“How do you not get bored doing the same route every day?”
This question’s about the fact I’m climbing Table Mountain via Platteklip Gorge every day in 2018.
My answer on the mountain at the time was simple: No two days are the same.
That was my instant response answer, but the question sat like a splinter in my mind on the rest of the hike; day 76 of 365 summits.
Why don’t I get bored and what is boredom? I thought I’d explore it further in this piece.
What is Boredom
There are two times we’re bored: we’ve ‘nothing’ to do and/or doing the same thing over and over.
Parents will most likely identify most with the first type. Children complaining they’re bored because they aren’t able to do what they want.
In reality, boredom’s great (and necessary) because it stimulates creativity. Being bored means you must think, go within and tap into parts of ourselves that switch off when the TV or our dumb phones are on.
In speaking about this to a group from the UK, words flowed through me I hadn’t thought about previously.
Boredom comes from pursuing things that are not driven by purpose. (With regards to a consistent daily routine)
Climbing Table Mountain every single day for a year just for some personal record would be boring as all hell to me.
Climbing Table Mountain every day to raise money and awareness for those born into extremely challenging circumstances has purpose.
It’s your mindset.
Different day – different people
I also challenge those who donate, to climb with me on a specific day, which means to date I’ve met amazing people and had 124 people walk up with me.
Would you get bored hearing about a mans struggle with depression, how he overcame it, developed techniques to do so and now teaches children all over the world how to find their voice and speak with influence?
Would you get bored listening to parents that met in India, lived in New York, packed up a good life there and moved to Cape Town to have a better quality of life with their children?
Would you get bored listening to your best friend share her challenges she’s going through and feel immensely proud at how she thinks and deals with challenges?
Would you get bored spending a Saturday morning with your only sister and her family that traveled 1400km to support you even when her health is something that prevents her from exercising the way she wants?
Now consider the fact that the weather from day to day can be dramatically different. One day clear blue skies
the very next day no view from the top at all
What is your mindset?
Last year I climbed Table Mountain 49 times as part of my training regime while doing other hikes in-between to enjoy different scenery based on my geographical limitations this year. Training was mental preparation as much as physical. I told myself before every climb how excited I was and created the idea that I was hiking the equivalent of the day of the year. In other words, it may have been the 50th training hike, but I told myself this is day 277 of the year, and as such this is what it feels like after that many successive hikes.
Cultivating mindset doesn’t happen by accident, so here are some tips I’ve learned.
How to overcome boredom
Thinking about this question deeply I’ve developed 5 tips to cultivate your mindset so that you’ll never be bored again.
Tip #1: When you decide to do something there’s only one option – doing it.
It’s important to plan, this includes understanding all mental challenges that await you. You can train your mind to overcome it before you start.
I developed a healthy respect for what this challenge entails and more importantly, how powerful an impact it would make for people in need by completing it.
That meant there’s only one option to me – completing 365 hikes up Table Mountain in 2018.
When you give yourself alternatives the mind has options on what to focus on. IF you want to stop smoking the only option is being a non-smoker. Once you make that decision all you must worry about is today and the next moment. Period.
When you decide to do something there’s only one option.
Tip #2: Belief.
It’s one day at a time; step by step. Every day is a building block for the future, focus on what you learn and understand today, this builds belief within.
When you get through that, you get through the next day and before you know it – you’ve completed 15, then 79 days in a row.
Some days will feel easier than others. Some days will fly by. Perhaps outside factors will make your day more challenging, but you know what? It doesn’t matter what happens, you have the strength to overcome anything.
Tip #3: Outcomes drive behaviours, hence repetition doesn’t equal boring.
How many times have you eaten your favourite meal? Watched your favourite movie? Listened to your favourite song?
Over the years I’ve become accustomed to an important philosophy: The outcome drives the behaviour
I eat healthy because I know that means my body is getting nutrients it needs.
I exercise because I know it keeps my body and organs in good working order.
Whatever we do in life, especially things that we love, there’s a danger of becoming complacent and finding it boring. That’s why I say the end result drives behaviour, not your behaviour drives the result. Understanding why you do something is what builds healthy sustainable daily actions.
Tip #4: Gratitude is the foundation
When you stop being grateful for the fact that you can hear, then it becomes easy to get bored with listening to your favourite song.
If you lack appreciation for your body being fully abled, then you’d get bored being able to climb one of the 7 natural wonders of the world every day.
It takes a minute for your life to change dramatically. Nothing is guaranteed, and nothing is owed to you. Remember that.
Tip #5: What you focus on is what you get
If you worry about getting bored – you’ll get bored. If you love each day for the different options available to you then you’ll find new exciting things to experience each day.
Each day I get excited for the new experience that awaits me. I get excited for the fact that I AM doing it again! I’d rather be on the mountain than in traffic. I understand that I’m being blessed with healthy rejuvenating calming stress-relieving energy by being in nature. That each step is changing someone’s life for the better.
I focus on all the positive aspects about what I’m doing.
Start practicing today.
You don’t need to climb a mountain every day to put these tips into practice. Take breathing as an example, although it happens automatically do you get bored breathing? Take time to be aware and experience all the different ways you can breathe:
: while walking
: while running
: while swimming
: while meditating
: while focusing on each breath
: doing breathing exercises
: out one nostril, in the other
Boredom’s born from expecting joy to be given to us; but when you can find joy in even the tiniest moment – you’ll never be bored again.
The choice is yours.
Andrew Patterson is climbing Table Mountain every day in 2018 to build homes; teach children in under resourced schools to read; and increase the database for Leukaemia. Build. Teach. Life. To be part of the movement head to https://www.backabuddy.co.za/365-ubuntuclimbs
Love and respect. Thank you.