Tie it All Together
tell a little story about some restraining I had to do. Once in my life. I was training for the Olympics and after ah, a certain season, I failed to make the travel team to go to the World Cups. Well, I felt I failed to make the paid to travel team, but I was good enough to go and compete. But I wasn't good enough to be funded and I didn't have any money, so I wanted to go anyway. So I decided to sell a bike and go overseas and make my way myself. On DSO. I sold the bike for $2000. I bought a $500 ticket to Amsterdam, where I got some new skates, two pairs of skates and a pair of blades in the tube, and I then ah, $400 for those as well. Some $1200 left for three months in Europe. Perfect, right? I mean, so my brilliant plan was to hitchhike around Europe and couch surf at each of the meats with the families of the skaters. It all sounded pretty straightforward, so I had my two boxes of skates to with the blades in it my big heavy backpack, a duffel bag with all of my skates and sharpe...
ning equipment. And I walked down to the highway and I stuck my thumb out. Pretty straightforward. All right. People should magically appear and take you somewhere, but didn't really work like that. Just kept roaring by and an hour went by and two hours went by and three hours went by and nothing. And it started raining. So I had to go underneath the overpass and came back out for friendly looking cars. And then I started in clever and doing things like this and that at least got heads to swivel. So I know people see me, but nobody stopped. And then finally, an hour later, this rusty old elope pulls over four guys pop out all four doors pop open and one of the they're all guys my age. One guy says to me, Hey, hey, mate, where you going? You're from Australia. They bought the car that morning and they were gonna travel Europe in it for three months. And I said, I need to get to Munich. I've got a World Cup in two days. Can you help? Are you going that direction. They said, Ah, man, we're coming to Octoberfest. There are literally going right where I'm going so awesome I get in, I tie my stuff to the roof because there's no room inside car door shut. They hand me a warm beer. We are on our way to Germany, Everything great. And then minutes later, bright, shiny objects start shooting up from underneath the car. They dropped the transmission and they stopped and warned the death of their vehicle. But I needed to get somewhere, so I'm back out with my thumb, starting to get dark. And then I got lucky. Big red truck stopped and pulled over the door, swung open. I ran up the cab. It took him a ways to stop. And as I got there, this crazy looking guy is leaning out of the cab. Scraggly hair, mustache, cigar in his mouth. And he looked like the wagon train driver from dances with wolves. Timmons, I think, is his name. Anyways, he, uh, he only spoke french and you didn't actually speak. He yelled, he only yelled in French, and I don't speak any friends, so I didn't know what he was saying, but I kept saying Germany, Munich Deutschland and, uh, mention and any nodded and smiled. So So I got in and off we went, and, uh, we went through the German border, so that was good. We were in the right country, and then I promptly fell asleep and I stopped for several hours. And then when I woke up, he was shaking me is in my face and he's got the cigar and he's saying, yelling in French And then he's pointing and he's kicks the door open. So now I get it. I've got to get out so I get out and I grab my stuff. He roars off, and ah, I'm just in the middle of nowhere and there's no town, There's no lights, nothing. And there's a little bit of a light ahead. So I walk up and that's where I see the sign, says Deutschland links friends ish Rex. He'd gone to France, he turned right. We kept me in the right country, at least, but here I am, in the middle of nowhere, somewhere in southwestern Germany and in October, and then it started raining. It's pouring, pouring down the big, fat, wet, cold drops 35 degrees soaks right through all of my clothes. I am freezing teeth chattering right away, and I gotta figure out a way to stay warm. So I grab my stuff and I just start jogging down the road. Hope that something appears and I get a few 100 yards down the road and its getting darker because the only street that was back there pitch black, can't see. So I turned around and jogged back. Then I turn around and jogged the other way to try to generate heat. And so I'm carrying all the stuff to help generate heat. I start this ugly shuffling job back and forth and 100 yard radius and I go for half hour and then an hour and then two hours and then three hours and it's three in the morning. I'm absolutely freezing. I can't feel anything anymore. Water Stop there. Everything is in my shoes of rolling my spine, and at one point I remember I was just sitting. I stopped and I realized I didn't care anymore and and that I was probably going to die. I knew that. Hypothermia. One of the symptoms. You just stop feeling both emotionally and physically, and I couldn't feel anything any which way that scared me enough to say. I can't do something different. I got to do something different. So then I went up the embankment. I had been up there before that. I wanted the embankment to this hayfield. I started thinking, all right, the things that mo this don't drive for tens of miles. So maybe if I follow a row, I'll find something. So I started walking. I couldn't see anymore cause pitch black, but I could feel where the road was. So I just kept walking. And a couple 100 yards later, I figured out something that saved my life. And so I started just pushing Hey together and pushed a pile together. Dick me. Maybe 10 minutes not very long at all, and I made a pile about eight feet long, five feet wide and five feet high, and then I did. The hardest thing I've ever done is an adult. I stood in that field in the rain in Germany at 35 degrees, and I stripped naked. And then I put in the only clothes that were dry left, which is the bottom my duffel bag, which