Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Climbing Formula

Once an aspiring mountaineer asked, how to climb a mountain, and I replied, by climbing it. And then the other day someone asked, how to realize our dreams, and I replied, by realizing it. There are no secrets to climbing or achieving anything in life; we simply have to do it, convert our ideas, thoughts, and dreams into action. There is no substitute for hard work. No matter how amazing our ideas and dreams might be, they will remain mere ideas and dreams unless we get up one day and take action to make them really happen.

Newton proclaimed: every action has an opposite and equal reaction. Our life is nothing but a series of actions and reactions. Even when we do not act, there is a reaction, non-action reaction is non-achievement. I wish we could climb a mountain just by dreaming of it, or contemplation, or mere planning. I remember once during a rather precarious and difficult section of a climb, my partner asked me, how she could climb through this pitch. My answer was simple: climb in any way that you possibly can. I didn’t tell her of any techniques or didn’t offer her any extra equipment or anchors, but I asked her to dig deep inside of her, deeper than ever before and to come out with something that she had never done before. And she climbed through the section eventually.

One of the greatest and influential books, that has been ever penned, Geeta, which is supposedly a long sermon delivered by Lord Krishna to the warrior prince Arjun during an epic battle thousands of years ago, says that only through action or through the Laws of Karma (action) can we achieve anything. We must always do our duty, our Karma, our action. Without action nothing would ever happen.

Based upon the Laws of Karma here is my formula for climbing any mountain or overcoming any hurdles in life. I call it the 7 Steps Formula –

Step 1 – Take the first step. This would start your climb. This is the most important step of all, without which you would never leave ground.

Step 2 – Take the next step and then another and then more. Just keep going. Never stop or give up till you have given your best shot to the climb. And if you stop before the place where you wanted to climb, ask yourself have you given everything that you could under the circumstances and now you must go down! If the honest answer is ‘yes’ then go down certainly. But if there’s even an iota of self-doubt then continue with the next step.

Step 3 – dig in hard and don’t budge no matter much opposition or challenges come your way

Step 4 – always remember that reaching the top is only half of the climb, often the easier half. Conserve your energy for the return; don’t get so exhausted that you have nothing left for the return journey. Don’t go so far that you cannot return.

Step 5 – cater for emergencies and unexpected obstacles because they are bound to happen. Instead of getting worried or frustrated when things don’t go as per plan, just face it with whatever you have. Remember that nothing lasts forever and whatever it is however bad it may be will also not last forever.

Step 6 – prepare as much as you can for the climb. Train the hardest, make yourself as well equipped and knowledgeable as you possibly can, and then train some more. There is no upper limit to training. General Patton said it best: the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war. The more you train before the real climb, more are the chances of reaching the top.

Step 7 – keep going even when you feel that you can’t take another step. No matter how tired or exhausted you are, you can always take a step, perhaps a tiny one but a step nevertheless. The only way you cannot take the next step is if you are dead. Remember when you decide to give up; you might just be one step below the summit, so take that step.

Now the obvious question that may arise is why only 7 steps; aren’t there any more steps! Certainly there are many more steps but these 7 are the fundamental ones, all the others are derivatives or follow ups or repetitions. Moreover I restricted my climbs to only 7 steps because once I read somewhere that the human mind cannot grasp a formula if it involves more than 7 steps and neither can the human body sustain more complexity beyond 7.

Happy climbing! 

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