Randy Pang, my cofounder at Ridejoy, on the summit of Echo Peaks in Yosemite.
Having perspective is powerful.
When you ask for advice from a mentor or advisor, you are reaping the benefits of their perspective. They have a different (often higher) vantage point from which to see the situation and offer suggestions. But how do you get that perspective?
I recently ran two trail races that had a lot of uphill climbs. Trudging up those steep hills was no fun. We were sweating and grinding forward on a path that seemed to go up indefinitely.
When we finally reached the top, we were rewarded with incredible views of the surrounding area. You could see out for miles, across enormous swaths of of the Bay Area.
We got to enjoy this beautiful vantage point for most of the race and it was glorious.
It has occurred to me that to get great perspective, to get sound judgement and a better sense of what you ought to do in a given situation, you need to climb mountains.
These mountains can be literal, like the ones in my trail race, or metaphorical ones: dealing with tough challenges, making progress and pushing ahead:
- Working on a startup
- Raising a child
- Launching a new product
- Shooting a documentary
- Recovering from an addiction
- Traveling to foreign lands.
These things are hard, scary and sometimes dangerous. But it’s the struggle (and eventual success) that gives you wisdom.
A parent, a veteran entrepreneur, a seasoned traveler – these people have hard-earned perspective that came from their facing the steep hills of their lives and forging ahead. Sometimes they slipped back a little or had to stop and rest. But they always kept their eyes on the path, rallied and continued onward. Because that’s what it takes.
If you want perspective, you’ve got to climb mountains.