Last weekend I hiked for 3-days on the Appalachian Trail in Massachusetts with my dog Finn. On day two, we climbed Mt. Greylock, the highest point in Mass. There are many trails to the top of the mountain, starting at various points. In hindsight, I’m sure we chose the steepest, most challenging route. It was a vertical climb, with no switchbacks. Two miles, straight up.
When we arrived at the summit, Finn and I celebrated. We marveled at the view, then I poured him a bowl of water and gave him a couple of biscuits. I ate a protein bar.
There were lots of people gathered at the summit to enjoy the view. Some sat in lawn chairs or on blankets eating picnic lunches. There were families pushing babies in strollers. It was evident that most of the crowd took cars, not trails, to the top.
I am not criticizing. Not everyone can make that grueling trek.
BUT, what an even greater appreciation if you can!
You see, when I arrive at the summit of any mountain or happen upon a vista, I feel a rush of gratitude and glory. It’s such a sudden and sweeping feeling that I audibly sigh. I imagine the explorers who came to North America felt a similar rush, which inspired them to continue.
So let me get to my point.
Without a doubt, the prize is sweeter when the journey makes you sweat.
And I’m not talking about perspiration.
Look at lottery winners who become overnight millionaires!
Statistics show that most of them wind up broke.
But watch the guy who EARNED a million dollars. He’s already working on his second million!
Or people who have surgery for weight loss.
Statistics show more than half gain all their weight back, and then some.
But note the person that made better food choices and went to the gym every morning at 5 am and lost 100 pounds over a year.
Statistics show they have a better rate of maintaining their results.
How about students whose parents pay for college then party their way to flunking out, compared to the kid who goes to community college and works full-time to cover their tuition.
Are you catching on?
The appreciation in the prize is more lasting and meaningful when there aren’t shortcuts or handouts.
Effort and sacrifice take time.
Growth doesn’t happen overnight. It happens over time.
And time is what makes the journey more rewarding.