In the Bookshelf #1: Appalachian Trials

Appalachian_Trials

This is the first book of the For Victory or Death bookshelf series. In that series of post, I’ll review great books that in my mind are similar to the main ideas behind FVOD.  Today’s book and the first in the bookshelf is Appalachian Trials by Zach Davis. I’ve stubble on that book by pure randomness. I’m not a hiker and I don’t read anything about hiking. I wasn’t expecting anything special. In my mind it was a travel journal. The book was finally a lot different from I thought it would be. The author give the most precious lessons he learned from preparing and doing his trip. In fact, it was more about the mental preparation for the hike. The principles in the book can be applied to any other goals you have, it’s not hiking specific. Whether you are trying to achieve a deadlift milestone, learn a new language or wanting to do an Ironman, Appalachian Trials could help you.

As you can expect the book talk about Zach’s goal of hiking the whole Appalachian Trail. For those who don’t know (like me before reading the book), the trail is 2200 miles long in the eastern part of USA and crosses over 14 states (Georgia to Maine). The ultimate goal is to thru-hike the whole trail and reach the  summit of Mount Katahdin in Maine. Zach spent 5 months to achieve his journey.

“We never know when our last day will be, everyday is a great day.” – Zach Davis

Davis wanted to do something special with his life. His purpose became the Appalachian Trail. He quit everything in his life to achieve his goal. For him, the greatest denominator of success is having a purpose. Without one, you’re going nowhere. He went on the trail without any background in hiking. He prepared himself differently than the common hiker. Instead of trying to plan everything beforehand, he made mental preparation his priority. He was ready for any setbacks he would encounter on the trail. We can find similarity between this book and The Dip by Seth Godin. In that book, Godin explain that after you start a goal you will always meet a downfall on your path. Most people will quit once they meet their dip. If you carry on, you will conquer it.

Davis on his part want us to be aware of the honeymoon. It’s right after the start when everything is great. In everything, with job, with your girlfriend, with a new sport, you’ll meet a point where that thing isn’t new anymore. After the honeymoon, the challenge become a mental one instead of physical one. In other words, you better be equipped with tools to face those challenges.

“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” – Yogi Bera

Furthermore, Davis identify 3 types of hikers: the quitter, the goal oriented people and those who enjoy the process. Zach identify himself as the latter kind. It’s a lot harder to quit when you enjoy what you’re doing. Many tools can help achieve this mental state like meditation. It’s great way to reduce stress, anxiety and muscle tensions. You must also be aware that serendipity can strike at any moment. In other words, you will that everything is going bad, until suddenly something good happen out of the blues. We got to keep in mind that all conditions are temporary. We overestimate the length of something bad. We always adapt sooner or later.

 

If you want to read a good book about achieving goals and getting a good mindset, you’ll learn a bunch of things in that book. In bonus, you’ll want to go for a hike. If you want to know more about Zach David and the Appalachian Trial, I suggest you take a look at Appalachian Trial Blog or on Twitter.

 

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