Be Tough

Sometimes I write blogs as if I can see sunshine and rainbows in any situation but the truth is sometimes the road gets rough and I have to just be tough to get through it.

Sometimes things just sort of suck. Not many things are as easy as sitting on the couch and watching Netflix.

I backpack a lot and the image of an outdoorsman usually includes some kind of communion with nature. But I hate bugs. I don’t like them in my face on the trail, in my tent at night, or buzzing around the “facilities”.

I once woke up in the middle of the night to find a skunk rooting around in my pack. At no time during the hour I spent trying to ward it off (from a safe distance) did I think “Wow, what a magnificent creature of nature!”

I almost never enjoy hiking uphill for an extended period of time. I have been in the middle of a 3,000ft climb and actually felt like I would be sick if I had to continue uphill any longer.

If I want to enjoy the whole activity of hiking, sometimes I just have to deal with things. But it isn’t about just dealing with it or putting up with it. Its about developing an ability to tolerate the less-than-pleasant stuff so that the bad doesn’t overpower the good. I have hiked with many people for whom the bad bothered them so much that they missed all the amazing experiences of hiking.

It is the same with music. Playing a tricky passage 100 times in a dark practice room is not necessarily my idea of a good time. But I have developed a tolerance level for detailed work that prevents the madness from overshadowing the joy of music making.

And I did not develop that tolerance by letting myself become frustrated and disenchanted with these less-than-fun activities. I have certainly had my fair share of frustration but I think I got tough by not letting it get me down. I can’t prevent my need to practice technique any more than I can prevent bugs from buzzing around my head on the trail. Since I can’t do anything about it, I might as well find a way to deal with it.

So rather than complain about it, get frustrated with it, and become disenchanted, just be tough! It makes things far more enjoyable.

(Featured image from


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