Green Boots and the Greatness in Failure

Posted by admin at January 12, 2017

For some reason, (I was bored), I started studying one of the strangest landmarks ever used for direction and navigation. Littered on Mt. Everest are the notorious named dead bodies of mountaineers that attempted to summit the enormous mountain.

Individuals who have conquered their inertia and pushed themselves to take a tremendous risk and attempt a feat the rest of us will dream of, all in the name of glory. The feat, a 60-day, 29,029ft into space, facing down frost bite, snow-blindness, heart-attack-triggering-pressures, and certain death. And when you reach the peak, you are to spend at least a day at a region close to the peak before coming back down, a carefully calculated requirement that, on one side, increases your chances of having a heart attack as you sleep in the extremely cold and low-oxygen environment, but on the other, allows your body climatise to the atmospheric pressure at the summit and to increase red blood cell count. Attempting immediate decent without this climatisation process guarantees death within 5-to-6 minutes. Die if you do, die if you don’t. These individuals knew the risks, prepared for it all.

And failed.

Over 200 corpses dot up the landscape of the mountain and are even used by climbers to determine their progress. And I thought to myself, here is a situation where absolute failure serves as a legacy for other people’s success. One name stood out for me personally. Green Boots, the unrecognisable body of a climber found curled around a limestone, believed to belong to an Indo-Tibetan police officer. The name came from the color of his footwear. This guy made it to 27,900ft. Everest is 29,029ft. That’s 96% of the job done.

Now you can say, ‘Well mountaineering is not my thing and the Everest is not a place I ever want to be in’. But as I read this I asked myself, how many tasks of Everest-scale proportions have I prepared for? How many long-term, highly-beneficial yet seemingly sure-to-fail ventures have I trained for? How many times have we copped out of the hard road to greatness only to choose to easy highway to mediocrity?

The name Green Boots is now mentioned together with the largest wonder of our planet, as a story for us to learn from. Not just that there are forces to great for us to defeat, or that there are goals to high for us to achieve. But that we should not only dream, but plan and execute BIG.

Yes Green Boots failed but at least he tried.

He reached for the peak, and died in glory while the rest of us live out our whole lives in the murk of average. At the end of the day, we all, both the Great and the forgotten will die. But there is always a reward when we try to achieve the unbelievable. If we are lucky, we live our Legacy, if not, our legacy will serve the living. Weakness and Death is at the end of the tunnel of life. Our biggest fight while we are alive is to live our craziest and grandest Dreams or die trying.

Honourable mentions: Sleeping Beauty and the German Woman, corpses of ladies that died after summiting. These strong ladies made it, but didn’t make it back to tell their own tales.


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