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Mountain Climbing, Motivations, and The Deep-Seated Fear of Failure

motivation

When I first started doing media interviews in 2008, I noticed that one question would almost always come up: “Why are you so obsessed with travel?”

(I learned to call it the mountain-climbing question, because it’s the same one climbers are asked about Everest and K2: “Why?”)

The question bewildered me until I got used to it. For a long time, I didn’t know how to answer; the quest to see the whole world was just something that made sense to me intuitively. I like travel, I like goal-setting, so why not put the two together?

I was reminded of this while reading a review of a new mountain climbing book on the Lufthansa flight last week. The journalist complained, “None of these books ever clearly answer the reason why people feel the need to climb mountains.”

I don’t climb real mountains very often, but I understand the desire and appeal very well. I guess if I sat in an office somewhere and read about people climbing mountains, I might want to know more about their motivations too. But because I’m out there working on my own proverbial mountains, I can read about other climbers and think, “Good for them!”

Small Goals, Small Worries

A friend and I were talking about a related subject, and she said, “I think there’s a deep-seated, hidden fear of failure behind the travel quest.” My response: it’s probably deep-seated, but it’s not hidden at all!

Of course I’m worried about failure. It’s getting harder and harder with each country I go to. Crashing into Bangkok is easy; wandering around Baku is… a bit different. It’s not bad, but it’s definitely harder. I know how to overcome my fears, but I’m definitely not fearless.

As I see it, small goals produce only small worries. If something easy isn’t going well, you can suck it up and still get it done. The real challenge comes with a big goal, or a big mountain to use the climbing analogy.

With a big mountain, you know you’re going to need more than just stubbornness. You may get wildly off track. You may encounter unforeseen difficulties. You may even have to come back down the mountain at some point before resuming the climb. Thus, you’re going to need some form of internal motivation.

I doubt that I’m going to get tired of my crazy adventures anytime soon, but even if I did, I’d keep going anyway. I don’t expect that mountain climbers enjoy every moment of the climb, and I bet there are plenty of times they think about giving up. The best ones, however, find a way to keep going even when it’s hard.

Do Your Part, Don’t Worry About the Rest

My theory is: Some things are out of our control, so don’t worry about what you can’t change. But if it’s within the realm of your control, do your part. I can fly over to Azerbaijan and figure out how to take the 15-hour midnight train to Georgia. I can’t control whether the train arrives on time or what happens next, but I can get my ass to the station. I think the universe is cool like that most of the time – show up, do your part, and trust the rest to be OK.

By the way, I’m not saying this perspective is 100% right for everyone. I’m just saying that in my worldview, the concept of an alternative doesn’t exist. Why bother with nuance? Let’s leave that to the people who wonder why mountain climbers are willing to sacrifice so much for what they believe in. I’d rather be climbing.

***

Here’s wishing you well from Tbilisi, Georgia. It’s a fun little place, and I’ve been enjoying myself. In a few more days I’ll continue my overland travel with a bus down to Armenia. By all accounts it looks like a fun place too — but even if it’s not, I’ll still go there. No matter what, I plan to keep climbing the mountain.

How about you? Been climbing any mountains lately?

###

Image: Casey

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60 Comments

  • Colin Wright says:

    I think it’s important to ALWAYS have a mountain or two on your horizon. As soon as you don’t, there’s nothing left to figure out other than who will win ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and what flavor of ice cream to eat while watching it.

    Maybe that’s a bit extreme, but it does seem like it would take a lot of the challenge and excitement out of life!

  • Mel says:

    I have climbed several mountains of the proverbial kind. And like you I always “get it” why people do things like that.

    Off to climb my newest mountain. Enjoy the rest of the trip!

  • Kevin M says:

    I think Colin is spot on. Thanks for reminding me to find a mountain for myself to climb.

