I hung with the football jocks, basketball hoopsters and in the spring, track runners.
Later in college, I played tennis, racquetball and learned how to scuba dive.
Each sport featured different kinds of mindsets. In football, on offence, I learned blocking techniques and pass routes. I liked the strategy, but I didn’t like the bumps, bruises and pain that came with hits. On defense, guys that loved violence raged all over the playing field to knock the block off any runner carrying the ball. Everyone spoke about kicking someone’s rear-end.
Basketball featured quickness and shooting accuracy. No violence, but plenty of speed, shooting and intricate playmaking. No talking on court.
In track, no strategy, no game plan, no court. You competed with your only talent: speed and heaving lungs.
I discovered that different “characters” liked different sports.
In college, tennis created one-on-one battles with no talking. Racquetball created the same with a 140 M.P.H. rubber ball flying all over the place. In scuba diving, no words, no speed, just the wonder of the world under the surface.
In classrooms, I discovered intelligent people who loafed, average people who studied hard to earn top grades and those who played cards to do as little academic work as possible.
Each “type” of person hung with the same persons that satisfied his or her style. Academic geeks hung with their own kind, talked their own language and lived their own lifestyles.
During that journey through college, I learned a lesson: you define your life and your success by the people you gather around you.
You may cultivate three special people in your life at all times if you want to deepen your life’s journey.
• Foster a friendship with someone older and successful in the work you enjoy.
• Cultivate friendship with an equal who can exchange ideas with you.
• Enrich your life with someone not as fortunate as you.
For example: Aristotle, Leonardo de Vinci and Galileo challenged themselves with mentors that taught them. Later, they stood on the mentors’ shoulders to create profound works of reason, art and science.
Aristotle created the “Academy” to learn from equals and teach tyros, one such being a young boy named Alexander, who later became “Alexander the Great.”
One key factor in hanging with friends who pull the best from you: you challenge them and they challenge you intellectually, physical and spiritually.
It’s not a race of fame, money or status. Rather, you “nudge” each other to yours and their best efforts. It’s called, “The power of two.”
Along the journey, follow a veteran climber to reach the summit of a 14,000-foot peak. Train with a seasoned triathlete to garner a spot on the starting line. Follow a veteran backpacker into the wilderness until you get the hang of it. Learn a language or push a brush onto the canvas from a master.
Notice how each speaks, how each acts and how each faces his or her daily tasks.
Famous mountaineer John Muir said, “Camp out among the grass and gentians of glacier meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of Nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”
How do you know if you’re on the right path and traveling in the right direction in comparison? Simple: visit a corner bar to listen to the locals as they tip brew after brew. Visit a pool hall for a peak into their worldview.
Along your journey, travel, eat and play with the same people who plan, work hard, speak well, think and maintain optimal perseverance.
“To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Read more posts by Frosty Wooldridge here. Frosty is a blogger for JenningsWire.
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