“2 hikers of the same physical build, fitness and experience are training to climb Mount Kilimanjaro together. At the end of the first day, they’re both exhausted. But while one is dispirited and discouraged, the other is inspired and excited…”
Todd Herman uses this story about success and perseverance to explain the difference between the Ow brain and the Wow brain…
When the first hiker is faced with the rest of the climb, his imagination goes all Eeyore on him and creates doubt and fear and pain. Ow brain.
The second hiker, however, interprets the challenge as an adventure. He’s pumped up and goes into Tigger mode as his imagination turns climbing the mountain into a chance to learn and grow. Bounce, bounce. Wow brain.
So is the first guy just a glass is half empty kind of a dude?
Luckily for Ow brainers, no. Turning an ow into a wow all rests on one critical moment… when you think about your journey, do you look up and see the impossible trek still stretching out before you? Or do you first look back over your shoulder to remind you that you’ve already achieved the first bit of impossible?
According to Herman, looking back first is crucial because it allows you to see the challenges you’ve faced and the dragons you’ve slain. Only then does looking at the journey ahead become fun because you know that if you found a way to get here, you’ll find a way to get there.
When I think about the journey that I’m on to realise my vision for changing the world, contributing to world peace and making Oprah Winfrey my best friend, I could see an impossible climb ahead.
But if it’s one that I want to go on with Tigger like bounce in my step, I need to look back first at the girl whose dreams were buried so deep she didn’t even think she had them, the girl who used to tell herself not to dream too big because that’s silly.
I need to see how far I’ve come. Then look ahead, get my hiking boots on and take the next step.
Let’s pick big, crazy dreams and climb big, crazy mountains… not because we need to reach the top but because each step helps us find the courage to go on an adventure and experience the joy and pride of looking back, seeing how far we’ve come and taking the next step forward into the impossible.
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