011: A 14,000 Foot Experience (and an Amazingly Simple Discovery That Can Drive Your Personal Growth as You Age)

011: A 14,000 Foot Experience (and an Amazingly Simple Discovery That Can Drive Your Personal Growth as You Age)
Photo by Fabrizio Conti / Unsplash

It's amazing how a simple action sets the stage for most anything you learn, achieve, or acquire.

That's why forward movement is fundamental to your life.

But the sticking point for many (perhaps you) is thinking that the path to whatever it is you're pursuing or interested in is too steep to even take the first step.

It's not only about the destination, it's also about how you get there (and what you discover on the way)

In the 1980s I escorted a group of teens from our church youth group on a backpacking trek in the Colorado Rockies. The experience gave me priceless life-lessons I've recalled many times since.

Before we embarked on our nearly week long trek that was to include two 14'rs (that's trekking-speak for a 14,000 foot mountain peak) our host and guide (the late Bobby Woods) compelled us with this compelling wisdom:

"Gain altitude with every step."

Solid gold encouragement, wouldn't you agree? And it was precisely what I needed to summit not one but two peaks on that adventure (and to face many of my challenges since).

How different would your growth and longevity perspective be if you committed to step by step altitude gains?

  • Discovering the power of the first-step mindset that energizes the next step you want to take
  • Believing that there's more to life than merely reaching the "peak" of whatever you're doing or seeking to accomplish
  • Trusting the process more than the outcome

You CAN do more than you think you can

It's easy to limit yourself. Could be because you perceive a goal or desire to be out of reach.

Or perhaps you consider yourself incapable of even making the effort.

You might also be unwilling to try because of the perceived discomfort or potential failure that awaits.

Gaining "altitude" in your growth and longevity trek is empowered not by overthinking your capability to finish the journey. It's about actually taking the first step that proves you can take action towards completing what you desire to do.

Doing more than you think yourself capable of means:

  • Trying and failing more than avoiding and protecting.
  • Making small failures (like small steps) that enable you to learn and make necessary course corrections

The views are breathtaking (but so are the take-aways)

The breathtaking views I experienced from the peak of that first 14'r I ascended were beyond incredible.

That experience did essentially two things for me:

  • The view put my life in perspective
  • The view (although breathtaking) reminded me that I don't live on the summit - I live in the valley

Do more of what enlightens and enlarges your perspective about your life, your age, your longevity potential.

Write frequently (even daily) in a legacy journal. Reflect on your day's or week's "summit-views" and how the perspective helps you live and grow in the "valley-moments" of your life.

Build habits that increase your resilience. Being habitually sedentary increases the risk of losing your mobility - physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

It's the journey that grows you not just what you achieve

Action or movement builds momentum. Even so, big, momentous steps are not the answer.

Rather, it's those small, "baby" steps one after another that produce gains.

I recall my climbing journey and how I would often pause, turn-around, and look how far I had ascended. I also noticed that not everyone on the path with me was at the same vantage point along the way.

What was common to each of us was that we were climbing. Pace and position was irrelevant.

When one appeared to give up another would encourage, "Keep going...keep climbing..."

That's the whole point of this growth and longevity journey we each are on.

What matters are the one-by-one steps you take - the altitude gains will follow

  • The first step proves you can (do something)
  • Your perspective enlarges as you keep moving
  • Growth is a process not an event

And once again for those not yet at the summit of whatever it is you're climbing...

"Gain altitude with every step!"

Or as I like to say...

Press on...