The "insurmountable" slopes

I used to occasionally write about my lunchtime hike, before the forced removal of my office due to rental spike.

How lucky I was, back then, to be working in an office that was just a fifteen-minute walk away from a charming getaway – a hiking trail which was almost like another world from the hustle and bustle of the city centre. That lunchtime escapade was a nice dose of sedative between the morning and afternoon slave-driving sessions.

The start of the trail was a fairly steep slope, and I remember how, when I first did the hike, I used to heave and pant as I trudged up. It was with regular practice that the ascent became less challenging, and I even began to appreciate that it was that tough part which provided the precious aerobic exercise.

Likewise, these days when I have taken up biking, I have exactly the same experience with the slopes of my favourite biking route. They were a hell of a challenge at the beginning, when I neither had the knowledge of the level of difficulty nor the physical strength to conquer them. The temptation to back off was strong and I am not ashamed to say that on a couple of occasions I did, making up enough excuse to convince myself that keeping on was not a good idea. Fortunately, I persisted, and that is why I can now proudly declare that I look forward to them as much as I did to the slope of the hiking trail.

And here lie some important lessons in life. First, one does not get to taste the sweetness of success if one gives up too easily. Second, the landscape of the challenge changes dramatically if only you are brave enough to face it. It changes from seeming insurmountable to being enjoyable. Third, the road to success is really rather lonely. The majority of people have given up, and you are left with the few stubborn ones (those who, in Steve Jobs’s words, “stay hungry, stay foolish”), and these are the truly lucky ones who share the wonderful, wonderful scenery.

So next time you face a challenge which looks like a formidable slope, grab it by the horns. You will eventually get to enjoy that priceless sense of achievement and freedom as I careen down the slope at daredevil after a strong climb.

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