The Stoics of ancient Greece believed that the greatest obstacle was not death, not pain, not suffering, but cowardice. By training themselves to accept what they could not change and to be courageous in front of any obstacle, they eliminated their fear of death. Tibetan monks identified the lack of control over the mind as the greatest obstacle. So the monks spend days making sand mandala paintings, and when they’re done, they sweep away their work with a broom. It’s not about the destination; it’s about the journey and the process that gives them the opportunity to practice awareness, focus, and control.
I discovered a truth that would guide much of my life thereafter: when you sign up for something, you’re forced to train for it. Just like in a business: you’re forced to work. Just like having a kid: you’re forced to take care of it. All of a sudden, you become accountable.
Our Everest-like highs in life are fleeting, if we are lucky enough to achieve them at all. They are a time for reverence and humility, not fist pumps and chest bumps.
Spartan Up!: A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life