Climbing Your Mountain by Jean Stutes
Are you happy with your life? Or, are there things you would like to change? Dissonance, or unhappiness, creates tremendous stress in our lives and often causes us to chase from one poor choice to another. People who lack vision or goals stew in their own unhappiness. The more they stew, the more unhappy and restless they become. Eventually, depression sets in; and with that a lethargic sense of going nowhere; like trying to run through waist-deep water. It’s agony to live spinning and stewing in restlessness; no way out, sucking you down into a black hole. Often, people use the distractions of work, entertainment, socializing, or substances to anesthetize their unhappiness.
You are not alone. Most of us have had to climb, or are climbing now, these mountains of confusion, of dissonance. By climbing, I don’t mean you’ll be taking a stroll over a few hills. I mean you’ll be on a sweating and nauseating rock climbing experience; a type of climb where you are trying not to look down, while hanging on by your fingertips, while groping for a footing ledge. It takes a lot of courage to keep on climbing when your heart is afraid. It takes a lot of positive people along the way, encouraging and cheering you on. It takes a lot of perseverance to continue when you just want to quit. But, when you reach the peak, when you’ve invested in yourself, when you have conquered something very difficult, when you’ve recognized the importance of developing your life, you will have changed not only elements of your life, you will have changed the very being of who you are. As Zig put it, you will have changed from a “wandering generality to a meaningful specific.” Victory stirs an internal elation; a self-confidence that rivals everything else experienced. It is an elation that occurs over and over as you reap myriad benefits which all of your hard work brought to you.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” I agree Ralph, but I’m frozen in place, how do I get started? Take the first step. Take the first step. Take the first step. Zig spent a lifetime encouraging people to pull out of a frozen state, to climb over and out of our unhappiness and restlessness. He laid out the trail, and marked it well.
The first step is vision. The Good Book says “Without vision, the people perish.” Which mountain do you want to climb? Develop your goals. Before you head out, you need to know where you are going, what you need to get there, a clear picture of the obstacles you must overcome, and whether this mountain peak is even worth the effort. Spend some time here. Zig said, “Failure to define the goal carefully can result in discouragement; if we fail, then we won’t try again.” Ask to meet with people who are currently doing what you would like to do. Don’t be taken by surprise by a lousy view at the top of your mountain; learn about the pros and the cons of your goal before you start. You may need to re-think your goal; but don’t sell yourself short. If you want to abandon a goal, is it because it looks difficult, or is it because you don’t think it is a good fit for you as a person? Everything worthwhile takes time and effort; there are no short-cuts. Period.
Now, you’ve done due diligence about your goal. If you still deem it as a worthy goal and one which would add richness and value to your life, then you are ready to strike out. Watch out for people, places and things that might distract you from your goal. Life has a tendency to throw a few storms in our path, but keep your focus on your goal, get through it, and keep on climbing.
Zig called goal setters “picture painters.” They are the artists of life who create or “paint” mental, spiritual, and emotional images of what they want life to be like. “They create images of how their lives will be different if they do thus and so, and it is those images that inspire them to set a goal and achieve it.”
Many goals take years of study or practice to accomplish. Some people may say, “It’s too late. I’m too old.” You are never too old to set a new goal and strive to achieve it. A year from now you can be at the base of the mountain, kicking dirt and feeling defeated by how high that mountain looks, or you can be up into the foothills, taking a brief rest before pushing on. The further into the foothills you climb, the closer the peak looks; so don’t ever stop climbing.
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” —Zig Ziglar
Jean Stutes, Ed.S., has been a school psychologist for 17 years, practicing in Kansas and in Florida. She has been teaching parenting workshops for many years in the school district in which she works. She is a Florida Supreme Court Certified family mediator. You can reach Jean at her business, Astute Family Mediation, firstname.lastname@example.org. She and her husband live in Orlando, FL, and they have three children.[from http://www.ziglar.com]