Never Summit

An American friend was in Paris for a couple of days last week. He’s an avid outdoorsman. (I am an avid ‘cafe-doorsman’, sitting near the side door of the Saint Regis most mornings as the city wakes up.)

He’s in his mid-60s now, working on a 4th or 5th investment/startup, throwing some cash and much expertise at an entrepreneurial rookie who’s launching a news/commentary website. Over coffee, we discussed other friends/colleagues who have opted for retirement or reduced hours.

‘That’s not me,’ he said, shaking his head. I laughed, mentioning sarcastically that he was now on the short list of nominees for the 2018 Captain Obvious Award. He took the jibe with a smile.

‘A mountain is the only thing you come down from. Everything else, you never summit.’

I mulled that comment over for a moment, then filed it away. I’d always heard the word ‘summit’ referred to as a mountain peak, a noun. This usage was ‘the act of completion or final accomplishment’ as best I could determine.  To ‘summit’ certainly wasn’t him. His life reflected a pattern of finding an opportunity, investing in it, maximizing it, and then moving on to the next adventure. There was never a sense of him sitting on his (considerable) laurels.

Yes, everyone makes their own choices about work, leisure, and retirement. But whatever path we’re on, I think it’s still best to recommend that all of us, whatever our situation…Never Summit.

  • BGT





6 thoughts on “Never Summit

  1. I was fortunate to be able to retire at 43. After five years of loafing about and exploring the new states we moved to, I started a little online enterprise to have something to do. I’ve been threatening to retire again for the past few years but once again, decided to go another year.

    I always remember something my grandmother (who ran her school until she was 80) said, “You need a reason to get out of bed each morning.” She stayed active socially and traveled until her last couple years and passed away at a little over 101 after what we call, “A life well lived.” My mother, her daughter, is 90 and is very socially active and travels quite a bit. She’s slowing down but has a reason to get up each morning. I’m just a kid of 68. I have some good examples to follow.

  2. Great comments Chris and great article Byron. My family are very similar – even when they retire they don’t really and are often busier than ever. They don’t seem to even start getting older until they are over 80 either!

  3. I love this quote so much I just wrote it at the top of my monthly planner page. It perfectly sums up my core philosophy in regard to myself: build sustainable systems to achieve and maintain goals over the long term; always keep learning, growing, improving myself (hopefully thereby improving the lives of those around me) — always keep building more to give, so to speak. (I love the term “avid ‘cafe-doorsman,'” as well!)

    Thank you so much for sharing, Byron — and for your wonderful books. I know little about my family but can’t be what you’d call “Old Money.” Your work has helped me immensely. Looking forward to the next book!

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