  • Thanks for this very apropos post, Chris! I’ve been struggling with what I think it’s probably the greatest writer’s block in the history of mankind. I can’t write anything! I sit in front of my laptop and I go blank. I just can’t do it anymore. Despite this situation, I’m still putting in my daily writing time as much as I can. I know ideas will eventually come to me. The mountain is there and I intend to climb it!

    I hope you have a great time in the Caucasus region!

  • Ken says:

    I can equate this to running in my own life. In the last two years, I have come to love running. It brings me a lot of joy and some pain. Not long ago, I would see the lonely runner cranking out their mileage on a 20 degree day and think what the hell makes them do that? I now understand it’s about the adventure, the unknown and the accomplishment.

    Last winter, I put in a trail run with my wife on a blustery 18 degree day on snow covered trail. I stopped in the middle of the run and exclaimed “Oh my God… I’ve become the crazy runner!” I cranked out the remainder of the run and reveled in the experience!

    My goal this month has been to run everyday of November. I’ve already experienced some crazy weather challenges! 18 days down and 12 runs to go!

  • Nate says:

    I think there are parallels to mountain climbing and doing something you’re passionate about (in your case, travel).

    I can’t really speak for mountain climbers since I’m not one, but I have a pretty good idea of why they do it.

    1. It’s a challenge. For most people it doesn’t even seem like a possibility to climb a mountain. For the mountain climber, they see it as an adventure and a challenge. Also, the goal is so concrete. You have the object (the mountain) and the goal (reach the summit).

    2. Climbing mountains puts things in perspective. You are forced to be in the present moment. There are no outside distractions or other people. It’s you, the elements and the mountain. I would imagine that there is an insane sense of calm and peace that comes to you when you climb a mountain. It really strips away the bullshit and gets down to the essence of life. Being one with what you’re doing.

  • Audrey says:

    People always ask us about our round-the-world journey (3 years now) and whether we get tired and think of giving up and returning to our previous lives. Yes, we get very tired at times and sometimes we dream of just being able to transport ourselves to our favorite cafe in San Francisco for a good coffee and a meal that doesn’t have any mystery meat. But, exploring the world in an in-depth way so that we can satisfy our curiosity, continue learning, make comparisons between countries/cultures and share all this with the rest of the world is our mountain. We realize we’re human and need time to be still and reflect (hence, a much needed break in Buenos Aires coming up), but it’s the bigger goal that keeps us going. Once this journey is finished, we’ll need to find our next mountain.

    Glad to hear you’re enjoying Tbilisi. It’s one of the few places on our journey that we looked at apartment prices 🙂 Have fun in Armenia!

  • I have been a mountain climbing MANIAC lately! And boy does it feel freaking fabulous!

    Recently, I overcame one of the biggest obstacles I have challenged myself with to date by embarking on a birthday vacation ALL BY MYSELF. Now, that might not seem like such a big deal to someone who is on a journey to visit every country on the globe, but for me it was a HUGE deal.

    My solo travel training wheels were tossed aside when I took a trip to the island of Oahu. It was a magical birthday to say the least and it was liberating to finally venture out on my own.

    I truly feel like I can accomplish anything!

    And, what do you know, I came back from that trip with a newfound sense of courage that pushed me to conquer my fear of going to school. I am now in my second week of classes and look forward to taking on this new challenge 😀

    ~WW

  • Charlotte says:

    Beyond fantastic post, Chris.

    Internal motivation is the key.

    Those who are externally motivated (or who are denying their internal motivations) are the type who ask you why people climb mountains. Why? I think it’s something to do with motivation voyeurism. The internally motivated people want the “secret sauce” they’ll need to propel them out of their current unfulfilling orbit.

    But there isn’t any “secret sauce,” really. When externally motivated people ask you for it… they’re just asking for another source of external motivation. Someone to direct their lives for them.

    No doubt, it works for some people. If it’s working for them, bless them. I feel kinda sorry for the others, though. 🙁

  • Ah this resonated with me dear Chris – small goals tend to mean living small. Even those who genuinely cannot physically travel (family responsibilities etc.) yet who seek change, adventure, new BIG things to do or learn inevitably become more confident, happy and at ease with themselves – a wonderfully attractive trait that enables them to sometimes attract the people that support them living large.

