Lessons I have learnt from the Mountains!
Here are few of the lessons I learnt from all my drives to the mountains and spending a lot of time up there specially in the Himalayan ranges. Please note these are based on my personal experiences only and views expressed are only personal. Feel free to read and share with others if you find these useful.
The view from the top matters!
As quoted by Larry Steven’s “The success is in the journey, but the reward is in the view from the top.” I totally agree and believe in this statement from my core. We have been climbing mountains from long either by foot or by the car and it has always not been a very smooth journey, we have gone through many tough times during the drives, crossed many obstacles like, blocked roads, water crossings, river crossings, land slides, glacier crossings, fallen trees on the trails and it has all taught us one thing, i.e., if you want to be at the top you got to cross all of these hurdles because they’re worth it. Period. After crossing all of these hurdles when you reach the top, you realise that many couldn’t make it because they didn’t plan properly, many didn’t had the tools or the right vehicle, many gave up as it was tough and many simply backed out as it could have been risky but for few who’ve made it, they can vouch for it that its really worth being there. The views from the top are not only good but it has taught me that when you’re at the top, you see a very different world compared to what you see from the ground. It’s like suddenly the world has exploded, the opportunity has expanded, the size, the scale of everything what you see from the top is just magnificent and if you have the right mindset, the vision, persistence and patience, you can possibly see and do more than what you ever imagined, not only for yourself, but for others as well and that’s where the true success lies for many.
If you relate this for your actual life or relationships or at job or at business, I believe this mindset of having a view from the top of your life, relationships, job or business can change your life for good. You can expand your opportunity to live more life in every second you live, you just need to expand your thinking and think of your purpose, your vision and go after it, achieve it to be at the top of it, you’ll not only feel accomplished in life but it will also expand the impact you can have on you and the universe. In my life, I’m blessed to have always achieved whatever I’ve aimed for so far, yes I had gone through many hurdles, many challenges, many roadblocks but have always found a new or alternate route to my destination. Until few years ago, I always used to think “what’s my top?”. Now being at the mountains have helped me define the “top” for myself which is a state of mind and not a materialistic milestone in my life and that’s helping me to aim, plan and go for anything I want to achieve in life that makes me happy. I’m happy that I’ve been able to create the moments that matter to me in my life, enjoy those moments and have lived the way I’ve always wanted to.
Enjoy the journey, the destination doesn’t matter that much!
Another key learning I’ve had from my driving expeditions is to truly enjoy the journey instead of waiting for destination to come and then enjoy, as the experiences that will get you to your destination are more important and generally more enjoyable than simply being at the destination. When we go on road-trips and specially to Himalayan range, you need to enjoy the local food that you get en-route, interact with the locals on the way, see the culture and as well as the scenery on the way. All these provide you a great experience that you’ll miss if you just focus on getting to your destination. Also remember it will be tough to reach the top and might take some time to reach there but to stay there longer will be more tougher and will require the real courage, physical fitness and as well as mental fitness. Generally the mountain tops in Himalayas are very cold and breezy touching nearly -10 ~ -50 degree celcius temperatures depending on the time of the year you go there and generally the oxygen levels are very low. If someone is not acclimatised properly, they can face some serious high altitude mountain sickness issues that can be life threatening as well. You need to be really fit physically and be mentally ready to spend some time over the top. This is where if you know your reason to be there, it will help you stay there for long. Same is in life, please remember life is full of ups and downs, you’ll reach your top many times and climb down as well many times, enjoy this journey otherwise you’ll keep searching for happiness in destination which many of the times will be very short lived. To stay at the top longer, always prepare yourself mentally, physically and intellectually but more importantly find a purpose “why you want to be where you want to be!”, It will give you the reason, the power and the courage to be there. And once, you’re there, start the journey to the next peak of your life, don’t just stay where you are!
Plan to reach the summit but be flexible with the route!
Whenever we have gone for mountain drives specially in Himalayas, it has taught me that you need to first have the Vision to be at the Summit, then plan how you will reach there, plan the route, the timings, the stays, predict or check the weather forecast if available (that’s normally wrong in reality) as well if you want to have a smooth ride. Inspite of all that planning, we need to be flexible enough to overcome any challenges that the route will throw at us. We have gone through many situations where we hit a roadblock, a broken trail, a river crossing en-route, snow fall or few feet of snow on the roads, a fallen tree on the road or just a road closure But as we had a Vision or a goal to reach the top, we found ways to overcome these challenges and somehow made it to the top!
In life also I believe in the same, life throws many obstacles and challenges at you, you need to be determined about your vision to be at the top (whatever that means to you - happiness, job, business, money, fame) and keep going. Don’t get bogged down by the obstacles and you’ll reach the top one day for sure. Don’t get too distracted or disheartened if one route doesn’t work out, try another and another and another. Don’t be in hurry, have patience in life, be persistent in your efforts and keep moving even at 1km/hr but DON‘T GIVE UP!
