As some of my readers know, I’ve done a fair bit of bike touring. Two of the challenges of bike touring are riding uphill, and riding into headwinds.
Riding uphill is tough. 2,300m passes in snow, or 3,200m passes in sunshine, it’s tough going. But you put your head down, and keep turning the pedals, because you know that eventually you will reach the top, and there will be a downhill reward.
Riding into headwinds is a different story. You can battle into headwinds for days, and never get any reward. It saps your energy, and you don’t know if or when it will ever end. The wind could just keep coming from that direction. I’ve gone to different countries just to avoid the wind in the past.
They’re both hard. But one of them has an end, and a reward. The other one can just keep on sucking away your will to live.
Applying it to Life
This applies to the rest of your life. The tricky bit is that sometimes you don’t know if you’re going uphill, or into the wind. Both of them feel hard, and you can’t always see the end in sight.
A few years ago I was studying for CCIE. This was hard for me, and it was time-consuming. But there was a clear goal, even if it sometimes seemed a long way off. Eventually I made it to the top of the hill, and I could move on to other goals.
Other times I’ve struggled without reward for a long time – e.g. trying to get a business to change their hardware supplier, because the old one just wasn’t delivering anymore. It took me too long to realise that certain decision-makers were never going to change, and I was wasting my energy.
This year I aim to be better at spotting the situations where I’m going into the wind. I have to be more aware of what I can and can’t change.