Of Attitude and Altitude

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Of Attitude and Altitude

When we went for a team retreat in Bali in January this year, one of the things we had planned for was a climb up Mount Batur which is 1,717 m high.

This is a bit of a crazy move as there were some among us who were not exactly physically fit. Others had a problem with height and some had not-so-sturdy knees. The team had come to a point where we trusted the leader so completely that we didn’t stop to think or ask too many questions about this climb, beyond what clothes and shoes we needed.

It is amazing to see how attitude did literally help us reach the summit of Mount Batur. We woke up at 1.30 am that day and left our villa at 2 am for a 2-hour drive to the foot of the mountain. At 4 am, we began our ascent. For 2 hours we walked in the dark. It was easy going at first but the walk soon became a bit of a climb. We reached the summit round about 6 am, in time to catch the sky lighting up and to wait for the sunrise. The sun rising over the neighbouring mountains was breathtakingly beautiful and made the climb worth the while.

Patricia had been concerned about the climb; she suffered from rheumatoid arthritis which gave her pain in her ankles whenever she exercised. All the way up to that summit, she was already struggling quite a bit – stiffness, pain and tiredness, some huffing and puffing. The sunrise, and the breakfast on the summit, made us all forget the weariness.

After breakfast and group photos, we were somewhat revived and began making our way down. It wasn’t easy going for Patricia at all; the path down was steep almost all the way.

Patricia, already tired, hung on to her guide almost all of the way. By now, the sun was full out; it was hot and humid. Step by painful step, she made her way down with fortitude and determination. Then at some point in the last stretch, she strode ahead of us and was the first to reach our bus! We were astonished at her sudden burst of speed and energy. Was it a case of the need to answer the urgent call of nature? Or did that energy come from a sense of personal victory that she had already conquered the mountain. She was energized by her triumph!

When we debriefed the day’s activities, almost everyone gave Patricia feedback that she had been an inspiration on the Batur climb. What did we learn from Patricia that day?

We applauded her attitude. The same climb could have been harder and nastier if she had decided to grumble. She did not. Not a whine came from her. Okay, her face looked pretty grim and miserable at many points but she kept her spirit up all the way.

I had been with Patricia on other trips where we had other physical activities. Previously she wasn’t game for those challenges which, in comparison to Mount Batur, were easy. In those instances, I saw how resisting just prolonged the agony and made the journey harder whereas a calm determination and a steady pace just made so much more sense if I want to get to my destination!

Whether it is climbing a mountain or getting on with MLM, grumbling and resisting are great energy wasters! They are like climbing with weights to the ankles. On the other hand, when I fix my attitude, when I am willing to do my utmost, when I am bent on finding ways and reasons to achieve my goal rather than avoid the journey and the pain, I find myself scaling and reaching greater heights. Again, Patricia demonstrated that “if I want to, I can.” My attitude determines my altitude!

I have known Patricia for years. She had worked her way up to the most senior position in a luxury watch company. Yet through all those years, in her high-flying job, I have not seen her grow as much as she has grown in the last few years in the MLM business. Her attitude as she climbed the mountain was evidence of the deep changes that have taken place in her mind and spirit. I realized then what MLM experts mean when they say that our business is a personal development programme dressed as an enterprise! I love that! And I love how MLM transforms lives.

Ang Hwee Suan

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