About the Author
Yes, I am going to write about hiking up a goddamn mountain and no, this is not one of my weekly fitness articles. While there are certainly many things to consider on the physical side before attempting to hike up a mountain (e.g. proper footwear, proper nutrition, not being shitfaced drunk), this article isn’t about that stuff. This article’s about pushing yourself to the absolute limit to achieve something.
How many times have you seen one of those motivational posters featuring a guy scaling a mountain? Usually, you’ll see words underneath like “Ambition” or “Challenge” (or, in the case of a parody poster, “It’s All Downhill from Here.”) As it so happens, douchebag managers who hang these up at your job are actually on to something.
Have you been on a long hike lately? It’s no joke. I’m not talking about the nature trails you used to walk in your Cub Scout days, but legitimate climbs that call for actual agility, strength, and stamina. The hikes I went on over the weekend were the very definition of “epic.” I was jumping from rock to rock over big drops, hoisting myself over boulders, hanging from trees, and doing other totally unnecessary, insane stuff.
I reached a point during my hike where I just wanted to sit down, eat my protein bar, and head back to the car. I was beat and started questioning whether or not I could actually hike another two hours to the peak of this mountain. It was only when I told myself that I could “do anything” that I was able to pick myself up and progress to the top.
Hiking up a mountain, as it turns out, is a pretty good metaphor for pushing oneself to achieve a goal. In this case, it was to reach the mountain summit and get an amazing view of the Adirondacks. I can think of many situations, however, that call for the same kind of tenacity and can-do attitude.
Think about the last situation you were in that pushed you to your absolute limit, whether it’s physical, mental or social. Whether you had to write a 50-page paper on pond scum for college or work 30 hours extra overtime at the petting zoo, you either kept on until you succeeded or caved in and failed.
Pushing through uncomfortable and trying situations is the essence of confidence. Marty McFly wasn’t bullshitting when he said “if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.” If you’re someone who wants to succeed and get the things you want, you need to approach difficult situations head-on. Otherwise, you’re doomed to fail.
I’m happy to say I headed back to my car this weekend feeling triumphant. Knowing that I can make it through such a massive hike, I’m ready to tackle even more fly-ridden, steep death hikes. While I might never tack a ridiculously corny motivational poster up on my wall, I will have pictures of the hike forever to keep me motivated.
Are you ready to scale your proverbial mountain or give up and hike the baby trails?