Getting Started #53 – Defeating Goliath

Tim Van Orden on Mount Anthony

It’s been a while since I’ve made a video and some of you may have guessed that if you don’t see a video from me for a while, it means that the ‘sheep’ has hit the fan. It’s been a tough time. I’m getting ready for the World Championships, keeping my training up, dealing with everything else in my life, and dealing with depression… It’s been a lot to handle. So today, the day after my 44th birthday, (That’s right, I’m 44. I can’t believe it.) I’m out doing some trail work on Mount Anthony. I love the trails here. The terrain is just beautiful and I want to keep the trails clean so that others can enjoy them as much as I do. So my trail work is partially a public service and partially a tool that I use to move forward in life… especially when I’m feeling stuck and overwhelmed.

My job for the day is a big cherry tree a foot in diameter that has fallen across the trail. As I begin to chop away at the tree, I become focused on the task at hand and the rest of the world (including my problems) just melts away. After a little while I begin to feel better… I feel strong… I feel clear… I’m totally calm… There’s no depression… There’s no anxiety… There is nothing else in the world that has ‘got’ me right now… Just this big cherry tree. Cherry trees are catagorized as a hard wood and are therefore a very dense wood and tough to cut. This task is made even more challenging by the tools that I’ve chosen to work with – a little fold up hand saw and a tiny hatchet. I carry these tools with me because they are small enough to run with and they allow me to clean up any downed trees or branches that I
come across. This tree is being really stubborn… or very cherry… And I’ve just got to keep going at it… No matter how long it takes. It’s already been close to three and a half hours and then I’ve got another tree a few hundred meters away that I’ve got to clear off as well. Just what the doctor ordered.

I’ve learned that when the going gets tough, find some place to become tough yourself. This tree will not defeat me. It will not win, and I don’t care how long it takes, I’m going to get this tree off the trail today. So not only will I have accomplished something, but I will have also done some really hard work and unburdened my mind in the process – by taking on an obstacle that has nothing to do with the obstacles that are currently overwhelming me in my ‘real’ life. By winning here against this immovable object with tiny little hand tools, by defeating Goliath, I can celebrate victory and a job well done. I can then take this triumph and this sense of accomplishment and clarity back into my life and to my obstacles and use it to move forward. I now have evidence that I can succeed. Evidence that I can take on things that are bigger than me. Evidence that I am capable of victory. Evidence that I am the guy who does not give up. Evidence that I am not afraid to take on big challenges. This knowledge of what I am capable of fills me with a cool confidence and determination. I am victory. How do I know? Because I just spent the better part of the day conquering with this tree.

So go find an obstacle that has nothing to do with the rest of your life and defeat it. It doesn’t matter what the obstacle is, but it’s an added bonus if you can find something that somehow benefits you and your community as you take it on. People use the trails that I’m clearing, so by taking on this tree I’m doing a service to my community as well as to myself. So find an obstacle, and find your victory. Don’t give up, defeat it, and then take that victory with you into the rest of your life. So when I’m done with this tree, I’m going to go home and I’m going to take on the biggest obstacle in my life right now, which is organizing my trip to Germany for the World Championships, cause MAN is it stressing me out. But I will not
let it defeat me. I will be victorious and I will arrive in Germany and I will let it all out. So find a downed tree in your life and chop the crap out of it.

Watch the video here:

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