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Nine Steps Towards Taking Action


Nine Steps Towards Taking Action

The following was adapted from Kyle Eschenroeder's blog Ten Overlooked Truths About Taking Action. See the original blog here.

Take Action


Nine Steps to Moving Forward with Your Dreams

1. Action is Cheaper than Planning

Do you know why the Wright Bros. beat out all the mega-corporations they were competing with in the race to taking the first flight? Action.

Robert Greene explains in Mastery that the Wright Bros. had a tight budget and were forced to make small, cheap tweaks to each model. They would fly a plane, crash it, tweak it, and fly it again quickly. The corporations had budgets that allowed them to go back to the drawing board (i.e. abstraction) with each failure. They spent a ton of money and time on each redesign.

The Wright Bros. had a hundred test flights in the time it took these big corporations to complete a handful. Every test flight taught lessons – the one who failed fastest gathered the most information. The key is to make the tests cheap and quickly make small improvements.

This applies to everything. Especially your life.

Planning has paralyzed me time and again. I was taught to always have a plan before taking action.

Most of the time, planning is procrastination. It’s based on theory. It’s going to be wrong.
Plans are useless without action.

2. Action Allows Emergence

Taking action creates possibilities that didn’t exist before.

We always look out at our future from the place we’re standing. Yet we forget that this is only one spot.

Imagine walking in New York City. All you can see are skyscrapers, neurotic humans, and taxis. You turn down the next street and you’re looking out into the trees of Central Park.

A completely new possibility has emerged.

If you’re obese then you probably don’t see a possible future where you’re fit. But, after three months of working out and eating well there will be a possible future of physical fitness that didn’t exist before.

These possibilities seem to “come out of nowhere” but they actually come out of action.

If you’ve only failed then it’s impossible to see the possibility of success. The trick is to keep trying. That next step might be the key to a better future — you just can’t see around the corner yet.

3. Inaction is Scarier

Inaction tempts us because it’s slow.

We don’t consider refusing to choose to be a choice. We think we’re safe if we don’t expose ourselves to failure. We don’t appreciate the consequences of inaction because they are slow, chronic, and less obvious. That’s what makes them worse.

You don’t get to escape pain. The pain that comes with action is acute, gives you scars, and makes you grow.

The pain that comes from inaction is low-grade, makes you soft, and makes you decay.

4. Motivation Follows Action

I don’t feel like working out until I’ve been at the gym for 15 minutes. I’m too tired to have sex until we’ve started. I don’t want to go to the party until I’m there.

Motivation (and passion) will follow you if you have the balls to go without them.

5. Action is an Existential Answer

I’m a professional when it comes to existential crises. I’ve spent a large portion of my life in “what is the meaning of my life?” mode. I’ve come up with a lot of clever answers. Some of them even felt original.

The only one that ever really works is disappointingly simple: do something.

The meaning of my life cannot be summed up in a pithy quote or even the most complete philosophy.
It is impossible to give yourself a satisfying purpose in the abstract.

It is only in the flow of action that life can make sense. There are no abstract ideals there, just life.

6. Action Creates Courage

“Courage is not something that you already have that makes you brave when the tough times start. Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times and you discover they aren’t so tough after all.”  -Malcolm Gladwell, David and Goliath

Every time I sit on my ass and do nothing to promote Fire Heart Adventures, I become terrified of my impending failure. Every time I sit down and create content, develop a new adventure, or go into the wilderness to search out new destinations for myself and my student, I think “This venture cannot lose”.

7. Action Beats the Odds

“Spartans do not ask how many are the enemy but where are they.” –Plutarch, Sayings of the Spartans

The perfect plan doesn’t exist.

The great Warren Buffett biography The Snowball shows that Buffett had no grand plan when he was younger. He just knew that he wanted to make a lot of money. There was no early master plan, just a powerful urge and the willingness to take opportunities as they came.

You don’t need to know if it will work (you probably can’t know), you need to try and find out.

Your obstacles are yours to face. It doesn’t matter how they compare to the obstacles in history or those of your peers. It’s a waste of time to consider anything except how you will overcome them.

8. Action Makes You Humble

Teenagers think they know everything because they haven’t tested their mettle. They don’t know anything and so they feel like they know everything. They are just beginning to learn about theories and possibilities. They haven’t done anything so they feel like they can do anything.

