Monday, November 07, 2022
Have you noticed the trend in society these days which leans toward mediocrity?
My wife and I were recently watching a series documenting a group with mixed climbing ability and experience attempting to successfully summit Mount Everest. We watched with keen interest as one of the "climbers" went through a startling change in attitude.
This person went from being extremely (over) confident in their own abilities -> to doubting their abilities -> to realizing their inability to complete the task -> and finally to ridiculing everyone else for their strength.
The mental shift this person had was literally 180 degrees. It was shocking to observe. Here was the setting...
After reaching ABC (Advanced Base Camp at 21,000 feet), the expedition leader called for the group to do an acclimatization climb up to Camp 1 (situated at 23,000) on the North Col. In order to test overall fitness for the upcoming summit push, the leader set a time limit of 5 hours to make this climb.
This is NOT a subjective standard. It is very straight forward and simple.
Either you can make it in that time....or you can't.
They all started out at the same time, and the more experienced climbers arrived at the camp in under 3 hours. This person of interest hadn't even gotten half way up by then ... and ended up taking over 7 hours to make the climb.
Upon returning down to ABC, this person expressed how eager they were to continue even though they failed the test. Stating even though they didn't make the time, they "never gave up."
After 2 days of rest, the climbers were tasked to reclimb back up to Camp 1, and then after a nights sleep, make the climb to Camp 2 (situated at 24,750 feet) within a 5 hour window.
This was phase two of the test to make sure people have what it takes to make a successful summit bid. The unsuccessful climber was given a chance to attempt this task, even though they failed, because of the effort that was exhibited on the first climb.
As you can imagine, altitude doesn't care if you're trying your hardest or not. After starting with the group, our friend didn't do very well. After moving slowly for hours, they lay in the snow not even half way up the route. After some time observing, the guides were worried about safety and so went back down to check on the unmoving figure who was flat on the ground. They found the climber was almost incoherent with exhaustion.
So the guides helped them to descend back down to ABC.
No problems so far .... not everyone can summit Everest.
Everyone knows this. And this is where it got interesting....
As the cameras followed the climbers throughout the next days, those who succeeded were pretty unnerved by the climber who had failed both tests. This person wouldn't acknowledge their failure to make the cutoff, and would only respond with denial.
"Well I should be allowed to go on because I don't ever quit anything." To which I was thinking ... Yes. Yes you did. You lay down in the snow and refused to continue climbing up.
"I want to continue, because I think I tried really hard." While I thought ... So what? You weren't able make it at a lower level ... how can you be so silly as to think you'll do better higher up?
A few days later each climber met with the expedition leader to hear whether they'd be allowed to attempt the summit. The leader explained, rather delicately, that he didn't believe allowing this person to try to summit would be safe. He explained that he was unwilling to allow the person to hurt themselves or put the other climbers and staff in danger. The person accepted the decision through tears of disappointment.
As cameras followed the rest of the climbers now starting the preparations needed to push to the 'top of the world', they also followed the ill-fated climber who was now off the team. Incredibly, the person's language started to change when speaking about the harshness of the mountain AND the people of the team.
Over the time of one episode, the person went from singing everyone's praises to speaking about how "horrible and scary" they all were. It was ridiculous. It was also very apparent how the language changed to cover their own inability to meet the challenge. Rather than express sadness and disappointment, which would be totally understandable ... the statements were about how they realized "others didn't want me to succeed."
NO...YOU FAILED TO MAKE THE CUT!
They didn't have what it took to do what they started out to do. It was ALL on them...not anyone else. Others in the group had previously tried, failed, and then returned a year later more prepared and successfully summitted. To my knowledge, this person did not ever do this. They blamed others for their failure instead of taking ownership of the fact that they couldn't do it at that time.
Success usually doesn't come easily. You don't always succeed on your first attempt. This is normal part of the process of growth, and a well known fact to high-achievers.
2014 on Mt Kilimanjaro above 16,000 ft during a freak snow storm. We didn't make the summit this trip. Shortly after this picture was taken, Tina had to be emergency evacuated because of the onset of HAPE. 4 of us carried her and literally ran down the mountain to get lower than 12,000 feet as soon as possible (the last altitude we knew she was safe). It was a terrifying day. Praise God, she made it out ok.
And "A" for effort doesn't mean an "A" for outcomes in the real world of mountains, business, or life. Just because you "tried your hardest" doesn't mean you're going to succeed at an objective task.
Fulfilling the demands of the task mean you succeeded.
Yes, putting your full self into what you do is important ... I'm not saying otherwise. We should always give 100% to our pursuits. However, your best may not always be good enough.
That is OK! Don't quit.
Sometimes we need to work HARDER! We need to grow … so that we can get better … so that we can eventually obtain the goal.
To do this, one must take ownership for what is so that adjustments can be made.
Don't blame others, circumstances, or fate.
Get to work!
Blessings and Strength!
Second attempt brought success. (Tina decided to skip this climb.)
The triumphant summit picture with friend (John R.) and cousin (Dave K.) on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro … the highest point on the African continent.
My goal is to equip you to avoid problems if at all possible ... or effectively deal with them if absolutely necessary.
It is my sincerest hope that you will JOIN ME on my mission to Liberate all those that we can.
Together We Are Liberation Nation!
"None of Us Lives For Themselves."