This came to me today when speaking to one of my teammates with the San Diego Chargers and most recent climbing buddy on Mt. Kilimanjaro. If you aren’t up to speed on that climb, here is a link to some of the lessons learned on that trip. Luis reminded me today on my radio show at XTRA 1360 Fox Sports San Diego about something I learned on the trip, as well. It was a line that the porter’s routinely said throughout the trip, while we were working at altitude with the body not able to push as hard as if it were operating at sea level. That line was constant, “Polè Polè!” That’s Swahili for slowly slowly. Or in other words, “Slow and steady wins the race.” Luis pointed out it that it is in his nature, as a type A, driven, chomping at the bit kind of guy to push himself and strive to see how far and fast he can get in whatever he is doing in life. I have a very similar makeup to my friend’s. That mentality was thrown out of the window on Mt. Kilimanjaro. The pace on the mountain from the outside looking in is strangely slow. Imagine the footage of the men walking on the moon, bounding around through the zero gravity environment. Now add gravity to that and you will envision people climbing the side of a mountain.
There was one thing that hit both Luis and me during, and especially after the climb that hopefully is a lasting residual affect of climbing the mountain. We all, regardless of pace, end up at the same place. There is really no destination. Sure, we all wanted to summit the mountain. It was a great moment when we achieved that goal. But, the reality was, we got to the top, we looked around, and then we had to continue walking to get off the mountain and out of the park.
We all want to summit the mountain in life. Each of us have lofty goals that we’d like to achieve. I’m not at all trying to derail ambitions, because I’m a highly ambitious guy myself. Polè Polè my friends. It doesn’t mean you change your goals. You still want to get to the summit. What it means is to slow down! Apply consistent, oftentimes monotonous pressure to the task at hand. Enjoy the process and journey on your way to getting to your “destination”, wherever or whatever that may be. Get to that destination. Enjoy it for a moment. And then, get moving again! Life doesn’t stop with one accomplishment. Slowly and steadily make your way to the top of a mountain, walk back down and out of the gate of that park. Find another mountain quickly after that, and get climbing once again. And remember, “Slowly slowly.”