Second Mountain Thinking

“In contrast to what I saw happening in my own circle, where the whole of life is spent in idleness, amusement and dissatisfaction with life, I saw that these people who laboured hard throughout their entire lives were less dissatisfied with life than the rich. In contrast to the people of our class who resist and curse the privations and sufferings of their lot, these people accept sickness and grief without question or protest, and with a calm and firm conviction that this is how it must be, that it cannot be otherwise and that it is all for the good. Contrary to us, who the more intelligent we are the less we understand the meaning of life and see some kind of malicious joke in the fact that we suffer and die, these people live, suffer and approach death peacefully and, more often than not, joyfully.” -Leo Tolstoy, “A Confession”

Another mountain analogy this week…

David Brooks in his excellent book, “The Second Mountain” writes about two mountains that everyone encounters in their lives. The first is the one dominated by ego in which we seek fame, fortune and personal accolades. The second is the mountain whose summit can only be reached when we share, give back, and help make others better. We get to the second only after we realize that scaling the first didn’t make us one bit happier.

If we know this to be true, it begs the question…can’t we just bypass the first mountain and head to the second right from the start? We sure would save ourselves and others a whole lot of pain and anguish.

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