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Last Friday, I wrote an Eye-Opener that celebrated Yuichiro Miura, the Japanese man who last week became the oldest man to climb Mount Everest when he did it at age 80. He's done it three times, having previously scaled the world's highest peak at 70 and 75, despite the fact that he's had four heart surgeries and had various other medical issues.

I wrote:

Reached by phone on the summit - which somehow in itself is remarkable, Miura said, "This is the best feeling in the world. I never imagined I would become the oldest man to get here, at 80. There's no greater feeling in life, but I've never felt this tired either."

I'll bet.

And I was feeling tired just getting up to do MNB this morning. But now I'm feeling a little sheepish about that, and about the fact that sometimes I let my two knee surgeries dissuade me from going jogging.

A lot of us think, from time to time, that we have things tough. But I would argue that few of us have it as tough as an 80 year old man ... trying to climb Mount Everest.

Maybe the rest of us should just shut up and get to work.


I have to say that I was horrified to get the following response:

I read your eye opener on Friday.. the article about climbing Mt. Everest,  and it was inspiring.  However I hardly think it qualifies for your line “maybe the rest of us should just shut up and get to work”.  To climb that mountain is a choice.. that is not forced.. and it is very very expensive, costing thousands.  Most people I know, especially now, cannot afford it.

Don’t get me wrong, it is a great achievement.. but I will tell you one that is greater.. when my 45 year old husband took 8 minutes to walk up 13 steps to his bedroom three days before he died from ALS.   I was not yet 40 years old and widowed.  It was August of 2007, we had two children and about 15 months later I lost my job.  I actually went back to school and finished my MBA within the year and then started looking.  Finally, after another  year, I found a job, an hour away from home.. where I make less than I did 7 years previously.. even though I had my MBA.  I took this job, because I did not want my children to think it was okay to sit home and collect social security (I could as a widow with minor children).  When I figure out my cash flow, I should be staying home.. not paying for gas and tolls.  I would be ahead by roughly $400 per month.   But.. I shut up and go to work.  There are many achievements to be lauded and many tales of inspiration, but most don’t come from the top of the world.  It is courageous people we see everyday and perhaps never know what struggles they have overcome, without the help of a Sherpa.


When I say I was horrified to get this email, it is because the last thing I would ever want to do is suggest that the exploits of one 80 year old man are somehow more important or impactful than the day-to-day efforts of many people to live fulfilling and happy lives. In fact, my goal was to illuminate someone who seemed to be doing exactly that, albeit on a grand scale, though not one that outweighs other people's efforts.

What I loved most about Miura was that he could have stayed home and nursed his maladies and whined about how he would love to climb Everest. But he didn't. he just climbed the mountain.

To say that I am sorry about your husband's passing somehow seems totally inadequate. I can only imagine the courage that it took for him to walk those 13 steps, and the courage that it took for you and him to deal with his illness. It sounds like you focused on life, not death. I would hope that I would have the courage to do the same if faced with the same circumstances.

In so many ways, this brings us full circle to this morning's Eye-Opener, which is about taking responsibility for one's own job happiness. Above, I quoted a line from The Bridge On The River Kwai, but now I'd like to use one from The Shawshank Redemption:

"Get busy living, or get busy dying."

My profound apologies if you thought I was only impressed by people who climb the actual Everest. I am, in fact, wowed by people who climb their own personal Everests every day.
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