"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead
I am a firm believer in the power of one. Making one thing so important that it is the basis for thousands of hours of your time, perhaps even your entire life. Many people have trouble being that committed to something. It makes people nervous when a person is so incredibly committed to something that seemingly no obstacle will get in the way.
Now that I am sitting down to write this I feel that it can all be said in one paragraph. I have spent hours thinking about this while I was running, but there is really not much to say. When you can say, "that one thing is the most important to me" it will blow people away. In the 2008 presidential election I had a moment like that. I was discussing the upcoming election with my friends and I mentioned that one particular issue was so important to me that despite one candidate doing everything else well I could not vote for him. My friends were all a little shocked to see that one issue, and a relatively minor issue by political standards, was so important to me.
My running career is along the same lines. I get great joy from it continuously, but the goal is really one race. A race that would probably go unnoticed, even by the running community. It is the same for mountain climbing. I have been after Mt. Everest for years now, and when I do get up it my name will be just one in a list of other names. Yet, when nonclimbers learn of my passion I can tell that they do not know what to make of it. Only a few thousand people in the world are in a similar position to myself regarding Everest.
Finally, when I tell people my career goals, I can tell that they do not know what to make of it. No one has ever done the thing I want to do. Yet I say it and lay it out there as if it will be as simple as a two hour long car drive.
Unemployment, was a huge help to me, because it required that I re-prioritize my life. Not much at the top really changed, but things that were further down on the list, fell off the list. Would you prefer to get second place ten times or first place once? For me it depends on the competition, but to know that I pushed myself to the very peak of what I could accomplish mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually is more rewarding than leaving something in the tank and wondering if I might have done it had I tried harder. One thing, above all the distractions. It is going to happen.