Somebody once said that a stranger is simply a friend you haven’t met. The dictionary says that a friend is one who is attached to another by affection which leads him to desire his company, or one who has sufficient interest to serve another.
The dictionary definition amply describes Mike Corbett who, along with his friend Mark Wellman, on July 19, 1989, started their assault on El Capitan. El Capitan is a sheer rock wall 3,569 feet above the floor of Yosemite Valley in Northern California. It is one of the most difficult mountains for rock climbers to scale. The combination of difficulty and danger is sufficient to test the strength and courage of even the world’s most elite climbers.
It took Mark Wellman and Mike Corbett seven days to make the climb. During that time they encountered temperatures of up to 105 degrees and wind gusts that made the ascent even more difficult. When they reached the summit, Corbett stood in triumph but Mark Wellman just kept his seat. He’s a paraplegic and the first person to scale El Capitan without the use of his legs.
Wellman had given up climbing in 1982 after he was paralyzed as a result of a fall. From that point on the only rock climbing he did was in his dreams. Then Mike Corbett convinced him they could climb the mountain together. Wellman certainly couldn’t have done it without Corbett, who led the way and helped Wellman move through each stage, higher and higher. Perhaps the pinnacle of friendship and courage was reached when on the seventh day Corbett was unable to secure the pitons in the loose rock skirting the summit. Knowing that a misstep would send them both plunging to their deaths, Corbett hoisted Wellman onto his back and clambered the remaining distance to the top. On September 4, 1991, Wellman and Corbett set out to conquer Yosemite’s other big wall, Half Dome. Thirteen days later they reached the top of the 2,200 foot vertical Tis-Sa-Ack route on Half Dome.
There’s an old but very true statement that if you would have a friend, be a friend. I encourage you to be a friend like Mike Corbett was to Mark Wellman, and so shall we strive to help a friend.
Inspirational: Being Fully Alive
By Dan Miller
Here’s an example of how people are sitting on top of new kinds of opportunities without seeing them. On a recent radio interview we had a lady caller who had been teaching at a Christian school. She loved being able to motivate and inspire the students – and the philosophy of the school aligned with her personal values. But she was being paid a meager salary and felt the financial strain at home. So she quit that job and took a position as director of a day care facility. She doubled her salary – but was confronted with business values that conflicted with her own. She found non-supportive, critical parents and general tension in much of what she tried to do. Her question for me: “Should I work in a school where it embraces my Christian faith and values – but I don’t make any money – or should I keep the job that pays double the money but conflicts with my values?”
What do you think – is this lady fully alive? And what is the problem with her question?
Here’s a short illustrative story (excerpted from No More Mondays):
There May Be More Solutions Than What You First See . . . Many years ago in an Indian village, a farmer had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to the village moneylender. The old and ugly moneylender fancied the farmer’s beautiful daughter, so he proposed a bargain. He would forgive the farmer’s debt if he could marry his daughter. Both the farmer and his daughter were horrified by the proposal, but the cunning moneylender suggested that they let providence decide the matter. He told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty money bag. The girl would have to reach in and pick one pebble from the bag. If she picked the black pebble, she would become his wife and her father’s debt would be forgiven. If she picked the white pebble, she need not marry him and her father’s debt would still be forgiven. If she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail until the debt was paid. They were standing on a pebble-strewn path in the farmer’s field. As they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles. The sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick a pebble. Now, imagine that you were the girl standing in the field. What would you have done? If you had to advise her, what would you have told her?
Careful analysis would produce three possibilities: (1) The girl could refuse to take a pebble—but her father would then be thrown in jail. (2) The girl could pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from debt and imprisonment. Or (3) The girl could pull out both black pebbles in the bag, expose the moneylender as a cheat, and likely incite his immediate revenge. Take a moment to think through this story. I’ve used it with the hope that it will help you see alternate solutions beyond the obvious ones. The girl’s dilemma cannot be solved with traditional logical thinking. You may be in a similar situation. You may be in a job you hate—but the pay is great. You have two choices: (1) You can stay in a job you hate. (2) You can leave the job but will then give up the great pay. Are these really all the options?
Here is what the girl did. She put her hand into the money bag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble strewn path, where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles. “Oh, how clumsy of me,” she said. “But never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.” Since the remaining pebble was black, it would have to be assumed that she had picked the white one. And since the moneylender dared not admit his dishonesty, the girl would have changed what seemed an impossible situation into an extremely advantageous one. Now, how could you see more creative solutions for your situation?
Now let’s go back to that teacher – remember the one who wondered if she should be in the school that aligned with her values but didn’t pay much – or in one that paid double but conflicted with much of what she believed. Did she perhaps have options she was not seeing?
Here’s a related example – Several years ago Jim was eager for a change. He had an academic background but was just exiting a career in the military. Over a casual dinner conversation his wife asked Jim, “If money were not important, what would you do?” Jim responded immediately, “I’d sit around the house and read old history books.” Guess what Jim does today. He reads old history books. He creates audio CDs as he brings to life old historical novels with his dramatic, engaging readings. With primarily a home schooling customer base, children beg to hear the next installment as they are simultaneously learning the rich stories from history. Recently I received this note from Jim – “Just thought you’d like to know that, doing what I love, my profits increased this year to over 104K. A great year for me that was a lot of fun and a lot of work. All with a seven second commute.”
If you created ten alternatives for moving forward rather than just two, what are the chances you could uncover an application that allows you to engage your passion – and make more money than you ever imagined?