18 Mar 2021

Thursday 18 March 2021

Head of Positive Education, Mr Grant McKibbin, shares a topical lesson in his latest piece for our ENews Wellbeing Column, 'Go Well'.


(Image credits: Emirates Team NZ)


Grinder: A crew member on a yacht whose duties include operating manual winches that raise and trim the sails and move the boom. It is a physically demanding role with a significant impact on a racing yacht’s overall performance.

Head down, with one job to do, a grinder’s role is both essential, and largely hidden. They must perform without total commitment, upon an instant. In some ways it is the least glamorous role on a boat, but as essential as an engine in a car. A grinder in the AC75s can go a whole race without looking up! Well, not quite, but the grinder’s job is not so much tactical as sheer, concentrated power.

During these Covid times, when lockdowns fluctuate like tides, and our working life varies like the winds on the Hauraki Gulf, we could compare our lives to one of the many roles on a racing yacht. Some of us have to predict the unpredictable; others steer the best course with the available information at hand. And most of us, at one time or another just have to put our faith in the Captain, keep our heads down and grind out the work - until conditions change, we get our bearings, and cross our fingers for plainer sailing.

It may not seem noble, but the humble ‘grinder’ - the regular citizen who gets on with their job and does his or her best to keep our lives on track and well-placed for when things get back to ‘normal’ - is in fact an everyday hero. Whether it is Team New Zealand or the ‘team of five million’, we play our part, do our best and, when the time comes, look back with pride on a job well done. We just may not see the fruits of our labours as we are labouring.

In his novel ‘Wind, Sea and Stars’, Antoine de Saint Exupēry wrote “It is idle, having planted an acorn in the morning, to expect that afternoon to sit in the shade of the oak.” Good things take time, and this is especially the case now.

Grant McKibbin

Head of Positive Education