How to Climb Mountains by Paolo Coelho
This is a story I go back to when I feel lost or uninspired in life or breaking. Many complicated things in life can be explained by using simple examples. Whats your mountain to climb?
Choose the mountain you want to climb
Don’t be influenced by what people say: ‘that one’s prettier’ or ‘that one looks easier’. You are going to put a lot of energy and enthusiasm into achieving your objective, and you are the person responsible for your choice, so be quite sure about what you are doing.
Find out how to reach the mountain
Often you can see the mountain in the distance - beautiful, interesting, full of challenges. However, when you try to reach it, what happens? It’s surrounded by roads; forests lie between you and your objective; and what seems clear on the map is far more complicated in reality. So you must try all the paths and tracks until, one day, you find yourself before the peak you intend to climb.
Learn from someone who has been there before
However unique you may think you are, there is always someone who has had the same dream before, and who will have left signs behind that will make the climb less ardous: the best place to attach a rope, trodden paths, branches broken off to make it easier to pass. It is your climb and it is your responsibility too, but never forget that other people’s experiences are always helpful.
Dangers, seen from close to, are controllable
When you start to climb the mountain of your dreams, pay attention to what is around you. There are, of course, precipices. There are almost imperceptible cracks. There are stones polished so smooth by rain and wind that they have becomes as slippery as ice. But if you know where you are putting your foot, you will see any traps and be able to avoid them.
The landscape changes, so make the most of it
You must, naturally, always keep in mind your objective-reaching the top. However, as you climb, the view changes, and there is nothing wrong with stopping now and then to enjoy the vista. With each metre you climb, you can see a little further, so take time to discover things you have never noticed before.
Respect your body
You will only manage to climb a mountain if you give your body the care it deserves. You have all the time that life gives you, so do not demand too much from your body. If you walk too quickly, you will grow tired and give up halfway. If you walk too slowly, night might fall and you will get lost. Enjoy the landscape, drink the cool spring water, and eat the fruit that Nature so generously offers you, but keep walking.
Respect your soul
Don’t keep repeating,’I'm not going to do it.’ Your soul knows this already. What it needs to do is to use this long walk in order to grow, to reach out as far as the horizon, to touch the sky. Obsession will not help you in the search for your goal, and will end up spoiling the pleasure of the climb. On the other hand, don’t keep repeating ‘It’s harder than I thought,’ because that will sap your inner strength.
Be prepared to go the extra mile
The distance to the top of the mountain is always greater than you think. Threr is bound to come a moment when what seemed close is still very far away. But since you are prepared to go still further, this should not be a problem.
Be joyful when you reach the top
Cry, clap your hands, shout out loud that you made it; let the wind (because it is always windy up there) purify your mind, cool yout hot, weary feet, open your eyes, blow the dust out of your heart. What was once a dream, a distant vision, is now part of your life. You made it, and that is good.
Make a promise
Now that you have discovered a strength you did not even know you had, tell yourself that you will use it for the rest of your days; promise yourself, too, to discover another mountain and set off on a new adventure.
Tell your story
Yes, tell your story. Be an example to others. Tell everyone that it’s possible, and then others will find the courage to climb their own mountains.”
From “Like the Flowing River” by Paolo Coelho