Are you lost in the jungle and need direction in life?
Would you believe me if I told you that I’ve actually been lost in the jungle before? Like, REAL jungle, that you see on the discovery channel, and it’s terrifying.
Even the plants there are bigger than humans, and in the wet season, even the rain can kill you.
I won’t bore you with a story about how I was running down the side of a mountain, with a thousand dollar camera on a tripod in one hand, being chased by a monsoon (a tale for the future).
What I WILL do is explain to you the similarities between my experience and the experience that you’re probably having in life, not knowing where the hell you’re going or where you’ll end up.
Here are a few lessons I learned about finding direction in life by getting lost in the Costa Rican Jungle (technically cloud forest. I promise they’re the same).
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1. Direction in Life Means Having the Right Tools
The funniest thing about our predicament was that we went into the deepest part of the jungle with nothing. No GPS, no water, no nothing.
The earthy people of Costa Rica live in the mountains, which is nothing but jungle and pasture, so it can be easy to start seeing it as your own backyard. This was our first mistake, getting too comfortable.
The right tools are invaluable. When you are in physical danger, or just need a change in your life, the right tools can literally change the course of your destiny and give you what you need to find your way out of a trap.
Does that sound familiar? We’ve all felt trapped. That’s actually where this blog comes from: I was trapped and needed to fight my way out.
A machete would have been nice, but I neglected to bring one along. >>>Stupid.<<<
Even more stupid, is someone who tries to fight their way through one of life’s traps with their bare hands.
- Never become so comfortable with your life that you start to slip in preparedness.
- Make sure you are always actively trying to improve your situation towards your goals
2. Traveling with the Right People
None of us knew what we were doing, or had any experience surviving that kind of wilderness.
To add to the pot, it was starting to get dark, and with the steep terrain, we were getting dangerously close to spending a night inside the jungle book.
The people I was with were my friends, so they weren’t useless or bad people who were toxic, but I wanted a certain result (to get out of the freakin’ jungle!) and none of them had what it took to help us do that.
There is something to be said about eliminating toxic people from your life, but you will also need to manage the type of relationship you have, even with those who are up to your standard.
You won’t always accept a person 100 percent. Your mother is a wonderful person, but if she’s never made a million dollars, don’t take business advice from her.
My friends were not the right people to survive the jungle with, and I realized that day that a happy life means to manage the way you let others affect you and the direction you take in life.
- Seeking out an authentic direction in life is going to require you travel with the right people.
- Not everyone in your life is a good fit for every aspect of your life.
3. The Reality of Being Lost
The reality of having no direction in life is that if you don’t have a life plan, you’re lost.
Imagine this, you’re in the desert with no map, no compass, and you just start walking. Do you trust that plan? I don’t!
Having a general direction your life is going in means many things and has many benefits, but the main thing it does is take you off the world’s agenda and puts you back in control.
If you’re not moving toward your own plans, you’re probably moving toward someone else’s plans. Who wants that?
It means no worries? For the rest of your days? Probably not, but knowing what path you are on means no longer being pushed around in the waves of life, which are random.
Do you want to avoid a life of randomness and take back control?
Related Article: Comprehensive Ikigai and Eulerian destiny breakdown
Being lost in the jungle and in life also infects other parts of your life and makes them crap. We started bickering and getting aggressive with one another.
I noticed that tiny speedbumps in the journey turned into huge mountains simply because we were lost.
The world can slowly numb you to the point where you are a completely different person. It does so gradually so that you don’t notice until you turn into this hateful, not-nice-to-be-around, moody, negative, burnt out jerk that nobody wants to be around.
- Direction in life means having a clear agenda, so you know where you’re going, what to reject and embrace, what to say no to and what to welcome into your life.
- No direction in life effectively turns the light out on your happiness.
4. The Benefits of Having Direction in Life
Once we decided on an action plan of getting out, the mood changed 180 degrees. You could tell we all felt better because we had a goal and we were making steady progress.
Suddenly the group was moving with gusto. We had a direction to go in, a way to move forward and we were all satisfied with our decision. We were working towards an endgame and knew what our success looked like.
Personally, this caused my energy to spike through the forest canopy. I felt exhilarated, and completely in my element. I am 100 percent at home whenever progress needs to be made, and we were clearing brush like maniacs.
The worst feeling is the feeling of being doomed. Feeling like you’re headed for nowhere is like being stranded on an island of suck. Nobody likes that.
Once we were on the right track, headed towards safety (our direction) we all felt a sense of hope like our progress had to lead to success.
Some people treat hope as some flimsy thing. It’s common to hear the phrase “not hope, but faith” but everything is appropriate if you give it the right circumstance.
In the story of Pandora’s box, hope survives. The point is that we can survive whatever struggles come out of the box first, as long as hope is still alive.
Because I felt productive and happy, the speed bumps that came with the journey out of the jungle didn’t bother me as much.
The speedbumps of the jungle are:
- Very tiny ticks that swarm you and look like dust until they start to bite.
- HUGE bumble bee ants, and smaller “fire” ants that you do not want to get bitten by
- ….the Fer De Lance.
When they showed up along our trek, we dealt with them in a calm way, because we had an overarching purpose that served as a foundation for our mental wellbeing.
- Even steady progress towards something we think is valuable to us can change so many things physiologically in our brains and in our minds.
- Direction in life gives you more energy each moment. Would you run faster in circles while going nowhere? OR in a marathon with a finish line and a prize. No brainer.
- Direction in life provides the hope you need when life gives you unripe lemons.
- Direction in life is essential, and if you’re not actively trying to understand yours better and move toward it, you’re lost. Period.
5. Direction in Life means Taking Your Power Back
The most powerful weapon we have is the power to choose. For a moment, we were stuck, but nothing was stopping us from making a plan, brainstorming how to get out, and eventually trying to get out.
We imposed all of those limitations on ourselves and when we finally decided to embrace the power we had, we started moving and everything changed.
It was possible to make it out because we did. Had we not made it out, it would have been because of our choice to stay.
Even if there are limitations to where you want your life to go, it is your choice to believe they are as strong as they are, and that you are not strong enough to overcome them. Period.
- There is nothing stopping you from moving in the direction you want to go in. It might be far off, and difficult, but not going after it is the same as choosing to not have it.
I created a special Facebook group where I post expert advice on the direction you should take in life, and how to never get off your path again.