one more hill

Italian Lake(lake of Como)

The Story

I went once to the wilderness with some friends. We thought that spending time in nature would be pleasant.  Once we were there, we saw a hill and decided to climb it.  We thought that the summit of the hill would be a nice place to see the sun set.  When we reached the top of the hill, we saw another hill that was even higher, and we decided to forge on before the sun set to reach the summit of the higher hill – surely the view was clearer and further from the peak of that hill.

Once we reached the second hill we sat and looked around and noticed a third hill, almost a mountain, rising in the distance.  That hill blocked our view and we decided that nothing would satisfy us than to hike to the top of the third hill to witness the sunset.  We set off across the valley between peaks and ascended the summit.  When we reached the top, we looked around at the view and realized that we could see a limitless vista – but we had missed the sunset while we were climbing.

The Moral

Too often we chase the next summit while missing the overall goal. Seeing the sunset from the second-highest mountain is still the achievement of a goal – missing the sunset while ascending the third-highest mountain is not.   It’s important not to miss the goals you wish to achieve in life because you are seeking perfection.  There’s a clever line:  perfection is the enemy of the good.  Thinking that everything in your life has to be perfect (or nothing) may be the enemy of making everything good.  To summarize:  stay put on the second hill, and enjoy the sunset.   Anything else is wasted effort.

photo credit: galahad86

11 comments

  • I thought you were going to say something like “because we wanted to get to that next hill, we missed the sunset.” But I get your drift here. It's a delicate balance between pushing yourself to the limit and enjoying what you've accomplished. Awesome photo by the way. Creative Commons rocks!

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  • I understand what you are saying and think the metaphor is nice. But sometimes there are multiple goals, or in your case climbing all three hills could have been a goal.

    Reason I say that is because I climbed Mt. Sinai with 2 friends in the wee hours of the morning. We wanted to get there with plenty of time to maybe nap, relax, collect some thoughts. There were two routes to choose to climb up, the easy and hard. We made it a challenge to ourselves to climb the hard route to have the experience. Because of it, we didn't get to the peak as early as we would have liked and were beyond beat. We still saw the beautiful sunrise, but only had about a 45 min time to relax opposed to a few hrs.

    My point is that sometimes it's worth going for the extra challenge. In either way you are going to have an experience out of it and when you succeed you will appreciate it more. I'm sure you did after climbing the third hill.

    Craig
    http://www.budgetpulse.com

  • i think there's another message here too – about how you make trade-offs. was the experience of climbing the third peak more exciting than seeing the sunset? for me, it would be. seeing the sunset is always one of those things that sounds better on paper than in real life. climbing a mountain though… 🙂

    but, to tie this back to an earlier post – this is a very buddhist message. too often we spend our lives striving, instead of being content where we are in the present moment. i think if there is one failing in my professional life, it's that i'm always looking forward to the next experience.

  • Early Retirement Extreme

    But that picture there; that's taken from the third hill, no? 😉

  • I thought you were going to say that the moral of the story is that you shouldn't wander around the wilderness after dark… 🙂

  • torbjorn rive

    yessir yessir yessir. you've got soul Steve, and that's why we like you.

    *Shadox – great comment. haha.

  • I thought you were going to say that the moral of the story is that you shouldn't wander around the wilderness after dark… 🙂

  • torbjorn rive

    yessir yessir yessir. you've got soul Steve, and that's why we like you.

    *Shadox – great comment. haha.

  • Pingback: Doing My Part With mini-Rants « Busted Resource

  • torbjorn rive

    yessir yessir yessir. you've got soul Steve, and that's why we like you.

    *Shadox – great comment. haha.