When people think of mountain climbing, they tend to think of Mount Everest, armies of Sherpas, an insane amount of equipment in a jam-packed basecamp, miles of rope anchored to the mountainside, etc. For a very long time, many people considered this technique—what’s called siege style—the best way to climb a mountain.
Today, there’s a different way called alpine climbing. Here’s how it works:
1. Collect everything you think you will want.
2. Remove items one by one until you’re down to what you’re sure you will need.
3. Put that in a rucksack, climb up the mountain, and get off as quickly as possible.
The focus shifts from the traditional siege mentality of “attacking” the mountain to one of moving fast and light to the summit and back down again. Some alpinists even describe it as working with the mountain.
A lot of us seem to live our whole lives according to this siege mentality. Is our house big enough? Do we have nice enough things? Do our kids go to good enough schools? Because everyone else thinks this way, these things begin to seem an awful lot like necessities. Along the way, we lose track of the real purpose of life. Things and stuff shift from being a means to an end (whatever our purpose is) to being the end in and of themselves.
What would be out if you took an alpine-style approach to your life? How might you change?