Pesky Truths and Mountain Climbing …

Mountain climbing“If you do not endeavor to climb the mountain, you will never see the view.”

Unknown, but smart person


I have never attempted a real mountain, but I have climbed a few real high hills in my day.  One in particular stands out … Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee, site of a famous Civil War battle and a marvelous natural wonder.  Without going into details, ways exist to scale part of this long bread-loaf shaped national monument.  We did not reach the top, but we enjoyed several spectacular views at various places.  We also had the experience of being in some places where we could vividly imagine the physical struggle of those troops attempting to climb this mountain under fire.

When I first saw the above quotation, I thought to myself “No deep message here, simply a reminder that we have to work for the things in life that we desire.”  Just another reminder that we have to dream high and work hard, while sacrificing and struggling to reach the very tippy-top.

However, a careful reading of the above, along with a little reflection, gives me two additional important truths.


“endeavor to climb” … we do not have to succeed, we just have to try.

The value is in the attempting.  Regardless of what the motivational speakers may promise, nobody is guaranteed success.  Many factors impact who reaches their goals and a good number of these factors are not within our control.  However, we can control how we view things and we can control whether we strive for something or not. 


The view is not just at the top … Look around in mid-journey and you may be delighted.

You can see seven states from the top of Lookout Mountain … but you can several at a time at many points on the slopes.  The exact number and view depend on which slope you are on, while the weather and time of day affect the view as well.   Of course, it’s not always about seeing the most, but about appreciating what you CAN see.

Sometimes we gain much more from taking the time to enjoy whatever is in front of us now than continuing a relentless drive toward the top.  After all, given that we are not assured of success, all we really have is “now” … makes sense to stop and enjoy it.

… and the view from below the summit is spectacular in its own right.


Taking the time to look around and appreciate what I see on the way to fame in the Heartland ….