One of the things I’ve always loved about the wilderness and being on the ocean is that everything is what it is. No masks, no motives, no hidden agendas. Mother Nature can be the hardest of taskmasters, but I’ve never found her to be disingenuous or unfair, and on the very rare occasions that I thought that was the case, I realised later on that it was my own ego that was speaking.
I've been stuck on exposed ridges when an unexpected bad weather comes rolling through; that’s on me. I've almost fallen into boulder crevasses over having been too complacent to not tie my boot laces properly; that’s on me. I've walked 15kms through mud sometimes waist deep and had cramps in my legs that have kept me awake all night and you know what, that’s on me as well.
When you get right down to it, once I have made the decision to head out into those wild untouched places or journeys along the tracks, everything that happens after that is a byproduct of my original choice. It’s all on me. The process of accepting full responsibility for all of your choices is the first step in a concept referred to as the “Three A’s” – Accept, Adapt and Appreciate – of wilderness hiking and adventure trekking. A set of principles that have collectively represented one of the cornerstones of not only giving clients unique opportunities to escape and explore but translate into their lives to further their potential, whether it be knowledge to get out more often and enjoy the wide open spaces, gain supported solo experiences, goal setting or reaffirming their potential.
Accept the environment on its own terms. The natural world is inherently fluid. Conditions can vary dramatically from hour to hour, day to day, let alone from one season to the next. Hikers who head into the wilderness with an itinerary that’s set in stone and a mindset to match often find themselves in trouble when Mother Nature does an about-face, as she is sometimes, more often than not is prone to do.
Adapt accordingly. Once you have made an rational and managed risk assessment and accepted a situation for what it is – rather than what you thought it might or should be – theory must then be translated into action. Decisions in the wilderness should be based upon two overriding considerations:
1. The conditions you are facing and the unknown.
2. Do you have the ability, skill, equipment and experience with which to safely negotiate those conditions?
The decision is made; action has been taken. Now it comes down to perspective. Whether the challenge you are facing is simple or difficult in the extreme, nothing will ever be gained by moaning, blaming and second-guessing. By choosing – and it is a choice – to view the tough moments as opportunities to learn rather than obstacles to endure, you give yourself the gift of appreciation.
When I think about it. When are the times when I've have learnt the most from out in the wilderness? Is it when the sun is shining, the temperatures are comfortable, and I'm are powering along on a clear path with pretty scenery all around? Or is it when Mother Nature is flexing her meteorological and/or topographical muscles with extreme heat, white-outs, heavy rain & high winds or much tougher than anticipated terrain and you have no choice but to embrace the suck, focus, and do everything in your power to deal with what is being thrown your way?
Mother Nature’s Boot
When I think back over the course of my outdoor experiences, both on land and out on the water, I have been kicked up the bum by Mother Nature more times than I can remember. In fact if I looked hard enough after a few challenging expeditions and offshore experiences you'd see the imprint of her foot permanently tattooed across my backside. That said, if you spend enough time in the wilderness and with nature living on her terms, a certain amount of bum kickings are a given. What is not a given is how you react to them.
The Three A’s are all about learning to view challenging situations as stepping stones rather than stumbling blocks. Whether it be in the wilderness or your everyday life, nothing builds strength and character like overcoming difficulties. That doesn’t mean you should necessarily go out looking for crappy conditions to learn from, eventually they will find you. What it does mean is that when are faced with a testing examination, life situation, you will be able to recognise and embrace its value, and subsequently not only survive, but also thrive as a result of how you deal with it.
Contact Escape-And-Explore for your next tailored adventure and embrace those challenges.
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Lets face it life hard enough without having to live and become stagnant in a constant state of regret over lost opportunities, loves, and chances to speak you mind. If you want to change you life and make the most of it, get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Here's that comfort zone thing again. Here's a few - 25 or so - uncomfortable things to try to ensure you will no longer let regret play out in any part of your life.
1. Speak you mind and address it early when something is bothering you. You'll usually only get one chance at making a lasting impact.
2. Gather the courage to stick to the things that are important to you. We all are so easily swayed by what others think.
3. Ask yourself if you are who you wanted to be when you grew up. If you aren't there yet, keep working on it.
4. Let go of all those things that don't matter in your life. When you are 20-something, everything seems to be important.
5. Make sure you are living life outside of social media instead of painting an imaginary picture of your life on social media. Use it as a means of communication of where you are in your life.
6. Check the drama queen act at the door. Let your overreacting self take a break once in a while.
7. Talk about the world, politics, hobbies, food - anything except other people and your judgements of them.
8. Stop telling yourself you are fat. When you die, no one is going to care how 'fat' your were. They'll care about you as the person you were.
9. Be interested in other people and mean it. Learning about others is fascinating and a great way to learn about ourselves too. Learn the art of active listening.
10. Stop trying to be anything other than a kind and empathetic person. Being kind will bring you lots of joy and satisfaction in your life. No one cares about your opinion if you aren't being nice to people.
11. Give yourself some room to breathe and mess up. Pay attention to things in the moment and allow yourself to enjoy them. Learn the lessons from the past, then move on.
12. Read. A lot. Don't limit yourself to what's on the internet - they actually still print books!
13. Be nice. The easiest way to do this is to always put other's feelings before your own.
14. You aren't going to trip and fall into your soul mate: you need to go out and find them.
15. Don't spend money you don't have: give money away when ever you can: set yourself up for financial success early and you'll be glad you did.
16. Trophies don't make you a better person, habits do. Work on being better everyday and you will become the person you see yourself being.
17. Draft a mission statement for yourself as a person. Use it to help you make decisions and guide your life. Define your core values and make them realistic and authentic.
18. Don't cross people and burn bridges. You think walking out of a situation today isn't going to impact your life in 5 years from now? Think again. Keep it classy and you'll never have to worry about your life choices coming back to haunt you.
19. Ask people to be honest with you. Regardless of whether you agree or not, hearing people out is important.
20. Pay attention to when you feel uncomfortable about something: there's opportunity to learn and grow there but many people gloss over it. Feedback is a primary function for personal growth and self awareness.
21. Don't blame others for your shortcomings. Identify and accept responsibility for yourself at all turns.
22. FIND YOU PURPOSE and you will find pleasure.
23. Create a home for yourself that you appreciate no matter where you are in life. Whether it's your parents basement, a high rise apartment or a van. Plant your roots and be happy with what you have.
24. Forget what you see online: real life is happening right in front of your eyes. Go out and live it.
25. Make sure you get the most of your life by never holding back on love, thoughts, ideas, desires or dreams.
Whether you've just turned 20 or are about to roll over into your 50's, there are lots of ways you can turn your life in a new direction at any given moment. The first step is to make a list like this one of all the guiding principles you want to use in your life. What do you expect from yourself?
Always expect the most from yourself. Don't put that responsibility on others. When you expect things from other people, you'll almost always be disappointed in the results. When you expect things from yourself, you have an opportunity to become someone new at every turn.
More on resilience breakthrough's next blog.
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