After the young realize they can’t do everything they become disillusioned. They stop trying anything. They fall into inaction. This is why most adults end up so dull. They don’t do anything because it’s probably going to fail. They mistook early failures for a sign that they should stop trying.

That’s why they’re bored, depressed, and lethargic.

Instead, our failures should strengthen us. We should recognize that failures are how we learn and grow.
Just ask, “What would Leonidas think?”

9. Action Isn’t Petty

Action isn’t concerned with opinions, it’s dedicated to reality.

Action doesn’t leave room for gossip.

Action couldn’t be small if it tried.

You are not petty, nor are you small. Take the action that is reflective of your highest self and highest potential.


Spirit Quest Rafting


Spirit Quest Rafting

Spirit Quest Rafting

April 25th – 28th 2015


The spirit quest is a four day all inclusive rafting trip in the San Juan canyons of Southern Utah. This adventure is one of exploration and personal expansion. In addition to rafting, there are daily opportunities for hiking, archeological discovery, and yoga and meditation at sacred sites. All meals are fresh and organic.

Where: The upper canyon of the San Juan River from Bluff to Mexican Hat, Utah. Total river distance: 26 miles.

When: Guests should arrive in Bluff the morning of April 25th or the evening of April 24th. The river put in is on April 25th. River Take out is the afternoon/evening of April 28th.

Guides: Kay Harris of Canyon Expeditions and David Michael Scott of Fire Heart Adventures.

Cost: 850 dollars covers all food, group gear, rafting, guiding, and instruction on this trip. A 200 dollar non-refundable deposit is required to hold you place. Full payment before April 1st.

Canyon Expeditions

Canyon Expeditions is owned by Kay Harris, who has over 30 years of experience on the Colorado Plateau.  Based in Cedar City, Utah, Canyon Ex runs river trips on the San Juan as well as backcountry trips throughout the desert Southwest. All guides are licensed and trained in Advanced First Aid and CPR.

Our boats are 16' and 18' industrial rafts, capable carrying a full kitchen, fresh water and other gear necessary to make a comfortable and enjoyable experience. The rapids are not difficult, and with a little instruction, you will be able to successfully navigate the river in an inflatable kayak. We camp on sandy beaches along the river's edge.  Lands south of the river form the northern edge of the Navajo Nation.

David Michael Scott

David Scott has been practicing yoga and meditation for over ten years. He has spent time studying vipassana meditation in a Buddhist monastery in Northern Thailand and lived for a few years in the Amazon rainforest as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Before finding yoga, David was passionate about learning survival and aboriginal skills in the desert of Southern Utah. As a youth, David grew up kayaking and rafting. He began teaching kayaking at age 18. The nature of this trip is a combination of David’s passions: the river, the desert, and yoga.

A Community Driven Experience

We believe that the greatest community is created when the entire group shares in the labor and camp chores. This includes all the guests and raft guides. What this means is that we are all responsible for helping to load and unload the rafts each day. Each guest will help cook and clean for two to three meals during the trip. While this might sound a bit strange on an all-inclusive raft trip, it is better this way. When we work as equals in this community, what we build will be beautiful.


Our meals include quality meats, specialty cheeses and a variety of fresh vegetables and fruit--many of which come from our organic gardens in Bluff as well as regional Colorado Plateau farmers.  We can accommodate most eating preferences and dietary restrictions including vegetarian options and would be happy to discuss a specialized menu for any trip.     

Our day trips include a delicious salad or sandwich layout as well as snacks and plenty of water.  On multiple day trips we serve hot coffee and tea, hearty breakfasts and salads and sandwiches for lunch.  Our dinners might include grilled salmon or steaks, abundant stir-fries and pasta dishes and homemade tamales. 


We supply and row the boats, which include 16' and 18' industrial rafts. If you would like to paddle your own craft, ask about our inflatable kayaks.  We provide all the food, snacks, and non-alcoholic beverages, in addition to the kitchen, stoves, plates, cookware and cups.

In short, we provide all the gear except for your personal gear.  Upon booking a trip, we'll send you a list of personal gear to bring on your trip.  We provide waterproof bags for your personal gear, as well as watertight boxes for your camera and other items. 

If you don't have your own sleeping bag, pad or tent you can rent them from us. Our fleet of tents and sleeping bags is new and sleeping bags are washed after each use.  If you or members of your party need to rent tents, sleeping bags or pads, we ask that you reserve them in advance.

