Summiting mountains has taught me so much about life and I deeply, and possibly delusionally, believe that much of the wisdom you can learn about how life works can be found simply by paying attention during the process.
This is born out of my understanding about the reasons why we are drawn to these activities.
Somehow, they tap into some deeper, more primitive, and archetypal experience part of the human experience.
There is the fabric of some quest that a deeper part of us is seeking.
Here are a couple of things I’ve learned through summiting that I think are worth sharing with you…
We are wired to overcome genuine challenges and are internally rewarded (tremendously) for doing so
Overcoming challenges is hardwired deeply into us and from the emotional experience to the firing of our biochemistry, we are wired to seek out and overcome these challenges.
As we do, our psyche and biology reward us for this.
The narrative in our head shapes how we perceive our experience of life.
The narrative inside of our head is largely shaped by something known as the “conditioned mind”. The conditioned mind sees life through the filter of our beliefs, experiences, and understandings of life. In essence, it does not see reality. as it is, but rather it creates an imagined world that is influenced by our historical conditioning.
This is not a good or bad thing, but rather a function of the mind as we grow up and depending on the conditioning, you can view
If you can reframe your mind, you can reframe how you experience life.
We are way stronger than we think and can go much further than we initially believe.
Due to evolutionary influences, our mind and biology are often seeking rest and comfort, and influence us to stop earlier than we actually need to. They tell us to opt out well before we are actually in danger.
Understanding this will help us to realize how much strength we actually have and how much further we can go than we initially tell ourselves. By paying attention to the narratives inside our head, we can begin to reshape how and when they tell us we are or aren’t capable of pursuing what we want to pursue.
This strength also compounds when we move past our individuality and into the collective, surrounded by other people who are going through a similar struggle. Collectively we are so much more than we are individually.
Life is more fun when shared with others going through similar journeys.
Experience is one thing, but experiencing with others is a whole other and having explored both solo and in groups, it always means more when there are others who can understand and relate to the journey.
There will always be higher/harder summits. Don’t let that blind you from fully experiencing where you are right now.
The same part of ourselves that pushes us to experience life can also have a fragile relationship with needing to be seen, to be the best, or to be held up, and often times we can discount our own experiences in the moment, because someone, somewhere is further ahead or higher up.
Learning to decouple this has been a powerful lesson. It has allowed me to stay present where I am at, experience the moments I am on, and ultimately find gratitude for all that I have accomplished, without needing to see that someone else might be further along.
After all, progression is the natural state of life and even if you are at the top ahead of everything, that glory will be short-lived.
Most of life is not in our control. Embrace that rather than fight it.
What we can do is control the situations we put ourselves in and control how we react to what’s happening around us.
We are tiny compared to life itself and yet are an intricate and important part of it.
Life is more fun when you are a part of it, rather than trying to be the center of it.