paul le

Moving Mountains

Mountains from Death to Stock

Some of the best experiences of my life were travelling to places with mountains. Mountains fascinate me because of how enormous and ancient they are. Witnessing a mountain range is a humbling experience because of how indifferent they are to our problems. On the scale that mountains operate on, our problems are insignificant.

For this reason, the idea of moving mountains seems impossible. Even the notion of climbing a mountain seems almost out of reach.

In our own lives, there are many things that seem comparable to moving mountains. Some examples include getting in shape, learning a new skill, or paying off a debt.

However, there is an old saying that goes something like this:

The person who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.

I think there is some wisdom in this that we can apply to our everyday lives.

When we look at the goals that we set for ourselves, we should not see them as single tasks. In other words, we should not see them as mountains that we have to overcome.

We should instead break them down into smaller, repeatable tasks - these are the small stones. We should focus more on the system that we set instead of the goals. This allows us to focus on carrying away the small stones.

For example:

  1. Rather than focusing on the goal of losing weight or gaining muscle, break it down into smaller habits, such as going on daily walks or doing a few push-ups a day. Gradually increase your output from there.

  2. Rather than saying that you will read a dozen books this year, make a small goal of reading a few pages a day. By the end of the year, you will have made more progress than you would have expected.

  3. Rather than setting the goal to clear your email inbox, which is a daunting task, set the task of clearing 10 emails a day, and consider that task done once you complete it. You will better manage your email in the long run.

Over time, you’ll look back and realize you’ve moved a mountain.

May 18th, 2021