top of the mountain peeking above the clouds


The mountain is not simply a place where to practice winter sports or weekend leisure. The mountain is much more. It is a great school of life. Going to the mountain changes us for the better. We face difficulties, unexpected events, and help each other when we are in a group, besides sharing incredible moments. In short, after each hike, we have the opportunity to learn a new lesson. Today I want to share 8 life lessons mountains can teach us. We can implement them in our daily routines to enhance the quality of our lives. So let’s dive into the 8 life lessons.



sign that reads LESS IS MORE

Less is more is not only one of the most well-known mantras in architecture (The expression is attributed by many to the German architect and designer Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe), but it also fits in the mountain environment.

We know that a heavy backpack is uncomfortable, unpleasant, and unsafe.

From the very first hikes in the mountains, we become aware that many of the things we thought were indispensable are actually superfluous.

Let’s consider the backpack as a metaphor for life then.

Would you prefer a light, comfortable backpack or a heavy, bulky one filled with mostly unnecessary items to embark on a journey to the top of a mountain?

If you had to set a priority list, what would you bring and what would you leave out? 

The mountain teaches us to value things, to recognize what is really important, and to get rid of all unnecessary burdens.

The principle LESS IS MORE can be applied to our life too.

Let’s have a look at some examples:

Less unnecessary spending, more money,

Less distractions, more focus,

Less hectic life, more FREE time,

Less digital interactions, more face-to-face relationships,

Less talking, more listening.

“Don’t make space for more stuff. Make space for more life”. - Courtney Carver

Fewer things, fewer distractions, fewer commitments.

But what does that mean? How much is "less"?

There is no one-size-fits-all formula.

Everyone has to find their own balance point. 

Remove everything you don't need or that causes you uncomfortable feelings and get straight to the point - keep and value what is useful, pleases you, and is good for your eyes, heart, and spirit.

This is also, if not especially, true for the people you spend most of your time with.

Do they encourage and inspire you to bring the best out of you or are they people who bring you down?

“Sometimes, in life, you have to let people go because they are toxic to you. Let them go because they take and take and leave you empty. Let them go. Because in the ocean of life, when all you're trying to do is stay afloat. They are the anchor that's drowning you”. - anonymous


exhausted runner taking a breath

The peaks with the most spectacular views, the ones that give us the most satisfaction are those that also require the most effort - in the mountains as in life.

One should learn not to be afraid of fatigue because it is precisely it that enables us to experience the joy to get to the top.

We should also remind ourselves that there are no shortcuts.

In order to get to the top of the mountain there is not a straight path without detours.

Actually, to get to the top we need to take treacherous paths that can make our journey longer than we had expected.

In the age of instant gratification, having to wait in order to reach what we want seems so weird. 

For many things, we just need our smartphone, and we get what we want - whether it’s a piece of information or food delivered to our place.

So, why should we wait? Why waste time?

The answer is that the time we spend on something important is never wasted.

The things that are most valuable in life cannot be obtained right away without putting in the effort.

Instant gratification works only for the illusory and superficial things in life. 

Only time can give you access to what is most precious.

There are no shortcuts to achieving what really matters.

If we want to have a full and satisfying existence, we should rediscover and cultivate an ancient gift typical of all sages and masters - patience.

“Success requires both urgency and patience. Be urgent about making the effort, and patient about seeing the results”. - Ralph Marston


man lying in a meadow enjoying the mountain

Walking in the mountains does not need haste; the summit, the lake, and the mountain retreat will not move even if it takes longer than expected to reach them.

Thus, learn to find your own pace, to stop, to enjoy the scenery and every little discovery.

Haste in the mountains can be a bad companion, especially on the descent, when you are most tired and distracted.

Don’t be so obsessed with the destination that you miss the entire journey.

“Everybody wants to be on the mountaintop, but if you'll remember, mountaintops are rocky and cold. There is no growth on the top of a mountain. Sure, the view is great, but what's a view for? A view just gives us a glimpse of our next destination-our next target. But to hit that target, we must come off the mountain, go through the valley, and begin to climb the next slope. It is in the valley that we slog through the lush grass and rich soil, learning and becoming what enables us to summit life's next peak”. - Andy Andrews, The Noticer: Sometimes, All a Person Needs Is a Little Perspective

In a life marked by the hands of the clock, always running, always busy, the ascent to the mountains teaches us to live time differently, valuing each and every stage of the journey towards the peak, i.e. our goals.


mountain guide Gianluca Ippolito

The mountain is a world where experience really matters.

There are endless situations that can arise while we are in the mountains.

Some of them are even very dangerous, hence, we have to choose and act very quickly.

Having technical knowledge and a lot of experience in certain cases is crucial, as is relying on and being guided by someone with more experience than us who can get us out of nasty situations.

Even when we think we have seen it all, something unexpected happens that we must cope with, using all our skills and experience.

In the mountains, we learn that experience is valuable, one of those life lessons to be jealously guarded.

We understand that from every situation, above all, the most difficult ones, we can take something good for the future, which can come in handy at another time in our lives.

What’s more, we learn to respect, value, and listen to people who have more experience than us.

So next time you seek advice in any area of your life, make sure you search for it in the right place.

Not from people who haven’t experienced and mastered yet what you are working toward, but from those who have already walked the path you are on.

