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What The Wild Can Teach Us About Change

This post is part of the marketing videography project that I am undertaking in October. If you are interested in learning more about my project, click here.

There’s one constant thing in life: there’s always going to be change. There’s one constant thing with things happening in nature: change. — Shannon Stewart

A little over a year ago, I interviewed a lady on her thoughts about how the natural world impacts our minds.

Her name was Shannon Stewart

I was in the middle of writing a book about how nature could play a role in strengthening the mental health of elite athletes, and I found her input revolutionary.

Over the course of our conversation, Shannon shared with me how nature had impacted her life since the time she was a little kid, but as we neared the end of our time together, she touched on something extremely profound: the idea that nature can teach us about change and, in doing so, can teach us about life.

Let me give you an example of this in my own life.

Learning to Adapt

It was early 2020 and my sister, dad, and I had decided to go camping on the beach in South Padre Island, Texas. The weather was beautiful as we drove along the beach to find a place to set up our tents, but as soon as we got out of the car, we encountered our first obstacle: the wind.

The ocean wind was extremely effective at cooling us down from the hot sun overhead, but it simultaneously managed to pull our tents into all sorts of formations as the frames began to bend and warp.

And, so we had to adapt.

Pulling out extra paracord and tent stakes from the back of our van, we began to try to reinforce the frame of our tents with the extra equipment. We also took off the rain cover on our tents so that the wind could blow through the mesh.

Our efforts worked. But then, that night, we encountered our second obstacle: blowing sand.

At night, as the wind picked up, the loose sand near the dunes began to get caught in the wind. And to make matters worse, the sand that blew across our campsite had become damp from the seawater so instead of blowing across our tents, the wet sand stuck to the mesh and would fall in heaps upon us whenever we would move in our sleep.

So, again, we adapted.

Why Embracing Change is Important

In our 3 nights camping on that beach, we had to adapt countless numbers of times to changes in weather, injuries, encounters with wildlife, and many other circumstances.

But even though our time on Padre Island was a little more chaotic than we were expecting, my family and I still talk about that trip with a smile.

Why? Because we expected change going into the trip. We expected that things weren’t going to work out perfectly, and we understood that at times, we would need to improvise to make things happen in a productive manner.

On the flip side, if we had gone to the beach thinking that everything would go perfectly, that the wind would be just right and that the sand would not kick up in the breeze, I imagine we would have thought of the trip as a disaster.

Once we embraced the changes (and how frequently they might occur) that we would have to make, we were able to really enjoy our time. We swam, read, cooked, watched the sunset, and made memories together that we will never forget.

In many ways, life is very similar to that trip. Life will never go exactly according to plan, but once it is understood that change is inevitable, life can be enjoyed greatly, and much can be learned from the experience.

And again, like on that trip, if life is seen as something that can be controlled or perfectly planned out, it will be a disappointment to live through.

How I Have Used This Recently

This past month I have been working on a video marketing project for the Houston Zoo.

I have had around 4 critical (and stressful) setbacks in the first 10 days since starting this project.

Initially, I was discouraged by the setbacks and was annoyed to think that I would have to adapt to the changes in my plan. But as time went on, I realized that all I needed to do was apply what I learned from the wild to my personal life.

Change happens.

All I can do is adapt to the changes that come my way, just as we adapted to the wind and sand of South Padre Island.

So, I encourage you, if you are struggling to adapt to and learn from change, take some time to be in nature. Experience the unexpectedness of the wild and learn to roll with the punches that it throws you.

And then, try to translate that into the rest of your life.

For, as said by Shannon, one constant thing in life is that there’s always going to be change.


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