27 September 2023

Redefining what ‘hard’ means

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Bruce Kasanoff* believes that often when we think we are close to the limits of what we can achieve, we are only standing in the foothills of our personal journey.

I like people who do hard things. As I pay attention to what such individuals do, it becomes apparent that many are continually redefining what ‘hard’ means.

Is it hard to run a mile… a marathon… an Ironman? Is it hard to get an A… in high school… in university…in post-graduate studies?

Once you acquire the habit of testing what ‘hard’ means, it’s quite possible that your answer will constantly shift.

Quick example: I used to hike up Stratton Mountain in Vermont, which is 1,181 metres high. At the time, it seemed pretty high.

Recently, pressed for time, we drove to the top of Mount Mitchell in North Carolina (pictured), the highest spot east of the Mississippi River. The summit is 2,037 metres high.

It towers over the adjacent mountains and might lead you to think the mountain defines what ‘high’ means.

Nope. Until a few months ago, I lived on the side of a small mountain in Utah, at 2,073 metres; it wasn’t high.

We were surrounded by mountains more than 3,000 metres high.

Colorado has 58 mountains over 4,200 metres high.

The people who live in Utah or Colorado climb higher mountains.

This isn’t because they are tougher or better; it is because they are used to living in the midst of taller mountains.

By the way, most of Colorado’s highest peaks are just half as high as Mount Everest at 8,849 metres.

So, if you want to do bigger and better things, dwell in the midst of more substantial challenges. Hang out with people who do hard things.

Even better, hang out with people who love doing hard things, and you’ll tackle bigger goals with a smile on your face.

Wait — what if you don’t want to always be striving, pushing, climbing and comparing yourself with others?

It still pays to understand what is possible in this world, and how changing your perspective can alter your thinking.

The human experience teaches us that when most of us think we are at the limit of what we can achieve — or endure — in reality, we aren’t even close. Yet.

*Bruce Kasanoff is the founder of The Journey, a newsletter for positive, uplifting and accomplished professionals. He can be contacted at kasanoff.com.

This article first appeared at kasanoff.com

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