Navigating Obstacles and Challenges

March 6, 2020  
Head of Senior School - Mr Nick Hackett

Bear Grylls has lived an incredible life. At 23, he was among the youngest people to have successfully climbed Mount Everest. In his book ‘Mud, Sweat and Tears’ he shares something of his experience:

“Humans learn how to dominate and conquer. It is what we do. But the mountain remains the same–and sometimes she turns and bites… If the peak hints at you to wait, then you must wait; and when she begins to beckon you to go then you must struggle and strain in the thin air with all your might.
The weather can change in minutes, as storm clouds envelop the peak–and the summit itself stubbornly pokes into the fierce band of jet-stream winds that circle the earth above twenty-five thousand feet. These 150+ mph winds cause the majestic plume of snow that pours off Everest’s peak”

His triumph is only made more spectacular when he reveals that 18 months before his ascent, he had broken three vertebrae following a parachute accident in which his parachute failed to open!

For many of us, challenges of this magnitude are likely to be rare; not all of us feel the call to scale Everest, or even to jump out of a plane. But that said, we will encounter obstacles and challenges throughout our lives and knowing how to navigate them is an incredibly important skill.

The third and final thought I shared with the Senior School at the start of the year was a quote from the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu. It’s a quote that has meant a lot to me throughout my own life and whilst I may have never have felt inclined to scale fearsome Nepalese mountain there have certainly been a number of challenges that I have faced with renewed stoicism and surety as a result of Lao Tzu’s wisdom. He said this:

“The journey of 1000 miles starts with the first step”

Sometimes in life, we can be awed and scared by the scale of the task ahead. My encouragement to students is to try instead to see the simple, achievable next steps that, quite often, we are more than adequately prepared to take. The wonderful, and often surprising, thing is that once the inertia of fear has been overcome when we take those first faltering steps, we are already on our way to success. Whilst we’re focusing on the next steps and working out what needs to happen next, the mountain – no matter how big it is – is getting climbed! And so, when faced with mountains my advice is to try to enjoy the beautiful scenery – trusting that a sure and steady process of putting one foot in front of the other, being persistent and disciplined, is how great things can be achieved with confidence.



Sports News

Congratulations to our TIGS NASSA Swimmers who were the champions at the NASSA Carnival on Wednesday 26 February! For more results and photos visit the OLLE page. Week 4 was a busy week in sport, for other results and photos check out the Tennis and Triathlon reports.


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