Internet.

Try as I might tonight I cannot connect my laptop to connect to the internet at my house. I have been unable to connect to the internet on my computer for under ten minutes and have been annoyed with every minute of it. I have been constantly connected to the internet for the past seven years straight, minus a few days here and there but overall the internet has been my constant companion.

I am grateful for the connected world we live in. The internet has opened nearly endless possibilities for the masses to become connected and opened education opportunities wide open for people all over the world. From the poorest countries on earth to the richest we are connected and able to show one another what we do, and teach each other how to do things better. Historically, news of current events was delayed days, weeks, and months but today we are aware of current events within seconds of things happening and often we experience them live as live streaming is so easily available for us all.

We all live connected lives and often forget to disconnect from the digital connection and live in the moment. Life connected opens many doors, living a life connected to reality that is disconnected from the internet opens the mind. That sounds a bit too mindful for these little rants but it’s a real thought that I think more of us could take to heart. We need to be less connected to technology when we are driving, put our phones away and be present while driving. We need to be better at listening with our eyes and ears focused on the person speaking and less ready to click our thumbs back on the screens in our hands.

Living life in these moments is all we’ll really have to look back on. When you look back on life do you want to remember the high scores we had on those games we deleted on our phones or the great moments we shared with friends doing real things and interacting together in person.

Skate.

Tonight we rented Mid90s while we watched I was taken back to to the mid2000s(see what I did there.) to my days spent skating around various parts of Utah. Those days spent under the sun rolling around looking for the perfect spot to spend a few hours trying out old and new tricks, falling, succeeding, and spending time with my friends. We lived our best days learning new tricks and feeling the road beneath our boards, I’m grateful I spent most of my teenage years as a skateboarder.  

When I first started skating I talked my parents into picking me up a board from Walmart that had plastic wheels and trucks. I rolled around the sidewalk at our house and down the manger between the pen one and two at the farm. I rode that board about two weeks before I broke it and needed a new one, my parents told me I needed to ride better so I didn’t break any more skateboards. Little did we know that I would continue to learn new tricks and break more boards. One of my favorite setups was a shorty’s board with roses designed by Chad Muska that my Grandma purchased me. I loved that skateboard and loved my Grandma for gifting me such a cool gift when she thought skateboarding was for hooligans.

One of my favorite things about skating was the movement. The ability that my body had to flow with the board once I was able to “master” a trick or movement. I spent much of my time skating at a friends house where we built a box with rails and spent hours trying out new tricks and mastering the process. The feeling of the wind on your face as you rode, the connection you had each time you put your foot to the ground and pushed and the motion as you curved your board side to side while you rolled down the road. Skating was a movement that felt similar to near perfect balance to me.

Skating was a great teacher to me, it reinforced the idea of never giving up on your goals. As a skater, the only thing that came naturally to me was falling and I did that often. However, I kept trying to be better and slowly became better through trial and error. I ripped a few holes in my jeans, cracked my head open a few times, and bled from various scraped that happened as a result of my falls but I kept getting back on to skate some more. Skating solidified my understanding of never giving up.

These days I skate much less than I used to, but I still pull my skateboard out from time to time and see what tricks I can still land. I look back at those days with gratitude for those hours spent with friends skating around looking for the next big trick we would test out. For the cuts and bruises that were a result of going big or going home, and the triumph we felt when someone landed a big one. Skating was and still is one of the best ways to learn balance, test the limits, and create the best memories with friends.

Variety.

Ever wondered what makes life so good? It’s variety, opportunity to experience the unique differences we each bring to the table. Think about it, can you imagine eating nothing but mac n cheese for every meal, every day for an entire lifetime? Or even eat the same meat and potato meal always? That would become redundant in a short time, and eating would be a dread instead of a delight. Variety enhances life, think about the foods we eat, the clothes we wear, and the people we met, things change and vary anywhere you go.

