An ancient African practice for our busy modern day lives
Reading time: 2 mins 30s
The quality of our life is defined by the quality of the decisions we make.
What to track, who to track with and how to get back on track are some of the most important decisions we will ever have to make.
In this we have much to learn from the expert Wildlife Tracker.
Their job, every day, is to track and find wild animals.
It’s not a simple task. The animals they track are wild. The environment they operate in is vast and wordless.
The animal cannot be controlled. It cannot be made to slow down or reveal itself. It naturally wants to stay away from humans.
It’s like a big puzzle that must be solved.
Solving the puzzle takes skill, practice, tenacity and a mindset that is aware, open and curious.
The tracker is constantly adapting. Constantly making decisions about what the animal is doing.
Firstly they must find the track.
They must put themselves into the place of greatest opportunity. Finding the right track takes patience and discernment.
Following the wrong track wastes precious time and energy.
Then they must get moving. They must close the gap between themselves and the animal.
This quickly becomes very complex. Animals seldom leave clear trails, ones that are easy to follow. Feint signs are often their only guide.
Now creativity is vital.
They must combine different sources of information and build a hypothesis about what the animal is doing.
They take into account the animal’s behaviour, its habitat; its relationship to other species and in some cases even its individual personality.
In this phase the Tracker will often lose the track. It happens even to the Master trackers.
This is the ultimate test.
Through hard work and tenacity they find a way to get back on track again. They don’t just give up and go home.
This is what separates the best Trackers in the world from all the rest.
If they do their job well enough and for long enough they have an encounter with the animal they seek.
It’s their reward.
Expert Trackers like to put the animal in their heart. They are in a relationship with the animal. One which gets reinforced every time they meet.
To those on the outside the actions of an expert tracker often seems like magic.
Not to the Tracker though.
They know the work and effort required.
The years of practice and repetition.
The countless hours and long days on their journey towards mastery. To them it’s neither mystical nor magical. It’s what they do.
Very few of us track wild animals every day.
Yet we too are on our own unique journey. Like the Wildlife tracker our own path through life is not simple and problem free.
Sometimes we’re on track.
Very often we’re off track.
Like the tracks themselves our lives seldom stretch out in front of us in a straight line.
We must be able to adapt, improvise, change tactics, and keep on going even when feint signs are our only guide.
We must pay attention. Seek out opportunity and put in the effort. We must be open and curious.
These are the keys to a happy and successful life.
WHAT THEN IS THE LESSON?
Tracking is definitely not just an ancient African practice.
It is an essential modern-day guide to living.
Tracking helps us to find our way. To follow what is most important to us … and ultimately to thrive in our busy, dynamic and ever changing world.
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