Risk.

Whenever I’m out exploring the great outdoors I understand that there is a general amount of risk that needs to be understood as I seek out places that few see in person. Knowing that risk is an ever-present weight to be balanced and measured is a good reminder to be sure your next steps are in the right direction. Risk can be taken in adventure, day to day transit, business, school, and relationships. By understanding what risky behaviors can be taken appropriately we can do our best to know that the risks we may take can payoff positively for us.

As a natural born risk taker, I’ve always walked the fine line between smart risk and reckless risk. There was a goal I had to learn how to balance atop a fence about five feet off the ground and about 150 yards from my parents home. I understood what could happen if I learned the skill I needed to walk the line, I would be able to brag about my superior balance and have a skill that few have. If I was unsuccessful I could fall and break any number of bones and hurt myself in other ways. I knew I would fall, I expected it and that understanding made the challenge a little easier to start and helped me balance the risk to reward from my little venture.

I practiced this balancing act for years at times only making it a foot or two before bailing off one side of the fence or the other or take a sudden slip and ending up bouncing to the ground without a moments notice. As the years added up so did the number of feet I was able to balance and the number of times I became closer to succeeding at my little conquest to balance the entire fence. I only made the entire fence one time, one time that has taught me countless lessons in life balance and perseverance since.

Along with those two great assets under my belt I also learned how to manage the risk I was deciding to take every time I climbed the fence and began my balancing act. I learned to avoid walking the line if it had just snowed or rained a wet metal bar isn’t so grippy and you will either end up in mud or snow. Watching the weather was key to a good session on the bar, the wind was not your friend either. Wearing the right footwear is key to being able to walk the greatest distance, wearing boots or shoes with bad traction is a bad choice, wearing shoes that are muddy, shitty, or wet are also a guarantee that you’ll fall faster than you’d intended.

This childhood experience is a simple lesson in goal setting, perseverance, trial and error, and risk management. Can the lessons I learned from my years walking the fence from the farm to the house be used today? Absolutely, I can weigh the risk in the actions I take and examine the payout that could take place if my risk pays off.

Together.

We are better together, we do better together, we work better together. I don’t know how else to say it, we need to do a better job at being united together to help each other to become better people. It’s something we all see every day the stories designed to divide and weaken us.

We see this no matter where we turn, the idea that we need to look down on others and unite against them because we do not see the world as others see it. That because some believe in one truth and we believe in another that there isn’t a common ground that we share. Are there bad people out there? Yes, many but overall we can agree that people are good and can surprise us if we give them the chance.

What are we? We are the human race, all struggling everyday with challenges that involve money, relationships, mental and physical health, food, borders, education, and work. We all breathe our way through another day and hope that our days can be happy, each one hopefully better than the last.

Together we can contribute to a better world for everyone if we are a little nicer, at little more patient, a little better to listen, and a little better at understanding each other. Is this the easy road to take? Once again no, but this is the best road to being more people together.

The Unknown.

What do you feel when you think of the unknown?

Are you fearful? Needing to have a plan of what is going to happen next? Do you feel hopeful that everything will play out without any real problems? Do you even worry about it? If you were to ask ten people about their thoughts on the unknown everyone’s answers would vary, and you would find some who feel similar to you but others who’s take on the unknown are vastly different than yours.

When thinking about the unknown we need to accept that failure as an option for us. If we are able to accept the unknown we need to be prepared to fail at least once as we go forward. Accepting this frees us from the fear of failure as we start out new ventures with old or new friends.  Don’t be afraid to fail, know that you probably will.

As your wading through life allow the unknown to enrich your experiences every day. We never know what is coming our way every hour is different and we never know what might happen to us. It’s best to accept that enjoying life and its unknowns will be the happiest route to go. I’ve been on both sides of the fence with accepting and fearing the unknown, I can confidently recommend that you embrace the unknown and let it enrich all that you do.

When I first left the USA in 2007 I traveled to Peru and soaked up every moment of this experience. I jumped at the opportunity to try new foods, babble in poorly conjugated Spanish, and interact with all the locals I could. My time in Peru was a life changer that put me on common ground with the world, and a desire to see everyone as equals. I was fearless in a new place and recognized that the unknown was creating an unforgettable experience.

