I had a wonderful life experience this Labor Day weekend (hope you all had a wonderful holiday). My brother invited me to play paintball for the first time this weekend and even offered to pay for me (how nice) so naturally, I took him up on it. My sister and her boyfriend also came along so we had a fun group. We showed up at a wonderful large outdoor facility. We loaded up with all the rental equipment necessary and went to orientation for newcomers. After that we divided into teams and headed off to play what would be the first of eventually 5 games. Being that it was my first time being involved in this activity and it being so new, I was surprisingly not nervous. For those who’ve never been paintballing, you may have friends who have. They tell you all these scary stories about how the paintballs hurt so much and how they leave welts. Well the stories are really cheap horror stories used to scare first timers. Yes the balls sting and they might leave welts but trust me, once you have the adrenaline running through you, you barely feel anything (I got more battle wounds from all the mosquitoes flying around). Well yes, I did get shot up a bit. The first two games I didn’t do well at all. It was a city-like setting and I was out quickly both games. Between the change over from games, I spoke to a lady who ran her own business from home and we got into a discussion about being entrepreneurship. It was a great side discussion between games and really made me feel like I was doing to right thing pursuing that (but that’s another story. I’m digressing). Anyway, back to the game. My brother sat this one out because his gun was having trouble so it was three members of our group. The game was a capture the flag scenario where you had to take the flag to the other team’s base and hang it. When the game started it was an all out battle. Running for cover and firing back while staying hidden. I ended up being the last person on my team to be taken out and with under 30 seconds left in the round. After that game, I realized something about myself. More like something I remembered but had forgotten due to going through the blandness of life.

I’m a fierce competitor!

I really want to win. I was being challenged by something that was so much fun and competitive by design, it was begging for me to win at it. I remember that I had a fighting spirit that I had to suppress when I was working a traditional job. I remember I enjoyed being challenged because it forced me to learn and grow. I loved competition. I wasn’t afraid of it like I had been telling myself for years. It was great energy to rediscover within me. It was like a blazing fire and I wanted to bask in it. And we did! The next game was played from a stealth perspective. Same capture the flag, just different approach. This time, we stayed silent and we ended up winning. It was a great feeling to have.

The next game was much like the first, except that it was in an open area with a building in the middle that you could enter. We played 7 on 7. By this time, I had learned a little about the game, how my equipment worked, and how to utilize the terrain to my advantage so when the game started, I knew exactly what to do. Not only did I survive that game, I took out 3 people in the process. Not bad for a first time player. After that game, we all decided we were tired as it was a very hot and humid day, so we decided to pack it in and go home.

On the drive home, I thought back about my fun experience with paintball. It was so new and so exciting, it brought out some of the vigor in life I had forgotten about but it also helped me remember some critical lessons. In life, all things are relative and this is no exception. Here are some of the lessons I remembered:

Have A Solid Plan

It’s no secret that when my team won, we had a plan. We had a great idea, we executed it and won because of it. The games we lost there was little or no real plan at all. Any successful person, business or corporation has a plan. It was thought out, researched and took time to complete. It was also ever changing as they understood that things in life are always changing (go figure). Are there people who have succeeded without a plan? Yes there are but they’re a very rare exception. To this day I’ve only met one. If you need some type of structure or direction, you might want to develop a plan.

Have A Great Team

Much like the plan, a great team is totally necessary for any success. A great team is one that communicates and shares with each other. They are always in support of each other and are always looking for ways to improve. It’s hard to say much more about this one.

Be Aware, Pay Attention and Be Present

It was impossible during the games to not be present. The moment you stopped paying attention you were taken advantage of. You always had to be aware of your surroundings and how to use them. In life, being aware has a lot to do with success. Opportunities come and go all the time. Sometimes, they come in major batches. In order to recognize them, you have to be present in life. This is a step that many people forget about and it’s critical.

Always Learn, Always Grow

Paintball was a very new experience for me. I thought I could use some of my tactics from laser tag but I found very quickly that didn’t work, nor did mimicking first-person shooter video games. As the games progressed, I learned was worked for me and what didn’t work (pay attention). I was constantly learning new tactics and tools to use for myself. All of these things helped me have the final game I had by taking out 3 of the 7 opponents on the other team. In life, you need to know what works for you and what doesn’t. Learning that will help you make the decisions you need on your journey toward success.

Have Fun

This might seem like a silly thing to put down there but it’s not. Did I forget how to have fun? I kinda have. I forgot about how to be an explorer. How to expose myself to new, exciting things. The journey to success at any level, needs to be fun. Enjoy the journey and the experiences that comes along with it.  With all the glum things around you, why not have fun? Hell, you deserve it! Make it fun!

You can be sure, that I’ll be doing this again soon. I’ll probably be getting my own paintball equipment soon and going with my brother and maybe an extended group next time. It was a true worthwhile experience.

What experience(s) have you had that helped you in a situation or helped you remember something? What did you learn from it? Please share your experiences!