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Steve House, self-portrait taken in 2003 after his first attempt and failure to make the second ascent of K7 in the Karakoram range, Pakistan
Photo by Steve House
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Steve House / knowing yourself

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American alpinist Steve House shares his thoughts about how failing wisely provides interior growth. Originally posted only on facebook, House has kindly allowed his text to be republished on planetmountain.com.

Everyone today feels a lot of pressure to have respect/fame/money/sex now. The unknown is scary and fear is deeply a part of the experience of youth. I feel lucky that I grew us in a time when selfies didn't have a name; and we shot them on Fujifilm; and they took weeks to develop.

This provides time for reflection. To understand, deep in my own body, that to suffer is to grow. To try things that are deeply frightening, and to fail wisely and come back again and again until I succeed. That defines one possible (and proven) channel for growth and the goal of growth is nothing less than knowing yourself. Not the self that is uncovered, excavated, but a self that is molded by your very own trials and tribulations.

You know exactly how you faced up. When I'm scared and cowardly I know, even if others don't. When I'm brave and smart, I also know, without any pressure to broadcast to my peers. What a relief.

In the photo: selfie taken in 2003 after my first attempt and failure to make the second ascent of the beautiful K7 in the Karakoram range. A climb I eventually succeeded on after seven attempts. One of my life's richest journeys.

This text was originally published on Steve House's facebook page.

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