I'm always taking something I understand and relate it to something I'm learning. It tends to make the lessons easier to remember.
Recently I had another realization:
Climbing a mountain is the same as achieving a goal.
Let me explain climbing a mountain in detail and you'll see where I'm going with this. I'll number the steps for comparison later.
1. If you've ever decided to climb a mountain or go on a hike to a sweet destination like a summit or waterfall, it always starts with falling in love with the end. You find your initial motivation to go through the work with excitement and anticipation. You start to minimize and ignore the challenges or effort required and get lost in the destination. Totally normal, totally useful.
2. Next step, your first taste of reality. Likely you will have to prepare, figure out what you'll need (shoes, snacks, maps, etc) and begin packing. This is no big deal and may increase the excitement. Also, this is the time to realize what you're getting yourself into. Don't ignore the reality of a long challenging hike. This is the time to back out or begin the journey. This is the time for thinking.
3. Next, you arrive at the base. You look up to the top of the mountain and think WHOA, this was a little bigger than I thought, but who cares, I have energy, let's do this. You begin the hike. Your pace is fast, you excitement is high, this is going to be easy. This is not the time to think about how to get to the top. There is no way you can predict what you'll need to do, what routes you may have to take, how you will cross a river, etc. Quit it! You'll know exactly what to do in the moment. You don't know what you'll need to do until you arrive to the challenge.
4. Now you arrive to your first dose of reality. You're tired, it's hard, and you're only 25% in. To be honest you thought at this point in your endurance you'd be near the summit. Turns out you're not even close. But you signed up for this right? Well it's time to get tough. Press on and don't think. Only think in that moment. One foot in front of the other, one route decision after another, one piece of the hike after another. You're doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing, focusing on that moment. On that next step.
5. Holy shit! Now you're beat! But you've crossed the half way point. Turning back at this point doesn't even make sense as you're committed. Reaching your car or the summit will take similar effort. You're in it! There almost isn't a choice to be made but to press on and reap your rewards of hard work. This is a great moment to make it to, as many people turned back long ago, but you didn't. You endured.
6. Now you're a machine. Your body has found a rhythm. You're weak self has given up changing your mind, your conquering self has taken over. You've earned this. Self satisfaction is coming because you pushed through your comfort zone. You will finish this hike an improved person. You can chalk up another win over challenge.
7. You arrive to the summit! Wow that was hard! Your body is tired, your mind is strong, and not many people are there when you arrive. You are one of the few. You can sit and enjoy. You take in the beautiful site, you snack and refuel, take a big drink of water, life is GREAT! Take your pictures, savor your moment, and soak this all up. You did it! From here the hike is easy. Downhill, and in the glow of achievement. This feels great! It was all worth it.
8. By pushing through your comfort zone and completing the goal, your next hike will seem easier. You know you will make it. You know more of whats required of you. You're a better hiker. This is momentum. This is why people that scale big mountains, find other mountains to scale, and do it with ease.
Ok, so you can read this and realize that you should approach your goals in the same way. When it's time to think, when it's time to work, and when it's time to enjoy. Easy right?
Let me explain what I see in most people that set out to achieve something, in the same hiking scenario:
1. They spend WAY to much time looking at potential hikes and trying to decide which one to take. Every summit looks great, because they're looking at the payoff. By the way, they haven't even been on a hike yet! They don't know what they like or don't like, they don't know what's worth it or not, they don't have a basis for measuring and comparing hikes. It's all in their head. They may never make it past this step.
2. Prep time. The common belief of underachievers is that the gear gets you to the summit. If they get the right shoes, the right snacks, the right maps, THIS will make all the difference. The reality is this is expensive and could delay your journey. Plus it only gives a slight advantage. Getting started NOW is the real advantage. Be quick, pick the gear and go. Get the essentials and dive in. Want to be the first to the summit? GET STARTED!
3. The under achier bought the expensive gear. They set the expectations high. They don't even know how to use the gear they got! This is a deflating way to start the journey. Either way they arrive at the base of the summit. Now they begin to try and figure out every detail of the hike while staring at the peak. I'm sorry but there is no way you can fully prepare for what you'll need right now. This is not the time to think much.
Sadly this is where many people get stuck. The thoughts of all that they need, and all that may go wrong is very overwhelming. Plus, what if they don't make it!? That would be embarrassing. Right now, they may be a great hiker. Why risk trying only to find out they can't climb mountains?
This is where most people end their journey. They spend their lives talking to everyone in the parking lot. They try to prepare for every challenge and never feel ready. It's overwhelming, it's scary. They choose the dream instead of the journey.
They never even begin the hike. :(
My challenge to you:
1. Take one day and choose your summit! Just begin, you might find you don't want to do the hike right after you start. That's ok, choose another. Go further this time. Eventually you will find the summit that's worth going for. You don't know until you try.
2. The right gear, website, computer, etc will not get you to the summit. Quit that shit! Get the essentials so you don't die, and begin. You'll know exactly what you need when you actually need it. Don't use gear, opportunity, or connections as a crutch for getting your sorry ass in the game. GO BABY!
3. You've chosen your summit. You've got enough gear. You arrive to the parking lot. Get the f!ck out of your car and begin hiking. You WILL know what to do when you arrive. Don't let your weak mind take over and talk you out of anything. Know that your mind will try to turn you back at every chance it gets. Just remember it's the "old you" talking.
4. Stare at the path in front of you. Concern yourself only with the next step. Look up only when necessary. Fight through the pain. Push through your comfort zone. Ignore your fear. Grind baby grind. Remember that the harder it is now, the less people will be at the top, and the less competition you'll have.
5. You've reached the half way point. You've done more than you knew you could. Turning back now wouldn't make sense. The summit is just a far away as your starting point.
6. You're a machine! It's hard, but you hardly notice. At this speed you'll be to the top in no time. At this point you know luck has very little to do with it. You've done the grind, you've gone through the pain, you know what's expected of you to reach the summit.
7. You reach the summit. Enjoy every moment of this step. Soak it up. Don't worry about your next climb until you've properly enjoyed this one. Don't get lost in the next summit. Enjoy where you're sitting, and help others when you can.
Nice work my friend! You're a rare individual.