On my recent “Lad’s Trip” to Scotland, I learned a very important lesson: The greatest goals can be achieved when you never give up, and just take the next step!
My bros, sons, nephews and I spent a week in Speyside, Scotland, the home of a myriad of Highland Whiskey Distilleries. We were scheduled to visit four or five distilleries a day.
Each tour ends with a whiskey tasting, accompanied by an expert demonstrating the subtle nuances of their particular brand of caramel colored liquid.
These tastings are always followed by another exclusive tasting, at an additional cost, of their extra special, rare and very old dusty bottles. After buying a few obligatory bottles, we would move on to the next distillery.
After a couple of days of this, I pulled my older brother aside and admitted to him that I didn’t think I could manage another full day of distillery touring. I’d heard about a hike in our area to the top of the highest local mountain peak. The view there was reported to be spectacular. I told him that I wouldn’t be joining them all the next day and would instead be attempting this vigorous climb.
My brother looked at me with pity in his eyes and said,” OK, I guess we’re not all tough enough to handle this rigorous schedule.”
The next day, my son, son-in-law, nephew and I woke up really early in the morning to drive to the embarking point of this hike.
We drove along a country lane snaking through green valleys spotted with white sheep. The small road was with lined with ancient stone walls and meandered through tiny villages scattered with thatched roofed cottages.
We were able to grasp glimpses of the intimidating peak looming ahead of us, appearing both closer and taller as we drove on.
The hike itself really tested the limits of my endurance.
I just remember being doubled over, trying to catch my breath and breathlessly declaring to my son that I didn’t think I could go on.
He tried to encourage me to have a “You can do it!” attitude, but I could feel his skepticism as he looked back at the car, which was only about 200 yards away. We had only just begun!
After I pushed through the initial assault on my legs, lungs and ego, I found my rhythm and I even began to enjoy the slow ascent up the winding snake path.
The sheep looked like tiny white dots on a carpet of green, way down in the valley below us. The snow-capped mountains in the distance framed this idyllic picture.
When we were about half way up the mountain, my thighs were burning and my feet had become numb from the new hiking boots I was wearing. I told myself that I only needed to take one more step. After that step, I would reevaluate and decide if I wanted to stop and take a break.
Each step was a new and conscious decision. After all, it wasn’t difficult to decide to take one more step.
Before I knew it, I was standing on the summit with my arms raised in a triumphant victory pose. I knew that I could accomplish anything in my life if I just took the very next step…perhaps to even go to one more distillery!
Take a look at the video below to see how I was feeling after I made it to the top of the mountain….