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1970s plexiglas painting

I Dare You

Look around you, the fast food industry has won. Political correctness has crept ever more evasively into our society as the norm. Smart devices and electronics have consumed us. Fancy is cool and expensive is better. Where did our spirit of ‘personal best’, passion for adventure, and ‘go for it’ go?

Of course, learning how to mastermind the latest iPhone or computer software is an adventure but, can you take it to the Doctor’s office with you? Internet wonderfully shows the world but, does it replace the real thing? Are we so overworked and overwhelmed by the pressures of family and life that the trees are more vivid than the forest? Where is the robustness in our kids? Reality check: we need something more than entertainment, politics, jobs, and paying the mortgage to realize the extraordinary side of ourselves. I could talk about the high rates of obesity, cancer, mental illness but we all know this picture and haven’t we grown a bit half-hearted toward them. I mean – what can we do?

One thing we can do is dream a bit bigger, and start drawing a picture in our hearts and minds about what a great life is and how we can find personal challenge that drives our passions and feeds our hopes and aspirations. If you don’t take some control over the road you follow in life ultimately you drift and years later wonder where time and opportunity went. It went nowhere but you didn’t seize the moment, realize your potential, follow your gut. We are living in a great age of mostly world peace, easy living through the exciting revolution in electronics, information technology, medical innovation, etc. but we have become lazy with setting personal goals and paying attention to the single biggest assets we have: a healthy strong body and daring mind. A mind is healthier and more creative with a strong body and by the same token the body needs that vibrant mind. A recent Facebook post said it so succinctly “Nature. Cheaper than therapy.

Science is clear, physical activity is essential for a healthy body. It may be a cliché but we only have one life, one shot to get it right. Health is of course about body, but it is also about mind and especially spirit. And frankly, spirit may be the most important of the three. Spirit is the dynamic to help you achieve the impossible, to reach where you never expected you could go. To get up at five in the morning week after week to train to compete, to believe in yourself to overcome injury or illness through daily physical training, to attempt to climb the highest mountain in the world at 63, to start jogging at 300lbs to realize your first half-marathon. Each and every one of us has enormous capacity to dream and reach big, but it takes a decision to get started, passion will then follow, and determination will get you over the hurdle. There is no secret or special DNA we need to reach a goal, it is simply called resolve and love of life. Henry Ford once said “If you think you can do something or you think you can’t do it, you are right.”

Perhaps I have been very lucky in my life to be motivated to push my limits on so many endeavors. I have certainly failed on some, but I wasn’t crushed only inspired to try again with more vigor, experience and know how. From having a love of art and painting in my youth to travelling around the world in my twenties, to building a business in my thirties and forties and then becoming an athlete and mountaineer in my fifties and sixties. One thing I am certain of, with the possible exception of art, I had no exceptional qualities on any of those pursuits. I believe that almost everything we do in life is learned. It is about the lifestyle we choose: who we want to be, what we expect of ourselves and where we want to live and build them.

Regardless of the season, now is the perfect time to get outside and explore, to make that decision to fire up those passions to reach goals you never imagined you could be capable of. They sit just below the surface if you really want to find them. It is never too soon or too late in anyone’s life to stick your chest out knowing you are proud of yourself for having the courage to draw a line in the sand and say: It is now I will bust out of my ‘comfort zone’ and start climbing that mountain one step at a time. Look around you, there are plenty of hills to start skiing, jogging and biking. Not to mention a world of great adventure with your name on it. You can be sure of one thing: Nothing comes easy in life. But that is the beauty of it all. You get out of life what you are willing to put into it.

 I Dare You to Dream Big.

Theodore Fairhurst

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