How long does it take to ignite a person?
Having said all that, I would like to address the initial question: How long does it take to ignite a person’s potential? The answer is a few seconds. This would probably leave you with confusion and doubts.
You heard it right, it took a few seconds. However, there is a long, complicated process leading up to that point. Everyone has tremendous potential within themselves, but whether they can fully wield it or not depends on the environment and approach. Just a like a bomb, it might take 1 or 2 seconds to explode, but there is no way you can light it up during a storm or if your lighter is out of gas.
When I was a medic in the Canadian Forces, I had to carry 60kg of both weaponry and medical equipment, I myself weighed around 95kg. People ask: can you still run? Let me tell you, the moment I heard gunshot, I bolted faster than Usain Bolt. Fear ignited my potential. This one simple yet powerful thing I learned on the battlefield, I now want to pass on to young generation.
All our communication, visits, interviews and note-taking prior to the camp are precisely to prepare for this one decisive moment. The life-changing moment of an individual. I had a student many years ago who went with me on an 8-day expedition.
He was carrying a 30kg bucket loaded with equipment. Even though he was relatively fit, 30kg was still quite a challenge. He accepted the task nonetheless, without complaining. However, I noticed he was immensely suffering for the first 4 days trying to carry the load.
I decided to call for a stop, and before his eyes, reduced the weight by half. Later that night, I secretly put back the reduced weight while he was sleeping. Miracle happened, he completed the trip in a breeze. Only upon competition did he leaned the truth. Impossible is possible with the right mindset. From then on, this student of mine remains a confident and capable young man.
I’m a student from Hong Kong and have been with Monticle for three courses. Initially, except for some brief information from my parents, I had no idea what kind of course it really was until 2014 — the year I came to Canada for the first time.
Monticle’s summer training course contains two main challenges, which are “Algonquin Provincial Park Tour” and “Walk to Niagara Falls”. The former one enabled me to learn teamwork and wilderness survival skills, while the latter one helped me realise that victory belongs to the most persevering. These brand new knowledge and experience have definitely enlightened me.
It’s not until the end when I realize that a month is really a very short time. I am going to miss this group and its dynamics; there won’t be another team that is quite like this one. We had a vote for student of the year for this program. I had not expected to get any votes, let alone win, but there were quite a few people that believed in me. The result made me think about what I did and what I had wanted to do.
When I was told that I’m in charge of the HQ team, I was disappointed, feeling that I wasn’t necessary; even though it was explained to me that I needed logistic and planning training. I was extremely uncomfortable with not being able to be right in the centre of things instead of watching others learning and having fun. But for the team’s benefit, there must be sacrifices. I learnt that before an idea takes hold and turns into reality, it must be nurtured. When dreams are in the fledging stages, they are most vulnerable. If they are forced to a premature end, they will shatter. Monticle encourages and fosters these dreams. 7K/180 was my dream and even though I couldn’t realise it at that time, this is a dream that will not die.
At Monticle we learned social intelligence and economic management. We also did team building in the lake with a kayak. I learned that there are three types of learned that there are three types of learners: Visual, auditory, kinaesthetic. A visual learner learns by seeing an example; An auditory learner learns just by listening. Their eyes may be looking in a different direction, but they are paying very close attention to you; A kinaesthetic learner learns by doing, which means a hands-on experience.
When doing finance management, you got to first think about what you would loose and not what you would gain. The reason is, if you pay by credit card, you might end up losing quite a lot more money than you should. During the team building experience, I learned that communication and support is key, because without it, this amazing Monticle experience will be over forever. As for Leadership training, I learned how to work as a team to move forward and achieve more. We got to practise man overboard with Edwin Chan, Peggy, Jennifer and Alpha group. It was really fun.
I have already participated in the training twice, however my third trip is when I felt the spirit of the team the most. I was in charge of leading the team in several sections of the Niagara walk. It was challenging trying to keep the team moving as well as paying attention to members’ well-being.
Billy taught me how to understand my teammates’ strengths and weaknesses, how morale is paramount, especially during the last few sections. All of us made it to Niagara Falls successfully. This is a memory that I will forever treasure.