Climbing Your Mountain

Treat Thompson



This is a republishing of The Steady Fella Newsletter. Every week readers use the timeless insights on passion, productivity, philosophy, and happiness from this newsletter to build towards the life they want.

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Recently I've categorized a new type of goal for myself; "mountains".

They are the huge long term goals that change your life. They are not some “thing” you're trying to acquire, rather it's a state you're trying to be in.

How do you know what your mountain is?

It's a question that only you can answer. Most people already have the answer inside them; they just don't recognize it or know how to articulate it.

You've probably come across one if:

  1. You obsess about what your life would be like in the said state.
  2. It's impactful enough that you wonder if you're cut out to climb it.
  3. The thought of starting is daunting and overwhelming.

An example is someone that loves playing video games, reading about video games, and coming up with video game ideas.

Their mountain could be making a living off of their passion; that's the state they want to be in.

Their path is through video games; that's how they’d choose to get there.

What is my mountain?

The mountain I'm climbing is time freedom.

I want to:

  • Spend time working on the things I want.
  • Spend time with the people I want.
  • Spend time where I want.
  • Spend time doing what I want.

The path I'm on right now is with Steady Fella and Twitter.

It's a long journey to reach, and it's one I might never get to, but that's okay. The view is still good halfway up a mountain. If I only ever have a fraction of time freedom, I'll be happy.

This story from the Shao Link Monk, Shi Heng Yi, inspired me to look at these goals as mountains:

  • Every day a man living close to a mountain would wonder two things: what it would be like to climb it and what he would see at the peak.
  • So finally, the day came. Arriving at the foot of the mountain, he met a traveller and asked, "How did you get up the mountain, and what did you see at the top?" The traveller shared his path and described the view he saw.
  • The man thought, "the path this traveller described to me sounds very exhausting. I need to find another way to climb".
  • So he continued to walk around the foot of the mountain until he met the next traveller. Again he asked, "how did you climb up the mountain, and what did you see at the top?". Once again, the traveller shared his path and his view.
  • Still not being determined which direction and which way to go, the man asked 30 more people.
  • When he finished talking to all of them, he finally made up his mind. "Now that so many people have already shared their paths and what they saw at the top, I don't need to climb it anymore."

This story inspired me because I don't want to do the same with my mountain; with my life obsession.

I like to think the man went home unsatisfied. He never realized the dream he spent his life obsessed over.

He thought climbing it was too exhausting and that the description of someone else's experience was enough.

He'll probably live the rest of his life wondering what the view was truly like, with the mountain staring him in the face every day.

This weeks quote

Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, and difficulty. - Theodore Roosevelt

If you're trying to accomplish something meaningful, impactful, or life-changing, it's going to be hard. You're going to have to earn it.

I look at it as a quote to give people assurance and motivation when they feel discouraged in their struggle.

This week's questions

1. What's at the peak of your mountain? And what's your path up the mountain?

My answer:

Like I said earlier, at the peak of my mountain is time freedom. The path I'm on right now is sharing and creating on Twitter and Steady Fella.

2. Do you know what you'd do with your time if you were financially secure for life?

My answer:

The majority of my time would be spent on what I do with Twitter and Steady Fella. Learning and sharing what I learn.

The other thing I would do is create comedy cartoons and comics, which I used to do on the side when I had more time.

The rest of my time would be spent backpacking, having fun, and spending time with family and friends.