"The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing." -Socrates

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sixth Life Lesson I Learned While Hiking

During a four-mile hike near Hana, Maui, hiking differently than I had in the past, I learned some life lessons. This is what I learned.

A Different Perspective

As I started making my way back, I thought about how different this solo hiking experience was as compared to taking the same trail with others. It was new experience altogether! Things looked different, smelled different, and the trail itself seemed to take on a whole new feeling. Then I questioned whether it was just because I was alone. No. I had hiked this trail with different people in the past; groups, with my wife, with my family, and each time I had a different perspective.

One may dislike their job, where they live, or a certain activity. But instead of just looking for a different career, location, or thing to do, I believe it’s important to first evaluate whether that same thing could be more enjoyable with different company. Our environment affects us in many ways, and a big factor is the people in that same environment. When viewing anything we spend time on, before grading it based solely on what it is, look who it’s with. Perhaps by understanding the influences others have on us, we can began to realize the impact we have on others as well, and then make an effort to be more positive for the sake of our neighbors.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fifth Life Lesson I Learned While Hiking

During a four-mile hike near Hana, Maui, hiking differently than I had in the past, I learned some life lessons. This is what I learned.

To Fully Appreciate Everything Was Impossible

As I sat gazing at the waterfall, I did my best to appreciate it to the fullest. This was futile. For one, I couldn’t capture the entire setting in one glance, and even what my focus and peripheral vision displayed was too large. I closed my eyes and was able to appreciate the sound of the water cascading down the mountain, but when I opened my eyes, the scene was too magnificent. As I continued my hardest to appreciate the end of the hike to the fullest, I focused intently on little things. I tried looking solely at the top of the fall, a small area of the mountain, or a single plant surrounded by thousands more; and in doing this I was more successful to greater appreciate and experience. Giving up my attempt to marvel at the wonder of the entire setting and concentrating on smaller areas enabled me to appreciate what I seeing much more, in turn, enabling me to greater appreciate it’s entirety as well.

It would be easier to fully appreciate the beauty of a blade of grass than an entire field. Of course, this is just my opinion, but to get the most out of what we see, what we do, feel, and experience, I believe we can be more rewarded by concentrating on less. With all that’s available these days, how can we fully appreciate anything? If you had no other form of entertainment other than one harmonica, I’ll bet you would be great at the harmonica and be able to play a thousand songs. If there was one painting in the world, how magnificent would that masterpiece appear, rather than just one out of thousands lining some mega museum? If we had one book, one talent, one ability, one game- how much more would we get out of these things? In a world so large, with so much going on, how can appreciate anything without taking the time to concentrate on one thing at a time? And if we are to concentrate on just one thing, what’s truly worth that time and focus?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fourth Life Lesson I Learned While Hiking

During a four-mile hike near Hana, Maui, hiking differently than I had in the past, I learned some life lessons. This is what I learned.

Pros and Cons of Being the First

I ran into a spider web. After brushing it off and checking to see if a spider was on me, I kept hiking. No more than three minutes later, I ran into another spider web, and then another, and then another. Having never remembered this from the other times I'd been on this trail, I realized that I was the first one to take the hike that morning. Before I reached the 400-foot waterfall at the end, I encountered dozens of spiders who, overnight, had built their homes in the middle of the trail. I was the only one that day who would have to go through them, but I was also the only one to see the waterfall first …and sitting there at the hike's finale all alone, it was well worth it.

Being the early riser and starting before anyone else, I was the only one who suffered through the spider webs. No one else for that day needed to go through them, and on the one hand, that’s kind of unfair. But, having the privilege of being the only person for that day who could say I got there first was something special.

