5 Top Takeaways from Climbing Mt. Quandary

How is life going for you? Are you on a high-of-highs or are you possibly in a low-of-lows? Or are you somewhere in between?

I realize that many times in life we face adversity, setback, and challenge and we are forced to get out of a hole, get the mind right, and start climbing back. I get it.

And then there are times when we are on the “mountain-top” just absolutely loving life. While we often want more of these “mountain-top moments,” it seems like they don’t happen as often as we want.

Doesn’t it seem like we spend a lot more time “climbing” in life than perched at the top just reveling in a string of successes?

Well, I decided months ago that I was going to climb my first “14er” so that I could experience the highs and lows of a tough climb. To me, climbing is like a metaphor for life:

We all want to experience more extraordinary views from the top of the mountain…but we spend the majority of our time climbing to get there.

So that’s what I did. I climbed Mt. Quandary (14,252 feet high) on Tuesday outside Breckenridge, CO, and it was a beast. There were 50 of us climbing together and we faced rain, sleet, snow, mud, wind, and yes, even some sun.


I must admit that it was one of the harder one-day things I have ever done. Both physically and mentally. It was also one of the most exhilarating.

Here are my Top 5 Takeaways from The WOW Climb:

  1. It’s always about the Journey! While we typically always want to hurry to the “top” of life, it seems like we spend a lot more time on the actual climb. We are often scratching, clawing, and fighting to make better days for ourselves. That’s normal but we often forget to actually ENJOY THE PROCESS. Life is a journey and meant to be lived. It’s important to be in the moment and stay focused on the here and now.
  2. Embrace the Elements. Rain, hail, wind, snow, mud and cold made the climb tougher than normal but then again, isn’t that life? To me, “wind” represented the distractions that try to blow you off course. Rain and hail represented the people who try to “rain” down on your parade and squash your dreams. “Cold” just represented the “stinking thinking mindset” that tries to make you steer back to your warm cocoon where comfort is found. All of it is hogwash. You just keep focusing on one step forward at a time and dealing with the situation you are facing.
  3. Mindset Matters Most. It doesn’t matter if it’s athletics, work, home, working out, or climbing a mountain, mindset is always critical. And “getting the mind right” was 90% of the battle on this climb. You start to hear voices in your head that say, “this is going to be very tough,” “your knees are going to hurt on the way down,” “this is going to be harder than the Elimination Tower”, etc. To me, I just kept saying to myself “GET YOUR MIND RIGHT.” And that’s something I say to myself every single day.
  4. Stay Focused…and keep Climbing. I must admit that I often looked up the mountain to see where I was going. That was exciting and daunting at the same time. That to me represented vision and goals. I knew where I wanted to go.
    And every now and then, I would stop to catch my breath and look down the mountain where I came from. It was good to stop and look back a bit and realize how far I had already climbed.
    But the most important thing was keeping my head down and slightly forward and just taking one step at a time. Literally.
  5. Create more magical moments and WOW experiences in your life. There was nothing like the exhilaration at the top of that mountain. As a matter of fact, I stayed up there for about 30-minutes and just reveled on how great it felt “to be on top of the world.”
    Being up there with my wife Melanie, some Fitness Quest 10 teammates, my friends form Ascent Protein who sponsored this trip, and dozens of other friends and fitness enthusiasts who made it just so special.

It takes time, effort, preparation, overcoming adversity, commitment and ACTION for you to create these WOW moments. They usually don’t just happen. My encouragement to you is to create more of these magical moments and WOW experiences in your life that take your breath away and imprint extraordinary memories in your mind.

While you do NOT have to climb a 14,000 foot mountain to create a WOW experience, I will tell you that when you commit to doing something outside of your comfort zone and it “scares” you a little bit, it sets you up to ultimately experience truly what is EXTRAORDINARY.

We are all designed to be special and this mountain to me epitomized the “highs and lows” we face on our own journeys. You can’t let your lows be low for too long and when you are at a “high,” you have to enjoy it as long as you possibly can. And all the time in between is the process and journey and that’s where LIFE is found.

Continue to climb my friends and enjoy life!

Much love and lots of climbing,


About the Author

Todd Durkin, MA, CSCS, is an internationally-recognized performance trainer, bodyworker, speaker, author, and owner of award-winning gym Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA (one of the Top 10 Gyms in the U.S.). His outstanding team of 38 professionals delivers extraordinary service in personal training, sports performance training, massage/bodywork, Pilates, yoga, physical therapy and chiropractic. Todd is the Lead Training Advisor for Under Armour, regular contributor to Men’s Health, and author of The IMPACT! Body Plan.

Todd Durkin created a “DOSE of DURKIN” to motivate and inspire people through weekly text messages every Monday morning that infuse video, audio, or just plain text messages. They are guaranteed to get your mind right and fire-you up. Check out DoseOfDurkin.com to OPT-IN and start receiving your FREE messages. 

Todd is also the President/CEO of Todd Durkin Enterprises where he conducts motivational keynotes/presentations, educational & leadership workshops, he operates a Mastermind Group for dedicated fitness entrepreneurs, and he presents internationally on health, fitness, peak performance, and success in life.

You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ToddDurkin, his FB Fan page at ToddDurkinFQ10, or sign up for his monthly motivational newsletter at www.ToddDurkin.com. You can get more information on his facility at www.FitnessQuest10.com or www.ToddDurkin.com.


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