Wilderness Echo

Every Human is a Born Tracker: The value of mindset and method in a wild world

Every human is born a tracker. Every day we track the things that matter to us, whether we’re doing so consciously or not.

Knowing what to track, who to track with, and how to get back on track is vital to living a rich, fulfilling and rewarding life.

The job of an expert wildlife tracker is to track and find wild animals – no simple task by any measure when you consider the untamed nature of the animals they’re seeking. These animals can’t be controlled; they can’t be forced to slow down or reveal themselves. They make up their own minds, with their natural instincts keeping them far, far away from tracking humans. Trackers understand the value of mindset and a methodical, repeatable process. Their example can help people in all types of careers, including professional athletes and businesspeople.

For the wildlife tracker, tracking their target is the process of solving a major puzzle. It takes skill, practice, tenacity, and a mindset that is attentive, aware, open and curious.

These trackers are forced to adapt constantly, making decisions in response to what the animal is doing.


The tracking pathway

Their first step? Find the track. They take on an active role in placing themselves in the space of greatest opportunity. Identifying the track and deciding which set of tracks to follow requires patience and discernment. If they make a mistake and place their efforts into the pursuit of an old trail, they’re wasting their valuable resources of time and energy.

Once the most likely set of tracks has been identified, the tracker begins the trailing process and tries to close the gap between themselves and the target as quickly as possible. Often they are only guided by the faintest of signs, only evident to them through their years of training and the honing of their skills. Not only are wildlife trackers relying on their technical skills but also their creativity, combining multiple sources of information to reach a cohesive, single conclusion about how the animal is behaving. These data sets include the animal’s behaviour, its habitat, its relationship to other species and, in some cases, its individual personality traits.

Within this web of complexity, it’s not uncommon for the tracker to lose the track, resulting in the ultimate test. Get back on track or give up?

It’s the choice that’s made at this moment that separates the best trackers in the world from all the rest because it tests not only skills but mindset. The choice to give up and return home offers an escape but not a solution. It’s only by drawing on tenacity and a commitment to hard work that the tracker can find their way back on track once more.


The tracker’s reward

If the tracker executes well enough (and for long enough), they have an encounter with the animal they seek. This is their reward: the moment they finally catch a glimpse of the animal they’ve been following. They must navigate this carefully, without threatening the animal or being threatened themselves – it’s a complicated dance of judgement and respect.

Expert trackers like to place the animal in their heart, forming a relationship with the animal, which is reinforced every time their paths cross.

To the outside observer, the actions, and success, of an expert tracker may appear like magic – but not to the tracker themselves. They’re intimately familiar with the work and effort required. With years of practice and repetition, countless hours and long days shape their journey towards mastery.

To the tracker, it’s neither mystical nor magical. It’s simply how they operate.

Very few of us are lucky enough to track wild animals for a living. Yet we, too, are each on a unique journey, navigating a path through life that isn’t simple or problem-free, much like the wildlife tracker. Sometimes we’re able to stay on track. Often we’re off track – which is generally the moment where we learn the most about ourselves.

Like the tracks themselves, our lives seldom stretch out in a clear, straight line. We must be able to adapt, improvise, change tactics, and continue, even when faint signs are our only guide forward.

The keys to that rich and fulfilling life? They’re found by placing ourselves in the spaces of greatest opportunity, paying attention, being open, aware, curious, and committing to constant growth and learning.

Tracking isn’t just an ancient African practice; it’s an essential modern-day guide to living. By adopting the Trackers Pathway and mindset, we’re able to find our own way, following what’s most important to us in order to thrive in a bustling, dynamic and ever-changing world.


Experience a tracking immersion

Red Leaf’s Tracking Success immerses people in the complex and ancient art of animal tracking. Virtually join an expert tracking team as they fight to protect wildlife and teach the next generation of trackers. This is a powerful learning experience for organisations that highlights the importance of process and mindset to achieve challenging goals in an uncontrollable environment.

Find the experience your team needs to work together, analyse and thrive in Tracking Success.

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