Let’s think about food(I love food, this is why we’re starting here.), eating should be an experience more often than not. Food is colors, textures and flavors all combined into an experience that can be enjoyed aloe or shared among friends. When the world began trading they opened up new food combinations which have shaped cuisine, the way we grow food, the way we prepare food, the flavors we add to food, and the way we eat food. Food allows us to change up our routine and escape much of the mundane to do’s we live daily.

The clothes we choose to wear share a nonverbal message to those we pass on the street we enjoy band X, we support political candidate Y, or enjoy brand Z. Our clothes speak without words and are often others first impressions of us. I know, we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover nor a person by their clothes, but who doesn’t from time to time make assumptions about someone wearing a certain type of clothing. Clothing varies from person to person, country to country and culture to culture. How cool is that?

It’s not hard to see how people vary around the world, how different we can be due to the influences around us. If you live in a colder climate you are often involved in winter activities that a person living next to a beach in a warm climate who rarely wears pants. Where we live changes us and shapes us different ways. When you travel you experience these differences and may find yourself interested in adopting some of them into your daily routine. These difference create experiences that you will never forget, whether it’s eating guinea pig in Peru, Balut in the Philippines, Chicken and waffles in the USA, or Blood Pudding in the UK. Yes, another set of food references.

Our differences allow for a bit of mystery that calls us to adventure and exploration. Experiencing new things connects us, helping us see more, know more, an become better citizens of the world. Variety makes life better and makes for a better world.

Variety.

Ever wondered what makes life so good? It’s variety, opportunity to experience the unique differences we each bring to the table. Think about it, can you imagine eating nothing but mac n cheese for every meal, every day for an entire lifetime? Or even eat the same meat and potato meal always? That would become redundant in a short time, and eating would be a dread instead of a delight. Variety enhances life, think about the foods we eat, the clothes we wear, and the people we met, things change and vary anywhere you go.

Let’s think about food(I love food, this is why we’re starting here.), eating should be an experience more often than not. Food is colors, textures and flavors all combined into an experience that can be enjoyed aloe or shared among friends. When the world began trading they opened up new food combinations which have shaped cuisine, the way we grow food, the way we prepare food, the flavors we add to food, and the way we eat food. Food allows us to change up our routine and escape much of the mundane to do’s we live daily.

The clothes we choose to wear share a nonverbal message to those we pass on the street we enjoy band X, we support political candidate Y, or enjoy brand Z. Our clothes speak without words and are often others first impressions of us. I know, we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover nor a person by their clothes, but who doesn’t from time to time make assumptions about someone wearing a certain type of clothing. Clothing varies from person to person, country to country and culture to culture. How cool is that?

It’s not hard to see how people vary around the world, how different we can be due to the influences around us. If you live in a colder climate you are often involved in winter activities that a person living next to a beach in a warm climate who rarely wears pants. Where we live changes us and shapes us different ways. When you travel you experience these differences and may find yourself interested in adopting some of them into your daily routine. These difference create experiences that you will never forget, whether it’s eating guinea pig in Peru, Balut in the Philippines, Chicken and waffles in the USA, or Blood Pudding in the UK. Yes, another set of food references.

Our differences allow for a bit of mystery that calls us to adventure and exploration. Experiencing new things connects us, helping us see more, know more, an become better citizens of the world. Variety makes life better and makes for a better world.

Weak.

I recently started climbing again after just over a year of not climbing, re-entering my local climbing gym I figured that I could pick back up where I left off. Thinking that my fitness was fairly decent and my ability was still there I proceeded to flail around for an hour on routes that I easily climbed just a year before, my hand hurt, my shoulder ached, and my muscles all begged me to give them a rest. I continued to walk around the gym looking for routes to send, I ended up sending less than half of my attempted routes but still felt accomplished to be back in the gym climbing even if I was weaker than I thought I was.

After finishing my workout in the gym I drove home a little down about my climbing I thought about how nice it was to be going again. The thought of the different routes and moves needed to send(climb) them allowed me to recognize that today I was a weak climber, but next session I would be stronger and be able to send more routes.  This is how we get better at the things we enjoy, we keep showing up to learn more, get better, and be stronger as we participate in our passion.