    Posted a link to this on my FB today, wanting to reinforce and spread this sentiment – especially in these uncertain times. Being around people seeking fresh adventures is as contagious as happiness itself, to the third degree – affecting friends of friends of friends I think.

  • So weird, I just wrote a tweet about fear. People ask me why I feel so driven to travel to. They say I’m afraid of commitment. Afraid to settle down. They point out the lack of husband, lack of kids, my tendency to live out of a suitcase, my crazed restlessness when sidelined at home. Like you, I come back exhausted. Drained from all I’ve seen and done, the schedule I pushed while there. I sleep for days, then go again. I need to know what’s around the corner. I need to push myself or I get lazy and bored. I need to prove to myself I can do it.

    Fear of failure is hurting my career and my travel though. As you know, I’m a freelance journalist. Freelancers have to pitch – every day. I have dozens of solid story ideas. I’ve been published in some of the best publications in the country. I’ve spent 22 years writing, but I feel like throwing up every time a story is finished and I have to pitch a new one.

    I rarely fail when I “show up.” Yet, I fear failure more than anything.

  • Kylie says:

    Right now I’m looking at my mountain from a distance, admiring the beauty of it, and so damn terrified of climbing it that I’m thinking of not climbing it at all.

    HOWEVER, I know that I’m going to kick myself every day if I don’t put one foot in front of the other, and start walking toward that thing. (That would be the planning and saving cash part).

    Why do I want to do it? Because it’s crazy. Because there’s no way I could return home knowing that I didn’t. Because I don’t want to be ‘normal’. The experiences, the learning, the adventure, the everything – it’s all pulling me.

    Chris, I have to say that you are proving to be my concience in this situation.

    “Don’t go – it’s difficult and scary”
    “Go! It’d be awesome, and besides, this guy keeps kicking your excuses to the kerb!”

    Hard to argue with passionate logic. Thank you.

  • Briana says:

    Great post on motivation, Chris. I am not a mountain climber but a rock climber and I can’t tell you how many times people will look at me quizzically and wonder why on earth I would want to submit myself to the risk and pain of such a sport. Nate hit the nail on the head in his above comment. When you are rock climbing (or pursuing any goal for that matter) you are forced to live in the moment in order to succeed.

    There was a recent TED talk in which the speaker made the comment that fear is useless. He said that when you are afraid you aren’t concentrating on what you are doing but on the consequences of failing at what you are doing. You are better off focusing that energy on what you need to do to succeed. I have found that to be an amazing tool in helping me overcome unnecessary fear and re-tap the motivation that brings me to the rock in the first place.

  • Martin says:

    Mountains or no mountains the human race has always had a quest to discover something new. We are the only living being that managed to survive in any climate or continent.

    So what you are doing is not only natural, but necessary if we want to be writing blogs in 100 years time! 🙂

    About the fear to not be able to anticipate an event it’s also very natural since we all know that our lives are limited in time. What makes you different from others is that you don’t let this fear get to your quest to discover something new.

  • I can tell you about a mountain I just finished climbing: the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) exam. It was a huge mountain. I did not know where to start, I was afraid of not finishing, but I took on the challenge.

    Why did I do it? Partly because it was beneficial for my future education and professional career, but partly I did it because it was a challenge and I just wanted to test myself.

    Obviously, along the way, I learned many valuable lessons about myself and about life. I guess that would answer the question of why people climb mountains: to learn about themselves, to experience life they have not experienced before.

    That is a tremendous value on its own. I want to climb mount Everest one day as well, but before that I have to get over small hills along the way to even get to mount Everest.

