The arduous climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro may be easier in the coming years as the government of Tanzania is planning to install a cable car on the route. By assisting tourists in reaching the top faster, it hopes to increase tourism by 50% and provide access to physically disabled, elderly and children.
When I heard this, John F. Kennedy’s quote came to mind: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard…” Climbing to the summit becomes a personal challenge for those who attempt it – something that isn’t done for the views, but for the symbolism and accomplishment that it represents. They do it because it is hard.
There are many things easily done today that were once hard to do and I’m all for progress. I’m glad I can fly across the ocean instead of needing to go by ship. I couldn’t do the daily dots on a typewriter or by quill and ink. Thank goodness I don’t have to hunt and kill my own food.
But there is great value in doing something that is hard to do – for the sheer value of doing it. Completing a triathlon. Writing a book. Earning a Black Belt. Finishing a doctorate. And climbing a mountain.
Sometimes the benefits come from the process as much as from the outcome. Don’t cheat yourself by taking the cable car.