I caught up with my friend Clint this week, we’d lost touch a little and I hadn’t seen him in a couple of years. He was in town to tie up some loose ends as he’s about to head off on a hike in New Zealand that will take him from Cape Farewell at the top of the South Island to Te Waewae Bay at the bottom of the South Island.
A straight line distance of around 750 km (470~ miles) and he’s expecting to be hiking for 3 – 4 months.
As far as bushwalks go it’s pretty rediculous but Clint’s a guy that’s passionate about being outdoors and climbing up mountains and getting scratches and scraps from passing trees and boulders.
While a 3 month hike is not my idea of fun (and maybe not your’s either), he couldn’t be more excited about it.
The reason he’s hiking for such a long time is that he’s decided to prioritise his passion for hiking over everything else in his life. He’s taking extended leave from work, moved out of his apartment and is saying goodbye to friends and family for a few months. Bushwalking is what he loves and it’s going to be his number 1 priority.
In talking with him, I wondered why more people don’t do this. Not go on 3 month hikes, but rather indulge in what they love for an extended period of time. We seem to either defer our passion until the day we ‘retire’ or we only do it in little bits, perhaps a weekend here or a fortnight there doing what really lights us up.
Occasionally someone we know will take an extended trip or go on an ‘adventure’ and no doubt you look on, like I do, thinking “oh I wish that was me”. But then reality sets in and we go back to checking our email.
Waiting for Permission
I think a reason is that many people are waiting for someone, or some external circumstance, to give them permission to go and enjoy life. I’m not sure if it’s cultural or psychological but the idea of doing what we love often comes laced with guilt.
I have an image of a husband asking his wife for ‘permission’ to spend time fishing with his mates. Or an employee filing a ‘leave request’ in the hope that they may get a week’s holiday to go surfing. It’s all very submissive. It’s like you’ve given your balls away to someone or something and you’re trying to ‘borrow’ them back for a few days of fun.
Regardless of the reason(s) behind this, as soon as you realise that your life is your responsibility and that waiting for someone else’s permission is just stupid – a whole new world opens up infront of your eyes. 3 months hiking through remote corners of the globe is no longer a pipe dream. A year chasing the snow changes from ‘when?’ to ‘where?’. Or even something simple like being part of your kid’s lives for more than 30 mins a day becomes a real possibility.
Are you making excuses and waiting for someone to give you permission to do what you love? Or are you making your passion your number 1 priority like Clint?
Your Next Action
- Grab a piece of paper and write what you’d love to be doing at the top of it, your passion.
- If you’re not doing this right now, when will you be doing it? Choose a time and date.
- Defend this time and date like nothing else matters. If you’ve been honest in step 1, nothing else does.
- Enjoy the time you have.
What are you going to make number 1?