Who Do You Think You Are, Anyway!?

Who do you think you are!? Somebody who can dream big, save a little bit of money, go out and live an action-packed life? Gimmee a break.

You and I both know those adventures are for other people. People sponsored by big outdoor companies with big ad budgets. Athletes. Superstars. The best of the best.

You’re no athlete. You’re no superstar.

Stop dreaming. Go to work. Put your head down. Be content living vicariously through people whose lifestyle you envy.

It makes sense, really. Some of us are destined to see it all, do it all, tell it all. The rest of us—the vast majority of us—well, we’re just stuck in a never-ending routine, counting the days until the weekend. And besides, the older we get, the less likely anything big and exciting will ever happen to us.

Am I right?

Absolutely not. You know that, despite me being a smartass.

Why, then, do so many of us get tricked into thinking along those lines? Trust me, I do it, too. I’m pretty sure we’ve all done it, even those superstar adventure athletes.

It’s such a limiting approach. “I would love to live a life like that, but…”

But what? There has to be a way to defeat it. Any ideas?

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22 comments

  1. So many people never plan ANYTHING…other than what is on tv that night. They miss so much opportunity to get involved with something they have passion for. A trip CAN be planned no matter the budget..it may take a few more years to get to the payoff but part of the fun is in the planning and anticipation!

    1. Agree 100%, Beth! I’d even go as far to say you don’t even need to be the best planner, just as long as your planning for something on the horizon. And if you’re really bad at planning, well that’s where you come in!

      I’m really enjoying the book you sent out. Lots of good stories in there. Did you get a chance to read any of it?

  2. Your title says it all. It IS all about who we THINK we are.

    It’s next to impossible to control what we think. How do I know this? Just try it. Try to control what your mind thinks about for just 60 seconds and then count how many times in that 60 seconds your mind wanders away from what you’re trying to think about, and on to random stuff like lunch, tsetse flies, and that movie you watched last night. I can no more control my next thought any more than I can control yours.

    Even though we don’t WANT to think things such as ‘I suck’, ‘I’ll never be that cool.’, or any other of the countless self-defeating things we think, we will still evidently think them. While we can’t control the flow of thoughts, we can learn to pay attention to it, and control how we respond and react to it. It’s fucking hard to do, but possible. One hint we get when we are allowing our negative thoughts to influence us is that crappy feeling which comes along with it. With practice, these feelings become a warning sign that you are basically allowing your thoughts to lower your standards. With even more practice you learn to do something, anything, to stop it; go for a walk, listen to music, anything which makes you feel good again and gets you back to believing that you are god-damned cool and can do anything you want.

    There’s some really fascinating scientific research being done in this area Eric. I’ll try to find some links for you. As usual…great post! Reading you always makes me stop what I’m doing and gets me thinking in other areas, and that is just cool!

    1. I just gave our 60 second experiment a shot. And failed miserably. Of course I’m on the internet, which is one of the biggest distractions mankind has ever invented. 60 seconds of focused concentration doesn’t sound too incredibly difficult, yet it is! Do you meditate at all?

      Funny you should mention paying attention to your thoughts and reacting accordingly. I’ve been practicing just that a lot more lately. It’s pretty damn amazing how one happy, groovy song or a long walk on a nice day with the dog can cheer you up, and most importantly get you back to thinking happy positive thoughts. We are our worst enemies sometimes, it’s true. There are millions of outside influences capable of bringing us down in an instant.

      Excellent observations, Alex! I’d love to see those links you mentioned.

      1. Eric’s was one of the first blogs I started to follow Pat, and definitely a BIG TIME favorite. (In fact, the two of you are kinda like heroes to me.)

        I’ll get those links to you Eric, and no I don’t meditate. I’ve tried, I think I must be doing it wrong. I do find Cognitive Neuroscience completely interesting though. I’ll recommend Sam Harris’ book Free Will. Your library probably has it.

      2. Wow! Thanks you two! That really just made my day.
        I’ll definitely look into Free Will, Alex. You have so many great book recommendations. Anything else I should be reading?

  3. well, I think…hold on, someone put the phrase “tsetse flies” in my head…it’ll pass…and…
    Ok, It sounds like you’re describing the golden handcuffs.
    which leads to the question, how willing are you to give up the material and secure to experience the wild and unstable?
    This is a constant conversation between my girl and I.

    Great question!

    1. I’d love to hear the conclusions you and your girl come up with to the “material/secure vs. wild/unstable” conundrum. Significant sacrifices are certainly made on both sides of the spectrum. This very well could be a central, ongoing question in the adventure community. And damn it, it’s a tough one.

  4. I always say that it’s like ammo, having gone out and grabbed those adventures. Once you’ve done it and felt how good it is and how possible it is, it just feeds you for the next time. Have a few of those under your belt, and you start to feel invincible. I’m not sure how you get to collecting that first bullet, but I think blogs like yours are some good inspiration to feed off of 😉

    1. Cool way of looking at adventure, Cafe! Maybe the first “bullet” starts with the right frame of mind? Kind of like what Alex was talking about above. Perhaps it starts with saying, “OK, I could do that,” then moving on to the researching and planning stage.

      1. Totally — so much of it is mental. Just gotta get inspired and into that right mindset. Then start the execution! 🙂

  5. Who do I think I am? WHo DO I THINK I AM? I don;t think you really want to know that do you? 😛 Man now I gotta think. I don;t come here for that. and is there anything wrong with being happy living in my head? there is never a dull moment . I have had plenty of fun and adventures and//oh wait..that’s what you are talking about huh? Well I guess then the thing is – how do you know if its true..or an excuse Hey! I sense a field trip could come out of this!

    1. Nothing wrong with being happy and living in your own head at all! We’ve yet to go on our first field trip! Guap was supposed to rent the bus. And pay for gas/food/lodging. Right?

  6. Great blog smartass. I love it. Frank Tatchel, author of the 1923 book, “The Happy Traveler,” said: “The real fun of traveling can only be got by one who is content to go as a comparatively poor man. In fact, it is not money which travel demands so much as leisure, and anyone with a small, fixed income can travel all the time.” I’ve spent the past eight years proving him right.

    1. Great quote, Pat! You really have the traveling thing figured it out. Think I’ll go check out “The Happy Traveler” later on. Sounds like Frank and I would’ve enjoyed a nice chat.

  7. Well I knew I was going to do it yesterday but it didn’t happen until today. You got my Bean’s Pat for the day. Of course I agreed with your assessment that you were an intelligent donkey’s behind, but it was a great way to get your point across. In just one more week, after sitting here at Lake Walcott all summer, I’ve got a 5,000-mile road trip planned for the fall. My feet are already itching.

    1. I’ve been Beaned! Thanks friend!

      5,000 miles! Where you headed? Or should I ask where aren’t you headed?

      Sincerely,

      Mr. Intelligent Donkey’s Behind

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