“Gear” tips for “mountain climbers”
Let’s compare two excursions:
The first is a spontaneous picnic and play day in the valley.
You toss a bunch of stuff into the car and take off. Much of the stuff is unnecessary, but it doesn’t matter since conservation of space isn’t an issue.
You’ve got plenty of room in your car, you’re not hiking anywhere, so hey, throw it all in. If you don’t use it, no problem.
The second is a meticulously-planned summit of Mount McKinley in Alaska. Standing at 20,237 feet above sea level, it’s the highest peak in North America.
It takes years of dedicated training before you’re ready. You ascend multiple smaller peaks. With each ascent, you grow stronger, become acclimated to the thin atmosphere, gain valuable experience.
One of the most important things you learn is what gear to carry — which items are absolutely essential, and which ones should be left behind.
Every single ounce in your backpack matters. You carry nothing that does not serve a specific, critical function. And every item that you absolutely need is obsessively engineered to give you optimal functionality with minimal weight.
And so it is with life.
Those who dawdle in the valley of mediocrity have no need to ever question the baggage they carry around: False and limiting beliefs. Corrosive vices, erosive habits. Anger, bitterness, harbored wounds. Envy, pettiness, selfish pride.
All of this baggage is crammed into their minds. But when their minds are going nowhere important, conservation of space is not an issue.
But for those who set their sights on the mountain of excellence, mind space is mission critical. Everything they carry must be questioned.
Does this serve a specific, productive function? Will this aid and accelerate my progress to my goals? If not, it’s gotta go.
Choose where you want to go: Lounge in the valley, or scale the peak?
If you choose the latter, your next step is to question everything in your life, everything you carry in your mind — every wound from the past, every belief you’ve cultivated, every habit you’ve developed, every temptation you entertain.
- Someone wounds you. You have a hard time forgiving. What purpose does your bitterness serve? Is it aiding or impeding your progress?
- You struggle with a secret vice. What purpose does caving to that temptation serve? How much is your guilt weighing you down?
- You made business or investment mistakes in the past. You feel burned, scared to make another mistake. What purpose does that fear serve? How much ground could you regain without it?
- You’ve been told you’re not good enough, you’re not worthy. You believe it. What purpose does that belief serve? How much precious space and energy is it consuming?
If you’re going to squander your life in the valley of mediocrity, you can afford to carry around emotional baggage, the deadweight of bad habits, the burden of bitterness, the load of limiting beliefs. But if you’re going to ascend the mountain of great achievement, you have to jettison everything in your life that does not serve a specific productive purpose that aids your ascent.
As my friend Carl Woolston says,
“We get to choose what part of our past we carry into the present and future with us. Though the past happened, we don’t have to carry it each and every day. The past is meant to give us wisdom, strength, experience, and hope.”
Sadly, for many people the past is a source of anger, fear, bitterness, and cynicism.
But not for you. Because you have a mountain to climb…