There is an interesting psychological phenomenon that sometimes occurs in sport and, I suspect with equal frequency, in real life.
In sport, it usually involves a highly-skilled athlete at the top of his profession, whereas, in life, it may involve an “uber-desirable” and high-achieving person. Somewhere along the way, the athlete or the individual become totally fixated on a singular goal to the exclusion of all others (e.g., setting a world record, winning a world or major championship or, in the case of real life, “acquiring” a relationship with a certain individual). Not unlike a thoroughbred race horse with blinders on, eventually their quest is transformed into an unhealthy obsession to acquire the object of their desire. They simply have to win the race!
And then one day, the athlete achieves what he believed to be the pinnacle of his sport or the individual the job or person of their dreams. But, instead of completing them, filling them with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment that they previously could only fantasize about, the athlete or individual are left with inexplicable feelings of emptiness, sadness and, ultimately, profound disappointment and disillusionment. It’s not at all how they imagined it would feel – how they needed it to feel to “justify” all of the effort and sacrifice it took to get there, to motivate them to want to get up the next day in pursuit of another goal.
Some experts believe this was the case with David Duval, who, in 2001, was among the greatest, if not the greatest, active professional golfer on the PGA Tour – a status that was only reinforced by his career-defining win at the 2001 British Open played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club. It was the “major” Duval had long desired to win and, it would turn out, the only major of his career. Duval has since repeatedly conceded in interviews that he expected the Open win to transform him. And yet, Duval concedes that only a few days later, he already was thinking to himself: “Is that all there is?” “Is that what it’s all about?”
It was only much later, after a steady decline in his play and, ultimately, leaving golf for several years, that Duval came to realize that somewhere along the way he had lost sight of “what it’s really all about.” He had become so myopic in arriving at his self-designated “must have” destination that he missed out on the thrills and satisfaction that were there to be enjoyed on the journey. Simply put, the view from the top of a mountain is that much more spectacular for those who are able to enjoy and appreciate each step they took along the way – even those that may have caused them to wander a bit from their initially intended path.
As hard as it is for me to formulate, let alone utter, these words: I think Miley Cyrus may be onto something – it is The Climb!