I think climbing a mountain is quite a good metaphor for what we go through in life. As we know, mountains have many faces. Some faces are easier to climb along with a direct contrast, almost impossible to climb.
For many years it has been a gradual incline growing up, coping with life changes and learning more as I go. However, every now and again that incline turns into a rock face. Like at 18 years old I broke my neck and was left paralysed from the chest down with no hand function. This would hit anybody, hard. It would be like suddenly coming up against a brick wall and feel almost impossible to climb. Now, I believe in choices and when we hit with these cliff faces, we can either try to go around them or we can dig in and climb them.
There is a massive difference between the two. Trying to find your way around it would be like running around the bottom of the mountain hoping for a shortcut up to the next level. The pay rise, the dream job, the ideal partner or winning the lottery. These little step ups are great but you miss something more valuable than what you received from them.
You missed the lesson. You miss the education and knowledge as well as wisdom that comes from the climb. You see nobody likes hard times. Including me, while I am going through them I absolutely hate them. I’m currently recovering from an operation last Sunday that has left a 5 cm hole that needs to be packed and dressed every day by a district nurse. I don’t like it, it sucks. But if there was some magic door that I could step through that would miraculously clear up the wound I wouldn’t learn anything. Six months time I would still have the same problem again.
So hard times are massively important in our lives, without them we cannot grow. The great thing about hard times is that they do not last. Even better, these rock faces do not take very long to climb once you decide to do it. The pain is smacking into the rock face, suffering is trying to find a way around it.
So what about the gradual times when we are lucky enough not to be hit with the rock faces. I reckon these times are harder. Humans are great when you’re under pressure, when they have a deadline and when they need to solve a problem. When we’re not pushed we rarely learn anything. So you may be climbing up the mountain but it is a long slog, it’s the long game. It means coming back day in and day out and just doing those little steps.
Secondly the problem with these gradual times is that with no pushing force we often elect to just keep the status quo. You may not enjoy your job but you do it anyway because it pays the bills. You may not be happy with your weight but you continue the status quo because you are not forced to do anything about it. This is what happens when you get comfortable in life.
There are three types of people.
- There’s the victims that run around the bottom of the mountain screaming at everybody and blaming everybody but themselves for not finding a shortcut.
- Secondly, the comfortable ones. The ones that nothing really happens in their lives but this doesn’t stop them wanting more, they just choose not to risk what they already have.
- Then there’s the third kind. The go-getters. The ones that see the rockface as a challenge and almost become excited by the prospect of overcoming it. These are the ones that have had a tough time and realised what fruit there is to be had by growing and learning from them.
Decide the type of person you are. Are you currently facing a rock face and looking for an easy way up. You see, I’ve been at the bottom of those cliffs, I never recognised the ladders and ropes that were handed down to me. I never trusted them or some other reason I never took them. It wasn’t until I had enough, I’d had enough of looking for an easy way. It wasn’t until I decided I did not want to be there any more it was that point that were handing me the ropes. Just one last problem, you have to climb the rope. That is down to you and nobody else.
Where there is no struggle, there is no strength. Oprah Winfrey