Don’t get greedy

mountaineer-56686_640It’s human nature

It is part of our human nature – to want a little bit more, to stretch for a little extra, to have another piece of apple pie, even though we are stuffed.  In mountaineering and rock climbing, this is also true.  We may take a long step or reach out for another hold a few inches further away – just to gain a little extra ground.  In most cases, it works and everything proceeds on smoothly.  However, every once in a while that extra distance fails – it bites you in the ass.

Going too far

On a recent excursion, we were doing some easy rock hopping near the top of a ridge in the beautiful Rocky Mountain back-country.  I had a full pack.  Although we had been at it for several hours, fatigue had not yet set in.  Since I have a relatively short leg span, I frequently stretch out my step to get between rocks.  On this outing, everything had been proceeding nicely.  We were having a great day.  I stepped off from one rock with just a slight hop.  The next thing I knew I was tumbling down the hill.  Fortunately I twisted my body just enough to protect my head.  When I got up, I did a quick damage check.  My thigh hurt immensely – I must have smashed it into a rock during the tumble – nothing too serious.  I could continue on our hike after a rest, but it was a close call.

I was greedy

Reflecting back on the cause of the fall I determined that I was greedy.  I had stepped out too far.  I bit off more than I could chew, and in this case, it wasn’t necessary.  When you are in the back-country, an injury is serious business.  There are no paramedics to rush in, arrive within 5 minutes of the 911 call, and save the day.  In many cases, the only rescue is on your own two feet or with the assistance of your hiking partner.  Thus, every step must be careful and exact.  There is little margin for error.

There is no need to rush.

The same holds true for all of life.  There is no need to rush.  It only increases the risk and might get you into a situation that is even worse.

This should be our attitude in all phases of life.  Don’t get greedy.  Don’t rush.  Take your time and think through the next move.  Don’t become immobilized in analysis, but neither go willy-nilly into the next situation, taking on extra risk that is unnecessary.  We all have one day to live.  Go slowly.  Be deliberate.  Ask for advice.  Savor the moment.  Enjoy the process.  Step out only as much as necessary.  Be mindful of the situation.

Don’t get greedy.  It doesn’t really help.

What processes are there in your life in which you could slow down and not be greedy, yet still get satisfactory results?


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About John Forrest