IRON WILL – THE PHYSICAL, MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL BATTERINGBy Mike Wright Intake 2 2015, Normally of Shackleton Tent, currently having an outer body experience!
Normally, one needs his brain to be turned on when writing something. Unfortunately, seeing as I was one of the many at Iron Will to be hit with food poisoning combined with exhaustion on the last day, my brain has been switched off – it is not functioning. Because of this, I will find it hard to produce the many anecdotes, which I know, will be expected of me… But a prayer, which I came across in my latest read, has somewhat inspired me, and it will hopefully carry me through this next half hour of writing, and life. It goes like this: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Despite the fact that none of us slept a full night’s sleep last night, due to the noise caused by the constant flurry of boys (and Mr T) running to and from the toilet, I can safely say that all of us who attended and finished IronWill enjoyed it and learned from it. Our bodies are exhausted at the moment, minds far away and spirits somewhat numbed after a weeks hard work. Thankfully, we have therefore been given a morning free of PT to start our next week. Small mercies!
Iron Will taught us all many things. For me, in particular, it was all about seeing people’s true personalities when things got tough and when they were challenged; It was about seeing how I changed under pressure in response to my changing teammates’/opposition’s temperaments and it was also about learning that you can only achieve things in life if you have worked hard to get there. In IronWill, you could only mentally rest easy if you completed all objectives in the correct order, and in the correct manner. If you chose not to do the hard work, then you were awarded minimal points.
IronWill was yet another thing that Quest tossed at us, which added to the experiences that we continue to gain, lessons we keep learning and which helped increase our resilience to being out of our comfort zone. When people back home ask me what Quest is, I am never able to answer them. Quest is essentially a complex series of activities, which lets us experience our personal pain thresholds, whether it be physical or emotional. We have few creature comforts out here, except for our rickety bed, our cold showers (maybe light the boiler?- Ed) and the humour, which we all share and spread around camp.
The days of IronWill were hard, and painful. But without pain, how would we know joy? It is the small things in life that we need to enjoy. In the past week, one of my favorite memories, which came about, was when Ali Bruce decided to sleep in the tent of Lets Get Questive. If you bear in mind that the tent was already too small when it housed Luke, Andie and myself, you can understand the space difficulties at hand now that Ali was to join. It had been a long day of hiking and cycling; therefore naturally the tent had obtained quite a foul odor after a few minutes of us being inside. So after a bit of complaining, naming and blaming about who the main contributor of smell was, we decided to stick our heads through the zip of the tent, and we all settled down for the night with our heads in the dirt. We were all enjoying the fresh air and, individually, we started to drift off. Out of the blue, in a sugar-crazed madness, we were charged by a rampant bush pig. Combine, in your head, a hyena, a warthog, a crocodile, a wildebeest and a 4×4 Toyota Hilux – then envision this beast galloping/sprinting/stomping towards your exposed head, which was currently sticking out from a tent. If you ever wanted to see four heads disappear back into a tent in the quickest time humanly possible, then you missed out. With adrenaline now coursing through our veins, there was now no chance of sleep happening in the minuscule abode. So, naturally (as one does at Quest), people went back to blaming the smell in the tent on my feet…
IronWill – a week, which, with all honesty, I think we all underestimated. What I enjoyed most about it was that I had no idea where I was going, ever, but seeing as we were working off a GPS, we knew exactly where we were going. A strange idea. A road, which I had never travelled, but I knew where it ended. But luckily life doesn’t have a GPS, and we therefore do not know how it will turn out, or where it will end. Quest is one of those stepping-stones, which will guide us in life, and help us get to our final destination with maximum points.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit – Aristotle.