Descending from the Summit: Final Thoughts on Timpanogos.

While sitting on the top of the mountain I felt alive and accomplished, I had made it to the top and nothing had stopped me. I had worked through doubt, tired muscles, and a small bit of pain but I was her and nothing else mattered. We spent around 15 minutes on the summit before we began our journey back to the car. As many know the ascent is only half the journey, you have to make it back to the car and back home. So we began heading back down the mountain talking about the epic meal we were going to eat once we arrived back home. 

As we walked we passed people who were on their way up, they looked tired, with doubt in the eyes of some and a fire in the eyes of others. Had I looked that way? Could you see my discomfort on my face just an hour before as I trudged my way up to the summit? I believe so, because that was a challenge for me to complete. Yet, I had made it and now was on my way down so I was in better spirits trying to send encouragement and a smile to those going up because I felt that anyone could summit at this point. 

What is always interesting to me about any descent is how often I seem to slip or stumble. Sometimes it’s because my tired feet don’t move as they ought to be and other times I just don’t choose the best place to step. On the way down my friend and I both stumbled and slid about because the trail down seemed a bit more slippery than the trail on the way up. I have hope that others besides me experience this a little here and there. I also think that it makes the journey back to the car a bit more enjoyable or unpredictable for tired bodies and minds. 

Our dogs did extremely well on this hike, they kept going and never failed to find fun along the trail. They helped us to laugh when we needed it, and made friends all along the way with other hikers. Time spent outdoors is only enhanced by dogs and their personalities to me, ever since my dog started joining me on hikes my outdoor adventures have been more light hearted and cheerful despite the struggles. 

As you may have already guessed we made it back to the car in good spirits and grateful we had spent a few hours in the wilderness on a grand adventure. Our dogs too felt the relief when they climbed into the backseat and were sleeping in a few short minutes.

I learned that day that even if I am not always prepared to accomplish a task that I still have the ability to do that task in my own way and find success in doing so. We were not the fastest along our journey but we still made it to the summit and back to the car in good time. If you are not sure what you can accomplish pick a goal that stretches you a little outside of your comfort zone and go for it. Find your Timpanogos and summit it. 

Comparison.

One thing I’m great at that I wish I wasn’t is comparing myself to others around me. I tend to look at the variety of things they are accomplishing then reflect on the things I am accomplishing myself. This is an extremely strange loop of life to be in as I know that it is good to a certain extent to evaluate where you are at so that you can decide where you want to go, but it is extremely dangerous to dwell on what others are doing insomuch that you fail to recognize what you can be doing yourself. 

I know that I am not alone in spending a little too much time comparing myself, my job, and my life overall with the lives of others I know. I know this because there is a term that is used to describe people who use others as a benchmark of success; this term is known as “Keeping up with the Joneses”. Who are the Joneses you might be asking yourself? They are someone you hope to emulate and become like almost with a feeling of resentment. 

The resentment comes when you fail to match what others have been able to do with their time, skillset, and money. As I stated before it is not bad to compare yourself to others so long as it is done in a healthy way that enables you to grow and progress. I know that for me I do best when I see what others are doing, aspire to do great things too and set off on my own journey to greatness. Is it an easy journey? Not at all, you are usually alone in your desire and pursuit as others have their own quests they are on. If you are smart you can utilize others along the way and collaborate and build partnerships that can benefit you both along the way. 

So remember it’s not bad to compare yourself to others, just do it in a healthy way then set your goals and move forward.

mediocre.

Mediocre is defined as, of only moderate quality; not very good.

This is something I feel about myself more often than I’d like to admit when it comes to my ability to follow through with some projects. This project in particular is something I have felt the most mediocre about in a very long time. I kind of just put the project in park in my garage and haven’t taken it for a spin all summer. 

Is that something that I had intended to do? Not exactly, I started two podcasts this summer, interviewed a few dozen people, attended the eBay open, and read a few cookbooks all while spending time with my wife and dog. I thought I was keeping busy enough the thought of this project would fade away until life slowed down and I was ready to start writing a little bit more again. I was completely mistaken about the possibility to let this project slide. 

