In April 1967 one of my heroes, Ronald Reagan, gave a speech to the California Republican Assembly just a few months after being elected Governor of California. At the time, his state was facing significant challenges and he had sought to attract men and women from the private sector to help in turning the state around. In his speech he recognized the fact that in order to achieve the successes he envisioned he would need to find “men to match our mountains.”
As I paused to ponder that statement, it became apparent that this is not only the challenge of our day, but it also represents the solution to any problems you and I are facing, whether in business, in our personal lives or in government.
Mountains come in all shapes and sizes. Some are relatively low in elevation and simple to climb. It takes very little effort or special training or knowledge to scale Lookout Mountain, which overlooks my home town of Chattanooga. But travel out West to Colorado and attempt to climb some of the peaks in the Rocky Mountains, and the story is much different.
A few years back my son and I hiked up Buffalo Mountain to an elevation of 12,777, a picturesque peak that overlooked our home below in Silverthorne, CO. The hike, while certainly not the most difficult Colorado has to offer, was nonetheless more strenuous than climbing Lookout Mountain back in Tennessee and required a higher degree of fitness.
While I consider myself to be somewhat fit, there are other mountains I would love to climb, but they are mere dreams at this point. Consider our world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, at an elevation of 29,029 feet — nearly 2.5 times the height of Buffalo Mountain.
I have done some research about climbing our world’s highest peak and discovered that those who attempt to scale Everest prepare for several years prior to undertaking such a feat. One of the strategies deployed in preparing for the climb is not only to gain the counsel of experts but to also undertake a graduated program of scaling smaller mountains in the years leading up to Everest. This process of scaling smaller but increasingly larger mountains provides invaluable training, teaches critical skills, and offers the physical and mental strengthening that is required to ultimately scale the highest mountain in the world.
Just as mountains come in all sizes, so do problems and challenges. Whether in your marriage, business or our government, in order to tackle the mountains you are facing, it will require that the man is able to match the mountain.
While it’s likely most reading my thoughts here, have never scaled Mount Everest, I’m certain that many of us have faced our own Mount Everest in our personal, business or even spiritual lives. For many, their marital relationship may be their personal Everest. It may seem too difficult to scale or conquer. The very idea of beginning to solve the challenges one’s marriage poses seems as hopeless or overwhelming as confronting the real Mount Everest.
Or perhaps for you it’s the overwhelming challenges you are facing in your business, struggles that seem to hold no answer. No matter how hard you have tried, it seems that there is no way to scale and overcome the daunting task in front of you.
Given my passion for our nation, my mind also drifts to the challenges we are facing in America — difficulties that have been festering for decades and even growing to a point that scaling Mount Everest would seem to be a leisurely afternoon climb.
There’s a reason though that the struggles you and I are facing in our lives, whether interpersonal, business, spiritual or even our government, remain unsolved. I think Reagan had it right when he said we must find men to match our mountains. If there’s a mountain in your life, business or our nation that seems unscalable, I would assert that the problem is not the mountain but rather the man.
Find the right man, and you will scale the mountain. Or in your case and mine, develop the man within, and those seemingly insurmountable Everests in our lives will undoubtedly be conquered. Just as preparing to scale Everest involves an ongoing and rigorous strategy, likewise, if you want to overcome the mountains in your life, you must also develop a plan.
Find an “expert” to help you. Seek out someone who has what you want, whether it’s a successful marriage, business or spiritual life. If they’ve done it, they can help you to overcome the mountain in front of you. Call him a counselor, coach or mentor, but there’s no mistaking that the most successful people you know will credit others for their success.
Next, you must strengthen yourself mentally and spiritually. Someone who has never trained to climb a high mountain will find themselves woefully unprepared. Likewise, to tackle your struggles, begin to build yourself up. Read, read, and read some more. Find books that can help you strengthen yourself mentally. And be sure to get into God’s Word daily. There is no better discipline to strengthen oneself for whatever struggle you and I face than a daily regimen with God.
Finally, because we are broken people and we live in a broken world, setbacks are certain and will occur even as we progress in becoming the man to match the mountain. But as you and I remain committed to our growth plan and persevere regardless of the circumstances, we can be certain that the mountain you and I are facing today will be scaled tomorrow.
So, will you become the man to match the mountains in your life? Your marriage, your business and your nation are in dire need of such a man.
My prayer is that you and I will become such men.