was my three speeds getting skin suits. And I put him on one at a time, Put the hoods on and everything. I shook the blades out of the tube that they were in into the hay. And then I took the tube and I jammed it in the sleeve of my jacket. Gonna put the jacket back over my head and I borrowed my way to the center bottom of this haystack. Turn sideways. Put the tube right in front of my mouth. I could breathe. I was warm. I was safe. I was dry. I fell right asleep about four in the morning. Well, a week of and I feel the rumble of the autobahn of Mike. Okay, thank God I survived the night. I'll be able to get a ride and get some heat in the car. I check my watch. I'm thinking it's because it's dark. I'm thinking probably 6 a.m. but it's actually says it's one PM I'm like, Is that right? So I sort of climb my way, part my way out of my my nest, and it's brilliant. Sometime it's one PM I had actually slept through the night. And as I parted Hey, this strange thing happened. The autobahn shut off. Just like that was weird cause I couldn't see it and it couldn't see me. So how could that happen? That's when I had this sinking feeling and I turned and looked behind me to see one of the world's largest pieces of farming equipment that had been threshing this Hey, that has stopped 10 feet short of this nest. Now, keep in mind, I change in the dark. I couldn't see what was putting on a two standard issue U. S. Speedskating skin suits that I put him. But the 3rd 1 I put on was this bright silver, pink and purple, complete with the hood. So what he sees is a strange nest out of which pops this alien creature. I'll never forget his face. He leans out of the cab and his mouth is just wide open. And I smiled in a way and I could just hear his thoughts. He's like it looked at me. I'm pretty sure this area 42 in Germany, but regardless, I grab my stuff and went down to the highway and stuck out my thumb. Now tip if you need to get a ride on the autobahn in Germany. Silver, pink and skin suit wins. Every time I had choices, three car stopped and I chose the fastest looking one, and they agreed to take me all the way to the ice rink. So got there lickety split. I popped out, got on the accident. Need to change, and, uh, started doing some lapses with the Dutch team because the U. S practices already over and after a couple laughs, some of the Dutch kids had been following in my wake because of the cool us A guy. And after a couple laps, um, I could hear the scuffling and shouting and swearing behind me and Dutch. And then one of the older skaters, Rensi Richmond, came up to me and he gets along. Is this John? There's a problem. I said Yes. He said appears. Is grass coming off of you? I think maybe you need to change. So I had to go inside and shake out the skin suit because there was grass all over it, and, uh, and to this day, I could see anybody from that era on. They work for their various TV crews will see him maybe at the Olympics, and then embraced rather just like a grasshopper, the only nickname I ever got that stuck, at least with the Dutch team. So So why don't I share this story? Because it gets back to this sort of reframing thing. I had framed the challenge as How do I keep warm by running in place or by generating heat? Wasn't working. And if I had stayed and narrow cortisone focus stress response, I would have just kept doing that and I'd be dead. But by backing up and getting a little bit of perspective, just thinking differently, I was able to identify a different way to solve the same problem. Instead of generating heat through running or moving, how Dewie find or build shelter that saved my life. And that could save yours, too. There's always a way in the infinite possibilities universe. There's always a way to solve a problem. All right, so I'm gonna jump over to something. That is the problem. I think a lot of people solve inappropriately as well, and this is Maslow's hierarchy well familiar with it. You got your psych physiological needs, safety belongingness and love and then esteem needs. Now graduate from high school or maybe college and you sort of sink back to the bottom of this, at least briefly. You've got to get a job. Pay for rent, right? Ah, get security back in life routine. Get to a place where you can have a boyfriend girlfriend, Have your friendships get love and belonging back in your life. And then you work with your teams in your office and you develop esteem of your comrades through your hard work and effort. And you've got your financial and could get all of this. This feels good. It feels like you've arrived at first for me. When I got here, it felt like vertigo, like I was in the edge of this precipice that I'd worked so hard to get here. But I didn't feel self actualized, and it felt like I was hemmed in by half to use everything that it took for me to get there were now keeping me from doing anything else. I had so much work, so many responsibilities, and I didn't feel like I had actually become the me I could be. And I think a lot of people get stuck because I think what happens is for a lot of people, the final step to self actualization is not a step. It's a plunge. It's a fall off a cliff because what gets us to hear oftentimes is disciplined. Focus, risk aversion, routine expertise. These are all the things that it takes to get to the esteem needs being met. And for a lot of people, unless you were born to be a lawyer, which some people were, and that's fine. And then it's a step. You just go straight up on your happy actualize his lawyer. But for a lot of people, they realize this isn't really the who they wanted to be, but they are unwilling to do this part to fall all the way back down to am I safe? Do I have love? Do I have a steam? And the things that it requires to go self actualized for a lot of people is novelty, openness, risk, ambiguity, possibility, the exact anti Nimes that the things that got you there in the first place. But if you want to make that leap and find the way to self actualize, it involves taking those risks and having the resiliency to do so.