I hopped out of the truck somewhere in the middle of Wyoming to pee. No rest stops around, sometimes you just gotta take matters into your own hands. We were moving with the Airstream at the time, so we couldn’t exactly pull into the next McDonalds.
And honestly, I’m not even sure a McDonalds – or any fast food restaurant, was within 100 square miles of where we were.
I turned left and walked back to the end of the truck, hopped over the hitch and faced the limitless Wyoming landscape and let loose. As always, it was thrilling.
This experience got me thinking. Pee + wind could result in something truly unfortunate. Cooling in the summertime, perhaps. But, not altogether pleasant. Peeing into the wind is one of those mistakes that you only make once, right?
Are you free enough to pee into the wind?
As I climbed back into the truck to continue our journey, it occurred to me how reminiscent that situation is to, well, freedom. Taking chances. Opening your heart and mind to whatever happens to come your way.
I feel free enough to pee into the wind. I’ll wipe myself off and continue on about my life. I’m not afraid of germs. It takes a LOT to get me upset. Things happen.
And, I’m also willing to try new things. In the truck, the wife and I chatted about the three different types of people in this world.
Imagine you’re on a snowboard and you’re at the top of a mountain, looking down. It’s your first time, and you’re generally a little timid about what might happen.
To simplify some way more complicated psychological mumbo-jumbo that I probably couldn’t even pronounce, here’s what might happen:
You call yourself crazy for even considering such a feat and retreat to grab yourself a cup of delicious hot cocoa. More or less, you don’t even try. Whether it’s too much risk or just not enough guts, you’ll never even try because you’re afraid of what might happen. You know it won’t end perfectly. A lot of people are like that. Hell, I was very much like that in my younger days.
You try it once and, if you don’t look like a tried-and-true professional snowboarder on your first damn run, you’ll crack your snowboard in half over your knee, throw the splintery shards of what used to be a snowboard in opposite directions and blaze away in a cloud of obscenities. In other words, you will give it a shot, but if you aren’t perfect, you’re done.
You try it once and, if it doesn’t work perfectly the first time, you try again. And again. You aren’t content to let yourself fail without giving it another shot. You’ll laugh at yourself for tumbling down the snowy mountain in the most hilarious way possible, return to the top and will try that shit again. And again…until you finally manage a run that makes you appear like a half-way competent snowboarder.
Successful people pee and try again
I believe that the most successful people tend to be the latter of the three scenarios. There are exceptions, of course, but those of us who never push publish on that blog post or never write anything out of fear of being judged, or never put their foot forward because someone might laugh at them…rarely achieve their goals.
In keeping with the “pee” theme, they pee with the wind and, if a single drip happens to land on their shoe or leg, they get upset and disgusted.
In contrast, the most successful among us are not only confident people, but they are okay with failure. In fact, most relish the opportunity to fail, learn and try again.
Most successful business owners tried their hand at a variety of ventures, failing a majority of the time. But eventually, something hits. You learn enough about failure to know what to avoid. The process that works the best. The things to do to maximize your chances of getting your idea through to the masses with open wallets. And through that failure, you appreciate success.
They throw caution to the same wind that they pee directly into. If they feel the mist of the back spray, who flippin’ cares? It washes off. Life isn’t perfect. Things happen, and the best of us adjust in whatever way we can to push forward.
Okay okay, listen…
The point of this article isn’t to convince you to pee into the wind and give your lower body a really strange cooldown. The point isn’t about bodily functions at all, really. Instead, peeing into the wind is a metaphor about life and how we approach those things that might go wrong.
If we are afraid and never try, we probably won’t ever succeed.
How do most people succeed?
Again, there are exceptions to every rule. But in my experience in this thing that we call life, there are certain techniques that most successful people use.
Technique #1: Get your mind right
Forget what our society tells us about success. Success is virtually unattainable if we let our culture govern its definition. Simply put, it always changes. Magazines highlight the latest “hot buys” in the industry. Electronics publications give us new “must have” gadgetry that is in vogue this month. Car websites spill out the low-down on what cars the rich and famous are driving.
Success demands context. It does not materialize from the accumulation of things. Rather, success is achieved. It begins with a goal – a personal goal. Through our own efforts of working smart and making the right decisions, we focus on achieving that goal. When we do, we become successful at those goals.
Success is internal. It is derived from our lives, our thoughts, and our fortunes. We make ourselves successful, not some arbitrary external force or governing body. It comes down to us.
Technique #2: Ask for it
Hard work. It’s great in theory, but the years I spent meandering my way through corporate America taught me that success very rarely resembles the fluffy fairy-tale idea that success comes to those who “work hard”. Or even “smart“.
More times than not, being successful comes to those who ask for it.
Technique #3: Show up
If you can somehow muster up the incredible energy to get up in the morning, get dressed, start your car, drive to work and meander your way through the office in search of your cubicle or office (and find it!), you’ve more or less found half of the secret to success.
Sad, isn’t it? The mere presence of your ass in that seat means you’re already ahead of so many of your peers. The bar really is that low, isn’t it?
As a child, my dad preached to me how important just showing up for work truly is, and my experience has shown that he was absolutely right. The fact is in many areas of corporate America, it is not hard to look good. Showing up seems so simple. As a child, I took for granted that people who have jobs actually do them, but in reality, it’s not so simple. Believe it or not, just being there – with your butt in the chair contributing whatever you can along with your co-workers, is more than 50% of what makes up success in American industry.
Technique #4: Don’t be a jerk
While it is true that some successful people are unholy jerks, most aren’t. Most worked their way up by observing the world around them in a clever and determined way…without stepping on any (many?) heads in the process.
For example: smile once in a while. Help out your fellow co-workers rather than let them fail (or worse, actively work against them). Be someone that others genuinely look up to, not someone your business professor in college would use as an example of what not to be.
Technique #5: Be sure you want it
I wrote about my high-level IT directorship position before, but it is appropriate to rehash here. At the time that I was promoted to Director, I spent the last eight years of my working career as a follower. I was ready for the additional responsibility, and there was a sea change in the organization. The position was mine because I asked for it.
For way more about being successful, check out my ultimate guide to success.
What say you? Are you free enough to pee into the wind and just…not care?
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.