Blogpost, self-reliance

All You Can’t See

In non-Covid times, my brother and I would go on an annual Appalachian Trail hike. The beautiful views, camaraderie and reconnection with nature were all good reasons to embark on the hike. One very good reason not to go is the first mile of the hike. It is almost all directly uphill that slopes at 25-45% degrees. It is the hardest part of the hike and it is right at the beginning. Once you get to the top, the world opens up in front of you and you can see for miles into Pennsylvania and New York State. It is truly magnificent! The remainder of the 20+ mile hike is far from easy but it is lined with intermittent views that consistently leave you in awe. The bulk of the price that is paid for those views upfront.

This is a concept that is peppered throughout our lives. Many of the rewards that we are looking for are hidden at the tops of steep climbs. From the bottom, it is impossible to see what the effort will produce for you. However it is plain to see the struggle, difficulty and labor in front of you. So most people don’t start climbing. Having been up that mountain several times, I know the payoff that is coming. In many of the situations that we encounter in life, the payoff is less than guaranteed. The secondary problem is that those endeavors also usually require something that you’ve never done before. This is again will stop many people before they start.

The things that can’t be seen before the start are all of the reasons to begin. The possible rewards are surely something. More importantly is the person that you become at the end of that path. While it’s easy to view ourselves as static individuals, we aren’t. You are a totally different person than you were five, ten, fifteen years ago. Keeping that in mind is crucial. Who will you be five years from now based on deciding to “ascend” or not? There is no doubt that either way, you will still be you. However the paths that you choose will impact what version of yourself shows up. Don’t just look up the mountain and see the climb. See yourself on top and envision how much more of your best self will be available from there.

See you at the top!



Finish Him/Her/It!

For any of us who spent way too many quarters at an arcade, that phrase is easily identifiable. In “Mortal Kombat” that phrase meant that your enemy was basically beaten and all you needed to do was perform one last lethal blow to add an exclamation point to your victory.  I remember vividly spending countless hours mastering special moves or trying to complete a level on a range of video games.  As meaningless as the games might have been, we were finishers.

In the megapixel world of video games things are much easier and more defined.  There is a sequence to things.  Levels become incrementally harder.  Resources show up basically right before you need them.  The problem is that as fun as the game might be, life is the game that counts.

There are a hundred different directions to take this metaphor but I’m going straight for the throat.  FINISH IT!!!!  Whatever it is that you set in front of yourself.  Being a great starter means nothing if you’re not a finisher.  Anyone can tell you about the two pounds they lost, the two weeks that they lifted weights or the book they started five years ago.  It’s all worthless without the finish.  That moment when your goal is teetering on the edge of defeat and you deliver that lethal strike.

Finish it.  Be methodical, don’t cut corners but finish it.  Decide before you start that you’re going to finish.  If you’re not committed to the finish, then don’t commit to the start.  Finish it!