I woke up in Argentina. Not in one of the cities. Not Buenos Aires or Mendoza, but in a small down near Calafate, in the heart of the Andes. It’s a hikers hub.
The mountains and glaciers in the surrounding area are world class. The foothills near where I was staying were brown. You could see the vultures circling a carcass from a dozen miles away.
Pulling back the drapes from my motel window I knew that’s where I wanted to be. Not on foot, on horseback.
So that’s where I went. I called a local rancher and went riding with two cowboys for the day. We saw carcasses taken down by the mountain lions that ruled the hills. We saw vultures and landscapes that I pray I’ll see again.
That was living.
That’s also the conundrum.
I love work. It’s why we’re here, to a degree, to put our talents to use, to prove that we were here for a reason, to create something. A life spent working, however, wouldn’t necessarily constitute living.
We need to work to feel as though there’s a reason for our existence. We need work to provide us purpose, to help us create accomplishment – each of which are necessary for living a flourishing life, one that’s worthy of this gift that is life. But to give all of our time to work, to what we’re expected to do, isn’t living.
THE ANSWER ISN’T BALANCE
When I first started this business oh, 8 years ago now, I did a series of articles called ‘the balanced life’. They sucked. They also missed the point.
Balance isn’t what we need. We need intensity and variety.
When we work we have to work ridiculously hard. We have to persist and maintain focus. When we play, we have to play ridiculously hard.
Life is designed to run, not walk.
The reality is that to create something of value, you don’t need endless hours, you need effective hours. The rest of your time has to be spent engaged in activities that will bring scars and stories.
Life is found on horseback, on top of a mountain, jumping out of a plane, hunting in your back 40, travelling and pursuing a feeling that you aim to replicate with each daring act.
Think about that in comparison to what you’re pursuing, what our society is pursuing.
We want safety above all else. We see possessions as our route to status. We can’t be happy unless we can compare ourselves to someone who has less than we do.
We depend. It doesn’t matter if we depend on a comparison or praise or money or acclaim, we still depend.
A LIFE LIVED HAS TALES OF SCARS AND BROKEN BONES.
What do you really want to do?
Blank slate with no mistakes and no path of mediocrity that you’ve fallen into, what would you ideally and truthfully want to do?
Answer that question on a life scope and a day-to-day scope. (Read This: IF YOU DON’T HAVE SCARS OR BROKEN BONES, YOU’RE NOT LIVING)
Today I’m helping a buddy move. Tomorrow I’m going hiking.
To limit myself by what I think I ‘have to do’ would be horrific. Yet that’s what I catch myself doing daily.
I think I have to do this or that I should do that, and when it’s done I realize that it really didn’t yield anything prosperous, and that what should have been done was whatever the fuck I wanted to do.
We all have responsibilities. This isn’t to say that we can leave them, but when we think of life on the terms of someone who’s in control of life, their decisions and choices and understands that there’s only one life and to live it in a sedated fashion or a mediocre manner isn’t living in the slightest.
So yes, work like a mad man, but by God get out into the world, acquire some scars and broken bones and live to tell those stories or die trying.