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.

Connect.

We are all connected in one form or another through the small things that we don’t often think about. I had a conversation with a friend once about how all roads are connected, that the road we were driving along in Salt Lake City could be driven all the way to his home in Michigan, the roads were connected state by state, and mile after mile. That was a very interesting way to look at how we are all connected by the little things we utilize every day whether it is the shops we purchase from, the food we eat, or movements we follow. We are connected in more ways than we realize.

These connections influence our day to day behavior as we interact together in our common interests we tend to treat each other with a little more kindness, a little more understanding, and a bit more willingness to cooperate when the situations are less than desirable. I say this because I’ve watched a wide variety of people with various different backgrounds come together united to aide in change.

Think about the Live Aid concert in 1985 that showcased talent filmed in the UK and televised throughout the world for a single cause to raise money for the relief of famine-stricken Africans. People from different countries contributed around 127 million to the cause while hearing some of the greatest music acts of the century. Wherever people watched the concert they saw on the backdrop the “Live Aid” logo and were informed and inspired to unite and donate to the cause of lifting others from poverty through their donations.

In more modern times we have similar opportunities to unite together for the betterment of the world we live in. Uniting in causes that we believe in by taking action verbally or digitally we are able to share our feelings on the causes that inspire us. As we decide on what causes we stand behind remember to stand with causes that build a better world and avoid those that divide and destroy the communities we live in.

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.

Direction.

What is your passion?
What direction does your passion pull you towards?
How have your passions guided you to where you are today?

These questions are perfect to answer when you are looking at where you want to go next. We live our lives in different phases that spn from a few years to a few decades. Perhaps you stick with one hobby or job for five years then decide that it no longer drives you like it used to. You begin to look for change and find yourself doing something new and life pivots.

As you pivot into that something new your daily routine changes, your workplace or surroundings change, the people you interact with are different, and you change. This change can be seen little by little, or dramatically depending on how quickly you immerse yourself in the new direction you are moving in. As we adapt to our new lifestyles we might not only shift our day to day routines but also our behavior and outlook towards different opinions, ways of life, and activities might change too. This is a strange natural part of the process.

A few summers ago I became friends with a guy named Kevin, he was a person who lived a life filled with adventure, hard work, and was one of those people who could lift you when you were down. He was an adventurer and lived life a day at a time and explored the far reached of the earth any way he could. He lived by a motto that I think on almost daily, “I follow my own trail, not worrying about its odd twists and turns because I have faith in my own sense of direction.”.

He always knew that no matter what everything would turn out for the best, that he could make the best out of any situation. I believe he did and it’s something that we all can take a lesson from. To have faith in our own sense of direction, and move forward knowing that you can make the best of the next steps, being a kind person along the way.

Reading.

Last year I challenged myself to read as many books as possible by reading at least thirty minutes a day. I made it my mission to read those thirty minutes anywhere I could which led me to read on the train, airplanes, early in the morning, late in the night, and once on the side of the road. Reading helped keep my mind active, and my interest in personal development consistent. I learned to enjoy reading different types of books, with different outcomes. Some were business related with life hacks on optimizing my time. Others were stories that helped me escape the day to day stress that I was living with but taught me life lessons through the fictitious works designed to make readers think about situations in a different light.

All the reading that I did last year inspired me to continue reading this year, but to start writing more to share what I was learning and my take on the life lessons I was reading about.  Mankind has been writing for about ten thousand years now, meaning that reading has been around roughly the same amount of time. Early on reading and writing was a skill held by religious leaders, the wealthy, and often self-taught intellectuals who kept the skill hidden from said leaders to avoid punishment. We have progressed from times where few had the opportunities to learn how to read and write to today where we do our best to teach each other how to read and write daily. What a world to live in where we have printed and digital copies of written works by many who wrote publically and secretly for the benefit of mankind.

I wrote that small thought on reading and writing as a reminder of how fortunate we are to have the ability to read and write today. That nearly anyone who wants to learn these skills has the opportunity to do so no matter their race or gender due to the progress we have made in society. There are those who try and hold back these opportunities from others but the desire to learn can outsmart the ability to withhold said information.

Today, be grateful that you can read this. Remember that reading for fun or pleasure isn’t a waste of time but an investment in your mind.I’m not saying read thirty minutes a day as I did for a year but I am encouraging you to find time to learn, read an article, full out a crossword, and find a way to engage your mind daily in the learning process.

Together.

Tonight I finished watching the Netflix series, Russian Doll. Warning, possible spoilers ahead if you haven’t finished the series. The lead character in the series Nadia begins a series of loops where she struggles to find a safe way to navigate life, eventually finding herself cautious yet still struggling to move forward in life. She eventually meets Alan on an elevator and shares a unique moment that leads to a friendship of shorts leading to an understanding that they need to work together to help the other move forward a better person.

This process takes some time as they struggle to better understand each other, find balance in their friendship, and take some time apart to realize that friendship is a challenge accepting even when the other person might demand you get lost. After an extended time, they recognize the benefit of working together to free each other from past baggage and move forward together as friends into the unknown.

Friendship comes in all shapes and sizes due to the fact that we all bring different pros and cons together at the table as friends. Our strengths and weaknesses become well known to others as we spend time together and dare to share the truest parts of ourselves as the friendship grows from the first contact to extended years of experience. We know that having true friendships can benefit us if we are willing to trust our friends and welcome them in when we need them most and vice versa we need to be ready to be a friend who can listen at times, speak at others, and just be there for brunch on an odd day when opportunity knocks,

Some are fortunate and have the ability to easily make friends and build lasting relationships in a short time. Others might struggle to find real common ground with others and hold back on trusting their friends with heavy thoughts and feelings out of fear of oversharing and scaring away friendship. There are friends who are a mixture of these two types where one party is vastly more open and another is a better listener who shares smaller pieces back that are solidifying pieces of the friendship.

We are great as individuals, we can accomplish great things on our own, and nobody should tell you otherwise. Add any number of friendships and you will be strengthened by others and aided in your day to day conquests by supporters who believe in you too. Alone we can do many things, together we can do anything.

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.