Run Uphill

Stand out from the crowd by doing what most people won't…

Run Uphill

Stand out from the crowd by doing what most people won't…

Healthy Habit

When I’m out jogging and I get to a hill, I’ll increase my pace going up. 

It's a good mental and physical challenge, and it gives you a boost of endorphins. – You feel better when you reach the top. 

Typically, people will slow down or walk when they reach a hill, and so it's often ‘easy’ to pass other runners on the way up. (Which is very motivating). 

You may also spark a bit of friendly competition and pull others into your slipstream, so to speak. Or just inspire them to push themselves just a little bit harder, too. 

I do this elsewhere, as well, although purely for myself. I'll run up stairs, or walk past people up escalators when there's space. It's a fun and healthy habit – it gets the blood flowing. 

I've done it since I was a child. But it wasn't until later that I realised just how beneficial it could be to apply this habit elsewhere in life. 

The Hill Climb

When I served in the Norwegian army we would regularly go out on training missions. 

Over the course of the year we would be out in all types of terrain, often for days or weeks at a time. In all seasons and weather conditions. 

I particularly remember one time during winter when we were up in the snowy mountains on cross-country skis. 

Each team had a pulk (a sled pulled with a harness and rigid poles) with gear and supplies – tents, portable stoves, paraffin, food, water, etc. And one person at a time would pull the heavy load. Naturally, we would alternate between each team member on our long marches from one camp to the next. 

When going up steep hills, two people would join in and push the pulk from behind to help share the load. 

After a long day of marching on our skis up in the mountains, we arrived at the foot of a steep hill. Our camp for the night was going to be set up on the other side, which meant we all would have to climb the hill, exhausted as we were. 

Like always, two people got behind the pulk to start pushing. But when we began the climb, the soldier in front surprisingly forged ahead with massive force, and started pulling the pulk all by himself up the hill. 

The two people behind almost struggled to keep up at first, he went so fast. Everyone was super tired. But interestingly, this act of selflessness by the man in front sparked a surge of energy in all of the team members. 

Together, we gave 110% and pushed and pulled the pulk up the hill with great second wind. 

Instead of a slow and frustrating struggle to reach the summit, we got to the top in no time – with everyone energised and in a great mood. 

All just because one man ‘ran uphill’.

Momentum Is Everything

When traversing the terrain of work, most people will slow down and walk (or even crawl) while going uphill. 

By that, I mean when they are faced with a tough challenge they will spend less effort up front, as if to ‘pace’ themselves for the challenge ahead. 

But I actually think this is the wrong way to go about it. 

When you have a hard task ahead, spend extra energy and effort straight away to gain solid momentum. You'll end up finishing the difficult task much quicker, and with much less frustration. 

For example, at the end of a project you might get really annoying client notes which just have to be done. Instead of taking on the attitude of “Oh my god, we're still not finished yet”, change your mindset to “Nearly there. Let’s get it done”. 

I can't express just how beneficial this attitude change really is. – But I'll give it a go. 

If you carry your weight (and more) during the tough times of projects, you will: 

  • Impress the supervisors, who will give you more opportunities going forward. 
  • Prove yourself as a valuable, reliable team player. – Someone who people will want to work with again (and might even specifically request to work with again). 
  • Inspire others to perform at a higher level. 
  • Get the tough times over with, quicker.
  • Learn that you have much more energy and willpower ‘in the bank’ than you first thought. 
  • Genuinely feel more positive and optimistic going forward. – And better equipped to tackle difficult challenges.

I'm not advocating to blindly forge ahead unprepared, without being completely clear on the work. I'm just saying that when you do know what you need to do, go for it.

The Takeaway

If either you or the ones around you feel unmotivated or even overwhelmed to a degree, start running uphill. It will change your life for the better. 

There's an old saying that goes: “If you're going through hell, keep going.”

But I'd like to make an adjustment to that adage: “If you're going through hell, start running.” 

Spend less time in “hell”. Power through the frustrating (but necessary) parts of work. Run uphill.

I hope you found this article useful. For more like this, see Advice.