Welcome to my Never Quit Climbing blog

A practical, inspirational blog designed to encourage and give hope to people who are climbing mountains of rock and granite or ones life has put in their way.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Luck Rarely Gets You To The Summit

I was in a convenience store recently and watched the woman in front of me plunk down sixty dollars for lottery tickets. And maybe she felt that this was a particularly lucky week but I got the feeling she did this all the time. It wasn't one of the "mega" type jackpots either where people spend all sorts of money once a year hoping to win the hundreds of millions.

She, like many, was probably hoping that luck would change everything and she was willing to sacrifice some of her resources to take that risk? And could a life change by playing the lottery? I suppose so though the statistics aren't very good for people who suddenly get rich. Even so, there's only one chance in scores of millions that any one person wins anyway.

It seems to me that luck is a pretty risky way to try and climb higher in life. Luck rarely gets people through cancer to a new job after many lean years or moved on following a messy divorce. Luck has no real power to help us other than to show up now and then but we can't control it anyway.

Summiting, whether a granite mountain or a life challenge, requires some other important things be substituted for mere good fortune. Like what?

Knowledge is a good place to start. Learning what we can about our disease, our challenge or options to  is vital. And in the age of the Internet (though not everything there is true or helpful) there is no excuse for not learning more.

I remember coming down Mt. of the Holy Cross in Colorado with my son. Unfortunately we got lost on the way down in the fields of boulders. There were cairns that we saw on the way up but we unwisely didn't look for them and got off the best route back to our trail. So we bushwacked our way hustling to outrun an approaching storm so we could get down to treeline.

All of a sudden we came upon a trail thinking we would be way off course only to realize later that it was the right one. We got lucky! But we would have done better if we simply had been better prepared and learn the correct route ahead of time.

Taking some wise next steps also beats luck. Many people get paralyzed by their struggle so they spend lots of time and energy hoping that something (like the lottery) or someone will get them out of their jam. And of course other insightful people can be wonderfully helpful but sometimes we need to merely take some next steps too and go as far as we can with what we know.

If you're on a challenging mountain like Everest you'd better plan to get to base camp first before you start thinking much about camp 4. And often that success, though limited, can also give you some encouragement and momentum.

Third, persevering always beats luck. Lucky people rarely win or even finish races but those who keep going usually at least finish. That's why I call this blog and website Never Quit Climbing. Don't stop, don't get paralyzed, don't give up. In fact the best option is to make the decision to keep going before you ever start out.

Perseverance is a decision, but one you probably don't want to try to make on the spot.

But whatever you do don't count on luck. If it bails you out from time to time, OK. But remember luck is just that - the chance that something good happens when you most need it. The better way is to do what you need to do so you never need it in the first place.

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