    I am glad that you are able to take your experiences and take them to the next level and see how they apply to people on a larger scale.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Lo says:

    To be clear, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with striving to achieve great things out of fear – it’s a very human thing. It seems worth recognizing and acknowledging, though. Chris, you stand out from the crowd to me not because of you unconventional lifestyle, but because of your systematic pursuit of self-knowledge and clear priorities.

    It’s so easy, as a non-conformist, to feel sorry for regular people and even look down on them (I’ve done it, at times), and assume they can’t really be happy with normalcy because I can’t. But that doesn’t necessarily hold, and such illusions are a hazard of trying to live an extraordinary life.

  • Dean Dwyer says:

    Chris I am not even sure the question is worth answering personally. Some truly want to know one’s internal motivation but I find many ask so they can then defend their take on your life or life in general. I find myself less concerned with the need to give people an answer they can comprehend as to why I do what I do. My struggle is trying to make sure I can comprehend why I am doing what I am doing (and let me tell that keeps me pretty damn occupied my friend :-).

  • Hey Chris – can definitely relate to the fear part. I’m off to Machu Picchu in a few days and while I’ve traveled quite a bit, I always remind myself to be flexible, relinquish a bit of the control freak in me and let things happen as they unfold. Fear is natural – channeling it into positive, motivating energy takes hard work and practice. I’m 4% of the way there. 🙂 Thanks for the regular inspiration.

  • “If you’re doing something rewarding, shouldn’t it wear you out once in a while?”

    I don’t know if I’ve ever been more exhausted than I was after my very first day out on a track… But it was by far the most fun and rewarding experience I’ve had in a car yet! Even a typical autocross day drains my energy, but it’s definitely something I enjoy quite a bit.

    I’m horribly scared of failing… Working on overcoming that. So far, I can’t say that I’ve totally failed at much I’ve really cared about doing, so that has to say something right?

  • Paulina says:

    Thank you Chris.
    It feels like this is written just for me. I have this “little” dream of climbing Mt. Everest, but I keep putting it off telling myself that I don’t have time. I have to make the time. You always remind me that I can’t make these excuses for myself, and that I need to take action for this dream to actually come true.

  • Really enjoyed this post. I’m guessing it’s not travel you are obsessed with it’s life and for you this is how that zest shows up. Why do you do it? Why do I do the hard things I do? Because I want to participate in my life. Most of the small stuff, tends to be of the default or observe from the bleachers variety. It doesn’t take much to stand out from the crowd, just a little bit of guts and a zest to live while you are alive.

    When I get to the nursing home bed, it’s going to be too late to start living …

  • Alan Furth says:

    My struggling has been with settling into a bit of a less nomadic lifestyle after years of living out of a suitcase. I’m buying my very first little home in Argentina, a country that I love.

    But the last couple of weeks I’ve been fighting with the bureaucracy that I have to deal in order to carry out the transaction and many other details of the day-to-day here, which can get pretty ugly at times. It has definitely helped that I’ve been dealing with the kind of nomadic uncertainty that you talk about during my last couple of years of traveling, as it allows me to switch into “go-with-the-flow” mode and as you say, trust that the universe will work with me on this one and that everything will be just fine.

  • ian anderson says:

    Chris, every day you make lots of choices about which mountain to climb and which ones to drive around.

    Personally, I think that you make some cool choices and for me, I think that the tragedy is when people feel that they have no choices or lack the vision to see them or the strength to make an unconventional choice. Hence the ‘rat race’.

    Every day when we wake up we make a (possibly subconscious) choice on what to do with that day.

    Choose wisely as they say!
    Stay well.

  • Jon says:

    Enjoyable post Chris

    You said ” I know how to overcome my fears, but I’m definitely not fearless. ”

    It depends how you define being fearless. Some feel its the absence of fear entirely, but rarely ever is that the case. To me being fearless is recognizing fear and yet overcoming it by facing it head on.

    Hence you are Fear_Less

  • Great post Chris!