I’ve used the same mentality with every new culture and country I’ve visited since. Have I always been accepting of a new culture and the unknowns that come with it? No, but the more I jump in and immerse myself into the local culture the better my experience is and the more genuine the conversations become with the locals.

Having apprehension about the unknown is okay, just don’t let it spoil a good time nor hold you back from living a full life of genuine happiness.

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.

Adaption.

Change can be a hard thing to adapt to, what was now isn’t, and life may seem a bit off balance until new becomes normal. Most of us are in a state on constant change, where technology, shifts in culture, and lifestyle choices are never the same for very long. A strong skill that many of us have naturally learned and flowed with is the ability to be adaptable in times of change.

The attitude of adaption is an internal understanding that although what is around us might change, we find the best way to look at the situation and change our routines to enable us to move forward with limited frustrations. Being able to adapt to new things easily isn’t always sunshine and no challenges, being adaptable means you understand what is happening and you work through it. The process you take may be externally noticeable to others via verbalizing your frustrations. For some, this may be an internal frustration that can affect your attitude, keep you distracted, or result in unprecedented rebellion against the change at hand. Some might even experience a mixture of the two, outspoken frustration with behaviors that might not be complementary to adaption in the situation.

Some live with day to day adaptions that become more natural after extended periods of adaptation to a process or event. Learning to be adaptable is a challenging experience that can be a frustrating one, I personally have had to learn to adapt to many different things for day to day living. When I was young I wanted to be just like everyone else doing everything the “normal” way that I saw in everyday life. I tried and failed hundreds of times to do things the way that I was told by others yet failure was never far away. My loving mother never gave up on me learning to do things in my own way, she encouraged me to always have my own way of doing things. I slowly but surely added a bit of my own flair to day to day tasks, still fumbling as I went yet excited to accomplish many new things I was learning.

I was raised with an attitude of adaption. My parents knew that the world will never be a place that would fully adapt to people like myself, I needed to understand how to adapt everyday tasks without fear of failure, and an aptitude of being positive with any challenge that I was faced with. These challenges have always been my choice to accept the challenge and learn or decline the opportunity to grow, its always been up to me.

We are the masters of our own ability to adapt to change and new experiences. Being uncomfortable is a good thing while learning, it helps us grow and reach for the best method to use from that moment on. Being willing to adapt isn’t a cakewalk, but accepting that adapting with a good attitude will make life an easier journey than avoiding the natural change that comes our way.

Patience.

Growing up as an impatient child I was often reminded that I needed to learn patience. Why was patience so important to learn? For most of written history, great philosophers and teachers have reminded we the people that we need to practice more patience. That we need to be patient with those around us when we are working together, on opposing sides of a story, driving in traffic, or repeating ourselves for the third time.

We can agree that being patient is a difficult task at times. Patience is difficult because we have times relating to others isn’t easy and their point of view doesn’t make sense to us. Have you ever attempted to explain how to use features of a smartphone, computer, or gaming system to someone who doesn’t catch the idea then continually asks for a repeat of the instructions, not just that day but many times after that?

Are you usually the teacher who reiterates the steps, pauses during a question counts to three and repeats the process over again? Have you ever been the pupil in this scenario and been grateful that your friend or a family member has continued to repeat the instructions to you? It’s a truth that at one point in time you have had to be patient as a teacher and a teacher has had to exercise patience while teaching you.

As a practitioner of endurance activities, patience is key to successful completion of said endurance tasks. The key is understanding that endurance takes time to build up, you have to be ready for the long game of training, enduring through repetition, and thriving in your desired quest for endurance in your desired activity.

The hardest part of endurance is having patience with yourself throughout the process, it hurts, it takes an extended amount of time each day to build up said endurance, and often you are in pain as you are adapting to said endurance ability. Yet, once you arrive at the desired endurance level you are rewarded with the ability you’ve been seeking along with an endless amount of stories to tell from your journey getting here.

With the speed of life, we often live at it is a real challenge to have patience in our day to day routines when the processes are thrown off. When there is a slower person ahead of us on an escalator, or we have to repeat ourselves again to someone we know or someone we don’t. Extending patience is a genuine challenge we should accept for our own personal growth, mental health, and the betterment of society around us. Wouldnt the world be a kinder place if we were all a little more patient.