It’s not the mountain, it’s the climb

Posted on September 18, 2007 
Filed Under Brainfood, Life

From Soul Prints:

“It’s not the mountain, it’s the climb”

A true-life epic does not exhaust itself in grand finales or in what psychologist Abraham Maslow called peak experiences. It arises from the details of daily living. Most of life, after all, is a plateau and not a peak.

We are taught not to explore plateaus but to scale mountains, aiming only for the top. We become so focused on the summit that we no longer experience the echo of each footstep along the way. We laud this type of living, calling it strategic, effective and goal-oriented. We ignore the precious and profound pleasure of the climb.

To make matters worse, we focus not on reaching the top of our own private mountain — everyone can and should have a personal Sinai – but on reaching the top of the mountain.

When the urge to compete motivates your climb, then your story by definition is determined only in relationship to somebody else’s story. It is the word ‘only’ that makes that situation so problematic.

Who remembers the runner-up for the Oscar, the underbidder on the contract, the loser in congressional campaign? Competition both focuses us on a story not our own– and even without our own story it focuses us only on the result.

Process becomes a necessary evil, a means that has no value toward an end that has supreme meaning.

…When we tell our children’s stories, we tell of their successes and first place finishes. We rarely acknowledge their near misses and surely try to exorcise their failures and defeats. What makes this custom so pernicious is that children’s academic and competitive public achievements are all that are celebrated.

When was the last time you heard someone say: ‘My child had a bad fall off his bike. He’s had to do therapy for the last six months and he had done a wonderful job.’? Yet falls and recovery are what life is all about…


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