Hikers rely on maps, compasses and instinct that enable them to get to where they want to go. In a real mountain, there are no signage and arrows and welcome markers. Maps may not really be helpful when everything else in the mountain is just the trees. Compasses could only tell directional orientation. Hence, climbing mountains is best taken with someone else to guide you, lest you are a real adventurer on your own.

To succeed in climbing the mountain, you need to follow the trail as you need to know where you are going. The trail is the path you need to take to get where you want to go. This is the path which others have taken before, but there is not just a single way. Sometimes the path diverges somewhere, and sometimes it is not just there. There are times you would need to make your own path as you need to decide on which path to take when the trail diverges.

On the mountain, the trail varies from being flat, to going up and going down. Some are wide, others are just narrow. Those narrow pathways are the usually difficult ones which make you climb up and glide down. There are wooden bridges you need to cross to skip mud and water. On the trail you would walk on dirt, rocks and mud while you clear off the shrubs as you go through. When you are novice to the place, all you have to do is to be guided and to follow.

Aside from keeping yourself on the trail, you need to listen to what your guide is telling you. Remember that you are new to this thing and you are walking with someone who really knows the place to lead you to where you are really going. As thinking individual, you need to use your instinct, apply some common sense to everything that you will be told. I remember my guide telling me that I should jump, no not off the cliff, but jump to reduce my tiresome feeling. That doesn’t make sense to me, since my legs, body and lungs are all tired. I just stood and regulated my breathing instead.

He didn’t do the jumps, I never saw him did, although he would yodel or shout to release some stress. That I’d follow because it’s fun, relaxing and not so tiresome. Even though I was following someone who is expert in the terrain, somehow, I noticed that he would stop when the trails diverge, or when the trail seems to end somewhere. Instinct would guide him the directions, by looking at some landmarks, like the peak of the mountain, and the place below.

In the workplace, facing new challenges or working in a new area or environment, would require us to follow and be led. Yet, that does not mean you lose your senses of who you are and your environment. You can continue with the hike only with a trusted navigator to guide you, whom you should depend only as much. Only when you have really learned the course, then you can take the lead. You have to be responsible yourself, and remain aware of the track you are taking with someone else, and be sensitive too with him, as he would to your favour.

In our lives we grow up following the adults who have come to this world before us. They too have learned the many things in life from following others. Learning is a social activity where we tend to adapt to the situation by doing the things others are doing. It was my first time hiking. I keenly look at my guide’s steps as I admire his agility. I would try to mimic his moves, as much as I could. When I could not, I’ll do it on my own but still keeping in the track and getting to where we wanted to go.

We follow the one we trust for some reasons. It’s not because of age. It’s because of others’ wisdom and experience, and also of how they would look after us. My guide was more agile than I am, younger than my age, an expert on the trail we were taking. I was an explorer, an adventurer and a first timer. Yet, I trusted him, my life on that mountain, since my field is different. He could move faster than I am, but when I could not follow, he would stop and wait for me to be at paced with him.

Going down, when we were on the ground already, my guide asked me if I could locate the lodge I was staying. I did. Then he asked me to find the pathway amidst the rice fields. After some rest in village, he asked me to lead the way. I wondered, perhaps next time, I could take the lead in climbing that mountain with some friends, that’s if they would trust me out of my experience.

We are led for us to learn how to follow. We follow so we can lead next time. Leading and following are so intricately connected, and one does not become leader without a follower, the latter never becomes a leader without really learning how to follow well.

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