“Don’t swing through the trees until you have tested the vines.”
I am not Tarzan but I have had some great adventures in the wild.
Going hunting with dad was a seldom occurence during most of my youth. Dad would have liked to take us but he had no land, time or money. Work is what dominated his thoughts. Every now and then however, he would figure it all out and make it work so that my younger brother and I would get the experience. We were never really any good at it but I really loved the outdoors, campfires and jeep rides in the wild Florida backwoods.
As I entered college, Dad joined a hunting camp that became his place of refuge for the next twenty years or so. He hunted there until his eyesight got so bad he was no longer able to enjoy the hunt. Many of my college friends and roommates visiting my home in Florida would get their opportunity to go to the hunting camp and catch an armadillo and a chase wild hog. It was a lot of fun.
After I returned from college and was still in my twenties, Dad would take us to his local hunting camp from time to time. On one such trip my friend and I were archery hunting. Dad was driving the jeep and we spotted a wild hog in the pasture. The hunting lease covered about 21,000 acres and the main business was cattle. The wild hogs tore up the roads with their rooting and were considered a nuisance varmint. The ranch was happy to have them harvested.
When we spotted the hog my friend and I got out of the jeep and tried to sneak up on it coming from different directions. We got within shooting distance and we both took a shot. Amazingly, both us hit it in the head; one straight in front and the other from the side. To our surprise it took off running for the swamp. I could not believe it; it had two arrows in its head.
Dad shouted from the road to not let it get into the swamp so we took off in a sprint to try to head it off. Right near the swamp’s edge, I found myself suddenly in front of the hog and just a little off to its right. It stopped for a split second and then charged me. I hit it on the head with my bow and it backed up. Then I pulled my knife out. There was a surge of adrenalin (fear) and I decided in that split second that I was going to go mano a mano with that hog. I was going to do a Tarzan!
My friend had made it to us by now and had his bow ready to shoot. Dad was shouting for him not to shoot me. I took my knife and I do not know what happened next but the result was that all I did was cut my other hand! That was my big Tarzan moment and I failed. My friend then shot the hog again and killed it.
I love pushing our personal boundaries and stretching ourselves to improve our skills. However, there are times when you should know better than to get outside your skill set. For example,…well think of the many times in your life when you or one of your friends has made a fool of themselves and never realized it by simply not seeing the obvious. “Don’t quit your day job” is sometimes one of the remarks that is shared when this happens. I think we should all challenge life and work on improving our skills but we should not try and be a Tarzan when we have not trained to be one. Get the training first and then swing from the trees if that is what you want to do!
The HighFive Your Life principle: Challenge yourself to improve your skills but know when you need to operate within the skill set that you already have.
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