    I was just reading Three Cups of Tea about Greg Mortenson (AMAZING read by the way…) and he was talking about this issue related to his failed attempt at K2. He said mountain climbing is the big quest to nothing- you get to the top and there’s nothing there- and that this struggle only to achieve nothingness is the best possible reminder that it’s actually not about the goal, but about the process of getting there. Beautifully put, I thought.

  • JP Savage says:

    It doesn’t have to be a mountain.

    The best experiences I have ever enjoyed came from telling myself, “Let’s just look around the next bend in the river/road/trail. The best photographs, coolest wildlife, biggest fish have all been found after I convinced myself to go the extra mile.

    I’ve climbed some actual mountains, and I thought about turning back maybe half of the time. You don’t get some majick exemption from doubt when you set a big goal, you just get a big goal, and the internal feeling of anticipated joy you will feel when you finally will achieve it.

    Mountains, rivers, roads, trails. When I have persevered and pushed myself just that extra little bit (come on, its closer to the finish than it is to the start!) I’ve always enjoyed fantastic results. You never know what is ahead of you, but if you trust in it’s awesomeness, you won’t ever be disappointed!!

    JP

  • Jonie81 says:

    Truly inspiring!!! It’s exactly how I feel about life every day. Somehow, I never stop finding new things to do as there are just so many things that interests me. My friends used to think that I was crazy doing stuff that “normal” ppl don’t do, but after a while, when they see that I was enjoying it, they’re starting to come around and trying it for themselves too. Am happy to inspire them as well to go outside their comfort zones.. and am glad to have found ur blog to keep me going as well!!!

    Great job!!!

  • Thanks for the inspiration. I work in an office and completely understand why people such as yourself want to climb their mountains. I’m still looking for mine, but I do think that my life has been filled with other types of goals, whether they are educational, spiritual, mental, or physical. Thanks again and enjoy your travels.

  • Meg says:

    I have been. I took a scary first step on a particular mountain last night. Well, ok, well, ‘next’ step more like. I was feeling very very scared to keep moving, but I told myself quite firmly (as you do), “You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it.” And it was funny, after I held my breath and just did it, it only took about 10 minutes for good things to start coming my way.

    So yes. Here is to showing up and letting the universe take care of the rest. And besides, sometimes getting yourself to show up is the hardest part.

  • Brad Bonner says:

    Rock on Chris – life gets so much easier and clearer when you realize that you can only control so much and all you can concern yourself is what you have control over. Everything else just is.

  • Wes says:

    One should not quit because a task is difficult or unpleasant. There is great value in pushing through and completing the goal. Quitting is an ugly habit to start. So when does it make sense to hang it up and move on to something different; a job for example?
    I think it is a justifiable time to quit when you or the environment changes so that you are no longer operating in a manner congruent with your values. What I value may change or the culture I live/work in may change so that I cannot lead an authentic life. Of course one should first attempt to change the environment but sometime that just isn’t going to happen.
    In an ideal world we persevere, attain the summit, do a Snoppy-dance and give high-fives.
    When is it time to quit?

  • Amy says:

    Was so great to read your post today. I totally agree and it’s exactly what I needed to hear reinforced by someone else.
    I was thinking about all these things this morning on the way to work in the car: not worrying about what you can’t control, doing your part, and even the idea of the universe giving you a hand if you take it.

    I feel like I’ve taken that ‘hand’ for granted on may occasions – burnt bridges, not utilised opportunities – and that’s only about me, not playing my part and I had to deal with the repercussions.

    I think that is the scariest thing at times though – that which is in your control – because you only have yourself to rely on. No one else can change you. It becomes a question of how you find that internal motivation to act/change in a way that’s necessary to get the outcome you want. A battle with yourself.

    Hopefully I can figure that one out because I think the only thing stopping me from climbing my mountains is me!

  • jforest says:

    My current mountains are setting up my online business and getting out of debt. Further on the horizon is a mountain of location independence.

    Every life needs stress. A life without stress (fear) is a boring life. I think of it this way: If you never experience any difficulties, how can you recognize the good times when you have them? Adversity makes us stronger!

