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, is a world-renown trainer, coach, author and motivational keynote speaker who trains dozens of elite, high-profile NFL, MLB, and MMA athletes, including two Super Bowl MVP’s, one NFL League MVP, Olympic gold medalists, Heisman Trophy winners, and MMA champions. Todd is a 2-Time Trainer of the Year, the 2017 Jack LaLanne Award recipient, the 2018 Canfitpro International Presenter of the Year, a member of the Under Armour Training Team, and a Top-100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness.

Todd was a featured trainer on the popular TV show, NBC STRONG, which is now airing on Netflix. His award-winning gym, Fitness Quest 10 in San Diego, CA, is a Top-10 Gym in America and his 2 best-selling books, The WOW BOOK and The IMPACT Body Plan, have both changed thousands of people’s lives. If you would like to get motivated and inspired now, you can pick these books up at www.Amazon.com, or if you would like a signed copy, please purchase at www.ToddDurkin.com/
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