And you thought your life was stressful. Compare your life to the early American pioneer, Daniel Boone.(1)
First, let me point out that talking about Daniel Boone is not politically correct:
- He killed animals, upsetting future generations of PETA members
- He fought Indians, clueless to the plight of Native Americans
- He blazed trails through the wilderness, disturbing environmentalists
- He owned slaves, not realizing that Black Lives Matter
- In general, he made future white guys like me take the blame for everything.
Ok, now that we’ve established that I’m a bad person because of Daniel Boone(2), let’s examine the stressful events in his life:
- As a boy, he was attacked by, and killed a panther.
- Boone was a Quaker, but his father was expelled from the community because he had siblings marry non-Quakers.
- He fought in the Revolutionary War; he was shot in the ankle, while his brother was killed. He was also falsely accused and had to reprove himself in a court martial trial.
- When he lived in Virginia, he had lots of financial problems and was often taken to court for nonpayment of debts
- Legend has it that he killed a bear with a knife and carved into a tree ‘D Boon kilt a bar’. He was not a great speller. (see earlier blogs to see how stressful, and funny, bears can be)
- His daughter was kidnapped by Indians and he had to go rescue her.
- Later in life, he was kidnapped by Indians and he had to rescue himself.
- He had 10 kids. Any parent can tell you that having one can be stressful. His eldest son was tortured to death by Indians.
- He led a group of settlers through the wilderness to establish Boonesborough, Kentucky. He collected $20,000 (a huge amount in thosedays) from the settlers to purchase the land. It was later stolen from him, and it took him years to pay the settlers back.
- In the process of negotiating with and tricking the Indians to save his village, the other settlers accused him of being a traitor.
- Later in life, he engaged in land speculation in Kentucky and was very poor at it. There were many lawsuits against him, and even a warrant for his arrest.
- He moved to Missouri to avoid debts in Kentucky, and later had to sell off land to pay his debts.
- His wife died 7 years before he did. His last spoken words at age 86 were “I’m going now. My time has come.” (Those were the last words that he spoke. The last words that he wrote actually were ‘Eye’m go-ween now. Mi thyme has cum.’)
So Boone really defines a stressful life with multiple deaths of relatives, financial and legal problems, fighting in a war, being shot, kidnapped, having his daughter also being kidnapped, and having his son being tortured to death. Using Boone’s life as an example, let’s see how we can use the tools of attitude, focus, and perspective to relieve stress.(3)
If you have a problem, whatever the problem may be, if you work on keeping a positive attitude, continually focusing on your faith, and consider the situation from proper perspective, it will help how you handle the situation.
Take attitude for example. Keeping a positive attitude will help your response to the situation. For instance, when Daniel Boone’s daughter was kidnapped, he didn’t take a defeatist attitude, he had a can-do attitude and went out and rescued her. Two other important aspects of a positive attitude are gratitude and maintaining a positive purpose to your life.
The many advantages of giving gratitude were discussed in blog 10. In Daniel Boone’s case, he could certainly give gratitude for all of the successes he had despite all of the obstacles he had to overcome. In our case, we can look to Boone’s life to realize all of the things we can give gratitude. For instance, most of us can give gratitude because:
- We haven’t had to fight wild animals, including bears
- We haven’t been kidnapped, nor have we had our child kidnapped
- Our financial and legal problems have been small in comparison
- We didn’t have a huge fortune stolen from us and then had to repay it
- We didn’t have to fight in a war, or get shot
- We don’t have to blaze paths through the wilderness, and then defend land from multiple attacks
- Our child was not tortured to death
- We know how to spell, and even if we don’t, there is spellcheck
- We don’t have to wear coonskin caps, which can be itchy and have fleas
- We have much better food supplies, and heating and air conditioning not to mention modern plumbing. Toilet paper is softer than corn cobs, just trust me on this.
- Our family and neighbors have soap, deodorant, and mouthwash
A final point about attitude is that we need to find a positive purpose to our lives. Victor Frankl discovered this when he was a prisoner in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. Frankl saw that the prisoners who survived were the ones with a strong mental attitude in the form of finding a positive purpose to their lives.
I suspect Daniel Boone’s resilience against hardships came from a strong positive purpose to his life. His purpose certainly would be struggling for survival for himself, his family, and the settlers that he led. He would have to work every day to put food on the table as well as provide safety for his family. It would have been a do or die situation.
I believe this is harder for us to do because of our relatively lenient lifestyle. If Boone stopped for a day, then he wouldn’t eat. The luxuries in our life allow us to dwell on the negative instead of finding a positive purpose to give us an inner drive.
I do encourage you to find a positive purpose to your life. It doesn’t have to be big. For instance, it could be just providing companionship to someone who needs it.
Remember: When you’re faced with a stressor, look for the positive, find something to give gratitude for (and compared to Boone, this should be easy), and get a strong positive purpose to your life.
Next time: Focus and Perspective
1. I had remembered reading about Daniel Boone when I was growing up. I credit Wikipedia for refreshing my memory and adding new insight.
2. Please note that I don’t condone the negative aspects of Daniel Boone’s life. I chose his life purely for the purposes of this blog. Also, almost every character from history would be politically incorrect by current standards.
3. The themes of attitude, focus, and perspective run throughout the book Live, Love, and Let Go to develop a positive proactive approach to the gamut of problems encountered in the last phase of life.
Dennis Antonacci saysSeptember 12, 2016 at 2:40 am
Thank you James????????❤️