While hiking a trail in Minnesota last Friday, I came across this trail marker sign that was a revelation for me. I had the choice to take the lesser of the two hills which was labeled as “more difficult” or I could take the tougher hill, aka “most difficult”.
The decision I made was not for the moment. I was a little tired at this point in my hike. I was wearing a weighted backpack, it was pretty warm out and I was sweaty. I was purposely restricting my oxygen intake. This would have been a nice time to take it easy on myself and opt for the less challenging of the two trails presented. I chose the “most difficult” trail.
I am preparing for what is ahead. This was not a leisurely walk for relaxation. This hike was training. I am getting ready for an intense several-day hike in the Andes Mountains in Peru. Friday’s hike in Minnesota was a glimpse ahead to where I hope to be in three weeks.
Sometimes in life we get to chose: more difficult or most difficult. (rarely is “easy” an option!) Your choice depends on your future plans. It all depends on what is ahead for you. In life, if the tough stuff is behind you, put it on cruise control and walk down hill. If you think there may be some mountains ahead, you had better prepare now. If you put in your miles on the “most difficult” path, tomorrow’s mountains will become mole hills.
Here’s the problem: we seldom know what is ahead. I have never hiked the Inca Trail so I don’t know for sure how difficult it will be. But I want to be prepared. I would rather be over-prepared than under-prepared. I can’t imagine getting to Peru and wishing I hadn’t trained so much. But the flip side is completely possible.
You don’t know what is ahead for you. If you take the more difficult of the preparation options today, the challenges of tomorrow will be more manageable. Slack off today and there is a good chance that tomorrow will squash you.
So, which path will you chose?