Three Things Zip-lining Taught Me

Photo Credit: Anthony Delanoix

I have a fear of heights. Whenever I fly on an airplane however, I love to defy this fear and hence always take a window seat. Today some friends talked me into defying this fear again by traversing an obstacle course 40 feet above the ground. The course ended with a zip Line and I learnt so many things by the time I had whizzed through the air and landed on the platform on the other end. Here are three things I learned:

Lesson 1: Doubt and Fear are EVIL

Yup very. I mean I’m sure we all know this but today I realized even better how limiting they can be. Doubt and fear can keep you confined in one place your whole life.

It can keep you from starting that business, from chasing that dream, from marrying that wonderful person, and it can cripple your future. There were times during the obstacle course that I felt I wouldn’t be able to reach the next swinging plank because it seemed too far or grab the next rope because I was afraid I would fall. I had to motivate myself constantly and tell fear and doubt that I could do it despite what they thought and guess what? I did it!

Lesson 2: You are far Stronger than you Think

We are far stronger physically and mentally than we think. In Jesse Itzler’s book, Living with a Seal, he tells the story of doing a 100-mile run as part of a six person relay team. There was a 260-pound US Navy Seal who was also running in this race but he was running it entirely by himself. By the end of the race he had broken all the small bones in both of his feet and had kidney damage but he finished the race. After this, Jesse Itzler asked him to live with him for a while to teach him this level of endurance and it was there the Seal taught him an important lesson:

“When your mind is telling you you’re done, you’re really only 40 percent done.”

There were times during the obstacle course that my muscles burned with exhaustion and my mind questioned if it was worth it. It would have been so easy to quit. Just quit. Just stop moving forward. It’s the easy route. Others could not finish the course either. You won’t be alone…Quit.

No! I kept telling myself you can do this. Yes it’s hard. Yes people quit. But you aren’t people. You are you. You can do this!

This obstacle course was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried in my life. It tested me physically and mentally but I finished!

Lesson 3: Overcoming Challenges is so Rewarding

After dangling for over 15 minutes trying to reach the end of the course I finally reached the very last obstacle: The Zip Line.

Now before I started the course, that had been my biggest fear. Funny enough, by the time I reached the zip line, I had been gone through so many difficult obstacles that it felt like a piece of cake.

If I hadn’t overcome the other obstacles I would not have felt that way.

Overcoming my fear of heights whiles walking on tightropes, uneven planks, knotted ropes etc made me feel like I could handle anything.

It was such a rewarding feeling. Every obstacle I conquered made me feel I could conquer the next no matter how hard it was. So many people have reasons for not chasing a particular dream but just do it and conquer every challenge that would come, one after another. As you do, you would grow in confidence and before you know it, you would one day look back and be amazed at how far you have come.

As I glided through the air on the zip line, feeling very proud of myself, I couldn’t help but wonder: what challenge should I conquer next?

Thanks for Reading

Benjamin J. Obeng

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