Lessons of Life Through the Lens of a Mountain Trek

mountain, hiking, girl

We, as individuals, derive a great deal of lessons and insights from arenas beyond our professional or business inclinations. These could be personal experiences such as a journey we took, a person we met, a road trip, an accident, a loss, heart breaks etc.

There are times when I am faced with situations which makes me reflect back at my experiences to help me think through and make sense of it all. One of the many moments and a significant experience in my life was a mountain trek I undertook when I was at school. Little did I know that years later, I would still be guided by the valuable insights it provided me. I have summarised a few to share with you all:

mountaineer, explorer, adventure

What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve:  

The trekking batch consisted of about 50-60 boys (I was in an all-boys school) and while most of us were looking forward to the adventure, some of the boys were in self-doubt. Most of the apprehensions were due to their low self-esteem or lack of confidence . For some, the lack of confidence germinated from the typical stereo – typing that happens at school. For a few, their parents were not sure of letting their boys explore life outside the hallowed portals of the school. However, after some weeks of training and the arduous days of the trek, the graduation day saw almost all of us make it through and in grand style. The once reluctant parents were surprised, yet proud of their sons’ accomplishments. Each and every one on that day had become wiser, confident and most importantly opened their hearts and mind to the spirit of adventure and exploration.

The chain is as strong as its weakest link: 

While we were on course, we were tested in various areas and situations like river crossing, shelter construction, solo camping, cooking, improvizations, marathons, rock climbing, obstacle courses etc. While each team had its own set of “Heroes”, the “go-getters”, there were also those who were not able to give their best. It was upon all the team members to motivate, encourage, coach and inspire the slower members. In the end the teams which were successful were ones who could inspire everyone to give in their best to the goal at hand.

f1, formula 1, motor racing

Every member binds the team in their own way: 

Today companies and institutions are focussing their attention to having a multicultural workforce. This stems from the fact that each member brings in a new set of beliefs and contributions. The advantages that accrue to such a set-up is manifold and as I look back, the teams which stood out were the ones who were also the most culturally diverse. The sheer variety of thoughts, attitudes, perspectives and personalities allowed us to appreciate that every one of us were unique.

Winning is easy, but the test of character comes when one faces defeat: 

The trek was an eye opener for a lot of us. Every team wanted to win with almost everyone vying for the “Top Team” honour. After weeks of hard work, a lot of us realised that there would be only a few winners. After the announcement of results, there was a flood of emotions that engulfed the boys. Some were disappointed, others were angry, some complained and a few smiled. The ones who took their losses in their stride and mustered the character to appreciate their situations were the real heroes that day. 

travel, lake, feet

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

One of the biggest lessons one learns while on a trek is that it starts small, with that one single step. Metaphorically speaking, this also means that success comes to those who get out of their comfort zone. It has been seen that humans tend to love routine but routine also leads to frustration and monotony. In the long run this can lead to a sense of low self-esteem. Once endeavour is made to step out of this routine, people find their true self and abilities.

Life comes down to a few moments: 

As I look back, I faintly remember the accolades, the prizes and the mementos given to us. What I will always remember are the smiles of my parents, the glitter in their eyes when we assembled for the graduation ceremony. I remember the friends who helped me all the way and the apologies of the little memorable fights we had while we trekked ahead. I will also remember the striking glimpse of the snowcapped Himalayas, the adrenalin rush of crossing a river and most importantly making friends for life. That day, as I retreated back home, I can’t forget the line inscribed on the wall that till date has inspired so many of us- “May you climb from peak to Peak”.