There are some things that feel better, when you have done them in less than perfect conditions.
What I mean is, if you were to climb a mountain in perfect weather, sun is shinning, a breeze is blowing to keep you cool, you would be forgiven if you thought that you didn’t have to put in too much effort into that climb. If however you had to climb the same hill in driving rain, poor visibility, cold to the bone and against all odds, you can argue that you succeeded with greater odds against you.
Most endeavours are no different. If you can push through the bits that suck and the forces that act against you and your better judgement, the glory of succeeding tastes that little bit better. At least from a personal perspective it does for me.
However, putting this all into practise takes time and grit. Let’s be honest, none of us actively seek out to thrash ourselves with the worst of conditions, a “c’mon bring it on” mentality that would make the most extreme adventurers looks weak. This is something that takes time and practise.
If we undertake challenges in poor conditions or ones that are less favourable then this is where the growth lies, it’s teaching us how to bear the brunt of shit outside of our control, and the problem comes when we don’t like what we can’t control. I’m a bit of a control freak, I don’t particularly like flying, again coming down to the fact that I am not the one flying the thing and ultimately my life is in the hands of the very capable pilot in the warm cockpit.
I work autonomously in my profession and while I may call upon subject matter experts and my peers, I am for the most part in charge of my workload and I am able to prioritise my work myself. Again this feeds into the control freak in me, in that I am in charge.
So what happens when something goes against the grain and fucks up your day with an unforeseen circumstance? I’ll tell you – panic, and worry. That’s generally how things out of our control translate. You worry about what has just happened and then how you are going to react to said change.
Out on the hills is no different:
Its raining heavily and its windy, I haven’t brought enough clothes or waterproofs, I best go back down.
The visibility is really closing in on us and I can see jack shit, I best go back down.
I don’t know where I am and I think I’m lost, I best go back down.
See the common theme here? The natural instinct is to stop what you were initially doing and react based on your mental thoughts, or ultimately “Self Preservation mode” One of the only ways to counter that, is have a stronger belief system that you know you will succeed against the cards that have been dealt to you. In addition, you only get better or at least “used to it” by continually putting yourself through these kinds of days.
These continual quests for growth are what give people the edge in certain situations and are arguably more mentally robust to deal with things as a result of it.
I like to use the hills a lot as a metaphor for the things we go through in life. The hard slog to get somewhere when there’s certain elements at work trying to hold us back. The false summits, the bad weather where we can’t see which way the path leads.
WE CLIMB, they fall……do not be the “they” in the equation. Lead the way, inspire others, and you never know, someone else may straighten their back and stand up straight as a result of your bravery.
Keep charging your path, and see you in the fire.