5 Lessons I Am Thankful I Learned This Year

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I would like to take a time-out and reflect on some things that I learned this past year. As I sit back in my comfy chair and look out the back porch at Mount Werner in Steamboat Springs, I realize that I have a lot to be thankful for. As you read this, take a step back too and think of the things you have been blessed with this year. Here are 5 lessons I am thankful I learned this year…

Just Start.

This concept revolutionized the way I think about things, especially in my photography business. For so long I had been putzing around taking some pictures and never sharing them with the world. I had some ideas about how I could sell prints and share images on social media, but I just never got around to getting them posted. I also had a desire to fly drones and create some cool videos, but I had stories in my head where I told myself that I didn’t have enough experience or training to produce good content.

This all changed when I decided to put myself out there and do it. I started being more intentional about getting outside and taking photographs. I learned that the more I would get out and shoot, the better I got. I started posting my images on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I took on a couple of photography jobs that were totally outside of my comfort zone and I nailed them. I made enough money from those jobs that I was able to purchase a drone and then I learned how to fly. Once I learned how to fly, I looked into ways that I could make money with my drone. I learned that I needed an FAA Part 107 certificate in order to do that, so what did I do? I studied, sat for the exam and aced it. Now I do drone work for all kinds of businesses.

The key was that I never thought twice about all of these things. I just started, took baby steps, celebrated the successes, learned from mistakes and kept moving toward goals throughout the process.

If you have something that you have been wanting to do, but keep putting it off, just start and see what happens. You will never get anywhere with it unless you put in the effort to get moving.

Be Kind.

I have had people tell me that to get anywhere in life, you do anything it takes to get there, including stomping on others along the way. That is complete B.S. and the worst advice anyone could give.

Pay it forward. Be nice to others and give back. You will get so much more satisfaction in life.

Take the time to care for others around you and I don’t just mean family and friends you already know. Help someone on the street corner. Hold the door open for another. Be kind and strike up a conversation with the person bagging your groceries at the grocery store. Buy a beer for the ski tech that tunes your skis this season. Give your mail person and your milk delivery person a gift card for Christmas. Do you get the idea?

Go out of your way to be nice to someone, even when you are having a bad day. That brings me to the next one…

Have Fun.

“Quit telling yourself that Mondays suck and make them better.”

It’s up to you and it is a choice. The way we act and the attitude we have is a personal choice. We can choose to be grumpy and synical or we can choose to be happy and have fun with the situations we experience in life. I’m not saying everything is peachy keen all the time. Rather, it is up to you to choose joy in the things that life throws at you.

Stop looking at the dark side. Stop bringing others around you down because of your negitivity. Just plain stop.

I learned this concept In San Diego at High 5 Leadership and it has completely changed my life. If you are looking to better yourself next year, I highly recommend you invest in this course. It will change your life in many ways and bring you immense value. I will link to their website in the comments below, but for now, keep on reading. We are almost to the end of this article.

Be Yourself.

As I look back on my life, I see times when I tried to do things that I really didn’t enjoy because I thought those things would make me successful. It turns out that those things were just a waste of time and I could have been using that time for other life fulfilling activities.

The best version of yourself is you.

Don’t try and impress others by being something you are not. People see right through that.

Be you. Do you. Share what you are passionate about. Go all out! 

Get Outdoors.

Last, but definitely not least, is that I have learned to get outside more. I have found that the more I do this simple thing, the better I feel.

Getting outside forces our bodies to move and with movement comes better health.

Here are a few more benefits that scientists say we realize when we get out into the great outdoors:

  • Reduced stress
  • Increased weight loss
  • Stronger immune system
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Increase in Vitamin D intake
  • Better memory and attention span
  • Improved self-esteem

When you embark on an outdoor activity, you automatically embrace adventure. You don’t have to be on a multi-day trip in the wilderness or on a mountaineering trip to Mount Everest.

Getting outside can be as simple as walking in the park, visiting a waterfall or doing some light trail running.

For more tips on this topic, check out my article, 5 Excuses That Keep You From Getting Outdoors

You can also get more great outdoor advice, tips on how to get better photos and reviews on stylin’ outdoor gear by signing up to receive my monthly email called LaGuardia’s Outdoor Dispatch

Are there things that you learned this past year? What are you thankful for? Share your comments with us below. It will help us all grow together!

OtterBox Dry Box 3250 Review

Look no further. The OtterBox Dry Box 3250 has been redesigned with a more modern look, better functionality and up-to-date colors. This is the go anywhere box that will keep your stuff safe and dry in the outdoors.

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Use:

Great for traveling, hiking, backpacking, hunting, fishing and outdoor photography.

Price:

$39.99

My Review:

My overall experience with the OtterBox Dry Box 3250 was an excellent one. I put it to the test both in my photography studio and on an outdoor micro adventure.

In the studio, I found the dry box to be just the perfect size for stowing all of my laptop adapters, memory cards, batteries and miscellaneous photography accessories. It allowed for quick access during a recent product photography shoot and when I dropped it on the concrete floor, there wasn’t even a noticeable scratch on the dry box.

On adventure, I carried some small photography accessories, car keys, wallet and a mobile phone safely inside the case. It was also the perfect size to stow away in my daypack. Opening the latches each time I reached for my gear was effortless, unlike past dry box models from OtterBox and their competitors. I want to emphasize here that the new design comes with thumb-saving latches. Yes!

The only thing that I found lacking was the fact that it had side loops without a real place to clip a carabiner and did not include a loop of paracord or rubber to secure a carabiner to it. Paracord would be a nice addition to the design in the future.

Although I didn’t get a chance to review flotation in water on this adventure, I tested this functionality at home and it passed with flying colors, keeping my stuff dry and floating at the top of the water. You would have to place something extremely heavy inside the case in order to completely submerge it, if that is even possible. After re-opening the box, I found that there was very minimal water beading around the seal and no water entered the inside compartment.

The OtterBox Dry Box 3250 is a killer design that not only exceeded my expectations, but looked cool doing it too. It’s available in Hudson (white/blue) which is my personal favorite, Ridgeline (tan/green), Black (black/black) and Trail Side (RealTree camo).

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ProTip:

If you stow your mobile device and keys in the dry box together, protect your device’s screen by first wrapping it in a small microfiber cloth so it doesn’t get scratched.

Rating:

👍 size, easy open latches, durability, waterproof design, weight and great color choices

👎 side loops are too narrow for a carabiner and require a loop of paracord or rope (not included)

Specs:

  • Waterproof & stackable with 55 cubic inches of storage space.
  • Can be submerged up to 90 feet deep for 30 minutes.
  • Ultra durable polycarbonate construction.
  • Stainless steel hinge and latch pins.
  • Lock holes for security.
  • Lined with polyethylene foam.
  • Backed by an iron clad, one year guarantee.

The OtterBox Dry Box 3250. I strongly recommend you take it on your next adventure!

➳ Otter Products, LLC provided equipment and associated materials for this review. John LaGuardia is an employee of Otter Products. All photos are a courtesy of LaGuardia Adventure Photography.