Trekking to Machu Picchu is a once in a lifetime experience, and I am so glad to have been able to do it. Once in a lifetime, that is, unless you are a guide or a porter on the Inca Trail.
Our guide had done the Inca Trail 750 times! If you think that's remarkable listen to this:
Each year they have a race, just local porters and guides, across the whole Inca Trail. End to end in one go. This trail is at serious altitude and takes us mere mortals four days of hard slog, and it is hard. Really, really hard.
So how long do you think it takes the locals to do this four-day strenuous trek? Three days? Two? Nope. The record holder is a porter who completed the entire Inca Trail in under four hours. How incredible is that?
Yes, they are used to the altitude, and yes, they are madly fit, but nevertheless I think the most incredible thing here is the mindset. And the belief of what it is possible for the human body to accomplish. The mind has such a powerful influence on the body, more so, I think, than the hours spent in a gym preparing. If you believe you can accomplish something, that knowledge is far more powerful than the actual prep. What you believe is possible is the greatest influence of all.
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Consider this: when Roger Bannister broke what was widely considered to be an impossible barrier - the four-minute mile - back on May 6, 1954, beliefs were challenged and changed overnight. It had to be possible because Bannister had done it.
That change in belief led to 53 people also breaking the four-minute mile in the next 12 months. What had changed? Certainly not training regimes or kit in that short time period: it was entirely due to the change in belief of what was possible.
Have a think... about anything that might be holding you back right now - the belief that you can't lose weight, that you are just too busy to have a healthy work/life balance, that you are too old to take up surfing, that you can't make money doing something you love - and see how that belief is holding you back far more than your body or circumstance is. Commit to trying and challenging the impossible: you just never know what you might achieve, or what you might inspire others to do.
Louise Thompson is a life coach, yoga teacher and corporate escapee. For more from Louise visit positivebalance.co.nz.