Every Hero overcomes things that seem impossible – What is your impossible challenge?
Ever since the beginning of history, the story of the hero has played an important part in society. Back thousands of years ago, people would sit around a campfire and listen to the tales of ancient heroes, whether real or imagined, and how they overcame impossible challenges to do incredible things.
Hero stories have always served an important role in the development of young guys growing up. They would set the examples to be emulated. They were meant to inspire so that these youngsters could aspire to something greater.
Every hero has an origin story
Some of the most popular stories proved to be the stories we now call origin stories. Heroes were known to possess incredible powers, do impossible things and overcome powerful forces. To most listeners, they seemed out of this world.
Yet, all these heroes had to start somewhere. Most of them started off as ordinary men, living in an ordinary world, doing ordinary things. This is what made them relevant to all the people sitting around the campfire and gasping at every feat of strength, every logical problem solved with brain power and every enemy defeated. The heroes were all once like them.
Whatever your endeavor, it all starts with a first step
The origin story covers the first few steps in a hero’s journey, the parts where they go from the ordinary world and cross over the threshold into a world of adventures, and also the first few challenges that they need to overcome.
Successfully completing these first few steps sets them on a path dependency towards their superhero status.
The good news is that you can use the same type of framework to guide you on your path to greatness. You too can create your origin story. However, you need to take action. It all starts with a first step.
That first step and the successful completion of your first challenge is what defines your origin story and sets you on your hero’s journey. At this point you will know that things that seemed impossible just a short while before, are in fact quite possible and achievable.
You can create your origin story for any type of goal that you want, whether it is an adventure you want to undertake, a mental challenge that you want to tackle or a physical challenge that you want to overcome.
Create your own adventure
I have several origin stories in different fields that when pieced together create my hero profile. The most recent of these includes a challenge that I never thought I would ever be able to overcome.
One of these stories involves mountains and high altitudes. Before undergoing my ultimate quest, I never thought I would actually go climb mountains.
My ordinary world had me living a life far away from any type of adventure in the wild. I had been to the mountains before, but only for short amounts of times and not very frequently. I also never liked long hikes or runs. That’s why I was a sprinter in high school.
Whenever in the mountains, I would always see groups of people, carrying large bags on their shoulders and all kinds of equipment in hand, heading out onto the rocks and snow. Not to take pretty pictures under mountain peaks, but to stand up on top of them.
That implied a hard journey to reach that top. At that time, doing something like that seemed impossible. Unless somebody took me up in a helicopter I never imagined that I would be capable of achieving something like that.
Fast forward to two years ago: I am standing on top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, at 5 895 meters, the highest mountain in Africa. How did I do that?
Granted, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is not the hardest of climbs, but it still requires stamina, mental toughness and a good acclimatization, and is something that is out of reach for the vast majority of ordinary humans. A year before that, I considered doing something like that impossible.
As a kid, I read many of those “Create Your Own Adventure” books and just like those books, life is about choices. You need to have a growth mindset to realize that many choices that you think are closed to you, are in fact open. It’s just a matter of how hard you work.
A year before that moment, I had been living in my own ordinary world thinking that going up mountains was impossible. Then one day my brother, who is a guy who likes scaling mountains, came in and said: “We are going up Kilimanjaro.”
All I could say was: “OK“. At that moment I had crossed the threshold. No way to back out now.
I needed to get ready. So I started to train. You need to have really good stamina to be able to do something like that and also work some muscles that you never knew you had, which is especially hard for someone who sits on their ass all day in an office job.
However stamina is not enough. What can literally kill you is the altitude. Even a really fit person can have problems if they are not used to climbing up high in places with lower pressure and less oxygen. Just walking up top becomes a whole different ballgame.
The first few hikes that I did up on training mountains, I felt almost like I wanted to die. I don’t think I would have minded if I was left somewhere up on a mountain ledge to breathe my last breaths and pass onto the afterlife. That’s how destroyed and tired I was.
Yet all that training paid off. I was ready and the Kilimanjaro trip (except for the last day) was a relatively easy hike. Four out of every ten people who start off on the way to the top of Kilimanjaro are forced to turn around during some part of their journey. I wasn’t one of them. I made it to the top.
After coming back down and after a few months spent reflecting on the greatest adventure that I had ever undertaken, I came to the conclusion that after all, it hadn’t been as impossible as I initially had thought it was going to be. In fact, I was capable of even more extraordinary things.
What I had always thought was going to be the culmination of my mountaineering career, in fact is proving to be just the start of it. I had proved to myself that I am capable of doing things that I never thought I could do. Now I am planning on climbing even more challenging mountains and who knows what the future will bring.
You see, there are very few things that can prevent you from setting a goal and reaching it. Oftentimes the things that we think are impossible are only impossible because our minds deem them so. Change your mindset and those dreams become a reality.
Article summary: Every hero has an origin story. He starts off living in the ordinary world, but one day he crosses the threshold and takes his first steps on the journey to becoming a superhero. Find out how you too can start off on your hero’s journey and accomplish things that you consider impossible.
Your own hero’s journey: how to grow as a person
What is your origin story?
Craft your own origin story
How to do what you never thought possible?
Go beyond your limits: how to do the impossible
To be continued:
My next trip and the challenge I have to overcome in two weeks: Get to the top of Mt. Blanc!