Take the mountain as it is
This year I’ve taken up skiing and it’s been an amazing learning experience. You have to adjust your technique for each and every condition of snow:
There’s hard snow. Ice. Slush. Powder. Crud. Soft snow. And many other unique variations that require you to change in order to smoothly navigate the terrain.
Because of this, one of the most wonderful parts of learning skiing is that you must constantly throw out the assumptions, expectations, and tried and “true” principles that worked in previous situations.
If you’re used to taking it fast in conditions you’re used to, your forced to take it slow when the conditions change. Maybe the mountain goes sideways, or maybe you discover the moguls that many skiers and snowboarders alike avoid and generally hate.
Or maybe, like me, you stumble into expert terrain in your second month of skiing, and it takes you five solid earth-time minutes just to figure out how to get your skis out of three feet of snow (and then falling right back into it the another 8 earth seconds later).
Each and every moment, if you meld to it, is an opportunity to learn something new.
I got better at digging myself out of powder while also learning how not to get stuck in it.
I realized that I can navigate certain difficult terrain that I stumble upon if I take some deep breaths, plan my routes, and take it slow.
The most important part here is your attitude. You have to adjust it to what the mountain gives you.
I’ve never understood people who refuse to do something they love doing because conditions aren’t the way they want them to be.
If you expected smooth and effortless skiing but then get stuck for 30 minutes on the side of the mountain, you need to readjust for this. It has just as much potential for fun as the smooth skiing does, if you only realize the learning potential.
You’re not just learning how to ski, you’re learning how to live life well and meet all that comes your way with interest and enthusiasm.
There’s no real difference between staving off the bitter cold trying not to freeze your fingers off and managing the stress of an upcoming presentation at work.
Getting lost in the trees on the side of the mountain is no different from the feeling of lostness that arises from trying to identity your purpose in life.
Each endeavor (not just skiing) is practice for this wonderful skill: Don’t avoid the challenges then, when it comes to your leisure time. No matter the hobby, dive into it and get uncomfortable.
Run in the rain and snow. Walk when the sun is blocked out even if it’s cold and windy. Don’t be a fair weather anything. It just makes life as a whole less fun and enjoyable. You cut yourself off from the range of experiences that life has to offer, and the growth of yourself suffers because of this.
You need to take the mountain as it is, in any and every pursuit. The more you do this, the more easily you can take life as it is.