Lately we are doing our best to encourage and coach our son to do something that he says is very hard. We know it is and empathize with his challenge, and at the same time know it’s a mountain he must climb on his own. It’s not an impossible mountain, just a very hard one.
But my son is not the only one climbing difficult mountains. We all have our individual challenges that are very hard. I have been trying to eat a healthy diet and lose weight for years, with little progress until recently. Those who fight depression, addiction, chronic illness, and untreated trauma all have very hard mountains to climb.
One of the primary reasons we fail at conquering our challenges is that we bite off more than we can chew. We attempt to go from the bottom of a mountain to the top, too quickly!
Not long ago a friend sent me a link to this amazing website produced by the Discovery Channel that graphically shows you what it would be like to climb Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. For those unfamiliar with this classic climb, it starts by trekking to the base of the mountain and setting up a camp that serves as the headquarters for the climb.
From Basecamp, there are four additional camps where you spend the night before making the final push to the summit. If you attempted to climb from Basecamp at 17,000 ft. to the summit at 29,035 ft. in one fell swoop, you would exponentially increase your probability of fail. You might also die along the way from high-altitude cerebral edema caused by going too high too fast.
So when we tackle challenges that are very hard we need to tackle them in a smart way, much like climbing Mt. Everest! The most effective method is to break them down into bite sized chunks that don’t feel so hard, and when added up over time, get us to the top of the mountain. For me this means I am not attempting to lose 10 pounds in a week, but instead working out daily with the goal of dropping a pound each week.
If you have a challenge ahead of you, I really urge you to watch the Everest climb video and think about how to climb your own mountain in manageable steps. Then very hard won’t be so hard.