The Distant Mountain


Funny... my distant mountain looks a lot like Taos...

Funny… my distant mountain looks a lot like Taos…

I was reading an article today about a young woman named Susanne Joskow who had worked her way up to a position as a Director of Development in the film business. I almost didn’t even click on it even though this is exactly the kind of story I one day hope to be able to tell myself. When you want something for yourself it is incredibly difficult to read about other people getting it even if you have never met and have nothing against them personally.

The article was in the form of an interview and detailed Susanne’s journey from intern to entry level to personal assistant and on up until the present where she “is 29 and has her own bungalow on the Fox lot.” On one level her story was reassuring: this path has been travelled before and can be travelled again and the destination is attainable. On another level her story was discouraging: the way is full of obstacles and many of them of our own making and the journey is neither short nor direct nor the destination guaranteed.

As an Introvert I tend to over think things. As an INTJ I am doubly guilty of this tendency. After ten minutes of reading about Susanne’s journey I was so intimidated that I had to go lie down. The idea of doing everything by phone and being someone’s personal assistant and possibly having to pen my name in “The Red Zone” and possibly spending every a portion of every day crying in the bathroom was almost physically painful to think about. I’m not sure why: I’m perfectly capable of doing all these things (I’ve even put in some good time at crying in the bathroom- I’ve got experience) and I’m sure that when the time comes they will seem like perfectly natural tasks.

The best trick I ever learned for getting around this came from my running. My boss when I was in Chicago was also a runner once suggested that it was easier to reach a distant goal by not looking at it. If you fixate on a point in the distance all you can think about is how far away it still is. Instead you should align yourself with your goal and then focus on a few steps in front of your feet. It’s easy to cover a few more steps.

Similarly, Neil Gaiman in a commencement address describes it as moving towards a distant mountain:

Something that worked for me was imagining that where I wanted to be […] was a mountain. A distant mountain. My goal. And I knew that as long as I kept walking towards the mountain I would be all right. And when I truly was not sure what to do, I could stop, and think about whether it was taking me towards or away from the mountain.

This was a concept that I could appreciate. They say that life is a journey, not a destination, and it’s not a journey that you can plan out in advance. But it’s still important to have a destination: that’s what gives the journey any meaning in the first place. So as long as I can align myself with a distant mountain then all I need to worry about is the next few steps in front of me.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on July 6, 2013.

One Response to “The Distant Mountain”

  1. Great post! I nominated you for the Wonderful Team Membership Award. Please get the badge at http://wp.me/p32YrK-nZ and get more info. Thanks for the visit. Have a nice day. 😀

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