Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.

— Jim Rohn

Someone asked me the other day, “How do you guys deal with the stress of putting Serenity together every month?”

Every month is pretty much a blank slate. We have just a partial idea what feature stories are going to run, which department writers are going to contribute and exactly which advertorial writers are going to show up.

Aside from our contracted advertisers, we also have no idea how many advertisements (and of what shape and size) we will have.

The “stress” that was referred to is that we never have a clear picture of each month’s publication until the last few days… and the 12-hour days begin.

I really surprised myself when I answered without hesitation, “It’s my outdoor training.” 

I’ve always believed that extreme outdoor experiences have general life benefits well beyond the immediate conditioning and the thrill of victory. In particular, long, intense physical challenges teach not only patience but how to focus on completing what feels like an impossible task.

A great example is completing the Triple Bypass. For those of you who have never heard of the “Triple,” it is a bicycle ride from Evergreen over Squaw Pass, Loveland Pass, and Vail Pass, finishing 12,000 vertical feet, 100 miles later, in time for dinner in Vail.

I have found that the first few miles going up Highway 103 alongside Noble Meadow are the most sobering. It is 6 am. I am cold, sleepy and grumpy. I am getting passed by everyone. Some smiling, talkative bundles of energy are going around me like a Volvo. My legs feel like noodles and I have only finished two miles of 100. I can’t help thinking how much more suffering is yet to come and why am I doing this? Why not just turn around?

The reason I don’t turn around is that I never have. For some reason way back in my 20s, I vowed to never quit. And I never have—be it climbing a mountain, riding a bike or hiking a fourteener.

If necessary, I play mind games with myself. When I am feeling particularly wimpy, I give myself permission to quit… but not until I reach some goal! On the Triple, for example, that might be Idaho Springs or the top of Loveland Pass.

Once, on a long backpacking trek, I swore that I would never sit down and rest until…. That got me through a 20-mile death march.   

As people age, I think they start to feel like they want to give back by sharing their wisdom with younger generations. I am no different. So here it goes!

To all of you 20-somethings who are just starting out life as an adult: You have no way to know how much the things you are doing now will influence your life 20, 30, or even 50 years down the road. Take my word for it and start the discipline now of never quitting. You will never regret it.