The mountaineer and the explorer: two approaches to the purpose quest
A short thought investigating the idea that the purpose journey contains two types of quest: exploring (the challenge of finding a path) and mountaineering (the challenge of following one).
An explorer steps into unknown terrritory to look for something, though it is not always clear what.
They don’t know what’s out there but do know they don’t want to stay here.
Explorers turn the unknown into the known by making maps. They do this by observing and recording what’s around them.
Some maps can only be read by other explorers
The explorer fears that the unknown contains nothing new or useful
Marie Curie was an explorer.
The journey of the mountaineer is different (and similar). I’m reminded of the divergent and convergent processes in creative problem solving here. If exploring is identifying the problem (or opportunity), then mountaineering is figuring out what to do with it.
A mountaineer is not someone who is primarily searching, but someone who is primarily climbing
A mountaineer has identified a destination and now has to work out how to get there
The way may not be clear, but the direction of travel is
Mountaineers turn the known into the unknown by looking ahead and plotting a route
The mountaineer fears seeing the summit but not being able to reach it
Serena Williams (on her quest for a 24th Grand Slam) is a mountaineer
Two parts of a whole
As we explore it is likely that we will discover mountains. And the elevated position afforded by climbing even part-way up a mountain can be an aid to exploration. I suspect that each of our purpose journeys can contain exploring and mountaineering in different proportions, but never just one or the other. Rather than being stages on the journey, I wonder if the explorer and the mountaineer could actually be mindsets through which we can view our challenge landscape (as described in Emily’s post on the subject). As ever, a topic which provokes further questions.
Both the Explorer and the Mountaineer are travelling. I think that there may be another component that I have missed, which is more about nurturing and building in the place where you are. The Gardener perhaps?