There is a lot to be said for finding the right speed in your life and how you go about living it
I am not much of a skier, which is why I should’ve known better than to ride to the top of a black diamond run.
In the spirit of full disclosure, it was a Midwest version of a black diamond run, which is a far cry from an Alpine version or a Rocky Mountain version. Nevertheless, it was beyond my skill level and I knew it before I even hopped onto the lift.
At the top of the run, I had a few choices and they ranged from essentially sitting on my skis and scooching down the mountain a little bit at a time or simply all out going for it. I chose the middle option, which I often do with many choices that I consciously make. I decided to try to control my speed and do the best I could to reach the end of the run safely.
With the benefit of hindsight, I will tell you that I think I made the right decision given my options, but unfortunately I did not execute the plan very well. The end result, while not disastrous from the standpoint that I was able to stand up and live to tell the tale, was what I believe is referred to in the skiing world as a “yard sale”. That sale was conducted over what seemed like a one-hundred-foot stretch of mountain with gear strewn haphazardly throughout.
Even though I did not achieve my goal of staying upright throughout the run, it was pretty thrilling at the start. In fact, I reached the peak of excitement seconds before I began my tumble.
All of this left me thinking about the importance of staying on your skis, not just while skiing but metaphorically every time you face a new challenge. If you can stay on your skis the whole time, you will extract the best from the situation and minimize or eliminate any of the harm that could come from it.
In my example, I had other choices and could have dealt with my challenge in a different way. Many times, however, you won’t have much of a choice amongst the circumstances you face and since you often cannot choose the circumstances you will encounter ahead of time, your only choice is to develop the strength to handle whatever circumstances come your way.
Sometimes, your best option is also the safest option. Sometimes, it isn’t, but the goal remains the same. Stay on your skis and finish the job and, while you’re at it, find your pace and try to learn a few things along the path.
If you ski too slow, you probably won’t achieve much progress and you certainly won’t get your heartrate up. If you ski too fast, you are likely to miss a few things and you are much more likely to get hurt especially if you haven’t mastered the necessary fundamentals and skills of skiing along the way.
I think there is a lot to be said for finding the right speed in your life and how you go about living it and the idea of being on skis, as opposed to trekking or marching, helps to smooth out the vision.
How great would your life be if you could figure out how to glide smoothly through it, adjusting your speed as necessary, handling the hills and the valleys accordingly?
Maybe you have figured that out already, but if you haven’t, go find your mountain to conquer and remember to stay on your skis!
This article is part of Scott Arney's Serial Decision Maker educational series.