Failure is a part of life. It can be a tough part of life, but if you change your mindset you can shift your moments of failure into those of success. However, this will not happen without “keeping the faith”.
Often in life you are forced to push through tough situations. Do you know what I mean? The kind of stretches in life where your flights seem to be met all too often with a head wind. I have found that, more than anything, when we are in these periods of our lives we must keep the faith. If we lose the faith, we will not reach our goals and likely be displeased by our outcomes. If we do not constantly remind ourselves to rise above the situation we will be trapped in a less-than-optimal place, and we cannot rise above the situation in rough times if we do not keep the faith. By believing in yourself, believing that you will achieve your goals, and trusting that the world is as it is supposed to be, you are keeping the faith.
I leap up from my bed like I’m waking up in the middle of a bonfire. On my cell phone screen I can see the reflection of my face. I look tired, I look scared, and I simultaneously see myself as 10 years older and 10 years younger than I am on the surface of the phone. Memories force their way into my mind and I remember the feeling, the taste, the smell, everything that comes to me when the possibility of failure is lurking.
“I know this place,” I think to myself. I know it all too well. The feeling of nausea, the waves of stomach tightening and the jolts of pain moving throughout my body. I perceive things differently in these moments. There is a certain haze that appears in my vision. I know that when these moments come I must clarify my desired outcome and most importantly restore my faith. Whether I want to admit it or not, I am stressed out and it feels like things have been out of alignment. I have learned to not fear these stretches and instead keep the faith that a breakthrough is around the corner.
It’s 5:57 AM. I rise from bed and set out to do one of the hardest things a true hunter ever has to do. It is the ultimate roller coaster ride, the ultimate challenge, the challenge of trying to recover a shot-but-not-retrieved animal. I grab a couple rolls of toilet paper, my knife, my deer tag, and a camo hat. As I hop into my truck I think to myself how rough business has been as of late, and I seem to be more confrontational and less in flow with those around me. Things have just seemed “off”. I look in the rear-view mirror and I pump myself up and yell out “Farbz, you will find that buck, you will find him, you will find him, and it will be a turning point. It’s time to get back in flow baby!” The song “Free Falling” by Tom Petty comes on and I crank it up. The Bose system in my Avalanche is jamming and I begin to feel an energy lift as I belt out the lyrics at full tilt. I am heading to a big chunk of property in Northville, Michigan behind the old mental hospital where I arrowed a 9-point buck the night before in the rain.
I see my buddies Matt and Pete and they look ready to go, and think to myself, “good, we are going to need perseverance today as the rain last night has likely washed away any evidence of the buck’s escape route.” I thought it was a solid hit, but after 5 hours of tracking I could not recover him and decided to call it a night and meet Matt and Pete when it was light outside the next day. I find the spot where I lost his trail last night and we begin to go to work. Within about 20 minutes we find a few specks of blood that I had not seen the night before, but the trail quickly stops. An hour passes and we cannot find anything new, so we do what most responsible hunters do when they feel they are at a loss. We begin circling the area and wrapping toilet paper around saplings and branches along the way, and the whole time I am keeping the faith that we will recover him.
Our circles are becoming larger and larger until we are sprawling over 100 acres of hardwoods and I realize it has already been 4 hours. I am missing a slew of meetings back at my office but it doesn’t matter to me, as right now recovering this deer is all that I am focused on. I can apologize to people later for the last-second cancellation but as a hunter I believe it is our responsibility to recover the animal and preserve the meat and eat what we kill. I stay laser-focused and completely aware of my surroundings with each step I take. I ask myself out loud, “where are you? Where would you go?” I think deeply about all the trail camera pictures I had of this deer from the summer and early fall. I experience an epiphany: he must have been living in an isolated eastern corner of the property based on the times of day he reached certain spots where the cameras were placed. Suddenly this feeling of confidence that he must be close to that area leaps into my thought process and I feel it internalize and I know it is real. I start rapidly marching towards this area in the woods and as I am approaching the very area, Matt yells out “got him, got him, dude I got him Farbz!”
Running full-speed and erupting in joy, I trip on a log and come smashing into the ground just before reaching the “Northville niner” as I would later nickname him. Although I both cut my hand on the ground and hooked myself up with a black and blue shin compliments of the log, I am overjoyed! I hug Matt and Pete and say, “damn it boys, I knew that if I kept the faith and we stayed resolute we would recover him! Matty, I actually had a vision and I felt that energy coming to me as you were about to yell. I swear it, bro.” Matt looks at me like most of my boys do when I say something metaphysical with a look that says, “Farbz I do not always feel many of the things you feel, but I do half-way believe you man.” I am certain that our combined effort of keeping the faith and believing that we would push through and achieve our goal of recovering that buck was the key ingredient that made it all come together for us.
Keeping the faith is a foundational necessity. You must have a solid foundation in order to build something substantial on top of it. When you feel like it’s you against the world, when you are afraid of failure, when you feel scared to act, it’s best to get back to the core. Get real with things, identify your desired outcome, and keep the faith that you can and will achieve it. Whether it’s a lost deer, a health or a relationship issue, or a bleak business situation you have to keep the faith. The next time you find yourself in a pinch in life, in business, or out in the wilderness, remember that a great breakthrough is somewhere nearby. We often cannot see the illuminated path because without keeping the faith we can become blind to the light.