Alone At The Top?!

August 18, 2010
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So many people would give their own life experiences as proof to the theory that to get to the peak of any mountain, the mountain being a metaphor for a field of their choice, we have to leave behind everyone, people we compete with as well as the people we hold close to heart, because there is only room for one at the top.
But then a mountain like that would be very high, and I am afraid of heights.
What is the point of success that leaves you so completely lonely, riches that you have no one to spend on, and happiness that you have no one to share with?
The light of a single candle in a dark night fades to nothing, sooner or later. But if that single candle is used to set other waxsticks to flame, the darkness is lifted and the whole world revels in the light.
Ambition is a virtue, obsession a vice. And there happens to be nothing but a fine line of sand between the two, which can be blown away by the slightest wind of temptation.
Personally, I have never actually been top of anything. Yes, I write, but I face pretty good competition from my friends, who are also excellent at this particular art. And they are still my friends. I have never actually been top of my class either, thought I've always been a good student.
I have also met a lot of people, and can confidently say that I'm in one of the happier positions that the world has to offer.
Quite a lot of people would question the basis of my sanity (I don't actually have much of it), many would close their shutters on me, and other less dramatic people would merely stop reading.
But really, I have seen what it is like to be at the top, if not personally, then close enough. And it is a cold, bleak summit, lonely and the focus of a lot of people who watch on it with jealousy, plotting to push you off so that they can occupy the spot.
And not only are you tired from the climb, you are also second-guessing the point of the trip and wondering if you weren't better off below after all. And you don't have anyone to protect you, remember, because you left all of them behind in your efforts to reach the peak. Besides, there is no place for them.
So why make everything so difficult for yourself?
I know what you're thinking. You're either wondering if I lack ambition, or if I lack mental balance.
I certainly don't lack ambition. (Mental balance is a different and highly refuted case.) We always want to excel, become known for being good at whatever field is under question. We want to prove ourselves, undertake challenges, overtake opponents and satisfy ourselves over and over again. But do we let that instinct, which I like to call the winner's instinct, take over?
Even after a marathon, the winner is standing on that rankers stage, all alone and a little scared of the baleful looks being thrown at him by the people who came in second and third, and even the people who didn't win anything.
So what am I trying to say?
Why always go for the lofty peaks?
Why not try the shorter, more rounded hills?
What? Settle for something less that the top? What on earth is wrong with me?
Nothing but a different point of view.
Think about it, wouldn't it be better, overall, if you are at the top of a flatter mountain? More room for everyone, and you had time to wait for them. And the view is also great, especially because you have others to share it with.
But of course, people who just can't settle for something less that Mt. Everest...get out your rocket powered mountaineering boots. See you from my shorter, neighbouring peak, where I'll be enjoying a nice afternoon lunch with my friends.





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dungeondweller said...
Aug. 20, 2010 at 7:47 am

Well written.

Though I didn't agree with the whole idea of 'going for the rounded hills' just because Mt.Everest requires more effort. Hillary and Tenzing climbed the Everest together remember? Success doesn't really mean losing friends, that wouldn't be success at all.

The whole Mt.Everest-problem comes in when competition brings out the worst in us, instead doing what it should ideally do: inspire us to rise from mediocrity.

It's only when we aren't able to scale the so... (more »)

 
DreamingOutLoud This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Aug. 21, 2010 at 2:15 am

Yeah, I guess you're right. But then, people like that are difficult to find. Ideal, like you said.

Thanks for that. Gives me a different perspective. =)

 
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