No one enjoys being the last guy standing when the teams are picked. And while the game is being played, it’s never anyone’s goal to just sit on the bench. From childhood we strive for acceptance. In some form or another within the human DNA is a desire to be a part — to be liked by a person or entity.
Unfortunately, our culture has attempted to meet this need with substitutes. We have been brainwashed into believing that the size of house we live in or the car we drive can contribute to the circle of individuals who will accept us. We are constantly faced with the idea that where we work, what clothes we wear, or how big of deer we harvest each year are what makes us who we are. None of which could be further from the truth.
Beware by what means you measure success
In essence, our attempt to find acceptance through the accumulation of things or through an association with those who seem to be more successful than ourselves is a not much different than the camouflage we wear while hunting whitetail or pursuing wild turkey. Both are attempts to conceal who we really are in an effort to blend in with our surroundings.
Our culture has created a chameleon mentality rather than an eagle mentality. Too much emphasis is put on trying to blend in rather than standing out. Eagles understand that in order to soar high, you may have to fly alone. Maybe it’s time we started writing our own book instead of allowing those around us to pen our pages.
I personally know what it is to be financially independent and then have to start over again. I also know what it is to live in a large house and have to move on. Let me ask you — just because the economy tanked and companies go bankrupt, does that make me less of a person? Neither does it make you any less of an individual when you can’t have what the next guy has, live like the other guy does or seem to be as successful as they are. So it also goes with the passion of hunting.
We all have had our share of heartache
I have had opportunity to meet some great people within the outdoor industry. It’s an honor to share a common passion for hunting and the outdoors with like-minded people. As I have sat across the table with the well-known and not so well-known there is one thing they all have in common. They are people — people with a heart, hopes and heartaches. Behind the TV shows, trophies, and successful career, is a person who has had difficult times just like you.
Maybe your company has downsized and you are not able to buy that new bow or go on the guided hunt. Maybe your family is struggling financially and you haven’t been able to hunt like you want. Maybe due to your losses you’ve started thinking that life isn’t worth living. I’ve been there and I know how you feel. But in reality, your losses do not define who you are.
The problem is not the losses; the problem is the focus. It’s time we developed the warrior mind-set a — pattern of thinking where we take more pride in the ability to press on than we do in our ability to make an appearance. We need a shift in the way we see failure and defeat. If you’re still crawling, you’re not defeated. As Austin O’Malley said, “The fact that you have been knocked down is interesting, but the length of time you remain down is important.” It’s not the avoiding of hard times that makes us what we are, it’s getting up and playing the game while bleeding that makes us.
Never doubt you can make it
I want you to remember that there is more to life than having the latest hunting equipment and shooting the biggest deer. There is more to life than how many digits are in your annual income. You’re not less of a person because of your circumstances. God created you as a unique individual who has the strength to make it through your hard times. Never doubt it.
So as we traverse the roads filled with ups and downs, lets keep our focus on what really maters. It’s each other – not stuff. It’s our families and loves ones – not things. It’s ending the day knowing I did my absolute best. End this day by kicking self-pity in the tail and telling him to get lost. Bow your head and tell God you’re proud of who you are and thankful to be alive. Never give up, you can make it!
By Randy Hynes