by Darrin Schenck


by Darrin Schenck


I loved this quote the moment I saw it, and despite having the need to learn this over time, I really identified with it now.

“Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world.”

Such a perfect thought, because in the beginning, I was Hell bent on the world knowing who I was.  I was out to make my mark, become rich and famous, and all that other crap that most of us learn by osmosis.  We get this from the movies, TV, and more now than ever before, social media.  We are subject to filters and fake highlight reels of other people’s lives 24/7.  We are inundated with bad news from around the world all day every day, and our minds were not meant for this.  We have not evolved to handle this kind of overwhelm.

Climb mountains so you can see the world…my perspective has changed dramatically as I age.  I have learned and grown in ways I could not have imagined when I was 18 and thought I knew it all.  I am not sure why human beings go through the life cycles that they do, but my thought patterns have not carved a new path, but rather followed much the same that so many before me did as well.  You can read stories from the Old West of teenagers sneaking in to the neighbor’s farm to ride a bull they were told to stay away from.  Fast forward a few decades and it changes to drag racing at midnight in your father’s car, only to wreck it and have to deal with the consequences.  It’s the same defiance, the same rebellious attitude that we are born with.  Only a few of us learn to control it early on, and those who did have fewer scars and a lot less stories to tell.  Those who never reign in this attitude end up in many cases in trouble with the law or at least a difficult time living in everyday society.  Some end up working as a wildcat oil rigger, or a nomadic truck driver, never really settling down and falling into the groove so many others do.

At this point in my life, I am largely content with explore the world and sit in coffee shops.  My wife said that to me a while ago, and I could not agree more.

I have climbed a lot of mountains in my life already, many by choice, a few out of necessity or circumstance.  I never planned to be in a head on collision with a wrong way driver, but I was.  While I climbed out of the car physically uninjured of the most part, I have been on a different journey since that moment a few years ago.  When I first stepped into Arizona Athletic Club so many years ago for the first racquetball tournament I ever competed in, little did I know how this would alter the course of my life completely.  Or maybe that I had found the path I was supposed to be on, it is hard to say.

One takeaway from both of these examples is that I learned to live in my stretch point.  I lived on the edge of discomfort a lot of the time, challenging myself to grow and stretch and develop.  From my days as a competitive racquetball player, I learned (eventually) that my self-worth was not tied to my results on the court.  Other’s opinion of me was largely irrelevant, and that people spent FAR LESS time thinking about me than I thought they did.  I wasted a lot of time, energy, and mental space worrying about what others thought, only to learn that they didn’t really care that much after all.  What a freeing feeling that discovery was.  And if you labor under the illusion that others are sitting around plotting your demise or following your every move, you are sadly mistaken.  Get over yourself…I did.

After the car crash, I decided to undertake Public Speaking, and have been working towards elevating myself to be a paid speaker ever since.  I am closing in on this new mountain peak that I chose.  I did what I have learned to do over the years, I aligned myself with others who are farther up this mountain than I am, and followed the trail they showed me.  I did the work, more than most are willing to do.  I practiced, I took feedback, I asked for help.  As I continue my climb, the path gets harder.  I can do as many free talks as I want, but this a small portion of the goal.  I want to be compensated for sharing my life stories and shortening the learning curves of others.  My wisdom and experience has value to lots of others when properly applied.  Herein lies the value and therefore the compensation.

Constant growth should be a goal that you prioritize in life.  It means that you learn to be happy now, but never satisfied.  You know that you can be more and a better version of yourself.  Evolving is not easy, and some of the people around you will try to keep you where you are at.  This is far more a reflection on them, not you.  THEY are struggling with the idea that you are elevating past them, and soon they will be left behind.  Not everyone will see the world the way you do, and that is ok.  Trees and grass start out in the same place, but the trees don’t avoid growth to stay with the grass, they do what they were meant to do.  They grow.  They reach for the skies and bloom to their full potential whenever possible.  It is perfectly ok to outgrow people.  I do not have a single friend from high school that I speak to on even a semi-regular basis.  They were my whole world at one point, and now none of them exist in the world I love in now.

Accepting your circumstances is allowing yourself to be comfortably numb.  You need to do the work now that your future self will thank you for.  Read that again…I’ll wait.  Do you really want to be a “normal” person?  Is mediocrity the target for you?  In today’s world, here is what normal typically means:

  • Overweight and in poor physical health
  • Divorced
  • Working a job that you mostly hate, making enough money to get by
  • You had goals and dreams but they got set aside a long time ago. You’re bitter deep down because of it
  • Living for the alcohol infused weekends of tailgating or watching sports as a distraction from your life

Sound familiar?  Know anyone like that?  Of course you do…we all do.  Whether it is the friend who is in 3 fantasy football leagues, or plays golf every Saturday despite having a family to spend time with or a ton of other things that need to get done but will wait yet another weekend.  Maybe they are a chronic shopper, spending hours scrolling through their phone or wandering through the mall.  Distractions come in all kinds of forms.  In my opinion, constant growth and forward movement is not only the best way to live, but it is your responsibility to live that way.

Only YOU can make that choice…I wish you luck in that endeavor.

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