I was attending a dinner yesterday at a colleague’s place and the conversation revolved around one of the guest’s plans to do an expedition to the base camp at Mount Everest. He was talking about the preparation for the event and not being able to practice under similar environmental conditions at 1/3 of the normal oxygen levels.
The expedition is expected to take roughly 16 days to reach the base camp while the return journey is expected to take approximately 5-6 days through a different route. The expedition party consists of a majority of men and few women who are in their mid forties to mid fifties!
The individual I was talking to was a professional corporate trainer cum coach and he was telling us that from a journey point of view the hardest part would not be the 16 day ascend to the base camp but rather the 5 day descend! While the journey on your way up is expected to push all your physical boundaries and wear you off the way back is expected to be doubly tough with your then existing physical condition. Another colleague of mine endorsed this fact by drawing parallels with his experience in climbing the Adams peak!
The point that hit me most was when he said in spite of all odds, it is more in the mental rather than the physical game that you loose out. According to him there are many youngsters who fail the expedition in their over enthusiasm and personal pride. (Apparently there are many Chinese and Japanese who fail this because of personal pride superseding ground realities). Many people fail due to momentary lapses in concentration which leads to making minute mistakes like a wrong footing etc which leads to serious injuries. He was also citing one of his recent experiences in Sri Lanka where during the final stages of an expedition through a local mountain range how people began to take things easy and loose concentration and thereby failed to complete the effort through injury etc.
Driving back home yesterday I was thinking about the relevance and impact of this subject in our day to day business life. I hope to dedicate a future blog entry on some of the reflections in this regard.