Friday, April 6, 2012

Hiking, Writing and finding my way... Ken Kiser

For most of my life, I considered myself a failure. You see, I suffer from a dysfunctional, backward-wired brain. Most people find it difficult to muster the commitment to tackle long-term goals. Sure, they enter into the challenge, amped up with determination and enthusiasm, but all that soon dries up and they lose interest. It's a common problem for most people and nothing to be ashamed of. Unfortunately, that is how I always was... but with short-term goals. Give me an easy task, that should only take a few hours to complete, and days or weeks later, I'd be still trying to get it done. Needless to say, I never really accomplished much. Then, a miracle happened: I discovered that while I couldn't manage to commit to short-term challenges, I seem to excel with very long, difficult and arduous tasks. I seem to have a talent for long-term goals. Imagine that!

I have wandered the hills and mountains of Las Vegas for nearly twenty years. Over those years, my interest in hiking has come and gone. It waxed and waned like the moon, yet was never quite full. In August of 2011, I stumbled upon a thing called the 52 Peak Club. Wait just one minute... you mean this is a goal that will literally take a year, or two, to complete? Heck, this was something designed specifically for my dysfunction! Where do I sign up?

Well, six months have gone by and I'm learning to love hiking more than I ever have. I've taken on and beaten sixteen of the required peaks so far and I'm trudging steadily toward that sublime goal of fifty-two. Branch Whitney and his amazing club unleashed that long-term drive in me that has become my defining quality. Since joining the 52 peak club, I have lost weight, built confidence, and even become one of the group organizers. It is very satisfying to lead groups of new and eager hikers to some of the most beautiful and rewarding destinations in Las Vegas.

It stunned me when I first heard people talking about me being an inspiration. Me? The dysfunctional failure? Well, the truth is, that since learning to manage my strange ability to commit to the long term, I no longer consider myself the failure that I once did. I've harnessed that dysfunction and have turned to my advantage. I have seen many new goals through to fruition. I have improved my fitness, made massive gains in career, and achieved things on a personal level that I once never dreamed possible.

Easily my biggest accomplishment, was completing and publishing my novel, FIFTHWIND. This was a task that took me many years of commitment, study, practice, and effort. Where most would have given up, I pressed onward. When I found myself against the wall of writer's block, I tore it down. In an effort no different than putting one determined foot in front of the other on a hike, I typed out word after word until the day came that I had amassed 146,000 words and found myself writing the last two... “The End”

Just as I finished my dream of writing a novel, I now know that I will finish my goal of reaching 52 peaks. And along that winding trail, I will make new friends and find new reasons to succeed. For that, I give thanks every single day.
---Ken Kiser
To learn more about Ken and his novel, please visit