Jim Collins: Now, there's one thing that when we talked about the BHAGs,( big, hairy, audacious goals,) and climbing, if you choose really good BHAGs, and I think this is what BHAGs do. A really good BHAG has to be something that in the end you ultimately achieve. If you don't achieve it, you've let yourself down, so you don't want to just pick BHAGs for the sake of having them. On the other hand, if they're easy to achieve, they're not BHAGs. So what a BHAG does is put you right on the edge of incredible discomfort. A true BHAG is one that's achievable, but only if you have to change yourself a lot, to achieve it.
And in climbing that is if you pick a goal that is on that edge, where you actually have to go through a journey of despair. I don't know if I'll actually ever get up to this and then you finally do, and it will change you. Either your behavior, your philosophy, or you evolve inside your brain. For me personally, the hardest short climb I ever did was 25 moves in 5 years of work. And I would go through these journeys of despair and everything would be perfect. The conditions would be perfect, the temperature would be perfect, I was rested, I had the route completely wired, every single move. I'd climb perfectly and I'd still fall. And I would think, I'll never get up this climb and I would just completely despair. Well, what had to happen was I had to learn something new, which was your cumulative failure becomes like a backpack, and every failure is a rock, put into that backpack.
Pretty soon after three or four years of failing on this climb, trying your hardest, that backpack is really heavy and you're carrying these cumulative failures, cumulative despair in your pack. So, if you're carrying it when you go on your climb, you're not going to make it. So, I had to learn this whole kind of mental thing of being able to take the backpack off with all of the rocks of failure and put it on the ground and be able to then come out to climb, there are four years of cumulative failure on this climb. But, I have to wipe those away and climb at it fresh. I would have never acquired that capability had I not had to try for five years to do a route that when I finally did it, only took five minutes. That's the power of the journey of the BHAG. It's a journey.