I live in a place where people are pretty active. Whenever the sun’s out, there’s people out running around, walking their dogs, talking and chatting, fishing, everything.
But when it rains, everything’s different. On the streets and on the beach, it’s a ghost town.
I can’t speak for everyone, but as soon as the weather is ‘bad’, and it rains, people think, ‘We can’t go outside – it’s raining.’
It’s water coming down from the sky – not engine oil. Or falling droplets of battery acid. Or even full-cream milk. It’s just water.
Jerry Seinfeld did a bit about this once. Well, I’m pretty sure he did. Let me check Youtube…
Yep, he did (never mind the Arabic subtitles).
David Heinemeier Hansson (mega successful dude, who also didn’t have a driver’s license at 25 and then won the Le Mans 24-hour race at 34), takes his oldest son out every time it’s raining. To the point that every time it’s raining, his son says to him, ‘It’s raining, dad. Let’s go outside.’ They never miss playing outside on a rainy day.
Josh Waitzkin, the genius Chess master, world champion in Tai Chi Push Hands and the subject of the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer, does the same with his son.
He actually encourages his son to go out with him when the weather’s bad. Storms, rain, lightning, whatever.
The weather doesn’t need to affect your life. Just like external factors don’t need to affect your core, who you really are, and what you really believe in.
Discussions about the weather are really just discussion about ‘comfort’. Whether you’re comfortable or not. And how many good things really happen when you are perfectly comfortable?
On the flipside, I’ve lived in Canada and Colorado and other cold-as-shit places, and I get it that if you go out when it’s raining in a cold-as-shit place it’s a bit of a different story. I live in tropical Queensland, and although people say it’s too humid and rains a lot, seriously, the weather is pretty much perfect.
And I get that if you have electronic devices on you, it makes sense to not want to be outside in torrential rain. But when Jerry Seinfeld did that bit, back in the 90s, people didn’t really have electronic devices on them. Mobile phones weren’t around, or anything similar. Maybe they had a walkman on them. But people still acted the same way.
If the weather conditions are ‘crappy’, there are people who use it as an excuse not to do things.
I teach a bunch of Saudi Arabian students, and where they’re from, summers mean days of 45 degrees Celsius. Plus. Everyday.
But when it rains, people party. They celebrate. Every day, they watch the weather forecast and if it’s going to rain in a few days, they start to plan get-togethers, roadtrips and parties.
It was raining hardcore on the Sunshine Coast the other day, and one of my Saudi students was there taking photos of it through the window with a big smile on his face. I told him, ‘Beautiful weather, isn’t it?’ and he laughed and agreed.
I think there are different ways to set an example for others. Kids and those younger than you, etc. You can a) be the ‘rah rah’ type, telling others the way they should be doing something by yelling at them, b) you can calmly tell them the best way to do something, or c) you can lead by example. I’m not a vocal person but in any situation where I’ve wanted to set an example, I definitely prefer ‘c’.
I’m also not a dad, but I imagine having a dog and a small child who can’t talk yet is similar in more ways than some might think. For one, an infant can’t speak yet so doesn’t understand the actual content of what you’re saying. They take all their cues about the joys and dangers of the world from the tone of your voice, your body language and other non-verbal cues.
That’s what I think dogs do, with their owner. So, for example, with my dog, Chunky, I see no value in coddling him when it’s stormy out or raining, or in any other scary situation. Saying ‘it’s okay, it’s okay’, comforting a dog way too much, and behaving in a totally different way to when you are in control only reinforces their behaviour and fears.
So if it’s raining, just like any other day, I take my dog to the beach. If there’s a thunderstorm, I act like I would if it were perfectly calm. It’s okay for them to be scared, but it’s not okay to think there’s anything to be afraid of, if you understand that it’s just ‘weather’. It’s not that the weather’s bad, it’s just that it’s different.
External factors are only that – External. They don’t change who we are or the life we want to live.