July 29, 2004

mount everest

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More thoughts on "How to be Creative":

9. Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.

You may never reach the summit; for that you will be forgiven. But if you don't make at least one serious attempt to get above the snow-line, years later you will find yourself lying on your deathbed, and all you will feel is emptiness.
This metaphorical Mount Everest doesn't have to manifest itself as "Art". For some people, yes, it might be a novel or a painting. But Art is just one path up the mountain, one of many. With others the path may be something more prosaic. Making a million dollars, raising a family, owning the most Burger King franchises in the Tri-State area, building some crazy oversized model airplane, the list has no end.

Whatever. Let's talk about you now. Your mountain. Your private Mount Everest. Yes, that one. Exactly.

Let's say you never climb it. Do you have a problem witb that? Can you just say to yourself, "Never mind, I never really wanted it anyway" and take up stamp collecting instead?

Well, you could try. But I wouldn't believe you. I think it's not OK for you never to try to climb it. And I think you agree with me. Otherwise you wouldn't have read this far.

So it looks like you're going to have to climb the frickin' mountain. Deal with it.

My advice? You don't need my advice. You really don't. The biggest piece of advice I could give anyone would be this:

"Admit that your own private Mount Everest exists. That is half the battle."
And you've already done that. You really have. Otherwise, again, you wouldn't have read this far.

Rock on.

Posted by hugh macleod at July 29, 2004 6:09 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Thanks. Just...thanks.

I'm hanging around that point of quitting the mountain, and this helps.

Posted by: Jennifer at July 29, 2004 7:14 PM

One of my favourite toons - brilliant.

Posted by: silveretta at July 29, 2004 7:30 PM

My problem - I'm still not sure what my mountain actually IS.

Posted by: NJG from NYC at July 29, 2004 7:39 PM

NJG, the mountain will reveal itself eventually, if you keep your heart open. You have my word on that.

Maybe Job One for you at the moment is not climbing the mountain, but just keeping your heart open?

God, I sound like such a New Age Guru. Heh.

Jennifer, no, thank you! Thanks for stopping by =)

Silveretta, thanks for the kind words =)

Posted by: hugh macleod at July 29, 2004 7:53 PM

did tony robbins take over hugh's blog? :)

Posted by: cynthia at July 29, 2004 8:57 PM

yes...rock on

Posted by: Devon at July 30, 2004 2:31 AM

I'm looking forward to a good ridge walk in the very near future. Just me and my donkey.

Posted by: pieman at July 30, 2004 3:26 AM

Telepathy? I have two career paths open, the risky-but-feasible one and the absurdly risky-but-truly-interesting one. I have been telling myself something along the lines of this post for a few days. Guess which path I'm taking...

Posted by: Nia at July 30, 2004 4:40 PM

Breast cancer was my Everest 15 years ago. I made the summit puking and bald and for that I get to be a fearless Goddess for the rest of my days in perpetuity.
Life ROCKS and so do I.
Keep climbing, but give yourself credit for what's already behind you.

Posted by: Ann at July 30, 2004 5:37 PM

Private Mount Everest: Check
Rations, Equipment and Supplies: Check
Metaphorical Sherpa-guide: Any takers? Hugh?

Posted by: The Englishman at July 30, 2004 9:18 PM

Hey Ann,

I'm so sorry you were sick.

But... Wow. You made it to the summit. That is so utterly splendid!

Gosh. That put me in such a good mood =)

Posted by: hugh macleod at August 1, 2004 12:24 AM

Hey. Don't disparage philately. :)

Everybody has their own private Mount Everest, right? Why assume that stamp collecting has no peaks?

Posted by: Jonathan Dodds at August 1, 2004 9:58 PM

First time to your site mate. Fantastic!! I've been looking up at not just Everest but the whole fucking mountain range all my life. Looking for answers and scared as shit to find them. But for some reason giving up is just not an option.

Posted by: Clayton Banfield at August 2, 2004 4:04 AM

The grim reality is a bit more vivid and liveable when you explain it Hugh, thanks.
I say start in the foot-hills and smaller mountains, get your legs and mind into shape, then tackle the Everest. On the way up keep thinking of how the view will be from up top!

Posted by: Anri M. in Tokyo at August 2, 2004 4:44 AM

Thanks. I'm on the third ridge ... sometimes what you thought was your Everest was just a training climb. I'm not sure I'm working the real peak but if you give up ...

Posted by: Marty Heyman at August 2, 2004 4:55 AM

First time to your site. This is great! Keep up the good work. Your stuff on creativity reminded me of a book (based on a 12-week course) I read awhile back called The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron. It takes many of the same concepts (like "I'd like my crayons back, please" - I loved that one) and suggests exercises to start allowing yourself to color with the crayons again, so to speak. Again, keep up the good work! I've got your RSS feed in my newsreader now.

