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Use extreme conditions to make you tough

Today I brought hell on myself, severe discomfort.

I took my mountain bike and explored the countryside before sunset. The routes I know are boring, so I took a bunch of new twists and turns.

Sure enough, soon I was crossing a meadow with knee high grass and no path. I thought that was the end of ‘rough’ terrain.

It wasn’t.

Some time later, I found a path that led steeply downhill one side of a tiny valley. I needed to go to the other side, so I followed the path and got to the bottom of the valley.

Only, there was no way up, just a bunch of brooks and meadows. I couldn’t find a good trail in the direction I needed, so I took some shady ones. Grass taller than me, thorny bushes, uneven ground,… that’s the start.

I got nowhere.

So at some point I just took my bike and went up 45 degrees incline. Not an exageration, I was really bloody steep.

What followed was a harrowing journey through a jungle of a wood uphill, with a heavy bike to carry, with sandals (of all footwear) on my feet in now nearly complete darkness.

Breathless and exhausted, I eventually made it to the top of the hill,… and then the next one, and the final one, scaring several deer in the process.

After a few more miles on a good road, I got back home.

I could have taken different route, but I took the one I did. The terrain pushed me physically and also mentally, since stumbling through the woods in the dark ain’t fun after a while.

The extreme conditions showed me how much reserve energy I have and what persevering through exhaustion feels like.

There is more we can do than we think we can. Most of the time, we just don’t put ourselves into environments that force us to be better, smarter, and stronger.

Feeling complacent? Find or create an extreme environment.