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Tuesday
Jun122012

Long distance walking as a success template

Success in sport, writing or life is all about the numbers. I am not quite sure why that should be so. Maybe it’s just a reflection of the scientific age we live in, whatever the reason, if you cab turn something into a number it seems a) real and b) improvable.

In sports as diverse as aikido and skiing if you assign a number, a grade that reflects not the success but a definable quality contained within each attempt at a technique then you have a tool for focussing awareness. For example, if you vary how much you lean back while kayaking and call extreme forward 1 and leaning right back 10 you can then experiment and discover what number coincides with your best ability to turn and paddle. There is no doubt that increased awareness leads to improvement in any area, and I guess in our current era it’s numbers that make us sit up and pay attention.

In writing it’s all about word count. Period. You do 1000 words a day five days a week and you have built yourself a successful writing machine. If you write only when you can, or feel like it, then you’ll fail.

In order to learn and internalise these methods a long distance walk is a perfect, simplified, model of success. You work out the numbers (distance you can walk each day, total distance you need to walk, weight you need to carry) and come up with a workable success plan. Then you stick to it.

 A long distance walk like the Pennine way will take a month or less of your life- yet the lesson will never leave you. The added bonus – and for some the main event- is that long distance walking gives you lots of time to think creatively and usefully about your life. You literally think things through- but in a healthy way not a circular inward looking way. Any problem you have will seem less important and pressing after two weeks of walking. When you take the emotion of urgency out of a problem its solution will often be easy to arrive at, obvious even.

By starting with a short but recognised long distance walk one can easily get a ‘success’ under your belt. Success breeds success. You will find the skills and ‘success aura’ you generate over-spilling into other areas of your life.

All this from just doing what we do best: taking one step at a time, one after the other.

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