Join me for a hike? Anyone?

So, I decided to go on a hike at Culver steps over the weekend. I spoke to my friend Raj who joined me on the hike. I donned my aerodynamic turban and Star Wars Death Star T-shirt and got to the Baldwin Park Scenic Overlook, the site of the Culver steps. At first, I thought it was just an ordinary hike, but then… I had some realizations as I started to walk on the steps…

I made a video recording of the hike, which I posted on facebook last week. If you didn’t see it yet, you can watch it here.

Thanks for watching the video!

As is my habit, I look for lessons that I learn from my experiences. I wasn’t disappointed. Besides getting a good workout, I realized that the hike is a metaphor for life.

When we start a new venture, we get all excited and jump into it without really considering all the aspects of the venture. There are consequences for every action we take, and so we need to visualize ahead the pros and cons before getting started with any activity. Of course, there is only so much planning we can do, since we will not understand all the consequences until we are in it fully. Although planning is essential, you have to keep your eyes and ears open for course corrections once you start.

So, before I decided to go on this hike, I came the week before, and did only half the steps. I was assessing my readiness. I set my goal to reach half of the steps that day, which gave me an idea of what preparations I need in order to complete the whole hike the next time around.

Trying to do too much too soon, when the enthusiasm is high, doesn’t guarantee 100% success. This is one of the reasons people fail in their resolutions, such as the New Years’ resolutions. Mostly, they do not think things through, they become surprised and disillusioned when they feel the pain the next day, when the muscles not used to the activity start hurting. They throw in the towel, telling themselves that it is too hard and painful, that they’re better off just sitting on the couch eating potato chips and watching TV.

There will be growing pains whenever you start a new activity or project. Planning for them will make them more bearable. It is also critical to have the proper tools to maximize the chances of success. For the hike, you could go in flip-flops, but that will make the hike more difficult. Having the proper shoes, adequate water to drink to keep hydrated, and don’t forget the Star Wars Death Star T-shirt — will help to minimize the after effects. Ok fine, you can choose a different T-shirt…maybe SpongeBob or Mr. Bean shirt. In physical activity such as a hike, this advice is almost superfluous as most people will think these are obvious. But what about other activities, where the right tools may not be as obvious? A little bit of planning and recognizing the natural consequences will help ensure a greater degree of success in any endeavor.

Besides, everything that we do in our daily lives is just like hiking at a place that is totally new to us; we take one step at a time until we reach the top. Mostly, we don’t know what’s waiting for us on the top, but we keep moving forward anyway- hoping that it’s better place than where we have been. Along our journey, everything can go smoothly as we want it to be. Sometimes, there are obstacles that make us have second thoughts if the destination is all worth it. You will never know if you won’t keep going. What matters most is you are prepared to respond to whatever comes along your way. And, once you start, don’t consider quitting as an option.

When we do get hurdles, instead of having a great escape plan, we should rather think of how to become more resilient at anything that life brings about. Failure is sometimes inevitable, but that’s not a stop sign. It’s a reminder that we can take a rest for a while, learn from our mistakes and start again with a better plan. Then, you will surprise yourself when you finally did it. You’ve succeeded!

So, why did I go hiking? The truth is I wanted to do something different. I did it to set a new goal towards my personal growth, and at this moment, I’m focusing on my physical fitness. How about you? What are your next goals in life? Are you seeking for growth in your relationship with your loved ones, career, health, financial aspect? Then, take your best step forward and start your journey!

Come enjoy the hike and then take up another project that you have been putting off with the right preparation.

Until next time
Be Enlightened