by Michael Holland     

I hiked Cascade Mountain in the Adirondacks with some men recently on a drop-dead gorgeous day.   I’m sure we expelled a good bit of sweat to reach this mountain’s bald summit, but the 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains, valleys, and lakes of the Adirondacks was certainly worth it.   To the east was Lake Champlain… maybe 30 miles away.  One of the men pondered the idea of building a zip-line from the mountain peak to the lake, and we all agreed: that would be one heck of a ride.

There’s a great feeling that comes over a man when he has accomplished something real in nature.  Lounging on top of a conquered mountain releases a chemical reaction within us which really can’t be fully replicated in the work world.  Too often, it seems, men try to leverage their work life to fulfill all their adventure and conquering needs.  We use corporate defined goals and self-initiated projects to create the sense of urgency that feeds our conquering appetite.   We create evil competitors within and outside our companies in attempts to mimic the adrenaline-fueled competitive spirit that came to our ancestors while on a hunt in the woods for food.  We celebrate our accomplishments at work and act in ways that should make us feel completely fulfilled. Yet there is a shallowness in these successes.

These work adventures and quests are a mere token of true adventures which are found in our time doing real things with our families and friends.  Men need projects: a bit of adventure, something to conquer in our hobbies and our lives. And we need to take advantage of our surroundings to fulfill our need for adventure and conquest.  If you are having trouble seeing the opportunities, maybe you need to spend more time in your surroundings, searching for your own 30-mile zip-line to the lake.

What was your last conquest in the real world?