March 5, 2018
This is a sample chapter from Peter Morville’s new book Planning for Everything: The Design of Paths and Goals. 2018 Semantic Studios.
Chapter 2: Framing
“I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”—T.S. Eliot
At 14,259 feet, Longs Peak is the highest summit in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. In summer, day hikers can reach the top without climbing gear. The 15 mile trek takes 10 to 15 hours. The views are breathtaking. In 2016, lured by its siren song, I arrived at the trailhead of the Keyhole route with backpack and headlamp at 4 a.m. The night sky was beautiful. A few hours later, I made it over a boulder field to the keyhole which serves as a gateway to narrow ledges and steep inclines. The wind was fierce. I began to have doubts, resolved to forge ahead, but on the threshold, I froze in fear. After a moment of abject terror, I crept to safety and began my untimely descent.
It didn’t take long to conclude I was happy with the outcome. I’m a hiker not a climber. The decision to try was made lightly. It’s my habit to value grit, but in planning this book and this trip, I’d chosen to experiment with commitment. So why risk my life for an unforced goal? Also, the summit was actually a subgoal. Each year I choose a quest, be it a mountain or a marathon, that inspires me to exercise and eat well. I’d already put in the work. As I wandered my way down, I felt happy and carefree. But later that day as I told my wife, she surprised me by asking “so when will you try again?” She didn’t get it. I had nothing to prove. I was happy to let it go. Or so I thought. Read More