How to conquer an ‘impossible’ mindset

How to conquer an ‘impossible’ mindset

Imagine you are going about your normal daily business, and suddenly someone grabs you, puts a hood over your head, bundles you hurriedly into a van (just like in the movies), and drives you straight to the airport. Still trying to process the shock, you realise you are now onboard a private plane, and unsure of where you are headed. 

Finally, after hours of travel, you arrive at an unknown destination. Then your ‘kidnapper’ takes the hood off your head and announces to you that you are now in Mahalangur, Nepal and your assignment is to climb Sagarmatha. At this stage, you are perplexed and extremely angry. You are unfamiliar with everything happening in your world right now. By some stroke of luck or knowledge, you interpret Sagarmatha to be Mt. Everest, the highest mountain on earth. All you are able to mutter to your ‘kidnapper’ is “You must be joking.” He calms you down and with the look on his face, you guess he is dead serious. He, however, offers to provide you with the necessary gear to proceed with this ascent. 

He assures you that he has successfully climbed this mountain and several others and is willing to provide all the support you need to get to the summit. You protest again! Your supportive ‘kidnapper’ proceeds to inform you that climbing this mountain does not pose any substantial technical challenge as long as you are willing to take one step after the other. He explains to you that if you are willing to take the initial two steps, you will be two steps away from the ground level and two steps less to the peak of the mountain. Further, after each couple of steps, both of you will pause and celebrate your progress. You now reason that, if you take four steps, you will be four steps from the ground level and four steps less to the Mt. Everest summit. Strangely, you decide to give it a go. Your focus is now on the here-and-now, taking two steps at a time, even though you keep in mind the ultimate picture of getting to the peak of the mountain…

So you may ask, “What is this all about?” There are things we all, at different times, want to attempt or achieve. These can range from tasks and activities such as extinguishing a bad habit, developing a new skill, to great monumental endeavours like developing a new product or engaging in a product launch. Depending on where we are in life, we may find what we need to do challenging, similar to climbing Mt. Everest. This is because the venture is new and/or we feel so inept – physically, mentally, financially, and sometimes spiritually. The morale of this story is that keeping in mind this idea of ‘Little steps-Big picture,’ we can, with an awesome dose of patience and perseverance, achieve incredible things. 

…keeping in mind this idea of ‘Little steps-Big picture,’ we can, with an awesome dose of patience and perseverance, achieve incredible things. 

This simple yet powerful concept can also be applied to mundane things. Imagine you have been procrastinating organising and cleaning your bedroom, office, home office, shed, kitchen etc. Indeed, you have the big picture of a clean, tidy, immaculate personal space in your mind. However, to achieve that, all you need to do is start by perceiving the whole space as consisting of different parts. For instance, if you intend to tidy your room, your little step might simply be to pick up the clothes on the floor, chair, bed and hang them or put them away in the wardrobe. When you have achieved this, pause and celebrate! Reward yourself! Savour the good feeling! Later, which could still be same day or another, tidy and organise your reading desk or drawer dressing table. Repeat the same ritual of pause-and-reward. Your next step may be to vacuum and dust your carpet and furniture. Then, you may want to move on to cleaning your vents and windows etc.

The point is you don’t have to do everything all at once. Break it into manageable bits (steps) and be content with taking a couple of steps at a time. Soon you are at the summit of your Mt. Everest, only to realise that you haven’t conquered Mt. Everest, but have conquered an impossible mindset within. Happy climbing!

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