Climbing Mount Whitney
It’s been five weeks since my last post about training for the hike to Mount Whitney, what I lovingly refer to as the Big Mother Hike (BMH). I’ve learned quite a lot in these past five weeks, and certainly had a ball getting closer to completing the BMH.
During this time I’ve walked or hiked 110.5 miles around my neighborhood (see above picture), in parks and over some larger hills. I’ve learned the importance of continuous hydration as well as taking snacks of high protein value that are about 100 to 150 calories each and can be consumed at about once per hour; how resting for just 7 to 10 minutes every hour can extend your day and walk, as well as other important tidbits.
What I’m writing about today is the importance of being a total geek about your pursuits and feeding off comments from the naysayers. Here’s the breakdown of what I mean:
- Geek Out and Become the Humble Pro
If you’re serious about something, be it hiking, your relationship, work, whatever the case, you have to completely immerse yourself in it. Love and own it by reading about it at every opportunity, speaking with people in the know as well as your friend, family and acquaintances that don’t know, then think through how you wish to apply what you learn to your life and finally apply the lessons.
This actually requires a certain amount of humility. You must accept that you don’t know everything about the subject and seek it out. As with anything, when you learn more, you also realize how much more there’s to learn. You’ll find that lessons from other practices are applicable to your current focus. As I’ve started reading a biography about Gandhi, I realize how his many life lessons can be applied to the hikes.
You’ll invest money in more books and tools to help you succeed, and time to acquire the knowledge and use them. That’s a good thing. You’re investing in yourself and insuring your success.
As your journey becomes longer, you’ll not only apply these lessons, but also find people that want to ask you questions about what you’re doing. Don’t shun them. Share what you’ve learned freely, openly and often. You’ll be surprised to find good advice through these many conversations, as well as learn how your actions inspire others to strive for something greater.
The point is you should geek out, learn as much as you can about your new goals and apply what you learn daily. Be humble about what you’re doing and share everything you learn at every opportunity, even as you’re stepping through and getting closer to your goals. Be proud of what you accomplish at every step of the way and humble, knowing where you came from.
- Slow Down to Speed Up Your Progress
I mentioned above that I’ve learned to take breaks. I used to walk straight through to six or seven miles, even when it took more than an hour. That was fine for those distances. However, as I graduated to longer walks, I began to realize the importance of taking breaks.
I tried walking past 7 miles with no breaks. It was exhausting and I slowed down. Then I remembered advice from a book I’d read: take 7 to 10 minute breaks every hour. I tried this with the 7 mile walks and all distances thereafter. I found I had a burst of energy after the breaks and I could quicken my pace to make up some of the time spent for them. I couldn’t fully make it up. However, my overall pace speed, including the breaks, became better. What’s more, I could travel longer distances without totally exhausting my body.
The lesson was clear. I had to slow down and take breaks in order to speed up my overall progress to walk longer distances as well as my pace during each walk.
- Keep a Singular Focus and Feed Off the Noise
As you begin to interact with people on and off trails, what you’ll realize is that many who don’t understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it will begin to question it. They may even ridicule the idea or your approach to it. Love this when you see or hear it.
Because it’s a sign you’re going against the norm and everyone’s comfort zone. It means you’re doing something you should…heck, you MUST do, to make your mark in the world. In short, it means you’re doing the right thing.
Use this validation to feed the fire that’s your desire to accomplish your goals. Let it confirm that what you’re accomplishing is more than just a hike, or a project, but the definition of your character and who you are.
What Do You Think?
Feel free to share your comments below.