You will inevitably get into trouble if you think you have everything planned and know exactly how thing are going to turn out.
We live in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) world, and that’s just not going to happen.
Recommended for you: How Do We Survive VUCA? People often lose their way when expectations differ wildly from reality.
However, if you go in expecting some hurdle, then trouble won’t surprise you. If you expect a smooth sailing ride, then even the smallest hurdle will feel like a mountain.
It doesn’t mean you can predict all obstacles that come your way, but expecting trouble may actually help keep us calm when trouble really do happen.
At least we can be calm enough to remember our vision, or to relook at our plans.
Case study: Ben Saunders and his Antartica expedition
On a TED talk, Ben Saunders shared how he and a friend finished the most ambitious expedition ever – they walked across Antartica to the South Pole and back. It was 1,800 miles – almost 3,000km!
They planned that trip to the very detail, and it took a lot of endurance. It was over 100 days of dragging heavy sleds across ice.
They were outdoors the whole time, mostly blinded by whiteouts and gruelling conditions.
I was personally trying to understand what it takes to mentally keep going in such situations.
It’s a good case study about knowing yourself, having an audacious goal that drives you, and having the right plan.
There was one surprising lesson that I learnt from Saunders.
Personally, I think that celebrating your small victories occasionally helps to maintain your endurance level. Or what people would say, ‘to stop and smell the roses’.
In that journey that Saunders and his friend took, when they got to the South Pole (60 days in, after walking 900 miles) where there was a scientific research station, all they did was take a picture, turn right back around and keep walking.
They didn’t even go in or have a meal; absolutely nothing!
That drove home the point that we started with: you need to know yourself.
Saunders was more worried that if he went inside the station and took a break, he may not get up to continue his expedition. So he decided to keep his eyes on the prize and just keep going.
Now that may work for some people. If you know that “slowing down” to appreciate the progress may be detrimental, don’t do it.
While for others, those small victories and letting it sink in will propel you to go further. It also takes incredible self-awareness and experience to know what works for you and what doesn’t.
4. Having the right support system
This may mean different things to different people. The gist is that you must know what kind of support you will need to be successful.
Is it a mentor or a coach? Is it a proven method for you to overcome stress? Is it having the right team with the right skills around you?
No one achieves anything in this world on his/her own; everyone was supported in his/her journey. That applied to Saunders in his expedition to the South Pole, and even Steve Jobs too.
They each had the right team around them to help them to be successful. That also means that we should ask for help, and it’s not something to be ashamed of.