Life lessons from the outdoors

Rick Cunningham, The Hays Daily News special contributor
Rick Cunningham

Spending time in the outdoors can teach us a lot of skills and lessons that we use in our everyday lives.

Waiting a long time for a fish to bite or sitting in a tree stand for hours without seeing anything teaches us patience.

I think of the times I’ve been in line at a store with one item to purchase, and a person was ahead of me taking their time visiting or maybe buying a lot of lottery tickets – I remind myself to be patient.  I know in time I will get checked out.

Or those times when I’ve followed someone who was in no hurry to make the green light at the intersection…  again, I have to remind myself to be patient.  The light will eventually turn green again.

When my friends and I go to talk to a farmer we’ve never talked to before, a farmer with a great place to hunt or fish, sometimes we’re so afraid of rejection that we won’t even ask.  It reminds me of when I was young and wanted to ask a girl to dance, but wouldn’t because of the fear of being turned down.  In life, we learn that it’s OK to fail.  If we don’t take chances, we may never see the rewards.  In most cases, it’s well worth the risk.

I’ve learned to never give up no matter how bad the odds are stacked against you.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been hunting and the odds for success looked almost impossible, but with hard work and persistence comes success.

I’ve fished with my brother (a mechanic) and a friend (a financial advisor).  When they fish, they are always problem-solving.  They will try many different lures and many different spots until they have success.  I think in their jobs, they have to figure out solutions to problems every day.  So that’s how they fish.  For them, maybe it goes the other way – skills they’ve learned in life can be used in the outdoors.

There have been times we’ve gone to a place to hunt and someone else was there, and for whatever reason, it was almost impossible to go somewhere else.  I’ve found that most times, if you approach the other hunters in the right way (calm, not angry) and negotiate with them, something can be worked out.  I’ve used this skill a lot with others who disagree with me in my everyday life.  It works very well.

These are just a few of the skills I’ve taken from the outdoors and use in my everyday life. Thank God for the great outdoors!

May God bless you all.

Rick Cunningham is an avid outdoorsman from Ellis, KS