Hard or easy is in our mind

Panwali was going to be our Waterloo, we were warned. This was a part of the 9-day trek during our Civil Services training that included a near-vertical climb of 2 km in the Panwali mountain range.

In the words of our Physical Training Instructor, “Panwali ki chadhai, jaise cheen ki ladaai.” (The Panwali climb would be as hard as the China war.)

The first day of the trek, supposedly the easiest one, itself was enough to nearly kill me, especially since I declined the mule and carried my 20 kg rucksack.

Every new day was harder, and Panwali was yet to come. How bad would it be?

Finally, D-day.

Bracing ourselves, we started trekking and it was not too bad. Then the near-vertical climb started but it wasn’t that bad even now, given how conditioned we were.

We kept climbing, dreading the real hard part coming up soon. But a few hours later, we realized that we were already at the top. Where was the hard part? It never came!

The climb felt no harder than the previous days.

Almost every insurmountable-looking challenge in life is like this. It feels daunting when we intellectualize it — the over-thinking is what makes it hard.

But once you get started, every journey gets over. Hard or easy is only in our mind.

– Rajan


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