  • Sergio L Romero says:

    Chris, this is a quick muchas gracias for your words, they always remind me that my ventures and sacrifices for travel are well worth it. After all, what else would I do, buy a brand new Jeep Wrangler?!…. hahaha, no! I prefer my ten-speed and my bike helmet!

    Keep on Rock’in the world!

    Sergio

  • Lo says:

    Maybe I misread, but this post (while great) does not seem to address what the friend said. “I think there’s a deep-seated, hidden fear of failure behind the travel quest.”

    Maybe my reading comprehension is terrible, but to me that says “the reason for going on a travel quest is a deep-seated fear of failure.” Not “you fear failure because you’re on a difficult quest.” That’s a perfectly rational effect, but not a cause.

    I also think the friend is spot-on. I too have a powerful drive to just drop everything in my life and see the world. To distinguish myself from others by pursuing unconventional goals and to experience more of life than most do – or at least, to believe that I am living a fuller life than the rest.

    It absolutely comes from a fear of failure. I fear that to live a normal life would be failing. That I am compelled to do more, achieve more, push harder just to be able to feel content with myself.

  • Jx2 says:

    I love it! “I can’t control whether the train arrives on time or what happens next, but I can get my ass to the station.”

  • Diana says:

    Sometimes the mountain is internal, not external. I have a chronic illness that takes perseverance and planning, but most of all flexibility.

    Some of us have to be armchair tourists in the real world (thanks for the view Chris) but fortunately there is no limit to what we can contemplate. Big mountains in there.

  • Kim says:

    I agree with JForest above – we all need some level of stress in our lives to make it seem meaningful. I live in probably one of the least stressed cities in the world – Singapore. I find life here TOO easy and therefore boring. I need mountains – actual mountains or challenges to give meaning to why I am on this planet. I need to feel that I have achieved something – since the basic necessities – food, shelter and security are all taken care of by someone else. To me the “why” question is best answered as “because I can and I feel good when I do it”.

  • Genevieve says:

    I ran my first marathon last weekend, a really big goal of mine. And now I will have to come up with a new mountain–a better time on my next marathon, perhaps? Painting the bedroom works as a goal through tomorrow.

    I suffered an injury that prevented me from running a marathon earlier this year–it was very humbling. When I did run it, it was for sheer celebration of my health and youth, a somber reminder not to take those things for granted.

    Not everyone can climb mountains–not out of fear, but due to physical limitations. For some people standing up is a mountain enough!

    Thanks for the perspective Chris….you can never take it back after you’ve done it.

  • Andrew says:

    This was an enjoyable read Chris.

    Train travel is the way to go! What’s the rush? You get to kick back, enjoy the scenery and chat to people.

    Where’s your next stop?

  • wvwlook says:

    I was just thinking of why it is I don’t watch TV.
    Why watch other people’s fantasies when I can be experiencing my own life?

    W

  • Linnea says:

    Sometimes I feel like I must be the most conventional person to read this blog. My mountains are run-of-the-mill. I planned my wedding, got married, and now I’m staging our house for sale. The wedding was about six weeks ago, and the decision to move was made week before last, so this all feels very mountain-like to me.

    The most recent part also feels more like a mountain that got handed to me and less like one I saw in the distance and decided to try. Shared goals are great, but I do fear that I’ll neglect the challenges that only call to me.

    Maybe that’s why I’m here reading–to remind myself that my mountains are still out there, and that it’s worthwhile to take a step in their direction.

  • Nice post Chris.

    I agree with Brianna’s comment – “when you are afraid you aren’t concentrating on what you are doing but on the consequences of failing at what you are doing”. I think there is a tendency in many people (perhaps all) to see obstacles in the way rather than beyond the obstacles.

    It is difficult to change why not (reasons to not do something) to why not (may as well give it a try), because it is a mind shift. Failure is perceived as more negative than success is positive (why is that?). But this overlooks that failure often leads to unexpected success in other ways, and these can be much better than the original goal.

