“El Faro” is a screaming plea to prevent fear of failure, ego, and discouragement from taking us underwater. We all put on a show, fearing the risk that someone might see our weaknesses and reject them. Captain’s Errors. Most of us have felt that rejection firsthand, and overcompensate by putting on a steely image, impossibly infallible at work or in relationships.
The risk is not a ghost, and it can be unjust; sometimes the world shortchanges good, hard workers and faithful, honest folk. It’s discouraging. But we see this fact as a way to justify cynicism (“realism” as we see it), and worse, to justify a subscription to The Way Things Are by feeding into this need for a flawless image in all aspects of our lives. Nothing to see here. Nothing on my mind. Even in moments of crisis, we tend to put on a show to keep our images smooth while we fall apart backstage. Standing on a sinking ship thinking, “As long as they don’t see my weakness, I’ll be fine.”
My brother once told me, “Hard work isn’t always rewarded, but it usually is.” It’s a reminder that Doing The Right Things does not make us immune to obstacles, but continually trying to overcome those challenges is our best chance at success. “El Faro” is an expression of the idea that it’s dangerous and unproductive to hide away our weaknesses, especially from ourselves. If instead we acknowledge and learn to be comfortable with our shortcomings, I think it helps us better focus on how to sail forward instead of going down with the ship.