We posted about it before, Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten, a well-known media entrepreneur and friend of GearLimits reviewed high-end gear provided by Haglöfs, Rossignol and POC. He recently posted an interesting blog about the trip and what the mountain taught him. We had the opportunity to talk to him about his experience over a quick coffee and were struck, both in the blog as in our conversation by the wisdom the mountain can impart on you, and how hard taught lessons are often the most valuable.
At GearLimits we believe that ‘great gear’ leads to better performance, more fun and safety. But sometimes great things can happen when you don’t have the perfect gear. Boris describes how the group he was with made a hike up the mountain to find a great line, but the ski’s we had outfitted him with weren’t tourski’s and didn’t have skins. Instead he strapped snowshoes on and footed it up the mountain.
Boris describes how, at first, this trek exhausts him, how his buddies seem to fly up the mountain, while he had to drive himself on, fighting the mountain and feeling almost destroyed by it. Until a accompanying guide convinces him he should not fight, but focus on finding his rhythm. “Once you find your rhythm you can do anything.” The cool thing is that Boris is able to take this advice to heart, and he explains how this changes everything for him. How that rhythm gives him power, and helps him enjoy every step. Every moment. It is almost a Zen attitude he describes; in being in the moment, not being blinded by the goal. Though it is that goal which provides direction, it is every step you need to take, the rhythm that you find, what determines the outcome.
I remember a number of occasions when I had similar experiences: and it always started with physical exhaustion. Much to often we start by depending on just our physical fitness and strength. Only when you let go of your strength, in effect relaxing, or are forced to do so by exhaustion, can you find that rhythm. Because in that moment, certainly when you are up on the mountain, when quitting is not an option; there is no other choice than to soldier on, to find another way to go on. Suddenly you are free from distractions and there is clarity of purpose and clarity of mind. Suddenly life is very simple; there is no strength left, no fitness, no choice, just movement. The only moment that is relevant is the next; the only step that is important is the next. And suddenly there is an almost unlimited reservoir of energy, an unlimited amount of steps you can take. Your potential is really unleashed at the moment you thought you reached your limits.
There is a shift from ego to being. From wanting go as fast as your buddies, or wanting to reach the top of the mountain, to just doing what needs to be done.