When Climbing Mountains, What is more important? Reaching the Top, or who you become along the way…

mountain2The first time I climbed a mountain was in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Didn’t need any special equipment, just started hiking up the side.  What seemed a very long time later I began to get close to the top.  Picking a nice spot to sit down, I surveyed the view, and was rewarded with the unusually fulfilling gift of actually gazing “down” upon eagles flying.  This was not the kind of mountain you see in movies with deathly blizzards, avalanches, and assorted other disastrous  challenges.  It was just a mountain, still even though I was in the best shape of my life at the time, it was a humbling experience the further up I traveled.  The higher I went, the more difficult it became to breathe, while at the same time each step became a bit steeper.  This relatively small mountain only took me the better part of a day to reach its summit, but it still pushed the limits of my endurance at the time.  It seems to me, that reaching for anything of value in life is very similar.  The higher we climb in any endeavor be it sports, business, social, artistic, or any of a thousand other possibilities, the more difficult things get.  The pressure builds, the stakes go up, and you either grow and rise to the challenge, or you start the long descent back down.  The point is of course, no matter how beautiful the view may be at the top, regardless of the riches or rewards offered or heaped upon you, none of those things can compare to what changes inside you, should you indeed reach the summit, and take that rare look at life from the top of the world.

To me, I will always remember how tempting it was to stop climbing, how easy it would have been to just be satisfied with having made it a quarter of the way, etc.  To all of you out there climbing to the top of your chosen mountain in life, take a moment to appreciate the fact that you have chosen to climb, for many will not even try.  Sit back if you will and relish the beauty of continuing forward long past where others have gone.  Most importantly though, realize that who you develop into during the journey is the real reward.  Choosing to be the best that you can be isn’t just about climbing and reaching the top, it is about becoming more in this life.  Who we choose to be, this is the real reward.  Making it to the top is nice, but becoming a human being of value, and sharing that with others not just on the mountain top, but throughout every day of your life, this seems to be far more important.  Most people will not make it to the top, but if they get the opportunity to be around people who live their lives every day with that sort of commitment, passion, and willingness to become more, it gives them a chance to “see” some of what you did, and who knows how far they will go because of it.

About the Author

W.J. Vincent II has spent the last 20 years of his life building businesses from start-up to success in fields as varied as Real Estate, Technology, and Environmental Health. In January 2012, Natalia, his wife of 13 years, tragically passed away, her body having given in to her short but dramatic three-month battle with a brain tumor. Her sudden passing left W.J. a widowed father of a 1-year old baby girl and 4-year old boy of his own, along with a 12-year old boy and 15-year old girl he had been helping his mother-in-law to raise due to her battle with multiple sclerosis. Faced with a challenge greater than any he had known, W.J. was able to find strength and inspiration from the Bible. There were many miracles and messages that saw him through the darkest moments of his life.

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