• Greg Payne

Take the Stairs

My office is on the third floor of a three-story building. A few months ago, the elevator was out of order and you wouldn’t believe all of the complaints.

Well, maybe you would.

Anyway, all of us were forced to take the stairs. There are four sets of twelve steps for a total of forty-eight steps. That’s all.


A couple of months ago, I read an article entitled “4 Things Healthy Lifters Should Be Able to Do”. The very first one was “walk up four flights of stairs in 45 seconds”. That got me to wondering how long it was taking me to walk up the four flights of stairs at work.

So I timed myself.

Now, I admit that I’m a pretty fierce competitor and wanted to walk quickly to ensure that I made it in 45 second. But I didn’t. I just walked a regular pace and made it in 31 seconds. I’ve timed myself several times since then and am always in the 29-31 second range…and I’m one of the slowest walkers on the planet.

In one of these many walks up the stairs, I’ve seen people take the elevator up one floor or, worse, down one floor. You should know that the stairs and the elevator in my building are literally right across the hallway from one another. Also, the stairs are wide and come down to the middle of the building. Basically, they are extremely easy to access.

So, why do people take the elevator when everyone knows that taking the stairs is better for you? I mean, I could understand if it was a lot of stairs. I’m not walking up all of the stairs for the Empire State Building (although I DID walk down all the stairs inside the Washington Monument once, but that’s another story for another day), so I see the need for elevators.

But these are just four flights of stairs. Seemingly, the average person can walk up them in less than a minute. In fact, there have been a few times when I beat the elevator up to the third floor and I was just walking a normal pace. So, it’s not a time issue.

Sadly, I think this is just a small example of a much larger problem. I think that most people just want to avoid the hard way. The problem is, the easy way is easy. Too easy. Believe it or not, you weren’t built to take the easy way. Survey any successful person in the world and I’ll guarantee that none of them would say, “Actually, this has all been very easy. I haven’t even had to do that much.”

The hard way is going to force you to get out of your comfort zone. It’s going to make you take one extra rep in the weight room. It’s going to make you make one more phone call. It’s going to make you talk to someone you don’t know.

It’s going to make you uncomfortable.

And that’s the problem with today’s society: we are too comfortable.


What is it that you know you can accomplish, but you haven’t even tried? What is it that you can do but it just seems so hard? Is it something simple like starting a workout routine, eating right, or just reading a book?

Or is it big like starting a new career, a family, or buying a house? Whatever it is, you can’t get there by taking the elevator.

Take the stairs.