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January 2nd, 2019

Everyone talks about the view from the top, but this is not why we go on hikes.  Certainly the reward of a lovely and interesting view is nice, but few actually spend more than a few minutes looking around, snapping a few photos and trying to orient what they know about geography to what is in front of them.  We go for the actual hiking. 


At it’s most basic, it’s exercise in an interesting natural environment.  But beyond this, you get what you can’t get in a gym: you get a lot of variance in how you have to move your body and where your concentration needs to go as the path winds up.  And at any moment, taking a break is an opportunity to take in the natural world, as opposed to huffing and puffing while looking at a cement wall or at a muted Television.


The hike is a sort of process.  We have to make a decision with every step, being sure to place our foot in a way that is safe and advantageous, all the while having a vague focus on the larger picture of getting to the top. 


Carrying out many ideas that have never been done before require a similar kind of process.  A new business for example, while it might be like many others is inevitably going to involve some kind of novel approach, even if it’s just due to the fact that the person or people have never done it before.  But as with a hike, each and every step is not and will not be perfect.  Our boot slips on wet rock, but this usually does not ruin the hike.  Nor perhaps do we always pick the right spot, and find our boot sinking in mud or punching through soft rotten wood.  As with the process of starting a business or trying to meditate or write a book, almost no single step in the process is perfect, and some might be downright setbacks, but all taken together and we can bask in the glory of a good view from the top of such achievements.


So often we do not start our project, thinking that we must imagine it in our minds so perfectly that each step will be flawless, all obstacles being anticipated and planned for.  But such a perspective is pure fantasy, just as expecting to have an idea of every step of a hike just by looking at the mountain from afar is a ridiculous notion. 


We must toss the idea of the perfect start and just start.  Any success down the line will simply show that a perfect start was not needed, nor was any other perfect step needed, just that steps are taken.


So when we find an interesting but difficult and unlikely idea tumbling out in our language and in response someone sneers and says “go take a hike.”  Perhaps we should take heed and give it a shot.

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Podcast Ep. 262: Take a Hike

Tinkered Thinking

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