Inspiration is overrated

cofI had many realisations after my recent hike at Mount Kinabalu.

Mt Kinabalu is one of the highest mountains in South East Asia, standing at 4,095m.

Shortly after I started the journey, the route started to elevate and the terrain turned to staircases. I started to lag behind and could not keep up with my fellow hiking mates. I was panting like a dog and feeling my 8kg bag weighing down on my shoulders. I could continue hiking but could not see the slowest person of my hiking pack at all.

I wondered how much time I would be lagging behind my team mates, to finish the 6km ahead of me, and another 3km up to the summit. Although I never had a doubt that I will be able to finish the journey, I was very sure that I would not be able to catch up with my mates.

I started to have reflections on how I ended to be in such a state.

I did Mount Rinjani last year, one month after my laparoscopy procedures, so what’s the big deal with Mount Kinabalu that I felt mentally more challenging this year?

I realised that the lack of training in cardio activities that I demonised, was the very reason why I suffered during the hike. I believed in strengthtraining, and believed that cardio activities was an inefficient use of time to reap health benefits. One has to spend at least an hour to actually burn off any meaningful calories.  Therefore, I have not been doing any cardio activities, especially hiking for a year, my last hike was Mt Rinjani.

I recalled that five years ago I hiked almost every weekend. I was always able to keep up to speed, and never lagged behind a group of hikers. I was always in the middle of the group, sometimes at the front.

During weekdays, all I did was look at hiking event schedules, and booked myself on the hiking events every weekend. I did not have to deliberate if hiking was good for me, if cardio was a waste of time, if I could wake up, or if I should be spending my time and energy better in some other activities. Sometimes I did not even think whether this hike would be fun, or would I feel happy waking up at 3am to drive to the hiking spot so that we could see sunrise.

Not needing to make a decision and deliberate on the potential consequences or outcome of the decision, made matters easy. I just had to be committed to the process.

Fast forward to two years ago, I was committed to rock climbing so much that during weekends, I only go for rock climbing and nothing else. All I had to do is find out if we were going to be doing outdoor climbing or indoor gym climbing, and wake up in the morning so that we could go together. That was a no brainer to me. I did not have to think if waking up was good for me, would I be injured from the climb, or should I be covered under the blankets because of the cold weather instead.

I never asked myself what was the inspiration to hiking or rock climbing, should I be doing something else, or ‘can I do this another time?’. I just believed in it, and I followed it through.

We are in a constant hunt for inspirations. I watched more inspirational videos this year than all the inspirational videos I watched in the past 30 years all added together, yet I have less motivation to work on something as compared to how I was committed to hiking and rock climbing in the past few years.

So nowadays I look less for inspirations, and focus more on doing the things that I am committed to. Don’t ask why, just do it, if you believed in it. In time you will improve so much that your mind would not have time to think of excuses to not do those things. So I decided that in order to achieve my big wall expedition dream, I must work on my hiking and climbing skills. I must hike once and climb twice every week.

Author: Li

The journey with my friend - Lupus, 500 days and counting after I was diagnosed. I like writing, climbing, reading just about anything, watching inspirational movies and movies with a twist, and striving to reach financial independence as soon as possible.

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