Why Do Hard Things: Glory and Peace
Friday was sunny but cold. After a January with only two or three sunny days, therefore only two or three chances to power the battery to cook, I didn’t want to lose the chance to cook.
The temperature was in the low twenties F (-5C or so) and it was windy. It was either my coldest day up there or close to it, but I didn’t mind the cold since the sun meant I could cook. I mean, by the time I headed downstairs, my feet were numb, but I’ve been out in colder to play ultimate and ski.
It was also six weeks since the solstice and I could charge a couple more hours per day already. So I felt abundance. I’d soon eat more famous no-packaging vegan solar-powered stew.
Then today I went up and it hit 50F (10C). I didn’t even wear a winter coat. Sitting in direct sunlight, it felt almost balmy compared with Friday. Even when the clouds shaded me and the wind blew, it was nothing like Friday.
With extra hours of sunlight to charge, and following several days of sunshine, I felt in great abundance. I had brought some stew topped with chopped vegetables to eat up there after taking a call, none of which could I have done Friday from the cold or last month from January being overcast or for a month in either direction from the solstice for lack of sunlight.
What made 50F (10C) feel balmy
In October and November, I kept expecting to decide it was too cold and dark to keep going. Now that I passed the most difficult parts, it’s getting easier. I don’t think much of climbing all the stairs. Our ancestors going back 300,000 years probably exercised about that amount as regular parts of life and would look at our inactivity as lacking. Today I happened to row for the first time in months. Being that out of practice made it especially hard and my legs especially tired, but I’ve developed an attitude of just climbing the stairs, what’s the big deal?
Mere months ago I wanted to give up. My legs were too tired from all that climbing. I worried about temperatures dropping below 60F (15.5C). I had already persevered past when the battery and panel broke. What was the point in keeping going after I’d already accomplished enough?
Yet the hardest days made days harder than when I considered giving up feel easy and balmy.
Life is what you make it.
Life is what you make it. Victor Frankl figured it long ago. I’m doing trivialities compared to him.
To clarify, my goal isn’t for me or anyone else to find or create abundance by enduring the cold or other hardships. I don’t mind blazing a trail, but my goal on this particular frontier is to help change culture so others don’t have to endure the cold. Though I recommend people interested in creating legacies and making history take up the opportunity.
Read my weekly newsletter
On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees