Business and climbing

I came upon a great post today from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Inside Entrepreneurship section. In it, writer Susan Schreter compares the trials and tribulations of starting a new business to those endured by climbers on a new peak.

It is a great read, and she mentions one of my favorite quotes by George Mallory about his reasons for climbing Everest. I use this quote to close my keynote presentations, and it is worth putting down in full:

The first question you will ask, and which I must try to answer is this: What is the use of climbing Mt. Everest? And my answer must at once be: It’s no use. There is not the slightest prospect of any gain whatsoever. Oh, we may learn a little about the behavior of the human body at high altitude, and perhaps medical men may turn our observation to some account for the purposes of aviation. But otherwise, nothing will come of it. We shall not bring back a single bit of gold or silver, not a gem, nor any coal or iron. We shall not find a single bit of earth to plant crops and raise food. It’s no use. So if you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain…and goes out to meet it. That the struggle is the struggle of life itself, upward  and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all the end of life. We do not live to eat and make money…We eat and make money to be able to enjoy life and live it to its fullest. That is what life means and what life is for.
– George Leigh Mallory, 1923

What is your Everest?

Jake Norton is an Everest climber, guide, photographer, writer, and motivational speaker from Colorado.

  1. The Adventurist
    The AdventuristMay 11,07

    Hey Jake,

    I Love this quote. I have printed this out and posted it upon my wall..

    I think more people should realize that this is ultimately the goal of living..enjoy the time you have as it is very short..

  2. Ganesh Neupane
    Ganesh NeupaneFebruary 17,08

    Your site is very good and keep always same.


    Ganesh Neupane

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