It was 2:00 am, pitch black but for the twinkling headlamps of my fellow climbers on Mt. Rainier. Crampons on my boots, ice axe in my hand, inexorably tethered to a climbing team of four. I’m scrambling up the aptly named, Disappointment Cleaver, despair creeping into my consciousness. This is where I learned the meaning of “how” commitment.
Though I’d trained hard and felt great on the climb the day before, I was laboring mightily in the higher altitude. (Guide, RMI owner and mountaineer, Peter Whittaker, told me later I wasn’t breathing properly. Ugh!) While we charged past other rope teams, I felt as if I was barely hanging on, I’d never been so completely spent. (What made me think this was a good way to celebrate my 50th birthday?!)
My father passed away recently. My thoughts are saturated with him.
There are many words I’d use to describe my dad, but the word optimistic stands out the most.
A few years ago, I asked my dad what it was that made him so optimistic. He replied simply, “I’ve never failed!” Hmmm….
Can you imagine?! Living for nearly 86 years and believing you’ve never failed?! (To be clear, my dad, a humble man, wasn’t boasting, just explaining.)
As I’ve reflected upon my dad, I’ve wondered about the mindset that resulted in his believing he’d never failed. (Most days, I feel like I’ve failed at least once before breakfast. I didn’t inherit his optimism.)
I’ve determined that the key to his optimism was in his perspective and what he chose to focus on. (more…)