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Are You a Pioneer or a Settler?

Are You a Pioneer or a Settler?

By Jim Fannin

In life you are either a pioneer or a settler? In this usage, pioneers are usually among the first to an area. They lead the way. Settlers, on the other hand, arrive after first settlement and join others in the process of community. They follow.

As I reflect on my heritage, I recall Kentucky tales of the pioneer and adventurer, Daniel Boone. Daniel Boone was an American pioneer, explorer and frontiersman. His exploits during the late 1700’s made him one of the first folk heroes of the United States. Boone is most famous for his exploration and settlement of what is now the Commonwealth of Kentucky (my home state). This territory was then beyond the western borders of the settled part of the 13 Colonies. Despite some resistance from American Indian tribes such as the Shawnee, in 1775 Boone blazed his Wilderness Trail through the Cumberland Gap in the Appalachian Mountains from North Carolina and Tennessee into Kentucky. There he founded the village of Boonesborough, Kentucky, one of the first English-speaking settlements west of the Appalachians. Before the end of the 18th century, more than 200,000 Europeans settled in this general area by following the route marked by Boone.

Are you a pioneer or a settler?

A pioneer mentally is adventuresome. It is daring and bold. With a dream under their arm, the pioneer marches into the unknown to find his calling. This person is without worry or anxiety regarding the obstacles they might face as they chase their goals and dreams. A pioneer spirit uplifts, motivates and inspires everyone they meet. With blinders in place, the pioneer forges ahead in the face of adversity. They seek a better place regardless of the sacrifice. Time, money, hardship and effort are the currency paid by the pioneer in reaching their dreams. The pioneer awakens each day with a need to achieve. There is purpose in each pioneer’s step. They cut down the psychological safety net that comfort the timid, fearful and weak. The pioneer has a “go for it” attitude. They dare to go where others seldom imagine. Are you a pioneer?

A settler tills the land once it’s been discovered. They set up shop. They settle in to daily routine. They hop a ride on these habits and adapt the mind of peaceful existence and co-existence. They take far less risk. They wait for things to take care of themselves. They react to what’s happened. They settle for what’s sure. They settle for what’s there and seldom expand their boundaries. It’s the settler that loses the need to venture out. They avoid confrontation. Although they may be good at what they do, they seldom are great.

Sometimes a settler quits dreaming. Once this stops, they “settle” for what is and seldom venture into what may be. Like the settling of the foundation of a house, it can turn small cracks of discontent and apathy into big cracks of despair and hopelessness. Now the mental and physical edifice, built over time, begins to crumble. The thoughts of shoulda’, coulda’ and woulda’ prevail. Do you settle with your current physique? Have you settled in your current relationship? Have you settled in your job or career? Are you a settler?

There’re two things for sure. In the future you will either be better or worse. It’s the pioneer that will accomplish the former. Stop settling! Put on your coonskin hat and forge ahead. Be the modern day Daniel Boone. Pioneer your dreams.

Be in the Zone!

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