The Zen of hiking

There is a peak called Grandeur Peak, 15 minutes from where I live in Salt Lake. It is known as a great training peak. To do it under an hour says that you are at a great level of fitness.

When trying to break the sub hour mark, I was stuck at 1 hour and 2 minutes. I tried over and over again and without fail I would finish at 1 hour and 2 minutes with a round trip time of 2 hours and 30 minutes.

How could one break 60 seconds when I already felt that I was going as fast as I can?

Tactics needed to be changed.

I armed myself with a GU packages and did some experimenting. I knew that my body would hit a wall at the 50 minute mark, so at 45 minutes I would pop a GU pack in. I also decided to run the flat spots. There is one major section at the beginning to gain some time (dangerous to exert yourself so early) and 3 more sections throughout the hike. I finally told myself to shoot for 58 minutes in hope that I would finish seconds before the hour mark.

The time came; pushing through to the top I hit my wall in the final 7 minutes on the summit ridge.

Gasping for air and willing myself through to the end, I pulled out my phone to hit the timer. I had finished in 56 minutes, crushing my previous PR (personal record). The round trip time was still 2 hours and 30 minutes.

The Zen of hiking:

  • Finishing the goal, there was no prize or certificate of achievement, just the satisfaction of doing something hard was all that was gained. Finishing this goal left a whole that needed to be filled. A new challenge was needed.
  • A change of tactics was needed to get a different result. Doing the same thing over and over again saw no improvement.
  • The last 7 minutes might have been the hardest 7 minutes (physically) in my life. Was all this effort to finish quicker to the top worth it when the round trip time remained unaffected? It’s an interesting question. In some ways yes and others ways no. The key is to learn that when putting maximum energy into something you will only be a little better by shaving a few minutes. The key is to be intentional; knowing when getting the extra results is needed and when giving effort (without killing yourself) can achieve many of the same results.
  • I love hiking but at the beginning I stated, “to do it under an hour says you are at a certain level of fitness”, I was living in a world of measurement. I was measuring myself to others. Instead I need to learn to live in a world of possibility, that hiking is something that calms my soul; it helps me challenge myself to get over the hurdles we see in everyday life. I aimed for the 58 minute mark and surprised myself with 56. Makes me wonder about the mental constraints we put on ourselves everyday.

The art of saying no

One of the keys of success is learning to say no. You have to say no a 36,600 times before you can learn this key principle to success.

Why 36,600 times?

Let’s use the example of eating a healthier diet. The plan is to say no to eating junk food such as cookies, ice cream, chips, etc. When the Resistance finds out your plans to improve your life he will wage a war upon you. He will begin to fight harder and you will inevitably see more free treats at the office, a friend stopping bye to drop off a plate of your favorite cookies and going away parties will increase. More treats and unhealthy meals (and for some reason their always free) will pop up more than ever before. It’s just the nature of fighting the Resistance.

So you have to learn to say no.

If you learn to say no 10 times a day then your chance of success to stick with your goals and battling off the Resistance is extremely high.

If you continue to do this for a week that is 70 times you have practiced the art of saying no.

For a month that is 280 times.
For a year that is 3,360 times you have said no.
If you do it for 5 years that is 16,800 times.
If you do it for 10 years that is 33,600 times you have practiced the art of saying no.

What discipline!

No one is saying you can’t have bowl of ice cream again. Before you say yes, learn to say no. Say no 10 times today before saying yes to something you want, not what you need.

Money amplifies character

If you are generous, kind and giving before one becomes wealthy; you will most likely continue to be generous, kind and giving.

The flip side of this is if you are selfish, inconsiderate and greedy before one accumulates wealth; money will amplify those characteristics.

Riding out the storm

You would be surprised to find that a tarp with grommets, paracord, couple of sticks, and rocks can keep you dry during a storm. It really is that simple. It’s not the most elaborate solution but the cost is cheap, it can be built in minutes, and most importantly it will keep you dry when you weren’t planning on encountering a storm.

Do you have the skills, tools, or knowledge to ride out the storm? What about the storms we face at school, home, or work?

Perhaps you are caught in a storm that you weren’t planning for. You need shelter. Follow the blog. It will do the job.

The box and the horizon

Finite. Finite is limited. Finite has boundaries such as a box. The box is a designated field of play, structured. You cannot go outside these boundaries. Your cubical is a box. Your job is a box. Your car is a box. Your house is a box.

Infinite. Infinite is limitless. Infinite is opportunity. Think of a horizon. A horizon goes on forever. You can never get closer, you just see more horizon. You can create art anywhere. Your work never stops. Your travels are unlimited by imagination, just turn on the key. Your house are just walls but your home (the people and memories you fill in it) can never be priced.

The logo is not the hard part

Designing the logo, picking a name for the startup, printing business cards, getting the website operating, starting the project, listening to critics, setting up meetings is the easy part.

The hard part is assembling the tribe; building their trust and earning their attention. The hard part is exerting emotional labor. The hard part is committing to finish the project once you hit the dip. The hard part is working on the project day after day.

The hard part is expensive if you wait until the end (overtime, overnight shipping, fixing shortcuts, missing the ship date).

Do the hard part first.

Mentality of the factory

You may work at a place where the attitude of management reflects the mentality of the factory.

The manager’s job is to follow instructions and make sure others are following instructions as well.

Mangers develop policies and procedures as a long list of mechanical rules – show up on time, follow the steps, do no less, we will pay you.

So much time has passed now that these mechanical rules have become a matter of form over substance.

Playing devil’s advocate

There will always be someone that wants to play devil’s advocate.

If you are going to play that “what if” game, do it early.

Lay out all your fears. Write down every reason why the project could fail. Get everyone to contribute and wrestle with it. Decide if you are going to be crushed if the project fails. What is the cost of not doing the project (who could have benefited from this project that now isn’t)?

If the outcome of failing will crush you and if you are not going to commit to pushing through until the end then there is no project. Find something else to do.

However, if it’s just the fear of failing that is outweighing the potential of success then there is no choice. You have an obligation, an obligation to do the work and to push through the fear.

Once the work begins, the fear of failing (deciding, discussing or dissecting) can no longer be injected into the project. No more playing devil’s advocate.

The devil is fine. He doesn’t need an advocate.