• Dan Mularski

Mindset Management: Misty And Miserable In Missouri

Updated: Apr 15

The thought occurs when cycling the Cascade and Rocky Mountains, “It can’t get any worse than this!” Well, welcome to misty conditions and multiple steep climbs of the Ozark Mountain roads in Missouri. Riding in dangerous fog and having to dismount loaded bikes and push 80-90 lbs. up hills for four days is miserable. What can be learned or how can thinking be managed to get some good out of this?

Misty fog and misery cycling multiple mountainous hills for hours are different categories of trials and tribulations. One is temporary and eventually goes away. The other is a long term challenge. Time alone solves the misty fog problem while climbing hills requires action and moving forward… slowly.

Beginning a day’s ride in fog it eventually disappears. The hills, however, keep coming for days, but strangely fade away as well. Some growth comes by choosing to be patient and wait for the fog to leave. More growth happens when the battle of the mind is won to take action and make the misery of the hills disappear also. Managing the mind to focus on a higher purpose shifts thinking so mist and misery both fade away.

And they go on and on and …

The higher purpose that worked then and now personally is the hope to build character and become a better man. Facing the danger and using wisdom when riding in fog built one level of character, climbing hills another. Was all the agony worth it? The challenges of Missouri riding presented a choice to be miserable or grow.

Learning starts with a growth mindset. A growth mindset does not ignore reality, but refuses to let a poor attitude limit improvement. The Apostle Paul was a man familiar with a variety of hardships. A progression of thought came from managing those experiences. It applies to the literal and figurative ups and downs of the Ozark Mountains in Missouri:

And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; (Romans 5:3-4 NASB)

Paul exulted in tribulation. Seemingly crazy, but the progression of thought builds an argument. The next step is knowing that tribulation requires perseverance to overcome it. At the bottom of a steep hill the tribulation is the climb. Without perseverance the top is not reached. The real perseverance comes when multiple hills keep popping up with no end in sight.

Let there be no confusion that this writer’s attitude was totally cool, calm, and collected. Pouting, cussing, moaning, and complaining spewed forth from this Christian man’s mouth. Perseverance is crawling up each mountain if necessary.

Going three mph up each mountain and eventually dismounting because of leg fatigue is “crawling.” Getting 90 lbs up a steep hill requires perseverance whether pedaling or pushing. The mindset management comes with a choice. Continue the nasty attitude or choose to let it “burn off” like the mist of the morning.

In one way the decision is self-serving. Angry outbursts require a lot of energy. The energy required to climb hills was more than enough of a drain upon reserves. Eventually letting that anger go each day and managing the mindset to align with the purpose of becoming a better man made progress.

Persevering and doing this day after day is proven character. Mindset management results in shorter outbursts occurring less often. Whoa, watch this, such maturity! Not so fast.

A good feeling comes getting to that point in the progression. The realization that this progress has a weak foundation comes quickly on a trip like the Trans America adventure. Get a flat and/or broken chain and/or nasty driver and it’s back to some more spewing of mind garbage. Got this far, but is it really back to square one?

Time to choose. Continue the spew, give up, or focus on desired outcomes. Decide that defaulting to perseverance, whatever the challenge, is the only option. Two steps forward and one step back is progress. Some days are good with three steps forward, but eventually it’s two steps back. Take it, it’s still progress for any individual’s challenge in life!

Once a steady pattern of progress through tribulation to perseverance to proven character occurs, this brings hope. Looking back, the realization that this only happens for this cycler with a Divine assist is apparent. Any great personal accomplishment in retrospect comes with a humbling of knowing a higher power source was involved.

A few things come to mind pondering about the misty and miserable conditions in Missouri. The Big D, a deceased best friend that was a quadriplegic and NEVER (that’s literally!) complained brings perspective. One that sets a high standard.

Few, if any personal problems will ever match what the Big D went through daily. Misty and miserable Missouri stuff is really not a big deal. The Trans America adventure is a privilege to undertake, one the Big D would have “jumped” at. The higher purpose, when viewed from that vantage point, inspires one to live life to the fullest.

Everyone has a higher purpose with multiple opportunities to become a better person. A broader view looks back at the tribulation of the hills of Missouri as character builders. The proven character developed on this trip gives hope that each day this writer complains less when, not if, the “hills” come in life.

Is the level of never complaining like the Big D achievable? Unsure personally, but knowing it is achievable raises the bar for everyone desiring growth.

Still sound weird to celebrate tribulation? The Apostle Paul was a unique dude, but wasn’t looking for tribulation. Hardships come in various forms for every human being. Life is not fair. Though it seems some live privileged lives, having coached and counseled many over the years, peel back the layers and challenges abound for everyone.

So if tribulation is a part of life, why not do some mindset managing with it? Don’t be controlled by circumstances, choose to get control. Might not be easy, but everyone has choices.

Why does it have to take so long to mature to make wise choices? Another question is why doesn’t everyone choose to grow? The bad news is managing mindset and following through on the progression to hope is hard. Really hard. The good news is, the more effort put in, the learning curve is shortened to get hope.

One of the big three, hope (faith, love) is a key to life. Without it, there is no meaning, purpose, or joy. The price to pay to get it has been spelled out by a knowledgable man, Paul. A challenge indeed, but managing mindset with the help of God, friends, and loved ones, hope is achievable.

What “hills” must be climbed in life? Every individual’s path is different. Follow the above tested path of progress – tribulation, perseverance, proven character, hope. Don’t give up. The reward is a fulfilled life. It’s worth it!

You can do this!

I get a kick out of your comments so let me know some “misty and miserable” circumstances you’ve been through. How did you get through them? What did you learn?

#growth #PedalingOnPurpose #purpose #mindset #character #tribulation #adventure #perseverance

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