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Back on the horse: Part one - letting go and stepping up to the next level

An #AdventureMindset can stand you in good stead through life. Not just to motivate the pursuit of challenge, but also to embrace the more uplifting elements of life. It can also help build resilience and get you 'back on the horse' when you come tumbling off it and fear getting back in the saddle...






In my blogs I put forward ideas from Adventure Psychology to help people figure a way to thrive in uncertain times, and make sense of the crazy world. By adopting an Adventure Mindset (I'll gradually reveal how) you can approach the challenges of life with an adaptable resolve, and embrace the chaos knowing full well that it's a wild ride so you might as well enjoy it!

“When one has a blow to one’s confidence, it can be an uphill battle to go back to what it was that you 'failed at’ before. It takes courage. It takes swallowing one's pride... an adjustment of the attitude that sees failure as something to avoid...if you get straight back on that horse, there’s a good chance you will propel yourself forward to the next level. Improving on what you did before, as you have ‘let go’..."

Get straight back in the saddle and spur your horse on to greater feats!!

Many years ago, whilst snowmobiling in wintry British Columbia I came off the 'horse'. It was chaos: a brief briefing to a bunch of people who had likely never been on one of these powerful charges before. “Try not to come off, but if you do, remember, it’s not worth your life for the money it costs to replace the damaged vehicle - so jump clear”. Our ‘insurance’ only covered us $250 CAD for the windshield. Not the other $12k for a wrecked (or lost) ‘mobile.


Strung out over miles of steep mountainside terrain, we were effectively on our own. These things shifted! 50, 60kph, powerful beasts! There were a few evident mishaps on the way to our mustering and turn around point but everyone was intact.


On the way back, really thrashing it, I came to a nerve-wracking point where the ‘track’ narrowed significantly, and the snowy ground dropped away sharply to my right. An intermittent tree-line partly shielded the edge of a cliff (we were several thousand feet up in the Rockies). In other parts of the route there were no trees.


I became nervous, over-focused yet distracted by my own thoughts about the drops. At a dip in the track I felt myself drawn to the right. All of a sudden, I was tilting, listing over the side of the track and onto the steepening hillside. I gunned the throttle and tried to wrestle my steed but could feel control slipping away. To my horror I felt the world tip upside down. A moment of pause for thought had me weigh up, in freeze frame, whether I should follow the earlier advice and jump clear. They say your life flashes before your eyes in moments of peril.


But it was my wallet that flashed before my eyes right then (!).


I was reluctant to let go and see $12k I didn’t have disappear over the edge with the snowmobile in a spectacular fireball...


A split second later I had little choice, as like riding a rodeo bull sooner or later I would be hurled forth.


I came to rest in soft deep snow and watched in dismay as the machine righted itself in a down-the-hill pointing direction, with plenty momentum. A forerunner of the google car, it was off on its own jolly down the ravine.


It stopped. Held back from the edge of the mountainside by a thicket of bushes and saplings.


I scrambled back up to the track and dusted myself off, checking for missing limbs and broken pride. I had significant bruising on my leg and shoulder where the heavy machine and I had danced haphazardly together. But no major injuries.


It was a while before the rest of my party hoved into view and I flagged them down (if I'd 'gone down with the ship' they might not have realised I was gone till much later as I would have been hidden down below in the trees - or perhaps worse off the edge).


It took 14 people to retrieve the snowmobile with collective ingenuity and teamwork. The engine started straight away and there was a very slightly bent windshield. My wallet was metaphorically intact.


Moments later, my composure restored, the air silent as the rest of the group disappeared off ahead, I contemplated my next move.


Gingerly sat astride the temperamental steed I started off slowly, nervously. I started to shake. I couldn’t afford (literally or in terms of consequences) to have a further mishap, particularly as I was clearing the trees and the edge of the cliff was more prominent. But at slow speed there was less traction, and my nervousness made my progress more unstable.

I couldn't very well get off and push it as was still miles from where I needed to get to and now everyone had left me to it.


There was nothing for it. Floor the bugger! So I did just that.


Whereas before I might have managed 45kph which felt fast enough now I gunned it up beyond 50. Towards 60! In fact I topped out at 62kph (just verified an old FB post on it).

I threw caution to the wind and embraced the gallop (whooping like a maniac, flooded with adrenaline...)


I’ve always performed far better at faster speeds, committed to the act I am engaging in, be that hurtling down a ski slope, or running hell for leather.


To go at a more cautious pace is to invite injury, or mishap.


If you are going to get on the horse, ride the horse. Doing it half-heartedly with the brakes on doesn’t do it, or you, any favours.


When one has a blow to one’s confidence, it can be an uphill battle to go back to what it was that you 'failed at’ before. It takes courage. It takes swallowing one’s pride. It takes an adjustment of the attitude that sees failure as something to avoid.


But if you get straight back on that horse, there’s a good chance you will propel yourself forward to the next level. Improving on what you did before, as you have ‘let go’ - quite literally in the example I gave!


In order to get better at something, it can sometimes require a shock to the system to alleviate you of the burden of expectation, resting on the laurels of previous achievement.

Perceived success is holding you back.


Fall off the horse, dust yourself down and get back on it. Then spur it on. Faster! Harder! Go get ‘em!!! Yee-hah!!!



In my next post (which inspired this preceding post) I will talk about a recent event in which a good friend of mine got back on the horse in far more spectacular and courageous fashion following a very serious injury that turned his life, and potential future, upside down. So stay tuned!!

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