Biking up a Mountain

When I used to bike tour, I discovered an interesting thing. If I was pedalling up a mountain, I would project into the future how miserable I was feeling. Suddenly, it wasn’t just the mountain that was hard, EVERYTHING else would be just as hard, in my mind. Finding a place to camp? Miserable. Going another 60 miles after this? Miserable. Eating mac and cheese for the 50th time? Miserable, miserable, miserable. Even the promise of going downhill after the up didn’t seem like a reward. In fact, why even do this miserable bike trip thing? It’s all misery! I also noticed that my perspective on life instantly changed when I got to the downhill part. All was well again.
Eventually, I learned to focus only on the mountain while on the mountain.
When you feel miserable, it is hard to imagine that anything in life feels good, so the trick is to understand that your current misery is coloring your view of everything else. It is best to just focus on what is right in front of you. For example, if you just went through a rough break-up, or lost your job, it would be easy to imagine that your future will always be miserable, because you are in a particularly miserable place in life. Like the biker on the mountain, you can only get through these challenges one step at a time. If you notice that you are projecting your current state of mind far into the future, you can remind yourself that you are on the mountain now, and this mountain, once climbed, will soon fade into the horizon behind you.

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