It’s a hard thing to admit weakness because once we admit that we are others will capitalize on that weakness and try and bring us down. Not a great thought when you are thinking about being vulnerable, can people use my truth against me? Sadly this is a reality, there are people who want to bring us down either to their level or below. Understanding this as a possibility as we go is an opportunity for each of us to become stronger by accepting what we can’t change and investing our time into strengthening the things we can change.

Whatever your weakness is accept it then move forward and fortify and strengthen what you can and become the best you can be. I may not be the strongest climber on the wall, but I will send any route I put my mind to, working from bottom to top relentlessly until I reach my desired destination at the top of the route.

Why.

What is your why? Why do you do things that way you do them? Why are you willing to face adversity to reach your desired destination in life. These are thoughts I’ve had before when I hear about someone with a big dream that seems to be a bit more than they probably can bite, chew, and swallow. Meaning I’m not sure why they really are doing things the way they are doing, I’m probably not alone in wondering about these things.

As a youth in central Utah, I used to sell corn on the side of the road next to the high school every fall for a few summers. My Father, Grandfather, and I would go pick the corn then we’d park the truck on the side of the street and I’d sit there till the sun went down or I’d sold all my corn for the day. I learned a few interpersonal skills with people and how to sell products to folks which is a benefit to me to this day. One of the most memorable experiences for me was trying to sell a bag of corn to a man carrying a giant cross across the USA who stopped through our little town on his way to California.

I asked him about his cross and why it had a wheel on the bottom. Man, “It’s designed to make the walk easier as I carry it.” Me, “Why are you carrying that thing? Don’t you think it would be faster to leave it behind?” Man, “Yes, it would be easier, but I want to show everyone that I can carry this heavy cross from New York to California.”  Me, “Ummm, okay, but why?” Man, “I told myself if I could do this, I could do anything.” Eight or Nine year old me didn’t get it then but have never forgotten it to this day. This man had a purpose to walk across America with a heavy wooden object, and I hope it helped him see he could do anything. I did, however, sell him some corn to fuel his trek.

To this day I see and hear about people who are setting out for challenging journeys as adventurers, entrepreneurs, athletes, and scholars. I can’t always relate to nor understand their vision for choosing the challenges they have decided to claim. I can confirm that choosing a challenge that people don’t understand can be a catalyst to the greatest adventures of one’s life.

Share your why with others, and enlighten them on your vision. If they doubt you or don’t understand that is okay. They might catch a vision similar to yours one day, and take off on their own journey fueled by nothing more than why.

Speak up.

Speaking up can be a challenge no matter who you are in a uncomfortable situation. The ability to say what you need to when it’s needed to be said is a tactful gift that few have. A few thoughts on sharing the hard truth.

First off, use your words wisely. Say what needs to be said, don’t beat around the bush when delivering the message but be tactful with the way you say it. People may not appreciate you speaking up and saying what needs to be said at first but will respect you for having the gumption to say it.

Second, keep your message simple and filled with the truth. Allowing the discussion to be built around fluff and misinformation can deteriorate the trust you share with the person you are conversing with. Keep the message as lengthy as it needs to be but not too long. Use clear words that communicate the message effectively without question, use strong statements that effectively relay your message without belittling the person you are talking to

Thirdly, be mindful not to back your communication partner into a corner. When giving a hard message it’s essential to deliver a clean message with the intent to help not harm the other person. Giving others clear options will be a safe bet to avoid emotional defense and rebuttal from another. Although you clearly know where you want or need the conversation to go have options for another than can effectively lead them through the desert to the oasis that is your desired resolution.

Is this an easy skill to learn? Not really. Is it a good way to become a better communicator? Yes, say it as it needs to be said, use your words wisely, share the simple truth of your message, and keep the trail ahead open with options that lead your communication partner to a clear understanding of your desired outcome. You’ll fumble a few times until you get the hang of delivering the hard message, but once the message is delivered and you can breathe a sigh of relief it’ll be easier to relay the next time around.