Life Lessons: The stamina of Sherpas

It is the most awesome setting in the world: The Himalayas. Nowhere else can match it for sheer dramatic landscapes, nor the trails of culture that dot the mountain paths. And nothing can match its main celebrity, Everest herself.

But this is not all Nepal has to offer. Its beauty, its mountains and its challenges are sidekicks to the true star of Nepal, the Sherpas. They hold the truth to the lesson of a lifetime but this lesson doesn’t reside in a challenge they set, nor the words that they speak to you, but in an attitude and ethic like no other.

The Sherpa people have been living in the Himalayas for centuries, and they know the monolithic mountain terrain like their own backyard. We may think of Edmund Hillary as the first to reach the top of Everest, but his Sherpa, Tenzing, reached it with him, and was his guide all the way.

Hiring a Sherpa to accompany you as you tackle the six-day journey to Everest base camp will show you how special Sherpas are, and will give you the chance to grasp the lessons that live in everything they do. Spurning even basic equipment, Sherpas breeze over the terrain in flip flops, carrying everything they need on their backs, secured via a forehead strap. The thin air is no burden to them either as their energy abounds even as the atmosphere is trying to sap it from them. How do they do it? How do they make one of the world’s greatest challenges seem so simple?

Part of the answer is in how their bodies have adapted to function at such high altitudes. But this doesn’t explain all their feats of seemingly superhuman strength, agility and stamina. It is in the real answer that we find the life lesson.

Feel the weight of the backpack on your shoulders, feel the struggle for grip beneath your feet, and feel the burn of trying to fill your lungs with air that just isn’t there. And then watch your Sherpa. It is a question of what is normal for you. Break down the barrier in your mind that says you are unable to go on and see that you can. You can go on, you can defeat your doubts, and you can conquer the greatest obstacle of nature on the planet. Learn from the Sherpas and see that anything is possible.

Charles Schwab & Co. Inc. is not affiliated with Black Tomato (0215-0725). © 2015 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. (Member SIPC) All rights reserved.
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