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Lessons from Koko Head
by Candace Abeni Thoth : Honolulu Business Member

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Koko Head is an incredibly tall mountain on Oahu that has approximately 1,050 steps leading to the top. Many people have different reactions prior to hiking the mountain, some are overwhelmed, others, boiling over with excitement. I had mixed feelings.

First, let me admit that I had been saying I was going to hike Koko Head since I moved here but had been putting it off. My excuse was I wasn’t ready and that I had to adequately prepare. In my mind, I thought I needed to work out on a daily basis prior to hiking Koko Head and since I hadn’t been doing that, I figured I wasn’t ready. Fortunately, my friend and my partner convinced me otherwise.

Here are five life lessons that I learned from the hike:

1. You will never feel “ready” enough for anything new. If your mind is anything like mine, it probably goes into overdrive when you are getting ready for a new experience. The brain lists thousands of things it thinks it needs in order to be prepared. Fortunately, most of those things it comes up with are baloney. More than likely, you are more ready than you think for whatever it is you want to do. Furthermore, there’s always one more thing you can do to prepare. Waiting until we are fully prepared can prevent us from ever reaching our goals or trying new experiences.

2. Go at your own pace. The three of us planned to take a break at predetermined locations. Initially, that plan sounded great until I actually started the hike. I ended up taking more frequent breaks and it took me quite some time to get up the mountain. Some of the people that started out with us had made it to the top and were on their way back down while I was only midway through the hike. I didn’t let that discourage me though because I knew I would make it to the top, even if it took all day. Don’t succumb to the pressure of doing things on other people’s timelines.

3. Enjoy the journey. As we hiked up Koko Head, I was laughing and cracking jokes. I thought it was hilarious that at some point I was literally crawling my way up to the top. If you can’t laugh and enjoy the journey, what’s the point?

4. Encourage others along the way. When I descended the mountain, I made it a point to encourage others who looked like they needed it. Although it was cheesy at times, I could tell most appreciated the positive words. Spreading aloha never hurts.

5. Don’t be afraid to take a different path. Although Koko Head has clearly defined steps that lead you to the top, I found it easier sometimes to walk alongside the steps. I also chose to crawl my way up at times, which looked absolutely ridiculous, but it was easier on my body. Never be afraid to take a different path if that’s what’s best for you.

In the end, I’m grateful for my friends for encouraging me to do the hike, and I appreciate the lessons I learned. Hiking always finds a way to relate to life. For those of you who haven’t hiked Koko Head, I highly recommend it, you may be surprised at the insights you gain.

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