Military man’s staggering achievement
For most people, just the finishing the Kokoda Trail is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. And not just because it's finally been marked off their wish list, but because when most people get to the end of the 96km, 12-day hike, they're left thinking "never again".
But not so former military man and now success coach Glenn Azar. He's about to head to Papua New Guinea to walk the track twice, back to back. And if that's not impressive enough, consider that, once he's finished, he will have successfully completed the hike a staggering 75 times.
That's a lot of hard walking in anyone's book. But for Azar, it sounds like a stroll in the park.
"I'm at 73 at this stage, and I've got two more coming up that I'll do back to back," he says.
"Of course it can be tough. But I've taken amputees and double-amputees through it as part of my veterans program, and I've finished it with eight-year-olds and 80-year-olds.
"But I've also had healthy 30-year-olds really struggle. That tells me it's mostly mindset."
And mindset is something Azar knows plenty about. A 17-year army career - during which he specialised in helicopter evacuations - gave him the skill set he now uses in his life-coaching career, where he says demanding people push their limits allows them to find a strength they never knew they had.
"My years as an infantry soldier, and in helicopter evacuations, is what really led me into the adventure business," he says.
"It's all about helping people with personal and professional development by getting them right out of their comfort zone. And working on your health plays a big part in that."
Part of that comfort-zone-pushing includes trips to Kokoda, of course - something that, for a lot of people, sounds like a nightmare. But Azar has a very different take on it.
"I am a registered nurse, and I remember going to retirement homes where people were 60 and just sitting around. That was 'old' then," he says. "These days, I take 80-year-olds across Kokoda.
"And given the choice, I know where I'd rather be."
HACKING HAPPINESS WITH GLENN AZAR
• Find your reason: "You need to discover what makes you happy," Azar says. "For some, it might be money, but that's not really it for me. For me, it's being happy, healthy, spending time with my family, and feeling fulfilled."
• Say no to stuff: "I think Western society has us trapped in a word where we have to have things," he says. "But eventually you get to an age where you realise that stuff isn't as important as the people you spend your time with. If you can't work out how to be happy right now, you won't be happy when you get that thing you're chasing."
• Health is happiness: "You need to appreciate the important stuff," Azar says. "The little moments that are actually big moments, and having the health and fitness to be able to go and experience them. And that's whether it's kicking a footy with the kids, climbing a mountain, or whatever it might be for you."
Hi Adam, is it true that your diet can impact your mindset? Will eating healthier make me happier?
Great question! Yes, your diet can definitely lift your mood. In fact, a University of Queensland study found that simply eating more fruits and vegetables can you give you a happiness boost that's the same as an unemployed person finding a job!