Recently Nobukazu Kuriki, 36, was found dead around 20,000 feet on Everest. This wasn’t his first attempt at Everest, but it was his 8th and final attempt. Many people have died on Everest attempting to summit, yet people still place the potential for glorious triumph on their bucket list of goals. And they should.
In America, where risk and competition is seen as barbaric ways of the past, government officials would likely shut down access to a killer mountain such as Everest. But Everest has so much to teach us about risk and being human. Risk is an essential part of life. Without it, innovations comes to an screeching halt. Space travel, self-driving vehicles, advances in medicine, taller buildings, better harvests and much more.
So, what does the wisdom of Everest have to teach us? A lot in fact. Preparation, planning, reliance, endurance, mental fortitude, expansion and much more.
The best thing Everest can teach us is preparation. All too often we rush off in the direction of glitz and glimmer. Seeking glory and praise for a job well done before we ever consider the true cost of the thing we desire. We don’t perform the calculations for that new playground or street or how many staff and students will actually use the facility. We see our name in lights as the founder, creator or risk manager on the project and we assume all will go well. Most things don’t. Being prepared for them not to is an essential skill for every risk manager.
All too often, especially here in America, we believe we are an island. That we can go it alone. That we don’t need anyone. Everest knows better and it spits its weather in your face. You must rely on others to assit you in your endeavors especially when they are as grand as climbing Everest. Everest is a drill sergeant pointing and yelling at you to build relationships, to foster those relationship and rely on each other like your life depends on it, because, well it does. Your career is your life. And your life is your career. Without it you perish. You need others and others need you. You are not an island. That is the lesson.
When it gets rough on Everest you life hangs in the balance. You must endure. You must persist. Risk management projects are not different. When they get tough, go viral and public you must persist. You must face your fears and hold steadfast for what is in the best interest of the future. Crumbling to knee jerk reactions, parents and administrators who would rather bury their head in the proverbial sand is simply giving up. Don’t do it.
When you conquer Everest and your fears something magical happens. Mark Divine talks about this in his Seal Fit program. When you slay that beast, you gain confidence and this expands what you now believe you are capable of. And you are capable of so much more.
So, why are we so afraid of risk in America? In one painful word – lawsuits. Enough said. So for the love of risk and our future, I applaud Nobukazu Kuriki. Way to go brother.