On The Edge: What I Learned From Alison Levine

I don’t understand why anyone would try to climb Mount Everest.  I’m not a mountain climber; I prefer to be warm and comfortable.  I get grouchy when I’m asked to spend one night in a tent.  I own a comfortable bed, pay good money to have warm water whenever I want to take a shower, and I’m generally pretty wimpy.  Everest has no appeal to me.

However, recently I picked “On The Edge” off my shelf and found Alison Levine’s book to be entertaining and informative.  While some of the lessons were common or predictable (for example, “Hard-Core Preparation”), I found several important chapters illustrated by stories of experiences that I will simply never have.

I really enjoyed the chapter on making the most of our weaknesses.  We always find ourselves working with others, and often the weak link is only found when we look in the mirror.  It is our common experience that binds us together.  The key is to approach our own weaknesses with humility and determination to compensate by adding value in other areas.

Perhaps the most important lesson for me was the importance of being social.  From building a team to making friends along the way, our interactions with others matter.  They impact what we are able to accomplish and how much we enjoy the journey.  I’m not operating in an extreme environment, but I’m happiest when I have more positive interactions with others.  I’m grateful for my family and friends who make life’s challenges bearable and the highest peaks sweeter.

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