The marshmallow test

Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…”

Theodore Roosevelt knew it, and philosophers down through the ages have known it

In an ever more on-demand world where anything we want or wonder about is at our finger tips maybe unconsciously we are all striving for the elusive goals that come only from hard work. It seems we humans are somehow programmed to value more the rewards achieved through effort and difficulty than those handed to us on a plate.

Examples of this core programming crop up in all walks of life: Most people want a challenging and interesting job. The artist struggling for her art. The movie hero is always the poor hard working kid, not the spoilt rich kid. Some people devote their entire lives, a good deal of money and sometimes the odd toe or two to the transient goal of 10 minutes on the summit of the world. In his darkest hour Churchill used the sentiments of struggle to galvanise an entire nation’s fight against overwhelming odds.

This programming might even help to explain why football is the world’s favourite sport – because most of the time, if we are honest, the beautiful game is anything but beautiful, yet 89 minutes and 59 seconds of hard work and frustrating, dire tedium is worth the one elusive, euphoric moment when your team scores the winner.

Common in all of these endeavours is that the reward is worth tenfold the effort to achieve them.

And so it is with ski touring, while we at Headnorth love skiing in the slopes and enjoy every second of it, nothing can compare to the fleeting reward of standing atop a mountain summit or ridge, sweat dripping from your forehead from the effort of getting there and nothing again can compare to those dream like moments on the descent as you put in one wonderful turn after another.

For us this our art, this is our beloved football club, this is our Dunkirk and this is our 10 minutes on Everest and yes, like Teddy Roosevelt said its’ worth having and its worth doing.