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Do You Know the Difference Between Openness and Recklessness?

by Ryan Biddulph

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Last night during our walk in the middle of nowhere I noted something odd. A few bright colors seemed to appear at the side of the path. But as we approached I noted quivering moments. Being before dusk, I could not detect movement prior until I got closer

I jogged then sprinted to the spot after seeing a mountain bike laying beside the figure. A woman suffered a terrible crash. She could barely speak at first, feeling agonizing pain in her back, chest and head.

I sprinted a half-mile to the main road in order to direct the sheriff and ambulance to the proper spot. We were on a mountain path well off the beaten path.

I hope the lady recovers completely. I feel compassion for her because she appeared to be horribly injured, hitting a stump, flipping off of the bike and slamming her head into a rock.

After seeing her experience I wanted to share some thoughts on openness versus recklessness.

Note; I sent the woman healing vibes, love and care and still do. I have not sprinted that fast in years because as my wife comforted her I assumed she may be dying; with her face turning blue and lack of movement, along with agonized moaning, told me she was likely a goner.

The Difference

Being open to experiences involves doing fun, freeing, sometimes uncomfortable or outright scary stuff designed to liberate you.

Being reckless in choosing experiences involves doing stuff that seems fun, freeing and liberating but involves way too many dangers and risks to be a prudent decision.

I noted:

  • biking in a remote spot with literally nobody around for help if anything rough happens
  • biking just before dusk; nobody around for help if you get hurt, and with the added element of darkness, you make it that much more difficult to be found
  • biking on a rain-slicked path full of slippery leaves
  • biking on a leave-covered forest floor, hiding dangerous roots, stumps, rocks and goodness knows what else you may miss under a thin pile of leaves
  • biking in this dangerous, risky environment at a high rate of speed

I realize we are all human. Humans err. Humans misjudge situations. I have, goodness knows. But the lady made a borderline reckless decision last evening that could have easily cost her, her life, if not her mobility. She did manage a few movements but the possibility of her being partially paralyzed remained distinct.

I imagine regret ran laps around her mind as she slowly came to but more than anything, she has likely learned the lesson of her life.

She happened to be aligned with living on some level because:

  • she had enough reception to be able to dial 911 and contact the authorities
  • Kelli and I found her on our hike; the authorities likely found her 10 to 20 or even 30 minutes earlier because after sprinting to the main road I told them her exact location on the main path….otherwise, they would have needed to go over side paths delving into deeper wilderness like a fine-toothed comb

We saw no humans on that hike before dusk. The only living things we'd see for miles were coyotes, grouse, wild turkeys, owls and we even noted bear scat too. This is a genuine wilderness largely void of humans.

Know the Difference

Figure out the difference between being open to new, uncomfortable experiences and being flat out reckless. The unfortunate lady above rode her mountain bike in a remote area with rain-slicked paths, the forest floor covered in leaves, not being able to see roots, rocks and even small areas of unlevel earth. Doing this was fairly dangerous, showing a lack of judgment. But riding her bike at a high rate of speed – enough to knock herself out after slamming her head into a rock, flying over a stump she did not see – demonstrates abject recklessness.

She simply did not weigh out all of the deep, inherent risks in riding a mountain bike hard in a remote, dangerous, risky environment virtually guaranteeing she'd crash; the only question was whether she'd slam into lush vegetation, a rock or a tree.

Know the difference between being open to uncomfortable circumstances for your fun, freedom and liberation versus being fully reckless in chasing some endeavor. Be still. Allow your mind to become quiet. Listen closely to your intuition.

I am “Mr. Face Your Fears and Nudge Outside of Your Comfort Zone” but my wife can attest that my Zen-like mindfulness in hiking mountains filled with 40% grades, gnarled roots and slippery rocks – along with my countless warnings to be careful, and to take your time – demonstrates that I am hyper aware of being open to experiences but never reckless.

Discerning the difference between the two saves you worlds of physical and mental pain and suffering, and maybe even your life.

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About the Author 

Ryan Biddulph

Ryan Biddulph helps you learn how to blog at Blogging From Paradise.

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