Me, Myself, and Chris McCandless

The purpose of this Endurance paper was to connect ourselves and our missions to a character/person we felt closest to that we read about. I chose to connect to Chris McCandless because of how he deals with challenges. I am proud of the connections I made and the vocabulary challenge that I took on.

Here is my paper :

How do you face a daunting challenge?

Me and him isolate ourselves and prepare our minds, more than our bodies. It’s more important to “feel strong, than to be strong”.

Chris McCandless and I are shockingly similar in some aspects of life, which to some people might be a bad thing.

Chris, otherwise known as Alexander Supertramp, was as free of a spirit as you could find, looking for freedom, happiness, and adventure throughout his short but eventful life. “The core of mans’ spirit comes from new experiences.” basically sums up his whole life.  Chris McCandless is a man who i have never met, but I feel like I know him in a way. His anonymity is vaguely inspiring, and intriguing. Yet what I know about him is enough to know that I could learn a lot just from spending an hour with him. Our journeys and purposes are different, but the way we had to go about our missions is very similar.

Mentally, I think Chris and I could relate in a few ways. The first is the way in which we connect is how we grew up, not feeling comfortable with how much money we had and thinking others deserve it more. Also, we challenged traditional methods of schooling which didn’t necessarily benefit us, and learning in different ways.

The process in which we went about our individual missions however, is the place in where we are the most alike. My challenge was to attempt to improve my focusing ability, and apply it to basketball. His mission was about surviving in the wilderness purely off of the land. Both of these take incredible physical endurance, but the bigger challenge is the mental endurance that it takes. Most barriers in our world are perceived, we have just been told we can’t overcome them even though they are tangibly achievable. A famous saying in the music world is that you can only play as fast as you could imagine yourself playing. The reason why guitarists like John Butler can play so quickly is because they can visualize themselves playing that quickly. In basketball, if one could put themselves in the mindset that they will always dominate, they would actually be much more capable of playing well as opposed to the better player with less confidence.

Chris’ journey wasn’t very much like mine, his was to release himself from society and live off the land as naturally as he could. Chris believed careers were a 20th century invention” and he didn’t want any part of that. “The core of mans’ spirit comes from new experiences.” Another way in which Chris seemed to differ was his interaction with other people. If I had an opportunity to speak with him one of the first questions I’d ask, other than “how are you alive?” would be if he desired human interaction at the time of his death. I really believe he would have replied with a yes, because one of Chris’ last recorded quotes was “happiness is only real when shared”. This would also lead me to ask another simpler question. I would’ve asked if there was a “finish line” of his journey, or some sort of reward that would let him know he had accomplished what he set out to do. I think he would’ve replied with a “no” because I think he was out to discover himself more than anything else.

My goal (which I am still far from achieving consistently) is to improve my ability to focus, and let go. Basically I want to train my mind to serve me better. The way in which I could utilize this the best outside of the classroom is on the basketball court. I tend to overthink things too much instead of being confident and focused, clearing my mind. The moments when I get in that zone I am an exponentially better player but it’s hard to find myself in this zone without doing something like trash talking. Admittedly, this is frowned upon, especially after the ‘90s, but a few players still use this method. It puts me in a state of mind that if I’m talking, I have to back it up by playing well. I play my best when in the zone of having to prove someone wrong, yet it’s difficult to get to that zone without trash talking.

I doubt Chris was much of a trash talker, but I do believe we are very similar in many aspects, mostly how we go about obtaining our goals. Both of us endure what are perceived as physical challenges, but really they require much more mental endurance. Spending time alone thinking is what builds up the brain, and we both think best when we are moving.