So many times during life, you find yourself doing something in which you think, “Why am I doing this? Am I getting anyplace? Am I crazy? I don’t seem to be advancing? Should I keep this up or quit?” You march on and nothing seems to change. Each arduous step is just another that seems to be among never-ending thousands more to come!
Those were my thoughts, roped, handling an ice axe, and clad in mountaineering boots with spikes (i.e., crampons), during March of 1998 while climbing El Pico de Orizaba (5,636 metres / 18,491 feet), the third highest mountain in North America. Indeed, when we four, sucking air, pulled ourselves onto the summit rim, we saw that we still had another 30 stories of snow to climb to the actual summit.
I was age 43 when we summitted and the other guys were age 28, 27, and 21. I was sure that I was slowing them down. Yet when we reached the true summit, they thanked me, saying they had wanted to quit and turn back; that they would have never reached the summit had I not been goading and cheering them on (“Come on, guys! Just a little bit more!”) Although I had thought I was slowing them down, they had been climbing because they too had thought they couldn’t do it but were more embarrassed to fail in my company. So many things in life can be that way. Although they had the strength I didn’t, I had the motivation they lacked, so we combined our efforts. Was this all worth it? Ultimately, yes! As long as you are not foolhardy, any notable accomplishment in your life will be like this. Don’t doubt yourself. And don’t let them doubt themselves. Do it!