I could have ended up in jail, the hospital, or worse…
My heart was racing.
All that I could think was that I was going to die.
The cars were coming right at me over 70 miles per hour!
That sign, yeah, it turns out it was meant for me…
But before I explain what happened let me tell you about how I got there.
You may have or have not noticed that I did not blog yesterday. And my idea machine blog has stalled out as of late. This begs the question, am I giving up?
Remember way back when on April 14th I showed you how you had 270 SHOTS TO MAKE $1.8 MILLION? To quote myself, like any good writer, “The point being that I want to focus on something else. And that mainly is my writing. I have been having less than stellar stories and posts because they were focused around the idea list.”
And also, “This may seem counter intuitive but I will not necessarily be posting them everyday like I have been for the last 90 days.”
I forgot this specifically, but rereading it makes me feel better. My past self knew my future self would need this. This is one of the few times past Michael didn’t screw things up for future Michael.
Time machine high-five!
With that being cleared up for me, and maybe you, I can write the rest of this story with a peace of mind and better clarity.
But first a confession: I have not been on track with Claudia’s book Become An Idea Machine. Day 102 when I shared HOW STARBUCKS DIDN’T HAVE TO LOSE $4 MILLION AND 9 OTHER BOOK IDEAS was my last time I did ideas from the book. I have however come up with ideas everyday, not necessarily ten, but I should get back into it.
If you spoke with my wife she would probably describe me as being “burnt out”. This is probably accurate, even though I would never admit to it. I have so much excitement and enthusiasm for life now that I am becoming an idea machine that I come up with more and more things I want to do all of the time. The probably is that I only have so much time and so I need to stop trying to do everything.
The sad part is that I am going to have to give up somethings that I like, and some that I don’t, in order to move on to bigger and better things. It is like a gardener pruning. In fact I have been pruning in several areas of my life. But more on that later.
When I reached a point of utter exhaustion I knew I needed a break.
I didn’t have to have much time away to feel refreshed, but I know I will need more.
And I never felt more alive.
Sometime I want to tell about my other trips around Texas, but for now I will share what I did yesterday. When I was in college I had gone on a few trips for two to three days. I only outlined where I was going and the major highways to get there. I took a minimal supply of food and no change of clothes. It was awesome.
Back then I had come up with several destinations for other trips, but I had never made it out to these other locations. I mostly aimed at Texas State Parks because well I live in Texas and getting outside is what I was mostly aiming to do. I have been all over from east to west, north to south and loved every mile of it. I am fortunate to call such a diverse and large state my home sweet home.
As for my trip yesterday I had a location nearby that I had yet to get over to and that was Eisenhower State Park. I had no real plan other than I wanted some time away from my ordinary routine rather than wasting away a day off. Also I wanted to reflect on a recent Ask Altucher Ep 257: How Does James Focus to Get Everything Done Every Day? In this podcast James and Claudia discuss following Warren Buffett’s 5/25 rule.
This really hit home to me because I was struggling to try to do too many things.
I thought well I have a thousand things I want to do so I will not limit myself to a list of 25. Maybe a list of 100, but not 25. But first I needed to get away and clear my head and try to find out what was important to me and what I liked doing. What better way than to get outdoors and breath some lake air?
Before heading straight to ESP, I stopped by another outdoor location for some time to see if that would be good enough. I wandered around the forest for about 30 minutes before I came to a swamp. I had already gotten a layer of mud caked on the bottom of my shoes so I wasn’t exactly afraid to get dirty…
But I didn’t want to wade up to my knees in swamp water either.
So I turned around and soon made my way back to my vehicle. I knew I could turn around and head home then, but I didn’t accomplish what I set out to do yet. I had already decided I would go north if that first park didn’t work out for me. And so I did. But being on an adventure is no fun if all you do is take the highway.
So I didn’t.
I decided to follow the back roads to get to the state park. And that is where I almost died. Even with the help of GPS I was unable to tell what was going on when I got to a certain intersection. I could see where I wanted to go but I didn’t know what was going on with the road configurations or the map on my phone.
I did what any wild eye explorer would do.
I went for it.
I though for sure I was heading in the right direction. Then I noticed that the yellow road line was on the right side.
I wondered to myself is that correct or is it usually to the left?
That is when I saw the “Do Not Enter” signs next to the “Wrong Way” signs.
But they seemed pointed towards the other road right next to me on the side over there…
I was not sure and that is when I saw the cars coming straight at me.
Quickly I realized that I was on the exit ramp on the highway headed into oncoming traffic! I was far enough along it I didn’t want to stop and turn around or backup for fear of the cars that might hit me. So I did the only thing I could think of which was to go for it! I pressed on the gas to get to the end of the ramp, swung the wheel right to turn my gar in the right direction and then punched it!
The cars behind me were not too close but I bet they thought I was an idiot or something.
Fortunately I managed to get through the rest of the trip safely.
At Eisenhower State Park I did a little bit of tromping around, climbed over and on and up some rocks. It was exhilarating. I got even more muddy on a trail later. And then I took a few pictures.
I found a feature I never knew existed called “Surround shot” that allows for a 360 degree spherical panorama of where you are taking the photo from. I hardly ever take pictures so maybe you knew about this already. I don’t know how to share it online but I will if I can figure it out. Also I just took a regular panorama too.
On the way back I drove by a historical monument. It was the birthplace of Dwight D. Eisenhower. I guess that is why the local park is named after him. I didn’t stop because I didn’t want to get out of the car. I did peer over and saw the old house. Nothing fancy. But hey that a place from 1980 is still standing is cool. I am sure they have preserved it well and might be worth checking out.
This brings up the last point I want to touch on for today, which is mainly despite my claims about geography being dead, it is hard to argue that it is also alive and well. The concept of place may be diminished by the internet, but the effects of location continue to be far reaching.
From the simple things in life such as the food you eat or clothes you were, to more subtle things such as what types of entertainment you prefer or from what sources you get your news, location matters. I was thinking how interesting a town like Denison, the birthplace of Eisenhower, truly is.
Maybe the people there love it and enjoy life and want nothing more. Maybe some feel trapped in the past and can’t wait to get out. Perhaps others wish the rest of the world would stop encroaching and threatening to change what was once a simple life. Whatever the people there think I feel like I would not want to live there.
There is nothing inherently wrong with that town, to the extent of my limited knowledge, however there is nothing thrilling there either. It is so far away from major sporting events. From major cities. From mainstream. But perhaps this is a good thing. Perhaps some great thoughts are being cultivated there. Perhaps another great world leader had been born within their midst.
These things can’t be known now, but the impact of location continues to shape our lives. What will the weather be like depends on where you live. What will happen if you have no food or house? Depends if there are local shelters or others in the community who can help take you in. What will you do if your love one dies? Who will you get to fix your roof? These decisions are usually dependent on where you are located.
I am sure there are a thousand other examples.
When I finally sat down that evening to write out my 1000 things I wanted to do, I only can up with 8.
Maybe there are more, but choosing 5 of 8 might just be better in the long run.
And none of them hopefully will have me end up in jail, a hospital, or worse.
P.S. Want to know who influenced me the most?
I will give you a hint, one was James Altucher.
When reading Conspire To Inspire, you will find out why I chose to feature him along with eight other prominent people.
The story will tell how I discovered them, and why you should care.
Don’t believe me? Find out for yourself by joining me to Conspire to Inspire.
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