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is it possible to rush to the top of the mountain?

Today’s blog is motivated by a comment in an email I got from Adam Fletcher last night:

“It’s very easy to let the drudgery of climbing distract you from your goal….”

I went to boarding school for three years with Chipper Jones … who is now one of the best baseball players in MLB today. He has played for the Atlanta Braves for his entire career, broken many records, won the National League MVP, won a world series, earns 17 million dollars a year salary … and without question will end up in the hall of fame.

I think it is worth noting that Chipper signed a contract when he was first drafted that several agents and players complained was not big/good enough. Many people claimed Chipper signed for too little money.

I remember reading a quote by Chipper – although he was just out of high school 18 years old, I admired him for his maturity — he said something like: “my goal is not to be the highest paid player in the minor leagues … my goal is to play professional baseball.” (8 years later he would sign one of the biggest contracts ever in baseball)

Chipper did not rush to his summit.

Although we were not friends in high school — I have watched his career develop with great interest & respect because he was drafted 1st pick right out of high school.

Instead of rushing to the majors (like I would have wanted to do if I had been in his place), Chipper spent 4.5 years in the minor leagues preparing/training/developing for the day he would be sent to the big leagues.

The same year Chipper was drafted 1st — another young, up and coming super talent was drafted 4th overall pick …. Todd van Poppel. Van Poppel was expected to become the next great pitcher, maybe even the greatest ever and I remember him being on the cover of several sports magazines.

Van Poppel’s agents fought to ensure he went to the big leagues as soon as possible – and fought and fought with the team that drafted him to ensure he made as much money as possible upon signing.

He rushed to his summit.

A few years later …. no one remembers Todd van Poppel because he went to majors very quickly, ended up getting injured, bounced from team to team for a few years and retired completely unfulfilling what was expected from his talent.

Recently, I watched a documentary on Mt. Everest — the film was about the 1996 tragedy on Mt. Everest where eight people died.

The night of the tragedy … David Breashears – the man who filmed the documentary discussed how he and his team were at camp 3 … all set to go for the summit, everything seemed good – he commented that the weather was good — just a bit windy, but no sign of a storm coming.

However, they decided not to rush to the summit …. he commented that he and his team leader looked down the mountain and saw 65 people climbing up and they did not want to be in a position where they were coming down from the summit at the same time as so many people were climbing up.

So he and his team walked back down to base camp and put off their summit climb for another 10 days — and missed the storm that killed 8 people.

He made a point of stating to the interviewer that he and his team were not “lucky” for turning away and missing the storm — they were “consistent, prudent and focused.”

Unfortunately, 8 people died that night.

I would have been one of those that would have been in trouble stuck near the top, maybe even one that died because I would have wanted to get to the top as soon as possible.

Although we started naseba with next to nothing, I have always (maybe naively) fully expected to develop the company into a multi-hundred million euro group.

4 years after launching naseba with just 42K euros we went public Oct 2006 with a value of 24 million euros…

The first 9 months or so, I tried to do too many things at the same time … essentially, I tried to rush as quickly as i could to achieve.

Without question whatever mistakes that i made last year were the result of trying to rush to the top of my summit — (I tried to rush to achieve my goal)

My wife quit smoking about a year ago – and as most people who quit smoking do, she gained about 10 lbs. Although she is far from “fat,” these 10 lbs made her feel lethargic and not as sharp as she was used to feeling.

Although she has never been someone to wake up very early, diet and do rigorous exercise … she set herself a goal of getting into shape.

We have a gym in our home in France so every morning at 5am she works out on the treadmill or the cross trainer and then lift weights …

…. she was very consistent and focused when she started her early morning schedule, diet and training program, but she did not immediately, lose weight.

I was secretly impressed… because she did not get distracted nor demotivated when she did not see quick results …. she kept consistent and focused.

Of course she ended up losing her weight and getting to her goal.

I think many people — me included, sometimes start a climb … but when we do not see immediate results…. we quit, or break our consistency.

…trying to rush to the summit too quickly, sometimes forces us to make mistakes and ultimately we fall.

Losing weight; learning another language; building a group of companies into 100+ million euros; achieving our goals…. does not happen over night.

Instead of rushing to the top of your mountain; or goal ….stay “consistent and focused.”

Even if success does not come right away … surely, by staying consistent and focused one has a better chance of getting to their summit.

Note: I do not pretend to be someone I am not… I include myself into the above because I have many short term and long term goals I have failed to achieve because I tried to rush to the summit … and either fell or stopped climbing altogether when I failed to get to my goal ….

Next time you are about to quit your climb … remember that the man at the top did not run there.

and never forget that some of the best things in life are the hardest to get.


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