In 2006 a British mountaineer named David Sharp attempted his goal of climbing Mount Everest. At 28,000 feet David struggled for life as 40 other climbers set on the summit passed him by without even offering help. Ultimately David died in that very spot. How many of the 40 made the summit? I don’t know. How many of the 40 have some accountability for the loss of a human life? All of them. Somewhere throughout time our focus has shifted to “me” rather than “us” and in doing so we have begun to diminish the act of achievement, therefore weakening the spirit that exists in humanity.
As humans we have an essential need to achieve, to set and reach certain goals that help define our existence to us and those we associate with. This essential need however, does not give us the right to overlook and step over those that have greater needs than ourselves, or those who set the original goal in a fair and just way. We all have goals in life and have different reasons for achievement, but in order to truly achieve there needs to be a greater emphasis on how we achieve rather than simply achieving.
The road to the top is difficult no matter how you look at it, and there is responsibility on our path. Yes, we will drop some of our competitors along the way, but when we resign to dirty tactics and immoral ethics, we lose the internal and external respect that comes with major accomplishments. Business and sports share many similarities because the need to achieve is great in both arenas. When things are done correctly, both business’s and athletes are celebrated for their ability to be great, but when ethical questions arise out of how they achieved their success you are faced with questions about the authenticity of their accomplishments (Barry Bonds and Enron). It needs to be understood that doing something the right way should be and will be celebrated by the masses. If you choose to cheat and compromise the spirit of achievement you should be scrutinized and questioned by the masses, because you took the honor out of your achievement.
Ultimately when you achieve you will be recognized, and for many, that defines their chase. When external recognition becomes greater than the idea of internal accomplishment, we run into others that are willing to compromise in order to be immortalized. When we leave others for dead or cheat our way to the top, we will gain recognition and in some cases immortality, but we will never gain the respect that was earned by those that achieved ethically.
For those 40 people that walked passed David Sharp, to the new home run “king”, and to all of you who have cheated your way to the top, enjoy your accomplishment because you are the only ones who will. The rest of us just think that you are selfish assholes who deserve all of the negativity that surrounds your accomplishment.