Many mountain climbers have lost their lives on the Swiss Matterhorn and are buried nearby in what has become known as the “Climbers Cemetery” outside the small town of Zermatt, Switzerland. The fascinating thing that I learned recently was a study by a historian that revealed two-thirds of the climbers in this graveyard made it to the Matterhorn peak, but died on the way back down. They started strong but could not finish, mainly because they were not adequately prepared.

Swiss Matterhorn 1All of us are susceptible to this same danger. Most of us aren’t Swiss alpine climbers. But in every day life, it can be easy to go full out in the beginning, but it’s much harder to finish well. Finishing well takes a lot intentionality.

When people hit their 40’s and 50’s, birthday cards and people say, “It’s all downhill from here.” The reality is, none of us know until the very end where the actual half-way point was. It’s even a little difficult to tell when we’ve reached the peak and are heading down the other side. Regardless of when the “second half” of your life begins, there’s no real reason that I can see that anyone should fail to live with enthusiasm, resolve and passion.

2007-Matterhorn_cemetaryHere are a three things I’m learning about making the second half count:

Fine-tune your Purpose – Young people tend to invest a lot of energy in getting ahead and establishing themselves in their careers and growing their families. Sometimes they forget to consider planning for the future when there will be an empty nest and a loss or change in professional focus. If you don’t have a clear written mission or purpose statement, write one. If you wrote one earlier in your life like I did, consider rewriting it.

Seize the Day – Just go for it. Make the most of life. Take some classes. Teach a class. Volunteer. Mentor a young person. Get involved with your kids or grandkids. Put the wealth of wisdom you have to good use. Give generously of your time, talent, and treasure. Don’t wait for meaning to come to you. Seize the moment and grab the opportunities you have.

Swiss Matterhorn 2Stay in Performance Mode – Don’t slide into maintenance mode. Be careful of letting your guard down because “all the hard work has already been done.” That’s how people die when coming down the mountain. Instead, keep climbing. Fight for your wife’s love like never before. Get to know your kids even if they have already left your home. Hone your skills and learn new ones. Continue to push the envelope. Try something new. Go after God like you’ve never done before. Finish in a sprint. Keep on climbing.


QUESTION: What have you learned about staying sharp and fresh? Please share in the Comment section. Thanks.

5 responses to Keep on Climbing

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