Explore life’s plateaus

By Trey Tompkins - Contributing Columnist

I want you to visualize getting ready to climb a mountain. It’s a daunting task, but everybody is there encouraging you to the peak. The encouragement and hype get you started from the bottom, so you begin to climb up.

After a while of tough climbing you reach a plateau. This is just a flat surface that allows you time to rest and landscape the rest of the climb. You notice on the plateau that it extends itself further on around the mountain. You don’t know where it goes and it seems scary to traverse it. The top is within your scope but looks daunting, so you’re not certain about your capacity to climb the rest of the way.

There is a choice to be made. You could A.) Keep climbing and test yourself beyond your capacity B.) Go around the other side of the mountain or C.) Climb back down without reaching your goal.

Some people don’t get any of the options. They just stay at the bottom of the mountain. That’s fine, but you won’t ever get the thrill (ups AND downs) of a climb. A lot of people, too many, take option (C). That’s fine, but you’re likely not to try again. I know a few people who take option (A), but go beyond their capacity and fall down a long ways and wind up getting hurt. That’s fine, but you may get stuck in a difficult position that seems impossible to get out of.

I want to explore option (B). This route we go around the mountain. That may not be the quickest route, and you don’t get any higher in your climb, in fact, you’ve sort of flattened out. You’re moving laterally. That’s often frowned upon in our culture. Too many expect a straight ascension to the top.

Sometimes our routes will not work out like that. Take your plateaus. Even those are journeys for exploration. Say you walked to the other side of the mountain and found a better path to the peak. You still reached your aim that you set out for at the base. As long as you keep moving forward and try your best, there is nothing wrong with plateaus.

So, here is the scrub on them. Complacency isn’t regarded as a good thing. At the “plateau” (now a metaphorical representation in our story) we stop and sit down. While sitting down we choose to stay. We end up sitting for so long that we lose our desire to get to the top, but waited long enough for the people at the bottom (whom are not able to see your climb) to anticipate that you made it. So you begin to climb back down from that plateau without ever reaching the top. When you get down you tell people about it and that you made it. That you did what you set out to do and you are happy, but you know that it is not true.

Don’t do this. You get caught up in your own web of lies. Explore those plateaus. Try new things. Don’t become fixed on one method. This is your climb my friends. Find a way to the top!

Trey Tompkins is a local resident who writes fitness columns for the Record-Herald.


By Trey Tompkins

Contributing Columnist