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What's Your Everest?

How many of us have our dreams and leave them as nothing more? It’s something we’re probably all guilty of, myself included. The important thing to remember is that a goal is a dream with a deadline. As kids, we soon learn that the likelihood of being an astronaut or a platinum-selling musician is pretty unlikely; but that’s no excuse for not aiming as high as we can reach. For me personally, that happens to be reaching the highest there is; the summit of Mount Everest, the worlds’ highest peak. Even now, at 20, I get people telling me what I should and shouldn’t be doing. Oh, Everest, you mean base camp? You can’t climb that mountain- go get a proper job! Or, shouldn’t you be in school, kid? How sad is it to live in a world where so many people are led astray by this conformity to think money is the gravitational centre of the universe, and forget the true meaning of life in order to fulfil the conventional world of expectations around them? Life is what you make it, and everyone has their own Everest in life.
Don't let people tell you what you can't do You can do anything If you set your mind to it
It’s personal for me, Tom, Dick and Harry. Yours could be to run a marathon, to start a business, to become a doctor, to own a Yacht in Saint Tropez, etc. 'My word of advice would be to reach out, grab that goal with both hands, and don’t let go until you reach that peak, however battered and bruised you might be.'
Me Climbing and bearing the ice Me Climbing and bearing the ice
How often are we told that we cannot achieve something that’s too big, or even ‘stupid’? We are then led to believe that we are not capable by our own minds, and we become our own biggest obstacle to achieving our own potential. Perhaps it’s fear of failure. But failure is something to be embraced- to jump outside your comfort zones, and into the big scary abyss of uncertainty. After all, that’s how we learn and grow the most, when we’re pushed to breaking point, or have to stretch beyond what we know we’re capable of achieving- whether that’s on an outdoor adventure, at work, or in everyday life. As I write in my book Icefall, no matter how hard we work and how much we give, sometimes, things can come crashing down at any moment. Life owes us nothing. I found this the hard way on Everest last year during my second failed attempt. But from this harrowing experience, I learnt much more, because nothing remotely worth fighting for is ever going to be easy. What matters, is not how we succeed, but how we get ourselves back on our feet to try again. And again. And again.
Me waiting and never giving up Me waiting and never giving up
Think about some of the biggest successes in your life. I know when I do, I realise some of those came when I was on the thread of giving up. And I also remember how some of the best adventures have come when I least expected it, by having the courage to say “Hell, I’m going to do it anyway!”. The truth is that if you follow a tried and tested path, you’re likely to end up in the same place. Those cheesy inspirational quotes you see everywhere do get a little monotonous, because you have to apply them to real life experiences, and when you’re slogging up a Himalayan mountain face sucking the oxygen-deprived air for dear life, believe me, they don’t do much for your momentum. You have to find that inner strength and passion for yourself, to realise that you are capable of much more than you think of. In which case, life becomes an adventure in itself, and will take you on quite a journey if you can find the spirit to ignore those who tell you otherwise. '‘Those who say it cannot be done; shouldn’t interrupt those who are doing it.’ Oh dear, there goes another inspirational quote! So, what are you waiting for? Get out and conquer your Everest, it’s yours and yours alone.

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