By Rooda AlNeama (@ThinkDubai)
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of forest trekking in the South of India. It was great leaving the city and enjoying pure nature. Venturing into the forest was a beautiful experience; the forest is full of art, entertainment and important lessons. I will talk about the latter as clearing your mind and just taking in what nature has to offer is truly inspiring. Here are the life and business lessons I learnt from reflecting through the trek:
There is always a way: Crossing from the farms to the forest, the officials have created a trench and an electric fence to keep the elephants from coming into the plantations and destroying them. The elephants however can smell the fruits on the farms and want to get to them. Neither the trench nor the electric fence would stop them. To get over the trench, the elephants have covered it with mud and to get through the electric fence they put a wooden plank over it, squashing the electric line and creating a path for them to cross.
Lesson Learnt: There will always be barriers, entering a market, as a startup is never easy, but if you believe in your vision and cause, do not let anything stop you, not even an electric fence.
Do not overreact over the bad stuff: After the first 2 hours into the trek, the guide informed us that there are leeches in the forest and that we should not freak out; he will help pull them off us! Thankfully, the only thing I found in my sandals was a rock. I kept walking thinking the rock is still in my sandals, as a few people found leeches on their feet. They were tiny, did not suck any blood and so they were easy to pull off. Then, I decided to take off my sandals and check once more; there it was, the fattest leech I have seen! It was probably latched on to me for the past two hours with that size! After a few shrieks and “get it off me” yells, I started laughing uncontrollably and wanting another one on me so I could take a photo! Leeches are good for you, aren’t they?
Lesson Learnt: Some bad things might be good for you. Even though pursuing your business idea is difficult and you may feel like giving up, remember that there will come a day when you realize it was good for you to persevere. Things always make sense in retrospect so do not be quick to dismiss the hardships.
There will be hardships: I nearly cried from learning about ‘parasite creepers’ or maybe because I am very unfit and got tired. They are basically vine like but very strong plants that imbed themselves in another tree and basically live off the tree. Food, water and strength are all taken from the poor tree that the parasite has settled on!
Lesson learnt: even trees do not have it easy and we can do more than trees. We are able to fight for what we believe in and remove parasites from our lives. If the tree can grow tall and strong to survive, so can we.
Be a butterfly: no matter how tough the terrain was, whether animals or humans were present, or if the path was full of trees, bushes and thorns, the butterfly gracefully made its way through. It did not care what was going on it was on its path gracefully.
Lesson learnt: when trying to pursue my own business idea, I got de-motivated by the clutter of suppliers that did not fit my needs. I should have been a butterfly, forgetting the clutter and keeping the destination in mind.
I strongly recommend trekking no matter how unfit you think you may be, you might surprise yourself. Start with a walk and pace yourself; the small steps you take to challenge yourself is exactly what you need to achieve anything in life, whether starting a business, tackling a project, or learning something new. We are often too busy to realize anything, going through the motions, and missing important lessons along the way. There is so much for us to learn from our surroundings if we just take the time to really see. I think that is the most important lessons I learnt.
Sail eMagazine’s 20th Issue – November 2011
Here we start – Art of Living 101 – Beyond Inspiration
Blunders of a Wannabe Entrepreneur – Just Another Undergrad – Society of Tomorrow
Too Blunt for Words – To The Point – Words, Observations, and Ramblings