We all need to push ourselves to extremes. It’s healthy and necessary to survive.
- Moderation is key, of course. If you look at any professional sports player, you will see the results of pushing bodies to extremes: boxing can result in severe brain damage; ballet can result in crippled feet; football can produce the early onset of arthritis. But if artists and athletes didn’t go to extremes, it would be a seriously boring world.
- Pushing our boundaries increases our capacity.
- The intensity of life on the edge is usually more exciting than living in the center.
- Extremes can help us appreciate a normal peaceful life. When I camped among the Maasai for six weeks in a remote part of Kenya, visiting the closest town to have a cold Coke made it the most delicious sugary beverage I’ve ever enjoyed. (We were camping without electricity and no stores of any kind within an hour’s journey.)
- We need rest and contrast. If we live on the edge at all times, the extreme becomes the norm and it’s hard to do the life that most of us need to live… not everyone can be a Ferrari factory test driver.
I took the photo near the top of Mount Democrat, in Colorado. It was actually a very warm day — towards the end of the summit hike, we were in shorts and t-shirts. Everywhere the trail crossed over the snow, it was beaten down enough that crampons were not needed.