5 Reasons Why Personal/Spiritual Growth Is Like Hiking A Mountain
This past weekend, I headed out to hike Mt. Monadnock.
Located in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, it’s one of the most popular hikes in the region.
Rising an impressive 3,165 feet above sea level, it was something I knew I had to experience!
During our 3.5 hour hike, I came to several insightful realizations regarding the relationships between personal/spiritual growth, and making your way up a mountain.
Grab your packs, snacks, and water; it’s go-time!
5. You Have to Keep Moving Forward…No Matter What
When hiking up a mountain, it’s imperative that you maintain forward movement.
If you don’t – then you’re no longer hiking said mountain, are you?
Progress is always in the forward direction.
To go forward is to close the distance between yourself and your goal – or in this case, the mountain summit.
Hiking teaches you a lot of little things about progress.
One of the simplest (yet biggest) realizations you’ll have is that your hike is composed of nothing but the continuous activity of placing one foot in front of the other.
The journey of a million miles begins with one step…
4. The Next Step is Always There…No Matter How Uncomfortable it Appears
Speaking of taking steps – the next place for your foot to rest and launch you forward is always there.
I have yet to encounter anything on any hike which made me say “Yup, there’s absolutely no way we can cross this. There’s nowhere to put my feet or climb up. Let’s turn around and go back, guys”.
There’s ALWAYS a place for you to leverage yourself and keep moving forward.
The key realization here, is that the next step isn’t always going to appear comfortable or appealing.
This is besides the point.
The next step is the next step, and it must be taken in order to continue progressing.
Sometimes it’s a steep rock face that’s waist (or shoulder) high, and you’ll have to think in the moment about how to get yourself up and over it:
Will you use the little rocks to the left?
Will you shimmy between some of the larger boulders on the right?
Or, will you find a way right straight up and over the center of the “block”?
I’ll leave it to your imagination to come up with the real-life scenarios that “a path full of rocks going up a steep incline” can symbolize for you.
3. Most People Will Stop, Stall, Complain, Make Excuses, and/or Give Up
On your travels up any decent-sized mountain, you’re inevitably going to come across people who stop for excessive – and sometimes indefinite – amounts of time.
You can use these people in one of two ways:
- As guideposts to either signal that it’s time for a quick water/snack break
- Permission to give up
This lesson doesn’t begin and end on the mountain, however.
You’ll see people with this sort of attitude in every area of life.
Will you stick with your goal of starting your career, or give in and accept traditional employment just minutes from the “summit of success”?
Will you push through that rough spot in your relationship and persevere…or will you throw in the towel, and be overcome by the gravity of the situation?
Will you stick to your new diet…or will you give in and “roll back down the mouton” via a junk food landslide (I’m getting creative here, it’s only 5 am )?
2. The Most Intense, Trying Portion is Right Before The Summit
Now, this is integral: the most trying, testing, difficult portions of any good mountain hike will be the section just before the summit. It’s here that the steepest rocks, crags, and paths await you.
Anyone with decent motivation can make it to this point, but only those with seriouscommitment, gusto, and determination (not to mention plenty of water and high-carb snacks for fuel) will push on from here.
This is the portion of the hike where you’ll see the people in #3 hanging out, sitting down, tanning, playing with their phones, etc.
That’s NOT for you, however.
You’re too close to succumb to the petty and trivial distractions.
Your legs will be screaming at you to stop.
Your lungs will be worked.
You’ll be sweating more than before, as the forest line you used for cover (from the Sun) this entire time stops behind you – as if saying “LOL, have fun with that!”
It’s time for that final intense set of weight lifting.
That final rep.
That final split-second decision between expressing yourself fully to the world, or allowing gravity to pull you back down.
No – that’s too easy.
That’s for everyone who’s decided to sit down and “take a break” (indefinitely).
The final choice-point is upon you, and the end-goal (in this case, the summit) you’ve been moving toward is now a few hundred feet in front of you…
1. From The Top, You Can “See Everything More Clearly”
…And you’ve made it.
A wave of relief passes over you as you reach the summit (and/or any goal you can possibly set for yourself that actually tests you, and pushes you outside of your comfort zone).
Suddenly, you realize that from this new vantage point – all of the walls, water bodies, valleys, and obstacles which seemed so intimidating – look like pebbles and puddles.
You’re above them – literally!
You’re consciousness, spirit, and self have grown to overcome those things.
They are no longer obstacles. They are transformative experiences.
When faced with similar tests in the future, you’ll forever remember overcoming them.
Your perception for difficulty refines itself to a new point.
Suddenly, this mountain doesn’t seem as daunting as it did when you were down at the base, taking your first step toward it.
You then realize that there is no “final mountain”.
There is only continuous climbing.
This becomes exhilarating and rewarding in a brand new way, as distraction and triviality are replaced with a new thirst for growth.
There will always be another mountain waiting to test you.
To push you.
To grow you.
You can see other mountains looming in the distance, beckoning your spirit to choose another path, and start anew…