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A Heightened Perspective: Lessons I Learned Through Hiking

Published on 01 June 2018|
2 min read

Even a simple activity, such as hiking, can give you a new perspective on life.

by Stanley P, Carrybeans

Let me get this out quickly: I hate physical activity. Jogging? Nope. Running? Absolutely not. Playing any sports? No way, Jose! That, however, did not stop my dear mother from roping me in to hike with her on weekends. There’s no way to say no to your mother, right?

On that first fateful weekend, my hiking cherry popped and it was an absolutely horrifying experience. I was thirsty, my legs were about to give way and I was left behind by my own mother; so much for “Family sticks together!” Amid the haze of exhaustion as I hiked up Nuluh Lapai in Tuaran, it hit me that hiking is very much like life. Navigation is key, so here are some life lessons I learned as I put one foot in front of the other.

1. The path to glory is painfully hard

CreditPete Linforth, Pixabay

The end goal of every hiking session is the peak of the mountain or the hill. But everybody knows that the road upwards if full of hardship and struggle. And in life, it’s pretty much the same. Hiking to the mountaintop is hard work and drains you both physically and mentally (but is very fulfilling once you reach the top), and that is exactly what happens when you pursue your dreams.

In order to be a successful person, you have to put in extra effort in order to get what you want and be prepared to face the challenges ahead. If you keep at it, success will be upon you, or in my case, the peak of the hill.

2. You will question yourself often

When I go hiking, a few things come to mind: “Can I make it to the top?”, “Is it too late to turn back now?”, “Maybe I shouldn’t hike in the first place.” Sometimes, the hike is so tough that you can’t help but second-guess yourself. However, I just keep on hiking anyway (partly because the prospect of giving up half-way through is embarrassing) and before I realise it, I’m at the top.

The same thing can be said whenever we bump into any difficulties in life–you feel insecure about yourself and your abilities. You could even feel like giving up. Know that it is completely normal. Just keep your focus on the end goal and never stop hoping because if you keep pushing through, you will eventually find what you want in the end.

3. It is okay to stop every once in a while

Credit: Adventure Is Out There

In hiking, or in any physical activity in general, it is important to take a little breather every once in a while. If you think your body cannot take it anymore, just stop and rest. Not only you are giving your body a chance to recuperate a bit, it is also a chance for you to reflect on what you have done and plan your next steps.

In real life, it is perfectly fine to stop for a little while if you’re feeling overwhelmed with everything that is happening all around you. Take a step back and use the time to do a little bit of self-reflection. You will discover new insights and it might just help you deal with what life is throwing at you.

4. Don’t beat yourself too much if you’re falling behind

As I mentioned before, I was way behind my mother on the hike up Nuluh Lapai. At first, I was pretty disappointed for not being able to keep up with this woman in her forties. I mean, I’m young and should be at the peak of fitness, right?

Upon further thought, though, I realised that I shouldn’t beat myself too much about it. Sure, I should exercise more and improve my overall health and fitness so I can keep up with her. But at the same time, everyone is different and each of us moves at a different pace.

Similar to how life works, we should never compare other’s achievements to our own. Don’t get me wrong–it’s okay to be spurred by the success of others. However, torturing yourself because your friend is more successful than you won’t help. Everyone progresses differently and just because your peers found success earlier on doesn’t mean that you should too. Maybe, you will find yours when you’re a bit older. The important thing is to not give up.

5. Be courteous and cheer each other on

Credit: Rawpixel

One thing that I noticed when I started hiking is that hikers are generally nice. They have no qualms about giving way to other people and will nod or smile in greeting as you pass. When I stopped for a short rest, some of them even gave me little words of encouragement. This made me think that world will definitely be a better place if everyone treats others with kindness and compassion.

Unless you are joining the Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon, you should know that hiking is not a competition, and life even more so. Therefore, instead of taking other people down, wouldn’t it be better if we treat everyone nicely and support each other? All of us are together on this journey called life and the little time we have is way too precious to be wasted in negativity.

Featured Image Credit: Tamás Mészáros, Pixabay

If you’d like to try hiking, check out our suggestion for hiking spots around KK.

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