When you try to climb a mountain to prove how big you are, you almost never make it. And even if you do it’s a hollow victory. In order to sustain the victory you have to prove yourself again and again in some other way, and again and again and again, driven forever to fill a false image, haunted by the fear that the image is not true and someone will find out. That’s never the way.
Pirsig, Robert M. | Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Every time Kilian Jornet pops up in a video, I’m entertained by him. In today’s sampling, he attempts the Seven Summits of Romsdalen in Norway, a 77km route, in a single day, using only skis and feet as transport. but my favorite part is (spoiler) when he fails – conditions aren’t quite right, and he can’t make it in a day. He admits it, maybe he’s a little defeated, but it’s ok. It’s a huge day just the same, and he’s expended a huge amount of effort. And the cameraman asks him “What now?” and he replies
Kilian: Shower… Eat… And then just, I don’t know like, just to plan for tomorrow, ah?
Cameraman: (laughing) Are you serious?
The best part is that he’s completely oblivious to how nuts everyone else thinks this is. It’s not nuts to him because it’s who he is. To take the ZAMM quote literally, he wasn’t climbing the mountain to prove who he is, he was climbing the mountain _because_of who he is. He had a goal, it was hard, he couldn’t reach it – but the point was not really the goal, the point was a fun day in the mountains, and tomorrow is no different.