Posted by: Benjamin Sternke at August 2, 2004 4:27 PM

First time to your site. This is great! Keep up the good work. Your stuff on creativity reminded me of a book (based on a 12-week course) I read awhile back called The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron. It takes many of the same concepts (like "I'd like my crayons back, please" - I loved that one) and suggests exercises to start allowing yourself to color with the crayons again, so to speak. Again, keep up the good work! I've got your RSS feed in my newsreader now.

Posted by: Benjamin Sternke at August 2, 2004 4:28 PM

Hugh,

Great conversation here. Just what I needed today when I feel more like a cave dweller than a mountain climber. It's so nice to know that there are others wrestling with all this too. Kind of like an AA meeting for those who can't recover because one can't recover from being an artist - you can only hold the tension....

Kelly

Posted by: Kelly Carlin-McCall at August 2, 2004 7:20 PM

does organizational development qualify as a "creative" endeavor? my mount everest is getting a group of 30 people to work together towards a common goal over a one year time frame. the challenge, which has been underway for about a month now, is calling on every shred of my creativity, stamina, ability, and passion.

Posted by: krawdaddee at August 2, 2004 9:27 PM

"Organizational Development"? Sure it qualifies. Why wouldn't it?

Everything qualifies. Anything can be a mountain, I would say, because everyone is different. I just used "art" as my own example because that's my bag. I'm not giveing it any special status. If I were a behavioral psychologist I'd use that instead. ;-)

Posted by: hugh macleod at August 2, 2004 9:49 PM

How do you know it's your mountain?

Brings back some advise I was given a long time ago about little and major life problems.

"Pick the mountian you are willing to die on"

This is the yard stick of measure for my life and if, "you are willing" then thats your Mount Everest.

WDA

Posted by: Wm Alexander at August 3, 2004 12:08 AM

I have never heard of you before but " . . . And I think you agree with me. Otherwise you wouldn't have read this far" really struck me in a way that I can't quite describe. I just know I needed to reply immediately and say thanks for making this site

Posted by: Tony at August 3, 2004 12:26 AM

Thanks for this site. I've been back several times, so something you say is clicking. I've got a job as an AD that some would kill for, but its dead-end, not creative, and I've never felt less creative in my life. Not long ago, I'd given up having a job that I loved, and felt tremendously sad for that.

Posted by: marc at August 3, 2004 4:37 AM

Thanks for this site. I've been back several times, so something you say is clicking. I've got a job as an AD that some would kill for, but its dead-end, not creative, and I've never felt less creative in my life. Not long ago, I'd given up having a job that I loved, and felt tremendously sad for that.

Posted by: marc at August 3, 2004 4:38 AM

Thanks for this site. I've been back several times, so something you say is clicking. I've got a job as an AD that some would kill for, but its dead-end, not creative, and I've never felt less creative in my life. Not long ago, I'd given up having a job that I loved, and felt tremendously sad for that.

Posted by: marc at August 3, 2004 4:39 AM

Thank you, sir. I think I WILL rock on.

Posted by: Ron at August 4, 2004 7:37 AM

Here's a different thought: are there "false Everests"? e.g., could you think that you were drawn to "art," when really you were drawn to acclaim? I suspect that there are times for everybody when looking inside might reveal that what we need to do is lay aside the thing we've been driving toward (the acclaim, via the art) in favor of what we really want (success by entirely different criteria, such as happiness with private scribblings, or to play with the kids in the park, or whatever)...

or is this just part of "admitting that you have an Everest" (and that it might not be what you thought)?

another penny in the pond

Posted by: acm at August 4, 2004 10:48 PM

you seem to be identifying the difference b/w an artist and a performer. the two are often, but not necassarily (sp?) always, the same.

Posted by: krawdaddee at August 6, 2004 11:02 PM

oy vey. don't tell me i have to start climbing that damn mountain AGAIN. i've been slipping and sliding down the slope for so many years now...

Posted by: lavonne at August 7, 2004 3:23 AM

lavonne, i think if it's really the goal you are been put on the earth for, it wouldn't feel like a job. doing the dishes is a task, you don't like doing it but you have to. The sentence someone else posted on here made alot of sense to me 'Pick the mountian you are willing to die on' go after the one thing that will give meaning to all the rest and it will not seem like a hassle to archive.
and i believe that the path is more fun than the goal. it's like chasing girls. the chase is more fun than the catch many times.

Posted by: gregoir at August 27, 2004 8:35 PM

what is the biggest mountain in the world

Posted by: michaela at September 9, 2004 8:11 PM