Why Life is Like a Mountain Hike

This post draws a comparison between an entrepreneurial life and a mountian hike. Thereby many similarities are observed. What makes a successful hike, also leads to a successful life.  

I was on a mountain trip with friends for a few days last week, and we hiked across a mountain range in the Austrian Alps. Hiking is a passion of mine and I am always delighted to be in the beautiful nature to switch off and “recharge my batteries“.

During the mountain hikes, I always discover parallels between an entrepreneurial life and climbing a mountain. I want to discuss some of these here.

The path to success

Every one wishes to succeed in life, but often, people don’t strive hard enough for it. They forget that it is a hard, long way to become successful. Success is not something that just happens. This can be compared to a mountain hike. When people think about climbing a mountain, they often only imagine to be on the summit and how nice it is when they finally made it up there. But when people think about the successful moment of reaching the top, they often forget that it takes a hard way to get there, which is mostly not painless and requires a lot of strength. What makes you successful is the endurance to walk to the top.

summit

The path to the summit is the longest part of the journey to success.

Often I observe people that are grumpy on the way to the top. They’re unhappy because the way is so long. They don’t enjoy the journey to the top. They only think of the moment when they are on top; they think they are successful then and everything is fine. But it should be completely the opposite, why not try to enjoy the way up to the top? Enjoy the moments, and metres you have already achieved.

I think it’s important to make the journey to the top more relevant.

The feelings and emotions you experience along the path to the summit or your success is something that will only be remembered by you. That something that distinguishes you from other people. Others will only see that you were there. But you have your emotions, your feelings connected to it. Nobody else has that.

As a well-known quote affirms: Success is not a destination, but the road that you’re on. Being successful means that you’re working hard and walking your walk every day. You can only live your dream by working hard towards it. That’s living your dream. – Marlon Wayans

Think about the big goal, but only small steps lead you there

mountain range

You have the image of the successful moment when you reached the summit in your mind. You have it clearly in front of you but it’s the long way that gets you there. Step by step you will come closer to your goal. It won’t be easy. Sometimes you don’t know which direction to go, you seem lost because you cannot find any signs that direct you to the best path anymore. It may be the case that the weather worsens and your vision becomes cloudy, but you have to concentrate more to find the right way. And in the end you may be exhausted, you don’t have any strength anymore.

The same goes for real life. But you know what, just go on small step by step to the goal.

At the beginning everything looks easy…

If you think about a new hiking tour or a new project everything looks easy at the beginning. When you stand at the foot of a mountain and throw a glance to the summit it looks a bit surreal. You stand there and imagine how to get up there. It’s the same for every project you have in your daily life. At the beginning everything looks possible. That’s good because otherwise you wouldn’t even start the endeavour. But during the path to the goal, conditions very often change and they are very different from what you would experience in the beginning. On the mountain hike the path is much steeper than expected, it’s a rugged path, there are fewer signs than expected, very unsafe.

path signs

That’s the same when you begin a startup project. Conditions very likely are different than at the beginning when you started it. Maybe new competitors entered the market, economic situation changed, clients bailed out.

There are many circumstances you have to face during your journey, but that’s not a problem. You only have to be prepared and willing to adapt to the changing situations, and you will succeed. A mountain guide is always prepared with a plan for his hike, but always adapts his decisions and minor steps to the given situations.

Quitting is not an option

When you are hiking, quitting is not an option. Success is only achieved when you reach the top of the mountain. That’s why you have to put all your energy and effort into your journey to reach that goal. Take this inspiration to your entrepreneurial life. Don’t quit on your project; finish it until the end. But don’t work on many projects at the same time. You can only climb one summit at a time. One after another.

Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.
– Greg Anderson

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