The Anguish of Adversity
You’re grinding hard to crush obstacles.
You’re on a quest to exceed your limits on the way to achieving something of great import. The stress of each moment is extreme. Yet, you carry on. You do it, leveraging a powerful mindset that fuels the drive to succeed.
Ah. It’s just a cold, dark night on the side of Everest.–Bret Logan, Yale University
People who are driven to do something they know is important have a special habit.
It’s something they’ve learned and use automatically, both subconsciously and with awareness. The habit is this: It’s their choice to see that the things that are most challenging and anxiety-producing tend to have the highest impact, to make a real difference.
The choice to view life that way is significant in shaping their lives. They have learned they can endure and they use that indelible knowledge to push on.
These are people who relish the anguish, rather than dreading it. This is a habit for re-setting boundaries and making breakthroughs. And, we can all develop this mindset. In fact, we can begin to develop this mindset without realizing its importance, at any age.
I remember in grade school learning geometry — we were working on proofs. It was a major struggle for me, and critically important to my success in math, my weakest skillset. What stands out for me is that I cried and cried as I pushed through my homework and practice, trying different perspectives on each one, searching sometimes frantically for the thought process that would lead to successfully solving proofs.
This is how I learned about the power of a mindset characterized by the will and persistence required to succeed at a task we have previously failed and continue to fear we’ll fail to achieve. It changed me.
For me, the lesson was this: When I cry, or feel like crying, as I relentlessly pursue an accomplishment even when I feel lost and want to quit trying, is when I’m on my way to doing something incredibly important to me. It’s the cold, dark night on the side of Everest. It accompanies hard-won learning and growth. I realized that this is part of seizing challenges, doing the things you haven’t been able to do or may never have done before. This kind of stress and pain is something to seek rather than avoid.
This was a life lesson dressed as a math problem.
The Following Podcast Inspired Me To Share Bret Logan’s Magical Quote.
“Ah. It’s Just a Cold, Dark Night On The Side of Everest.” Can you feel these words? Are you excited by the wisdom? If so, listen to this podcast from Hidden Brain.
Since the days of geometric proofs, I’ve had many memorable experiences with the anguish that has become a sharp-edged friend to my learning, growth and change. I have realized over the years that I tend to gravitate toward these types of challenges.
I believe mindsets have dramatic effects on life, whether it’s the fit for a person and a position, the way we approach challenges, the values we choose and live by, even the legacy we build as we go about our lives, designing our own futures.
My passion is in the climbing mountains.
Let’s Take This Thinking Another Step
What about you? You have your mountains, too. What’s your Everest of this moment?
What’s your most memorable, painful, stressful, grit-burning and all-embracing achievement? What did you learn? How has it changed you?
What’s the next one on your horizon?
I wish you many more cold, dark nights on the side of Everest.