The scale matters!
Another thing that I’ve learnt from our drives to mountains is that the scale really matters. The Himalayan ranges are known for their size and the scale at which these mountains are growing every year. We need to learn from the mountains that if in life you think about doing something, think big! Because if you’re thinking small, you’re thinking only for yourself but if you think big and at scale, you can help thousands and millions of people with the resources, knowledge or whatever you have to offer. Look at the mountains, these are best examples of how people can live there in the valleys while they enjoy good clean air, good environment to live in without any pollution or human related problems, protection from harsh winds, good water with the best minerals you can ever get and lovely views that are generally not available in urban areas. Of course you got to pay the price for everything in life so if you’re in mountains, you gotta deal with the harsh and extreme weather out there but the point is that if you get some positives, you also got to deal with some negatives and if you can prepare well, you can overcome those negatives as well, that’s life! In life as well, depending upon what you’re going after, you got to deal with various sizes of obstacles, positives and negatives, so don’t be discouraged with it but use it to your advantage. Remember if the scale of your impact on the world is going to be big, it will not be easy!
Resources are limited, do with what you have and be happy!
At mountains, I’ve always seen people living there are always happy, smiling and always in cheerful mood. Every person I’ve met and asked how’s life, they’ve always not just responded with a smile on their face but that happiness shines in their eyes that they’re happy with what they have. This doesn’t mean that they don’t want more or don’t want to grow but it just means that they’re contented where they are but given an opportunity they’re willing to work to grow. We must learn from these folks at mountains how to live happily with as basic resources as we can have Without worrying about accumulating unnecessary gadgets, properties, cars and other material things that will be left behind when we leave the planet anyway.
Leave your fears at home. Literally! and enjoy the change.
Fear or uncertainty of mountains is one of the most important reasons why many people avoid going to mountains as they fear a lot of things that can go wrong instead of what can go right. I’m not suggesting here that no one should fear going to mountains as some of the risks are for real but if you prepare right and are willing to take a calculated risk in life, you can achieve a lot more goals than without taking the risks. I’ve encountered a lot of people asking us what if The car breaks down, or what if a landslide happens, or what if you don’t get any medical help out there if you need it and when you need it or simply what will we do if we don’t get a place to stay or don’t get food to eat? All these are very valid concerns and you need to plan for all of these before you hit the mountains but please note that any of these things can happen and you might not get any immediate help to come out of the situation. You need to be ready and plan for all of these emergency situations and also take the risk even if some of this not available. If you’re not willing to take the risk, it is not recommended to travel to mountains at least not alone. Now a days there are few travel operators who provide organised tours or self drive expeditions that are much less riskier than going alone. But please note that these could be just sticking to the tourist circuit and might not go into the offbeat destinations that you may want to explore as well. I‘ve learnt in my 15+ years of road trips to mountains that when you go there, be prepared to the extent you can and enjoy the place, the scenery, the culture, the climate and the whole experience instead of focusing on what could go wrong. Remember, if you focus on the wrong, that’s what you invite in your life! So leave your fears at home and have a happy and successful trip!
All storms are temporary!
Another important lesson I’ve learnt from being at the mountains is that there will always be storms, bad weather and maybe avalanches at the top but they’re all temporary. Even though they may cause damage for some time, they don’t last too long. I’ve seen the weather changing very drastically while we were at the top of the mountain once and it was really really scary feeling. But knowing the behaviour of the mountains, I was calm, waited at a safe location where we were better secured and waited for the storm to pass. After about 45 mins the clouds cleared, snowfall stopped, gusty winds calmed down and we were finally able to proceed further. This is a great lesson for life that mountains teach us that no matter how big or fierce the storm is, it will pass and sunshine will come back. So always keep faith and keep calm in life when the things aren’t going your way or as you expected. It will eventually get better and you’ll be able to proceed further and make progress in your life.
Rise early, as that’s when you see the magic happening!
Another important lesson I’ve learnt from mountains is rising early is rewarding. The kind of views and the shots you can get during sunrise are just awesome. You won’t be able to get the golden peaks if you rise too late or when the sun is fully up. In life as well, I believe rising early morning gives you an edge and time to connect with the golden peaks that keep reminding you where you need to be, where to focus on and where‘s the shining peak that you need to conquer. So wake up and do something about your life that can help you shine everyday.
And here’s a bonus, and revelation that you may not know or have accepted yet. You have ONE LIFE, enjoy it before its over! If you’re saving all your best to-do’s for later, that later might not be there. Sorry for being negative but the fact is that we all have limited time on this planet and the more we live each day, the more we can experience the life. You’ll never know how much time you have left.. do what you want to do as at the end that’s what matters! Have a wonderful, happy and healthy life! Cheers!
If you like the pictures and have appetite for some more landscape shots, see my other blog posts on www.amitpahuja.com