Jul 23, 2017

A Floyd Wickman Team blog by Mike Pallin A quiz. Before Mt. Everest was discovered, what was the highest point on Earth?

Yes, that is a trick question, because Mt. Everest was the highest point on Earth even when no one knew it.

If you are a climber, a seeker, an adventurer, a take-it-to-the-limit kind of person, there is no greater accomplishment than successfully climbing Mt. Everest. It is a feat that thousands of climbers have attempted since the first documented summit in 1953.

It’s not easy and it's not cheap. Less than half of the people who pay the license fee get the chance to summit. The license to climb is almost $10,000, and the cost of a fully supported climb is easily over six figures. Every year there are stories of tragedy in the attempt to reach the top. The mountain is now littered with frozen dead bodies and empty oxygen canisters.

You would think that reaching the summit would be a joyous occasion, the fulfillment of a life-long dream, a time for celebration, dancing, singing and selfies. But that’s not the case. At least in an interview I heard recently with two climbers who reached the summit this year and made it back down alive.

They didn’t experience some fantastic moment of clarity, or triumph, or exultation or deep satisfaction. Their description of reaching the ultimate goal was totally different.

At more than 29,000 feet above sea level, the air is so thin it is almost like suffocating. The climb itself is so taxing that, by the time you reach the summit, the only thing you feel is exhaustion, and the only goal is to stay awake, because falling asleep that high up on Mt. Everest is a death sentence.

Whoever said, “Getting there is half the fun,” never climbed Mt. Everest.

Or sold real estate.

Getting to the top of the mountain in real estate can also be taxing, suffocating, exhausting and even deadly. Unless you learn how to enjoy the climb and appreciate the journey. The deep and lasting satisfaction doesn’t come from reaching the top. Satisfaction comes from what the journey makes of you; from what the journey requires of you; and from what the journey pulls out of you.

Sometimes we think, “When I make six figures, I’ll be happy.” We pin our happiness, fulfillment, satisfaction and appreciation of life on one distant future outcome. And when it arrives after months or even years of single-minded striving through adversities and detours, it’s kind of a let-down. An anti-climax.

Earl Nightingale famously described success as, “The progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” If we can learn to enjoy and appreciate the progress every step of the way, not only is the journey happier, but the end result is sweeter, no matter what it is.

Those who wrote The Declaration of Independence understood this truth. We have the “inalienable right” to pursue happiness, because happiness is found in the pursuit.

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