Whenever someone creates something, sets a record, or becomes the first person to accomplish something new, they’re bound to experience hardships. These are the people who got started earlier and with more determination, but also the ones who struggled more than anyone else. Many times, the people who follow after them do not experience the amount of discomforts as the first, for the first has already gone through them. We learn from the mistakes of others and can usually do something easier if we’re following the path someone else has already taken. But, in having fear of being the one making the mistakes and preferring the trail with no spider webs, you can never claim to be the first or even have the satisfaction of saying you tried.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Third Life Lesson I Learned While Hiking

During a four-mile hike near Hana, Maui, hiking differently than I had in the past, I learned some life lessons. This is what I learned.

Stairs Leave You with More Time and Energy

Having taken this hike before, I noticed a difference in the trail. It had been “upgraded”, and where there used to be tree roots were more “convenient” stairs made of rock. When I first saw the alteration I became upset. I thought, “Why do people always feel like they need to improve something that’s perfectly fine- especially something in nature.” But as I continued hiking, I had to admit that the addition did make the hike more convenient. Before, you needed to take your time climbing over tree roots, but with the stairs you were able to hike faster and with less effort. So while the stairs were not a mandatory addition and did affect the natural environment, it provided the hiker with more time and energy to spend on other things.

Man has made many innovations and versatile solutions for modern day living. While these conveniences were never necessary for survival, they have in turn given us more time and energy to do other things- if we so chose. So regardless of how one may feel about advancements in technology, these machines, computers, and appliances have provided us with more time and effort. I believe this has, does, and will produce one of two outcomes for individuals, as well as groups of people.

1) We realize that there is very little effort we need to put forth in order to survive and be entertained, so we become lazy and complacent, never to pursue our fullest potential.

2) We understand the great responsibility and opportunity to spend the extra time and effort that’s been made available to seek out a far better future than ever before imaginable in the history of man.

Time will tell what all of humanity will collectively choose. I hope for the latter.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Second Life Lesson I Learned While Hiking

During a four-mile hike near Hana, Maui, hiking differently than I had in the past, I learned some life lessons. This is what I learned.

The Walking Stick

Early on the trail, I noticed two walking sticks leaning against a sign. I debated on whether or not to pick one up, but figured I could always leave it behind if proving to be useless. With my one free hand, I grabbed the stick and continued on my way. For a short period of time I was walking on level ground and quickly reconsidered my choice of carrying the stick. On level ground, the stick wasn’t beneficial, but as the trail began ascending, I quickly changed my tone. Without being solely reliant on my own two feet, the added support was a tremendous help. Throughout the trail, during changes in elevation, the walking stick was a plus, but on level ground, the stick was more work than benefit.

I believe this concept applies to life regarding those who support us. Relationships with friends, mentors, family members, and teachers take work. But when trying to reach a goal, or times of hardship, their support can be very beneficial. So while it’s certainly easier to let relationships fade by not investing the time and effort it takes to maintain them, during times of change, the support of those people can be invaluable.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

First Life Lesson I Learned While Hiking

During a four-mile hike near Hana, Maui, hiking differently than I had in the past, I learned some life lessons. This is what I learned.

Lesson One: Less Is Best

Preparing to ascend the Oheo Gulch to Waimoku Falls, I began loading my backpack with all of the things I typically carry when hiking. Then I stopped to think about what I truly needed, and realized that leaving my backpack and bringing only essentials could be beneficial. I put a snack, camera, and car keys in my pocket, and hand-carried a half-gallon jug of water. It was one of the first times I can remember not hiking with a backpack- and what a difference it made! Starting my climb, I felt light as air! Carrying only what I needed felt like a whole new experience, making the entire hike much more enjoyable.

I believe this concept can also apply to life. If we owned only what we needed and nothing more, I believe we could better enjoy our days. Everything we own weighs us down, not physically, but mentally. Everything requires some form of maintenance, causing our stuff to weigh on our mind. So, at the end of the day, we’ve spent energy possessing things we don’t truly need. Granted, if I could have used a knife, band aid, flashlight, or medicine during the hike, these things could have been valuable; but I would have survived without them.

In conclusion, while owning certain things can make life more comfortable, they also weigh us down and can hinder us from having the fullest experience.