaking, they work so hard in pulling a single ship into port that they wear themselves down.


Are you relentlessly a tugboat? Pulling, for change in your life – to make empty friendships better, to save people or to chase a losing situation. By giving everything you have to pull others into change it has the potential to burn out your motor.

201_2651329Lighthouses shine, brightly guiding many ships safely to the harbor. They stand firmly rooted and tall, weathering storms and strong winds. They are a beacon. Ships from vast distances at sea can choose to follow its guiding light but it doesn’t affect how brightly the lighthouse shines. Continually the lighthouse shines, no matter the path the boat chooses, it is not worn down by the effort. It withstands turbulent seas and remains constant.

Can you change others and external situations by being a lighthouse? Absolutely, but it is not up to you. In the case of the lighthouse, you will not exhaust yourself as a beacon of light. You cannot make people care by pulling nor can you tug them in considerate behavior or better work ethic. In the end you will burn yourself out and in-turn fail to help them and yourself. It is a losing situation.

Strive to be the lighthouse, radiating light and positivity to those in your life. Look for positive people to share experiences and seek self-improvement. Whether it be a better life, increased finances or physical fitness, stay focused, let your light shine to those who wish to be drawn in.