Begin with one step
I always enjoy traveling internationally as it provides an opportunity to learn from different cultures and gain unique perspectives. As someone who spends much of his time at the ends of the earth, it is even more enjoyable traveling to our planet’s mid point. Equally interesting in these places, is the student’s relationship with snow and ice.
‘Does it hurt?’ a friend of mine was once asked about falling snow.
At Greengates, I talked geographical differences between the North Pole, South Pole and Mt. Everest. To the uninformed, these places might all seem like cold vast wastelands barely discernible from one another, but the reality couldn’t be more different. Antarctica, for example, is a continent. That means all the snow and ice there piles up year after year after year into huge ice sheets that are nearly two miles thick. The North Pole, on the other hand, is in the Arctic Ocean and all the ice there is floating on water and only gets to a thickness of five or six feet. Mt. Everest most people know is the tallest mountain in the world, but to get to the summit, you have to snake your way up the Khumbu Ice Fall - a long glacier literally pouring over the side of Everest.
Understanding the differences of these places is one of the most important factors to success. Crampons on Everest, skis in Antarctica and snow shoes on the Arctic Ocean. Still, equipment alone will not achieve the goal. As physically challenging as these types of adventures are, the mental aspects are far more overwhelming and achieving a big goal like this involves a variety of skills, training and perseverance.
But why is that important to the students at Greengates? Surely the percentage of budding mountaineers here is fairly low if not zero.
Not everyone’s Everest actually involves climbing Mt. Everest. The thing is, we all face big challenges that can seem imposing if not impossible. But what I’ve learned is that we all have the ability to accomplish difficult tasks and the key is relatively simple. Take the big problem and break it up into manageable pieces.
On an expedition, in life and during presentations, I have a simple philosophy: begin with one step.