“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
– African Proverb
Mount Lambak is situated in Johor state in Malaysia. In Malay, it is called Gunung Lambak. The summit is about 1400 metres high. On 25 March 2016, I accompanied a group of fellow runners from Simei Runners of Singapore for a day’s hike. About ten of us arrived at the bottom of the mountain and started our climb around twelve noon. The weather was cloudy and very suitable for a climb. Though it was my first hike ever, I knew I was physically fit to undertake such a feat. I was mentally prepared for it. Half an hour into hiking, we had to undertake a steep climb to reach one of the summits.
Only five of us challenged ourselves to climb that steep mountain. The remaining took an easier and less challenging route to the summit. I was the last person and the young people ahead of me climbed fast. I tried to catch up but I could not. I was gasping for air. When I looked up a few times, I saw my group much ahead of me.
Suddenly, a thought of fear came over me. What if something happens to me? If I let go of the roots of the tree I was holding onto for support, I knew that I would end up at the bottom. I could not see them anymore, the dense forest made it impossible for me to take an alternate route down. At that moment, a small rock rolled down from above. A quick move to the side saved me from being hit by it. I was scared. I asked myself, why did I take this route when there was an easier one? I realized that the rock could have rolled down because someone had stepped on it. I called them to ensure that they could hear me.
After a few attempts, I got a response. I could not see them but the thought that they were somewhere near gave me a sense of relief. I asked them to stay until I caught up. After almost twenty minutes, I reached them gasping and panting for breath. I could not utter a word. I sat there for a few minutes and stabilized my breathing. They gave me some drink. We motivated and encouraged each other. We took a few more breaks in between and finally made it to the summit.
I learned a few life lessons that day. Always stick with like-minded people, if you want to go far. None of my close friends would have helped me to achieve it. They don’t climb mountains, they don’t run marathons, and they don’t take challenges the way I do. They are good at other things, so when I am with them we do things which interest both.
In order to achieve such goals, I joined the adventurous group Simei Runners. Joining the right group or forming the right group will help you get to your goal faster. The second lesson I learned was that preparation is the key to success. I knew I was physically fit but did not carry water as advised by the team leader. I was thirsty along the way but didn’t have water. Only when I caught up with my team did I get some water to quench my thirst. I did not listen to them when they told me the climb is going to be tough. Things could be easier if you are in the right group that stands by you in times of turbulence. As the saying goes “Different strokes for different folks”. You must have different support groups for different purposes.
I learned yet another important lesson for life, that day; it is very difficult for us to succeed alone. We need support from other people and without that support most goals are unreachable. Your support group might have parents, teachers, friends, relatives, etc., who sincerely wish your success. They are the ones who push you when you are in doubt and the ones who lift you up when you fall.
Support groups offer a combination of brainstorming, educational, peer accountability and support in a group setting to sharpen your studies, career, social or personal skills. A support group helps you in achieving success. You could plan a support group in your school in partnership with your teachers and some parents who could help you with new ideas and experiences.
My mentor always told me to watch out whom I associate with. He always encouraged me to surround myself with winners who could accelerate my success. So I always hang around people I have respect for, not people who I have influence over. The people I have influence over will never challenge me and I will never get to improve. I am not saying you must ignore them. But if you are aiming big you have to stretch yourself beyond their expectations.
Only successful people who have built the muscles for such stretching can help you at these critical moments. I joined the Toastmasters Club in order to grow as a speaker; I joined the runners group so that I can embrace a healthy lifestyle. I joined various clubs and organizations so that I get the right kind of support.
Be very selective in choosing your support group. Don’t end up in a group that indulges in gossip or extremism. I have discontinued from certain groups, as I realized that it would not help me grow or sometimes, it’s against my value system.
If you hang around with big thinkers and visionaries for long enough, you will eventually start thinking like them. Such a group will challenge you and encourage you to be your best, to continuously strive to reach a higher level of performance.
I have been a part of many support groups since 2012. Such groups have profoundly shaped my life and career. Over a period of time, by reading good books and associating with winners I began to believe more in myself. It is said that ninety per cent of success depends on who you regularly associate with. Winners will always lift you up. Losers will always pull you down. There are energy suckers all around you, don’t get into such groups.
If you want to be an author, you need to associate with people who are interested in reading, writing and publishing. If you associate with the wrong group, your dream of becoming an author will have a premature death. Likewise if you want to be a speaker, associate with organisations like Toastmasters in your area. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you must associate with entrepreneurs.
There are many people around us who are convinced that everything is impossible, and they are quick to shoot down ideas. They’ll poison your mind into a state of hopelessness. Don’t let them get into your support groups and steal your dreams just because they’ve lost theirs. Instead, surround yourself with supportive and passionate people who can inspire you and bring out the best in you.