“Find a great role model, perhaps someone who struggled and only really succeeded when older. Their biography and what they've done differently from you will help you. If such a person is willing to mentor you or at least allow you to work around them, great”. - Tony Robbins


colored speedometer

Becoming aware of oneself and one's limits is one of the most important life lessons to learn when going to the mountains.

One must know perfectly well how far one can go, how far our body and mind can go, and having reached the limit one must know how to also take a break.

Those who go trekking or mountaineering know this well, in the mountains, there is no room for bravado and recklessness.

The mountain teaches us to overcome but also to respect our limits.

In the mountain there are situations when respecting one's limits is the clever choice you can make.

Sometimes, turning back, stopping, and temporarily giving up are not defeats but signs of intelligence and awareness. 

Sometimes working on our limits to then try to head for the peak of the mountain is the wisest choice.

Just like in life.

Maybe your goal is to run a marathon that takes place in 3 months from now, but you have never run before.

Most marathon training plans range from 12 to 20 weeks, this suggests that reconsidering your goal doesn’t mean giving up, but actually planning not to fail.

Or maybe you are thinking of starting a business without any skills or without any help, after all, you want to change your situation for the better asap.

Yet, learning the necessary skills and learning from people who have already achieved the desired results can save you years of trial and error.

“Know your limits, not so that you can honor them, but so that you can smash them to pieces and reach for magnificence”. - Cherie Carter-Scott


charming upbeat smiling man thanking from bottom heart pressing his hands against hi chest while smiling as expression of gratitude

In the mountains, we learn to take anything for granted, especially in difficult situations.

The mountain environment is in many ways extreme.

What we may consider obvious in everyday life may not be as obvious as at high altitudes, when fatigue sets in, and breath is short.

So in the mountains, we are grateful when caught in a storm during a hike and we find shelter in a hut or a mountain retreat.

We are grateful for the stunning scenarios of a sunset or sunrise; for the friend who is there and spurs us on when fatigue sets in and nerves are about to collapse.

We are infinitely grateful to the rescue men who know how to be helpful even in extremely dangerous situations.

In the mountains, we learn gratitude. 

A way of approaching life that we can also bring to our daily lives is by never taking anything for granted and always giving thanks for having the opportunity to be alive and make the most out of it.

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance”. - Eckhart Tolle


Fantastic view as a man, stand on the wooden pier at the middle of the lake in a foggy and stormy day watching a hurricane coming.

The mountain reminds us that not always everything goes as we planned. 

Everything can change when you least expect it, even the path we are on. 

There are constant changes, challenges, and obstacles, and our reactions to external stimuli can be different.

Unexpected events in the mountains are frequent, and one must learn to consider them part of the experience.

Developing a spirit of adaptation and the ability to change the plans we've previously made is a skill indispensable to getting to the top and which is also very useful in everyday life.

So why in life do we always try to have everything under control?

A predictable life is by far easier but rather flat. 

The mountain teaches us that a blue sky might darken without warning, and an easy path might suddenly hide complications.

The unexpected is part of life, and there are challenges that must be overcome.

Although we don't like the company of uncertainty, it comes to visit us from time to time. 

The unexpected will continue to happen.

The important thing is to work on accepting events to gain momentum, move forward and continue to grow.

Life is full of surprises and other events we cannot foresee or prevent.

Each of these events has the capacity to arouse emotions and feelings in us, some very intense, others easier to handle.

But, these unforeseen events conceal the opportunity to grow too.

Certainties accustom us to reading what happens always in the same way.

The unexpected, like an earthquake, shakes our habitual way of reasoning instead.

It forces us to change habits, making us feel lost, confused, and destabilized at first, only to allow us to formulate new thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors, and discover new ways of living life later.

Unexpected events push us outside of our comfort zone giving us the opportunity to become better and better. 

It is strange, but true, that the most important turning points of life often come at the most unexpected times and in the most unexpected ways”. - Napoleon Hill


group of friend sitting and enjoying the view from the top of a mountain

From sharing a night in a tent, or a dormitory in a hut, to sharing the last piece of chocolate or a little bit of hot tea left in the thermos everything in the mountains is about sharing.

The list could be much longer.

Not only because you share food, equipment, and space, but mostly because you live an experience together.

Experiencing the mountain together with someone is a real treasure. 

In the mountains, we learn that a breathtaking landscape becomes even more beautiful if we can look at it with someone beside us.

We understand that having achieved a goal we thought impossible becomes even more special if we are able to share it.

The emotions and experiences we have are ours alone, they make us the people we are.

But if we learn to share them we will gain much more, not only in the mountains but also in everyday life.

“We are all created equal with special gifts and if we reach out to each other in sharing these gifts, we all become richer”. - Roy Henry Vickers


We've seen how the mountain can teach us a lot about how to live.

So, let's backpack and go learn some new lessons!

Let the peak not frighten us; let fear not hold us back from pursuing our goals and growing while doing it.

Remember that the best view comes after the hardest climb.

So, are you ready to climb and reach the top, or do you want to keep looking at it from the foot of the mountain?

Let me know in the comments below what other lessons you have learned while in the mountains.

Be inspired and be an inspiration!

More resources for YOU:

Christian Caliendo
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