I had created an instagram page as a way to promote my project and each time I signed onto my personal instagram account I was met with a reminder of a personal promise I was failing to keep to myself. To put it simply just the social media account on it’s own could have driven me to feel guilty, but that wasn’t all I had created as a commitment to myself that I would write three hundred words a day. I had set reminders on my calendar to go off weekly as a reminder to see if my grammar was improving and to check the weekly analytics to see if people were reading my thoughts. It has been a constant reminder that I have been letting myself slip away from my goal, to become a better writer this year. 

I’ve said this before on this project and blog that I want to do better. For the rest of the year I want to be a little less mediocre in completing a simple task that should take me fifteen minutes or less to complete. 

So here’s to starting this project back up, and to being a little mess mediocre at following through on my promises to myself.

Perception of a hard day.

Each of us perceives the world slightly different from the other, this is what causes our realities to be different. The good things some see in the world could be seen as just okay or not noteworthy by others. Stressful situations for some might be someone else’s comfort zone and so on. The way each of us perceive the world is what makes life unknown in ways because we never know what someone might do or say when experiencing a situation.

We can all admit that there are days when we struggle to see the good in anything. When work sucks, our car sucks, our relationships are bad, or life just isn’t great at that moment. These days happen to everyone and can happen anytime. Sometimes life is just unpredictable. There are a few ways to combat these days when our perception of the world around us is abnormally harsh.

Take a little personal time and write down everything that is poisoning your day. Just write it down, get those terrible feelings out of you as quickly as you can. Writing these things down can be difficult because you may not agree with what you are writing, you might feel torn between how you feel in the moment and how you feel in general. Feeling this way okay, its the process of writing the rough moments on paper that help you think through the reality of life at the time and move forward. Give it a try.

Another great option to help adjust your perspective on a challenging day is to talk it out with a friend while doing some type of activity. Perhaps a walk around your office just to vent, working on a puzzle, playing laser tag, hiking, throwing axes, or boxing could be the best way to talk it out and work the challenges out. I have tried all of the ideas I wrote above and they’ve helped me personally, just tailor your activity to you and see how that works for you.

Emotion.

Today was one of those days where I had heaps of energy early in the day. I was extremely enthusiastic as the day started ready to work with any client that came my way without fear. As we all have experienced that energy can drain out after some time as we interact with others in stressful situations and find ourselves becoming drained of energy mentally and physically exhausted from our efforts. The day started on a high energy output then dipped to a low for the last half where I found myself struggling to want to interact with my clientele.

I work with sellers on an e-commerce platform taking their calls and seeking the solutions to their troubles. Their troubles at times can be surface level troubleshooting which can be fixed in a few words or clicks. Other times the conversations are heavy and involve the stress of money, time, and relationships between business and customer or partners. When people call in no matter how big or small their troubles might be I’m there to listen, empathize, and resolve what we can together.  

It’s an interesting thing to listen to the stress and misunderstandings of others while trying to be of service to them and remain cheerful in challenging times they are experiencing. Working a customer facing job has taught me many things about the way that we communicate and how much energy effective communication actually takes day after day. We often times avoid communicating effectively due to the effort it takes and the patience it takes while speaking, listening, and continuing the process.

Today started out on a really positive high note for me and was dwindled down to a lower positive note at the end of the day because of all the emotion I absorbed throughout the day. I can’t complain though, it was a great day to have a good day.

Realization.

What I was having a hard time admitting was that I was burned out. Nothing was making sense because I couldn’t grasp what was happening around me, I had fallen into a autopilot mode and was just doing the bare minimum to get by each day. Once I was able to come to the realization of what was happening to me it broke me down a little more than I already was and then allowed me to begin to pick myself up and retake control of myself and my surroundings.

