Have you ever worked really hard, reached an objective and then – to your great surprise – felt really disappointed?
I’ve been hiking mountains since I was very young. Anyone who has climbed mountains has experienced a false peak. False peaks are points on the mountain that look like the summit. Usually, you can see them from far away. You fix your eyes on them. You measure your progress toward conquering them. You sweat and ache and long for the moment when you’re on top and can rest.
Then you reach the top of the false peak and you realize it was not the summit. Above you, another peak looms. You have to start the whole process over again, gearing up for the next exertion. A little part of you wants to scream.
Whenever we reach a Turning Point, a moment where our expectations and our reality are so mismatched that we’re motivated to make a change, we’re tempted to fix our eyes on false peaks, on objectives that – while they appear attractive – will not lead us to more flourishing if we make them our ultimate goal. Instead, we’ll end up disappointed, deflated, exhausted.
False peaks are seductive destinations. But they lead to more misery, not joy.
Which leaves us with this simple question: that hill you’re climbing – is it the summit or is it a false peak? Knowing the difference is crucial.