How is Your Attitude Affected When You Challenge Yourself?
” Accept the Challenges So That You May Feel The Exhilaration of Victory” – General George Patton
When I was younger, I did not have the courage to try new things. I played it safe by only doing what I knew I could achieve. If I tried something new, I had low expectations of what I could do and settled for poor results. I wasn’t competitive because I had little self-confidence.
I always loved hiking for many reasons such as being outdoors, smelling the fresh air, getting exercise, seeing God’s wonderful creations and for me, it was a noncompetitive activity. I could hike as well as or better than my friends because I have long legs and great stamina. Therefore, hiking was a nonthreatening activity.
I went on a weekend backpacking trip that changed my life. I signed up with a hiking group expecting some hiking and over-night camping. This trip took place over Easter weekend, so it lasted three days and two nights. We were to go from Sunol to Del Valle in the San Francisco East Bay.
The beginning of my challenge…
We started in the morning on Good Friday from Sunol and hiked to our campground for the night. The hike was nothing unusual. We camped out on a cliff overlooking a large canyon. In the middle of the night, I got up and was overcome by the beauty. I can still picture it today as clear as a bell. When I first got out of my tent, I was struck by the bright full moon. I have never seen the moon bigger or brighter than it was that night. I felt like it was closer than normal. Then I walked to the edge of the cliff and was literally overwhelmed with the sight of the canyon.
When I move to San Francisco, the fog really amazed me. I grew up in a foggy place, and the fog was just there. But in San Francisco, the fog is different: it flows like water in slow motion. I love to watch it flow over a hill or around the city or past the Golden Gate Bridge on its way into the bay.
On this night, the fog flowed into the canyon below and almost filled it. It looked like the canyon was full of white cotton batting. I wanted to jump on top of it and play in it. The full moon shining on the canyon filled with fog was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. It seemed to glow in the moonlight. I didn’t attend church at the time, but I didn’t doubt that there was a God. How else could there be such beauty in the world?
That evening was just the beginning of the miracles of that weekend. The next day we hiked up and down mountains like there was no end to them. I can remember hiking up one mountain and thinking how difficult it was. I thought that I saw the top just ahead. When I got there, I learned that it was’t the top, but it was just a curve in the trail. This happened over and over until finally I said to myself, “There is no top, only more curves in the trail.” Basically I had given up hope of finding the top of the mountain.
That was the second great thing that happened that weekend. I not only learned how to think about hiking in the mountains, but also about living life. What I learned was that as I work toward a goal, it’s not just around the next curve but instead is somewhere off in the distance. If I keep that distant goal in mind, each curve is just another step closer to the goal. Instead of hiking on an emotional roller coaster, experiencing a high when I expected the top and a low when I discovered it wasn’t there, I learned that each segment was just part of the journey. I learned to just enjoy that leg of the journey and then the next leg and the next.
How a challenge brings success…
After that weekend, I thought about the hike and the fact that I went more than twenty miles while carrying a heavy back pack up and down the mountains. If I had known that beforehand, I wouldn’t have gone on the trip. But when I look back on it, what I had thought impossible was only difficult and could be accomplished when it was broken down into small segments. I always knew I could do the next leg, but if that mountain trail had gone straight to the top, I would have quit and believed I couldn’t do it.
So it is with life, The path to a goal may seem long and impossible,but when we break it down into small pieces, it is easier to achieve. For example, getting a university degree may sound tough, but when we look at it one semester or one course at a time, it appears doable.
In my next article, I’ll talk about how one challenge leads to another and then to self belief.
This is an excerpt from my book Attitude Determines Destiny. In it you will learn how to get the most out of life by changing your attitude and making personal changes…changes that can lead you down a life-long path of personal growth.
As a motivational speaker, I conduct seminars and workshops based upon the ideas in my book. I will entertain and inspire your audiences, and I can customize my topics to fit your needs and desires.