Hunter or Gatherer - Man Makes Fire
Hunter or Gatherer - Man Makes Fire

Hunter or Gatherer – It’s Your Life

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“It’s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.”

— Emiliano Zapata

I like to categorize people and things because categorizing helps me make sense of the world around me — and to generalize in terribly easy ways. With that in mind, there are two types of men in the world: Hunters and Gatherers. Hunters pursue living animals for food. A gatherer forages for food.

Here is a gatherer’s dinner time conversation:
Spouse: “What do you want for dinner?”
Gatherer: “Hmmm, I don’t know. What do you want? Maybe Chinese.”
Spouse: “We had Chinese two nights ago. How about Thai?”

And so the conversation goes unending for all eternity. In Dante’s Inferno, repeating this conversation would be somewhere between fraud and treachery in the circles of hell. Now let’s listen to a Hunter’s conversation.

Spouse: “What do you want for dinner?”
Hunter: “I shot a duck today, so it’s duck for dinner!”

Hopefully you can see the difference between these two conversations immediately. One is decisive and manly, the other is just painful.

When I was a rookie married guy, I fell into the first category of gatherers. I was too afraid to make my wife mad and I wanted to please her by letting her make the decision. Turns out she really didn’t want to make the decision, hence the question. Unfortunately, this desire to please and not make anyone angry grew and propagated itself into all aspects of my life. I woke up one day and realized I was no longer a hungry hunter but a gatherer of nuts and making a living off the crumbs of others. I had let myself go physically and mentally. Actually looking in the mirror that particular evening, I saw someone who looked more like the Grinch than King Leonidas. I told my wife that I looked more like the Grinch than a man, and she laughed until she cried and then laughed a little more. In married life we call that confirmation.

How did I go from hungry hunter to gatherer? Easy, I started making money. The first thing to go was my willingness to learn new skills. After all, I already had a few skill sets that were in demand. It was easier to pay someone to change my oil and make house repairs. Once you start rationalizing not doing things and start paying other people to do everything, it is a steep and slippery slope down to complacency (gathering). If you’re keeping track, this puts you in the Limbo circle of Hell. Luckily, I realized I had become a gatherer before it was too late.

Now I choose to do over complacency. I could pay to get the bearings changed on my vehicle — about $250 — or I can change them myself for $190. A gatherer will say, “What’s $60?” while a hunter will reply, “It has nothing to do with $60. It’s all about doing, about the experience, about living.” If you want to spend $60 to watch some extra TV, go for it my gatherer friend, but I choose to hunt. I choose to do. I choose life. Quit gathering and start hunting.

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