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To see possibility,,, Climb the highest tree!

Posted 8/31/2018

Have you ever heard of a goat climbing a tree? When I came across this picture, it was the first time I had ever seen it. How do they get up there? Why do they want to get up there? They don’t look that comfortable, do they? So, it’s probably not because they have nothing better to do. They are after food they can only find in the trees, but even more importantly, from an elevated position, they can see the lay of the land, any potential danger and they get a vision for their next move. Hmm, interesting!

The often elusive and misunderstood question is; what do you really want? This is the main reason, I believe, why there are so many people wandering aimlessly through life just taking what they get. You will remember that famous conversation from Alice in Wonderland, when Alice asks the Cheshire cat which direction she should take. The cat says, ‘That depends on where you want to get to.’ Alice responds, ‘It really doesn’t matter.’ The cat then says, ‘Well then, it doesn’t really matter which way you go, any path will get you there.’

The harsh reality is, everything you are doing day to day is pointless if you don’t have a vision for the type of life you want to live. Why? You may be asking. Well, it’s quite simple; unless you have a destination in mind, you will be like Alice, and most people, wandering aimlessly through life. It’s amazing to me, now that I’m enlightened, how so few people take the time to climb the tallest tree, look into the future, really think about and plan out the amazing life they will be living. I didn’t do it for many years of my life, and always wondered why I was never really happy or fulfilled. It’s no surprise, I wasn’t looking from the tallest tree.

If you were to jump in your car to meet a friend, but didn’t know the exact location of where the meeting was to take place, how would you go? You would either drive around for a while until you realised it was a fruitless exercise knowing you would never just randomly bump into them, then give up and go home, or, you wouldn’t even get started in the first place. Isn’t it crazy to think you would get in your car and have no idea where you are going? Hmm, that’s something to consider as you are driving through your life.

Even setting goals will be a frustrating and pointless exercise if you don’t have the clarity of a big, colourful and exciting picture of the life you plan to be living. Each goal you set needs to be a stepping stone along the path to a bigger and better vision, not just a random event.  I’ve seen so many people, in my days as a personal trainer, set the goal to lose weight for an occasion, such as; a wedding or a beach holiday. In most cases, they actually achieved this finite goal to then get to the other side of the event and put all the weight back, with interest! Why does that happen so predictably? It’s what I’ve come to know as the ‘Everest Principle.’

Beware of the Everest Principle

I’m going to explain my understanding of this principle – if it’s not totally accurate, don’t worry - the message is what I want you to embed in your thinking. I only wish I knew about it earlier in my life. Many people have attempted to climb the awe-inspiring Mt Everest. Apparently, of all the people who endeavoured to conquer the great mountain, and lost their lives in the process, the majority of them died after successfully reaching the summit, and, were incredibly on the way back down.

Can you imagine it? These champions had done all the work, all the preparation, all the sacrifice and experienced all the pain & discomfort to get to the top of the highest mountain in the world. Then, as they relaxed, celebrated and headed down the mountain to enjoy their massive achievement they died. Why? The Everest Principle! They had only set the goal to reach the top of the mountain, they didn’t set the goal to get back to the bottom!

They lost their edge. They stopped doing the things they had done to get to the top. They got complacent. They got lazy. They thought getting to the bottom would just be an easy journey. Just as they thought it would be okay and they were winners, the conditions changed, they were unprepared, and, they paid the ultimate price for complacency.

Call it the Everest Principle, call it a big picture, call it a mission, call it the goal-beyond-the-goal, call it whatever you like. Any and every goal can only be successful long-term if it’s a stepping stone in the journey of reaching and achieving a much bigger vision. That doesn’t mean you’re never satisfied with where you’re at in life and always wanting more, in fact it means the opposite. You may have heard the saying, success is not a destination, success is a journey. Well, if you truly believe that then it’s the exciting time in the present, working towards a better future, which gives life energy, optimism and fulfillment.

Well known author J.K Rowling is living a life today probably way beyond anything she could have reasonably imagined when she came up the idea to write Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone. At the time she was a single mother, living on welfare, suffering depression and even considered suicide. She decided to take the one skill she had and turn it into something. When she decided to write the first book in the Harry Potter series, whilst I don’t think would ever have predicted that one day the Harry Potter Franchise would be worth more than twenty-five billion dollars, she certainly saw more than just a book.

She got in the tallest tree and created the vision of a better life for her and her daughter. She was clear about the type of life she wanted to live, the difference she wanted to make, the places she wanted to travel and the people she wanted to meet. She developed a clear and powerful vision that was the catalyst for her astronomical success. If her goal was just to have a book published, with no bigger vision, do you honestly believe she would have had the resilience, courage and persistence to overcome forty rejections by publishers in the process of getting her first book published? It was her vision that drove her to the empire she has created.

You can do the same, or better. Your circumstances are probably better than J.K Rowling’s were. If so, then all you need to do is get into the highest tree, check out the lay of the land, cast your vision out in the future and plan the amazing life you can imagine for yourself. Stay focussed on this vision, get emotionally attached to it and simply get to work until it’s your reality.