“The peak of the mountain is important only because it justifies climbing, which is the real goal of the enterprise.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow.
When Sir Edmund Hillary became the first man, along with his Sherpa guide Tenzing Norgay, to successfully ascend Mount Everest, he spent all of 15 minutes at the top of the world. This man, having summited the very heights of the most dangerous mountaintop (hovering around the cruising altitude of jet airliners) in the world, took in the view as well as a few photographs and started back down.
It was a monumental feat, but it only lasted 15 minutes.
The expedition had spent months organizing and planning the journey. Once the organizing was done and the mission had begun, the team had to also start the arduous process of building camps along the way to the top, creating nine altogether. Even then, success wasn’t automatic. At one point, freezing weather and depleted oxygen supply in their tanks forced them back. Initially smaller than his peers and shy growing up, Edmund was not a physically-impressive specimen and lacked basic confidence. So how did a man from humble upbringings conquer the greatest mountain on Earth? Simply, the journey and preparation beforehand molded him. He never would’ve made it otherwise.
Have you ever considered how life prepares you to handle things before you’re given them? Often times, co-workers or family members will talk about winning the lottery or making it big. Invariably, they ask what you would do with all the money and riches. How would you spend it? How would it change your life? There’s no mention of the process beforehand, only the final destination. History is rife with the failures of people that were given “luck” all at once and were unable to handle it.
Flip that around to fitness. How would you feel with six pack abs and the body of your dreams? It’d be pretty great, huh? You’d have the success of your peers, admiration from strangers, and just maybe you might even like the person you see in the mirror, right? Dates would be easy, sex would be hot, and outdoor activities would be fun and easy. But you wouldn’t be able to handle any of that if you were just given it. And if it was an easy process, you wouldn’t respect it, just like you wouldn’t respect something given to you for no effort of your own.
I recently returned from a conference this past weekend headed by Jason Phillips of the Nutritional Coaching Institute and Mike Millner of Peak Optimum Nutrition. These two men, emerging celebrities in the fitness and nutrition realm, are respected for their ongoing drive to help people and spread truth throughout the industry. They were also forged through the discipline of fitness and the discipline of business. They didn’t start out as success stories. They bridged the gap between pain and passion with a pathway, like we all do, whether it be in fitness or business. They recounted their failures and spoke how it was necessary to fail before you could succeed. We oftentimes are afraid to fail, so we don’t act, and all the while not realizing that failure is prerequisite for success.
Fitness and nutrition asks its followers for hard work and consistency, but it rewards them with a gift that can’t be lost or stolen. It provides a means for obtaining discipline, it teaches you how to build something, and it provides a kind of happiness and optimistic outlook that is unmatched. It creates health, wellness, and mental clarity. It rewards effort with opportunity. The summit may be the destination, but it’s the journey that forges the success and that ultimately gets you to the summit.
Focus on the base camp, and the ensuing camps after that. Looking at the summit won’t get you there. In fact, it’ll probably discourage you. Instead, build up your current camp:
- Pre-plan your meals for the week
- Try and get more sleep
- Cut out or track problem drinks like sodas or alcohol
- Stop buying the foods that tend to get you in trouble
- Get more protein in your diet
- Lay out your gym clothes for the morning, set your alarm, and get to bed early
- Park farther out in the parking lot and walk longer
- Take the stairs rather than the elevator
- Etc, etc, etc
Give yourself quick wins and work on your consistency. It’s not about being perfect. You can’t be successful until (and unless) you fail. Failure is mandatory. Edmund failed. Jason failed. I’ve failed. It’s not about falling down, it’s about standing back up and learning from that event. And then after, it’s about letting it go and not beating yourself up over failures. You move on, you keep going, and you succeed.
Sometimes, you even hire a Sherpa along the way to not only get you up the mountain successfully, but to bring you back down as well. If you’re struggling with your nutrition or your fitness, my program is designed to get you to the summit successfully. Check it out 🙂