Yesterday I talked about walking the dog and just listening to nature around me and taking a little time to read something every day. Those are two big parts of what has helped me regain some sense of control of my life. The following are two more things that helped me stand a little more confidently and are still helping me today; Eating less sugar, and exercising more gratitude.

I’m not here to tell you how to eat, I here to tell you about what I was eating too much of and too little of. I am the type of person who can pick up a group sized bag of chocolates and eat the whole thing by myself in one sitting. I have a sweet tooth that loves to be fed and all too often I just feed it without thought or care of how I will feel afterward. I have known this for a long time and it hasn’t bothered me because I feel that I live a fairly active life and don’t carry too much excess weight on my bones.

This past month I started using sweets and treats as they ought to be used as a way to treat one’s self once in a while. It was a struggle for me as I mentioned before because I am a sweet eater and indulge a little too often historically. I started taking better snacks with me to work like cheese, fruits and various nuts to snack on instead of sugary treats. I also limited my soda intake to one can a day and that can be after work when I made it home to relax. It made a huge difference in my daily attitude and helped me be a little less cloudy than I was before.

I believe I mentioned this before in a few different posts but this is one that really rings with me and has helped me see life in a better light, expressing gratitude more often. Yes, I have always tried to express gratitude each day but I wasn’t expressing gratitude to the right people nor seeing gratitude in the little things around me. I was grateful for having a place to work, owning a house, a car, and a family but I wasn’t able to express that gratitude directly to the little things that really mattered.

I started saying thank you to my spouse more often for the little things she did, I started looking more at the good things that I had worked toward in my life such as my car and home ownership. I started admitting that I was avoiding seeing the good things in my life and swelling on the holes and how much more I needed to be happy. I personally don’t think that I need material possessions to be happy, but I was starting to think those were the only things I needed to be so. You can be happy with very little should you choose to be grateful for the life you have and the opportunities that have come and are coming your way.

As I stated before I’m not saying the things I’ve mentioned above are guaranteed to make you happier than you already are or will pull you out of a funk or burned out stage of life. What I have mentioned above has helped me live with fewer clouds in my head each day. They were part of the tools I personally used to be a little happier than I was yesterday.

Escape.

Have you ever needed a little time to escape? To have peace and quiet, just to disconnect from the world around you and just hear nature? As I mentioned last night I needed that time and space just to reset and breathe. It’s never easy to admit that we might be experiencing a little burnout, that has led to us being a little down for a period of time. I took the past month to escape a little and these are a few things I used to escape.

Reading has always been something I have tried to enjoy and use as an escape. I used a little time each day last month to read a few books, my favorite being “How to Bullsh*t Your Way to Number 1: An Unorthodox Guide To 21st Century Success from the World’s #1 Fake Restaurateur and Paris Fashion Week’s #1 Fake Designer” by Oobah Butler. I have watched his videos online and felt I related to his style and sense of humor. His book was an easy read that helped me better understand how to stop bullsh*tting myself and to start being better at committing to ideas and finding success.

There are indeed times when I have thought that I have great ideas that are destined for success that have fallen flat on their faces because I let the doubts of others around me hold me back. That was something that had been grinding me down over the past months was the voices of others who didn’t see the whole vision I had and believed in. I let their doubts drown out my belief that things would go well on stormy seas.

Walking my dog without headphones in my ears sounds like a silly thing. I don’t really want to get to know my neighbors after all (wink, wink), nor do I want to hear the sounds of birds, horses, cows, and sheep. Just kidding, I love hearing all of those things along with the simple interactions with my neighbors. It’s just easy to plug in and be distant. This past month I just took my headphones out while e walked the dog and that changed things up, I was more connected to real life and all the goodness that is always surrounding me.

It really helped me out with feeling better about my day to day life, disconnect from the digital and live more in the physical. Living here and now can often be a great escape for some and indeed it has been a great escape for me. So take some time and read a book, any book will do. Take the chance on walking without your headphones in your ears and just listen to the present around you and soak up the big moments of today.