I remember the first time leaving the country. My sister had a sporadic idea to visit Machu Picchu in the Andes mountains of Peru. I remember the fear I had when we landed when everything I knew changed. Nothing was in English. No one cared that I was parading around Apple’s newest invention, the iPad (which was a hit in Dallas).

We arrived at the base of Machu Picchu in the early hours of the morning, hoping to summit by sunrise. Throughout the numerous-hour climb, I remember thinking – once I get to the top everything is going to change. I stayed focused on the mountain top the entire climb. My sister, on the other hand, took note of everything around us.

We reached the summit in time to see the Sun peak over the mountains and fill the glorious Amazon forest behind us. To this day I’ve never seen a more immaculate sunrise. I felt vindicated at the focus I had on getting to the top, until…

That evening in the hotel my sister was uploading pictures from her camera onto her laptop, and I couldn’t help but notice the beautiful trip she was uploading. I saw incredible views, and pictures of exotic plants, as well as birds and wildlife I had never seen before. I asked her what trip that was from. She looked at me puzzled, and said, “Today.” I told her I didn’t see any of that, and she asked how I could miss it.

The reason I missed it is that I was focused “on getting to the top.” She was focused on the journey itself. What I took from that trip, I’ll never forget. If we focus on the top, we’ll miss out on the beauty of life around us. In the mountains and life, once you get above the tree line, nothing grows. When you’re at the top, all you can do is stay there for a while, but eventually you decline.

The goal then in life is never to “reach the top” but to appreciate the uphill climb while we tackle larger mountains. The climb, the adversity, the struggle, reminds you that you’re alive. The life is on the side of the mountain, not the top.

Life works the same way. Appreciate the climb. Enjoy the view. Remain grateful for those you get to climb with!


Thank you for reading this edition of Shark Bites: Midweek Lessons for a Stronger Mindset! If you enjoyed these insights, be sure to listen to the Shark Theory Podcast, where Baylor Barbee dives deeper into the topics that matter most for your personal and professional growth. Tune in for powerful episodes designed to inspire and elevate your mindset.

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