A few weeks ago, I was reading Play to Win by Hersch and Larry Wilson. While there were numerous things I recall being insightful, one of the most profound was derived from a story one of the Wilson’s told about taking a camping trip.
From the way they tell the story, the group had been planning this trip for a while. In their minds they had envisioned the perfect trip – with gorgeous weather and fun adventures. What they found instead was stormy weather. In this situation, the Wilson’s report that two types of people emerged: Those who were outdoor enthusiasts and those who were not.
And the key difference between the two was preparedness. The outdoors enthusiasts had experience with the various expressions of mother nature and so had planned appropriately. As soon as the weather turned, they unpacked the appropriate equipment. When the sun came out they were prepared. When the rain came out they were prepared. In short, no matter what happened they were prepared.
In contrast, those who were described as non-outdoor enthusiasts were not. When they sun came out, they were happy – until it got too hot. When the rain came out, they were not – until it stopped. Their reactions, their views of the situation, were entirely dependent upon something that was out of their control. This led the Wilson’s to conclude:
“There is no such thing as bad weather, just unprepared people. The weather just happens; it’s neither bad nor good, cruel nor pleasant; it just is. We interpret it as bad or good because of how it affects us, but in reality, weather is just weather. All we can really do is be prepared.” – Hersch and Larry Wilson, p. 227.
This idea that preparation – and the level of knowledge and experience that must precede one’s ability to be prepared – left me wondering if this idea could be translated to other aspects of life. That is, could our ability to be present in life – without judgment – be completely dependent upon our level of preparation? And if so, is this something that we could consciously alter in order to be more fully present with life – as it is true to its nature – without judgment?
What if we allowed life to be as it is, instead of labeling it, based upon our preparedness or lack-thereof? What might occur to our daily experiences – not to mention our levels of happiness and ease – if we were able to reframe things to reflect that there might be a level of discrepancy between our levels of comfort (and feelings of preparedness) and the situation at hand? How might we find a greater sense of ease, understanding, or compassion for ourselves and others if we stopped labeling things?
As you go about your life, encountering it in its full beauty, messiness, and glory, I encourage you to continue to ask yourself how you’re framing this moment and this moment and this moment. As you begin to reclaim how you view life, notice your own changing dynamics of power and the new opportunities that present themselves at every turn.