“Because its there”, a frequent reason for climbing mountains, especially Everest. Bullshit. That damn mountain will kill you. As will many others including my social media namesake @Katadhin (which I intentionally mispell Katadhin so that pile of rocks won’t toss me off like a bad habit). There is some beguiling attraction about big, imposing piles of earth however. And I need, want, whatever to climb Everest. Am I in shape? Kinda. Mountaineer? nope. But I dig a challenge, especially one I already know in my mind I can defeat. Here’s the way to beat the biggest pile of rocks on the planet (and most of life), know when to press and know when to quit. I won’t die on that pursuit, but I will see who’s the boss.
The problem with quests is knowing when to quit in a culture driven by never quitting. Here’s the reality, know when to hold em Kenny Rogers! Seriously, there is no glory in dying in pursuit of the wrong path. If you don’t wake up in the morning and feel an inner twinge of excitement about your day, kick that lost bag of stale cheetos to the curb. Likewise, if you are in over your head, pull the ripcord. The sweetspot is your crossroads of your passion and capability. I will not die on Everest but I will bring everything, and I mean absolutely everything I have the in the pursuit of this goal: and then I will quit, even if its a long way from the peak. Leaving the entirety of your being on the field is true glory. Live to fight again!
Here’s the thing, once I know I’m done, I’ll return top base camp, even if base camp is what I ultimately achieve. Key to this pursuit is the work I’ll have to put in. The guides I’m going to use will only use me if I achieve other peaks first. Rainer, Aconcagua and Mckinley will have to come first. I feel this is a missing reality in much of startup life today. Many people just go “climb Everest” with no perspective of climbing Katahdin. Sure, some make it, like .1 of .1 of .01% but hey, startup culture!! Just like mountain climbing, you better have your gear tight if you don’t want to be handed a sack of humility. That’s not to say don’t climb, just learn something on lower peaks first.
What you learn from quitting Everest will make you the billionaire of other mountains.