    Experience helps in letting go. You’ve travelled far & wide. I can’t speak for you, but I know that in my own travels I have progressively gotten more relaxed about playing things by air, letting go and just seeing what happens to an extent (unfortunately schedules sometimes intrude). Others are better at this than I am.

  • Nora says:

    Whoa.

    I travel AND climb mountains, and you just esoterically married the two in a way that I hadn’t yet realized was possible, but makes so much sense.

    Thank you! What a refreshing and inspirational read.

  • Ladyexpat says:

    I climbed a mountain when I became an expat. I am always a little bewildered (less so now) when the first thing a new expat to my city asks me when I am going home. Well, ah, why go home? I see a mountain in the next country that is a little higher:)

  • Andrea says:

    I climb them every day owning a small business during these economic times! Plus, I climb them by juggling said business with my desire to see the world like yourself. Trying to figure out how to get to Antarctica next! 🙂 THANKS for the inspiration to keep climbing!

  • Vince says:

    This reminds of a quote I found the other day by George Mallory.
    He was asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest. His answer… “Because it’s there”.

    It seems to me that we each have our own goals and missions in life, most people won’t understand, but they don’t have to. Just as long as you know!

  • A) Chris, the more I read you, the more I love you,..in a totally platonic way. Solid.

    B) My current mountain is building my OWN web infrastructure. I have done it for others and now doing it for myself. Realizing it is bigger and intricate. New summits. New challenges. Bring it, baby! Bushido! BAM!

    I could also say that a second summit I see is to spark, activate and equip my communities, friends and family to take on their own mountains. As a spark, I find that my biggest challenges are igniting those around me to take on the same level of adventure.

    So, there it is!

  • Anil says:

    I think traveling is an evolved trait that has served our species well. We have an awareness that makes you wonder – what are our limits, what are we really capable of? Climbing one specific mountain only gives us a tiny fraction of that answer. That’s why we keep climbing.

  • SCG says:

    I get this! This is the answer to the “Why Do This?” question. In my personal life, this is what I do. Just show up and do your thing. If it’s something you can’t change, then you just have to accept it. Otherwise it will drives you nuts.

    In my professional life, I am directed to move mountains (obstacles), and failing that dig a tunnel through the mountain. I sit in meetings wondering why do we even bother trying to move the mountains when it’s easier to move along or around the mountain (which to anyone else would be the sane option).

  • NYer in NZ says:

    “Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” – Robert Kennedy

    Thanks for expanding on one of my favorite quotes in your own modern, inspirational way.

  • Marion of Texas says:

    I love this post! It is right on — inspirational and reassuring. Traveling and the urge to travel more are like oxygen to me. Thank you for your insights.

  • RoX says:

    Thank you, Chris! Loved your post!

    I had the great opportunity to meet Ed Viesturs as a Keynote Speaker this year. As a high altittude mountaineer, Ed has reached the summit of the 14 tallest peaks in the world.

    I really recommend you (everybody) read “No Shortcuts to The Top” (if you still haven’t!). He is a very passionate man, totally loves what he does and for sure has lived an unconventional life himself…

    I guess when you find your own “mountain”, the challenges, obstacles or whatever that gets on your way are not that important anymore… it doesn’t matter in what field!

    Have a great week!

  • ymm says:

    i know that we are using analogy here, but i just climbed a mountain, or maybe it doesn’t even count as a real mountain, for me, it’s rather a ‘breakthrough’ personally, it’s been a really long while since I last time climbed a mountain, which I used to do alot and stop trying after a bad vertigo on the way up. and it’s been on my list of something good that I shall go back on. and it’s also been a long while that I haven’t been doing anything worth mentioning or at least on my wish list, for the very reason mentioned here–small goal small worries, there is something deeper-seated than the fear of failure, bigger goals and big worries… i wish I could get some guts soon to back to the track

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