Trip Summary

This four day rafting trip provides ample time for yoga and meditation as well as exploring Anasazi ruins. Our trip leader, Kay Harris, will provide expert interpretation of the upper canyon's rock art, cliff dwellings and textbook geology. David Michael Scott will guide the yoga and meditation curriculum in the mornings and the evenings. The days will be filled with rafting, hiking, laughter, and fun.

This 26-mile journey affords a closer experience with the Upper San Juan River. In addition to visiting ancient rock art sites and cliff dwellings, we'll have the option to hike to the top of Comb Ridge for its commanding view of the surrounding landscape. We'll travel through a quarter of a billion years' worth of colorful rock formations, making camps in spectacular corners of the canyon.

This is an all-inclusive rafting trip. Healthy meals and all group gear will be provided by the outfitter, Canyon Expeditions. Guests must provide their personal camping gear, although we have lots of extra stuff (sleeping bags, tents, etc.) if you need it. Guests are also responsible for transportation to and from the river and any alcoholic beverages they want to bring along.

Detailed Itinerary

Night Before Departure:
You will meet with Canyon Expeditions in Bluff at 7:00 p.m. for the prelaunch orientation. Your trip leader will hand out waterproof bags and boxes. We can also supply sleeping bags, pads and tents, but be sure to reserve them in advance with our office.

Day One: For those who camped the night, we will begin the day with some light Sun Salutations followed by a short meditation. We will then depart for our launch ramp and the river put in. The float begins as the river meanders past orange and black streaked sandstone outcroppings.

Soon the boats pull into shore and we take a short walk to a site once inhabited by ancient desert farmers, the Anasazi. Large oval steps are carved into the cliff wall and petroglyphs appear around every corner.

Downriver a short distance, we will enjoy lunch under the cottonwood trees at the famous Butler Wash petroglyph panel with plenty of time to examine this extensive group of mysterious images.

After lunch we may observe additional rock art panels across the river on the south bank, or we may explore panels near our camp a few miles downstream.

Camp is pitched in the late afternoon on a sandy beach amongst the cottonwoods and giant sagebrush. Our community will prepare a healthy dinner. After which we will have an optional yoga and meditation practice. Sunset and campfire, then it's off to sleep in a tent or out under the stars.

Day Two:  First person to rise puts on hot water for tea and coffee. We will begin the day with a yoga practice and meditation.

After breakfast the group walks to River House, an 800-year-old cliff dwelling. You can spend time amid the round walls of a kiva where dried corn cobs remain with bits of pottery. This hike can be extended by exploring the nearby bench lands for more sites and another large kiva.

We'll then hike a short distance downstream to observe a great kiva and associated surface sites, and then a hike up San Juan Hill. This steep route was chiseled along a diagonal opening in the cliff by the famous Mormon "Hole-In-The-Rock" expedition in 1880. The views from its top--also the top of Comb Ridge--are incredible.

We will have more time this evening for a deeper yoga practice followed by a dharma session.

Day Three: Morning Sun Salutations while sheep graze in the background?

After breakfast we'll pack the boats for a short float downstream to Chinle Wash, where painted rock art and cliff dwellings hide among the rock alcoves. Author Tony Hillerman calls Chinle Wash "Many Ruins Canyon" in the mystery novel Thief of Time.

At Mile 9 the river enters the "anticline" and the canyon walls rise up dramatically. The river narrows and the pace quickens as small riffles and rapids rock the boats.

Camp is made deep within the canyon where the limestone walls are full of fossils and a lively current murmurs against the rocks.

The evening yoga practice will be dedicated to vipassana meditation.

Day Four: Last morning yoga of the trip! There is time after breakfast for fossil hunting. An undulating pattern to the rocks reveals the presence of "bio herms." Porous mounds in an ancient shallow sea, they act as a reservoir rock to capture oil.

Desert bighorn sheep may appear along this stretch. The rocks tilt and canyon walls diminish as Mexican Hat Rock comes into view, a large red slab balanced on a small pedestal. The vivid reds and grays of the anticline zig-zag across the eastern horizon, a Navajo blanket of stone.

The journey ends by 2 or 3 p.m. at the boat launch in the town of Mexican Hat, where Canyon Expedition vans will transport you back to Bluff.

Itineraries can vary depending on the river level, weather, group ability and interest. All hikes, yoga, and meditations are optional.



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