The responders to this topic have been all over the map. The tone of some of them is telling much more than the words used. We have 12 pages so far which proves that some people are passionate about this topic.
Opinions seem to fall into 3 general groups. The first group is thoughtful about the topic, and agrees with the idea that mental toughness is important. These are people with SAR experience, career outdoor professionals, or people with a serious approach to being in the backcountry.
The second group seems to be very defensive about the topic, possibly because they are forced to look at their own shortcomings or lack of experience.
There is a third group that seems to have difficulty in grasping the topic altogether.
I think that conclusion is silly, especially about the last two "Groups". What "shortcomings" and "lack of experience" are you specifically thinking about?
You opine that "We have learned here that many people are pretty causual about this sport, and have never really been faced with big challenges.
And you go on to suggest that we should "try pushing your limits a little more
Exactly what do you suggest?
I don't see how pushing myself to hike 20 miles in a day is going to make me tougher. I know it will make me tired and sore. It'd probably cause some unnecessary wear on my body. But when I wake up in the morning I don't think I'd be a bit tougher.
I go backpacking every year in below freezing temps. Not because I think I'm tough, but because that's when the bugs aren't biting here. And going backpacking in the extreme heat, when the ticks and chiggers are out in the billions, would only prove they will bit me and I'm susceptible to heat stroke, no matter how tough I think I am.
I tell people all the time that bushwhacking in the Ozark Mountains is "Tough". I don't mean I'm tough when I do it, I mean as compared to hiking on trails. And I tell people the trails here are tough. I mean as compared to most all the popular trails out west, and the AT.
You assume I'm "pretty casual about this sport".
Having hiked with quite a few people, I know from experience that most don't like my style of hiking, so without knowing anything about your style, I could easily assume you wouldn't like it either. I might go further and assume you'd be challenged by it, but that'd be a stretch on my part. And it'd be a big leap to assume you're not mentally tough enough. I never even assumed that about the people that have come back from hiking with me and told their friends "He's crazy" and "I'll never hike with him again".
I can only conclude that they don't like my style. I think it would be a huge leap to conclude they were mentally weaker than me. That's not even a tiny bit of the reason. They just don't like it. And it take no "toughness" at all on my part because I love it.
Why is that line of thought so difficult for you to grasp?
Maybe you should offer some suggestions on how we should "try pushing your limits a little more", and provide some detail on the benefits we'll receive as a result. I don't think you've clearly articulated that yet.
"The point I am trying to make is that as people we are realatively soft. We expect a lot.
That either. What exactly do you mean by that? Why are we soft, and what do we expect?