Growing up in Kentucky, I was raised around the story of Daniel Boone. A raccoon hat wearing badass with a knack for blazing trails. And although, as a Kentuckian, I learned the many insignificant details of Boone’s life, an underlying theme started to connect with me over time. I thought, in some small way, his story was just the story of humanity. The story of humans is the story of pioneers. Pioneering our way from ape to man, east to west, canoes to ships, earth to space, even from humanity to gods and the discovery of something greater than ourselves. We are our own heroes on our own pioneering journeys if we can perceive it. There is something, strange, yet inherent to our soul, that craves the sensation of uncovering the beauty within nature and within ourselves.
Often we shoot ourselves in the foot before we even begin this adventure. It starts up top. Our brains are tireless story-tellers holding the material for a thousand years of hollywood-caliber scripts. We can architect any real or hypothetical scenario down to the finest details and emotions. But another story of mankind is that we don’t always take advantage of this creativity for good. We could always simply choose to envision hope or wonder, yet we imagine terrible scenarios and cast fearful shadows over our futures with exaggerated obstacles. Sometimes this attitude manifests into blaming others, making temporary things last forever, and occasionally just lies, all to get ourselves out of taking action towards our goals and making our way.
“If anyone on the verge of action should judge himself according to the outcome, he would never begin.” -Søren Kierkegaard
So why do we become our own enemies? Do we hate ourselves? Like failing? I don’t think so. It may have something to do with how our goals scare us half to death. At least any of the good ones should, and I think we have a right to feel this way about our ambitions. We are scared because although the landscape of pioneering has changed over time for most of us, from bears and dangerous uncharted terrains, the sentiment towards blazing a new path has hardly changed a bit. Perhaps it has even gotten more terrifying to many people. It’s a frightening ordeal to become something new. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” And, to me, that is our greatest accomplishment because no matter what titles we hold, trophies we accumulate, or money we hoard… all you will ever be able to become from the time you are born until your death– is you.
We are always being marketed, told, even just plain coerced into believing someone else’s story for who we should be, how we ought to think, or what we should do with our time. But we have to remember that all we are responsible for during the course of our lives is the effort we expend and the purpose we attribute to our experiences. It is all up to us as individuals to pave our own roads. The degree to which we steer ourselves is up to us, the trajectory is in our hands, and as long as you have breath in your lungs, you can tell a different story of who you are. “You” is always in a state of change and flow, so don’t anchor yourself to certainty and safety when there is so much left to discover, so many new paths to pioneer.
Who knows, maybe you’ll find your real self somewhere along the way.