GET BEYOND LIMITS

GET INTRODUCED TO A NEW WORLD

CHALLENGE YOURSELF AND BREAK FREE


By: Sahil Chelaramani October 08, 2014
Have you ever heard the ‘dub-dub’ sound of your heart become increasingly loud, when you near the solution of a hard problem? Do you get an absolute thrill when you solve the challenge in front of you? Or, have you ever felt at peace when working in a group to conquer obstacles, in manners that not many people have dreamt of? If the answer to any of the questions posed above is yes, then you may be someone who works/should work in a startup. Life in a startup has its moments in the sun, and turbulence. As such, working at a startup has astonishing similarities with hiking in the wild. You may be wondering what business does someone working in a startup have in the wilderness. The answer is simple: By putting yourself in a situation which may need you to exploit your creativity, moxie, and gumption, one can understand oneself better, which is key to success at your startup.

Perspective

Imagine this: You’re on a ridge with a 1000 foot drop on either side. You look down, and can’t see the ground, since it’s covered by clouds. Your only choice, is to keep on walking, while praying that you don’t slip. 

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Isn’t that the same feeling you get while working at a startup? Going on hikes, not only gives you valuable perspective on how to look at challenges, but also help define your physical and mental limits. If you find that you’re scared of facing a challenge, then by all means, face that challenge! You’re scared of jumping, JUMP. You’re scared to keep on walking, KEEP WALKING. The last 1000 solutions to a problem at work , that you’ve tried have failed, then by all means, come up with the 1001st solution. This will build your immunity to problems you may face in your startup and give you the courage to conquer your limits. The following Calvin and Hobbes comic summarizes this fact nicely. 

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Faith

It’s funny, how we can find faith in the weirdest places. While hiking, you strengthen your faith in yourself and your abilities. Faith is an important thing in a startup culture. Whether it’s faith in our idea, faith in our team or faith in a greater force of the universe, having faith, goes a long way.

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Along with faith, hiking can be a great source for finding inspiration too. Anything from looking into infinity on a clear night to fractal designs on leaves, could be your next source of inspiration. 

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Bragging rights

This is something that just isn’t said enough or often enough, misinterpreted.  Let’s say you’ve conquered a trail in some remote part of the world. Pulling off such an arduous task, obviously gives you bragging rights. Bragging about an accomplishment builds self confidence, a trait not only expected in the corporate world, but something that is highly valued and chased. 

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Please note, that even though we all agree that you do have bragging rights, you will do well to remember the following quote by Michael Bassey Johnson, with regards to excessive bragging -- “ When your success hovers from one person to the other, it will definitely get to someone who will regard it as failure. ” 

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Synergy

Hiking isn’t only about conquering yourself, it’s also about learning to work in a team. It’s never only you who conquers a mountain, but it’s the team that did. Being a part of such a team, gives you a feeling of being a part of something greater than yourself, and as such, on a trail, you tend to develop an intricate bond with your companions. These aren’t just any regular bunch of people, but are a group of like minded people, who would rather spend a weekend in some remote part of the planet, than in their respective warm beds, binge watching daily soaps.  

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A direct consequence of this is that you get to meet a wide variety of people, who think alike. Just imagine the exchange of ideas, and information! Learning to work in a team, you learn essential management skills and instincts to help out everyone around you. By helping the people on the journey with you, friendships form.These friendships formed on those off beat trails are embroidered with Iron, and those moments shared, last a lifetime.  

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Break Free

One of the main reasons to go hiking if you work in a startup is to break free of the bonds that drag you down. Mother Nature is anything but cynical and boring, and learning to work in a manner that is as natural and fluid as how nature works, is very important. This involves breaking free of the usual office drudgery of politics and antiquated norms, and becoming more direct in our approaches. 

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If you don’t like something, speak up. Don’t like how things are done, then try changing it. Going on hikes makes you actually face and solve problems with your actions rather than just words. It all boils down to the proverb “Actions speak louder than words”. These teachings are directly transferable to your work, and are highly beneficial.  

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There are a million and one other reasons why you should give hiking a shot, especially if you work at a startup. Some of these other reasons include learning to discipline yourself, so that you can channel your energy correctly at work. Another reason to try it, is to learn “Not to be linear”. You maybe wondering what do I mean by that. Well, some people, have goals chalked out for themselves, which tend to be very normal goals. These don’t usually reflect the capabilities of the individual, while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I am just trying to say that they can achieve a lot more and shouldn’t restrict themselves to a linear lifestyle. By hiking, people can understand themselves better, and readjust their goals, to be more well suited.  

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Finale 

Why do people go away? So that they can come back. So that they can see the place they came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see them differently, too. “Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”  I’d just like to end, with one last comic by Bill Watterson, that sums up everything very nicely.

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Tags: startups , challenge yourself , broadening horizon , team building

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