Mount Everest

Thousands have scaled to the top and many have died on the mountain. What are the real differences between the ones who made it and the skeletons along the path? There are many successes in life that match, or even exceed, an Everest climb. What do people that achieve success have in common? Achievers such as this are often viewed as an “instant success”. There is something glamourous and exciting about spontaneity resulting in accomplishment. Unfortunately, this notion of instant success is more myth than fact. Preparation is vitally important to a prosperous future. Having a plan helps an individual identify his or her goals. With these goals, an individual can find a clear direction to focus on. Direction helps aid execution; therefore, making it a clearer route to success.

Having a goal is key to success. Top-level athletes, successful business people and achievers in all fields set goals. Setting goals give a person long-term vision and short-term motivation. It does this by focusing their acquisition of knowledge and helps them to organize their time and resources so that they can make the most of their lives. By setting sharp, clearly defined goals, an individual can measure and take pride in the achievement of those goals. An individual will see forward progress in what might previously have seemed a long pointless grind. They will also raise their self-confidence as they recognize their own ability and competence in achieving the goals that they have set. Having a goal also allows one to move forward after mistakes and setbacks. If an individual can keep their long-term goal in mind, short term obstacles on the way can be overcome, and learned from. If an individual has planned their future by setting goals, it helps to give his/her life direction.

Direction helps to create the pathway to a successful future. When an individual has a course of action, time can efficiently be managed. This is because one can specifically concentrate on his/her goals and do what needs to be completed in order to achieve it. If he or she didn’t have a clearly defined direction, time would be spent trying to do multiple different tasks that may not even be necessary for success. When a person does not have control of and a focus for his/her time, one may take on too much and end up feeling rushed and overwhelmed. When one does not have a clear direction to help prioritize the time they spend on different tasks or aspects of his/her life, then it becomes a struggle to complete tasks at all. Once time is better managed, an individual no longer subjects oneself to that level of stress. A direction creates a clearer picture of how to prioritize all of the demands on an individual’s time, so as achieving their long-term goals. When an individual learns to use their direction to take control of his/her time, it hones their focus. This is because time and energy aren’t wasted on needless things. When an individual uses their goal to lay out a direction and pathway for future success, it allows one to better prioritize how they spend their time, reduces stress, and improves focus.

Having a clear, focussed direction is a key element in planning to achieve goals for future success. However, in order to make progress in your established direction and to accomplish goals set out in your plan, hard work is necessary. Execution of the plan is achieved when it is supported by a strong work ethic. Many people only really look at the outcomes of success, and don’t see the planning, direction and incredibly hard work that likely helped to achieve it. An iceberg is an excellent metaphor for this view of success. The part of an iceberg in open waters that we see is only a small fraction of the entire iceberg. For all that is visible above the waterline, there is a much larger part hidden beneath. Everyone can see the outcome of success and the accomplishments; the visible part of the iceberg that floats majestically out of the water. On the other hand, the efforts and preparation, what is necessary to achieve such an outcome, remain hidden and unnoticed like the larger section of the iceberg that is beneath the water line. The majority of people tend to only focus on the obvious outcome and the successes of others, rather than recognize the intangible effort and planning behind it all. This is where things like “overnight success” stories come from. Our society seems to value the outcomes of success, without real acknowledgement of the planning, focus and work that went into the achievements.

Consider the example of a climber successfully summiting Everest. This climber must practice for years and years, slowly reaching each small milestone or goal before even thinking about summiting a giant like Everest. He or she must look at factors like what month to climb during because it effects when storms hit. One has to work hard to understand the science behind the correct gear and be able to judge how much oxygen he will need to bring based on how busy the trails are and his or her own body’s needs. To summit a mountain like Everest, a person has to work hard, practice their entire life and prepare extremely well just to stay at the summit for less than an hour. However, everyone only ever hears about the glamourous forty-five minutes that is spent at the top. Little do they know, these people spent their entire lives working towards this goal and worked hard, focusing on what they wanted to accomplish.

The difference between the climbers who made it and the skeletons along the path is planning and preparation. Figuratively speaking, that “mountain” is a metaphor for the goals for a successful future. Whether an individual wants to summit Everest, be an admired academic, become a professional athlete, or save lives as a doctor, planning is vital for a successful future and triumphant achievements. Preparation is key for an individual to identify one’s objectives. These objectives drive direction. When one has a distinct focus, it helps aid implementation, and successful implementation can only occur with hard work and determination. Eminence is only achieved when an individual has diligently prepared oneself for the future.