If you are a hiker you most undoubtedly know about false summits. They are an illusion. They lead you to believe that you have reached the top when you may have so much further to climb. Well I was thinking about the theory of the false summit the other day. While I was thinking about this topic my mind began to latch onto the is the top always the highest point? I know in hiking it is. I mean 14,000 feet is higher than 13,000 feet right? Everything I have ever learned says so. The problem that I run into though is who sets the standard? Should everyone follow that standard?
This post really has little to do with hiking. I was thinking about my life and how my financial career has looked. 2005 was a year that I earned the most money in my life. It was during these times that I thought I was on top of the world. However, over the years I have learned that I was at a false summit. Don’t get me wrong making that amount of money is something I would love to do again but definitely in a different manner. I really was immature and I really did not even know what tho do with it. I thought I was at the pinnacle of my life. Then began a descent and if you were looking at income alone it was a landslide down and then I have gradually climbed back up, fell down and part way back to the last climb. In the terms of climbing I am far from the last time I was on the summit. In fact, I roughly make 18% of what I made that year and the years surrounding that year. The funny thing about it all is I know I am way higher up the mountain that I was then. But how could that be?
The Summit that we all strive for is defined many times by others. What others are making, lifting, who they married, what they drive, where they live, the fact they found love and your in a 1 bedroom apartment by yourself and so much more. Our definition of summit is who is the highest. Simply measured by MOST or MOST like our role models. What I have learned over the years is that our life summits have to be defined by us. I realized that the man that I set out to be was not the man that felt like he was on top of the world. I realized that my overall mission in life was to have a positive impact on all those I come in contact with. I want in my life to have people say I am a better person for having met that man. That being said in all areas of modern measurement I am so far from that Summit I once graced. The good news is I am working hard to learn that the scale that was created was the wrong scale. I can honestly say I am higher up or closer to the summit than I have ever been. I want to learn to have a greater impact, spread my word better, help more people, shoot learn to help myself better, find love and actually possibly set myself up to retire. I want to travel and be more involved and these are things I need to work on. My summit includes all of them. It includes, a strong relationship with God , love, respect from my kids, financial freedom, the ability to help others improve their quality of life and more. I’m not there but I am higher.
You see the false summit I think as I type this is humility. Pride and Ego shadowed me from understanding I was not at the real Summit. I relaxed and rested prematurely and I had to go down to go up. This will occur again I’m sure but sometimes ground that appears to be lower is truly closer to the Summit than you think. In conclusion, I advise you to be aware of the false summit. I caution you to learn the topography of your mountain, prepare for it, respect it and embrace the climb. Sometimes when your going g down your really going up.