People of accomplishment rarely sat back - da Vinci Quote

“It’s good to love what you do,
but you are not what you do.
You are who you are
when you are just being.”

Karen Salmansohn

We’re born with it. We step into the world with an endless supply and a virtually unquenchable craving. Curiosity! It may have been pegged as the perp in the cat’s untimely demise (or so we’re led to believe), but as infants we embark on a voyage of discovery, and curiosity is the insatiable firefly that lures us ever forward.

Along the way guideposts come into play to assist on the journey. Some of these are self-learned through pleasant and less than pleasant experience. Others are put in place by those whom fate has selected to be our tour guides.

Shortly after my journey began, I found myself majoring in kindergarten. It was during this wormhole of life’s expedition that I learned a nursery rhyme fashioned to the tune of For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow. The lyrics were different, of course, more suited to tots stringing beads than middle-aged men enjoying a pub sing-a-long to celebrate a friend.

The song was about a bear, a mountain, and the solo quest of the bear to discover what might be on the mountain’s backside. You probably know the one. Okay… it may be stuck in your head at this point and you could be rolling your eyes hoping you’ll find a way to escape.

Sorry ‘bout that.

Anyway, it was always the second verse of the song that troubled me the most. Props to the bear for gutting it out and making the climb, but what a letdown to find that his compensation was simply seeing the other side. The song doesn’t detail his expectations, but it clearly states that the other side was ALL he saw.

In my humble opinion, that just stinks out loud at the highest possible decibels. Why in the world would you teach a young skull full of blank slate such a song? Let’s just drag curiosity out in the open and beat it until skittles fall out.


Thankfully I can now see that the tune is meant to praise curiosity. Our bear climbed his mountain with a purpose in mind and he was rewarded handsomely.

We are left to conjure our own set of expectations. We’re also on our own when it comes to visualizing the challenges placed in the pathway. But, the payoff is clearly spelled out so that we don’t miss the implication.

His reward was ALL

He chased his dream – “to see what he could see” and found fulfillment in abundant supply. Curiosity led to complete satisfaction. Focus was now consumed by what he found. From that moment forward, it was ALL that he could see.

The unwritten verses reveal that there were those who had other expectations of the bear. There were also those who saw no value in the quest. He was even told by a few close bear friends, of whom he sought counsel, that he wasn’t the best of climbers and really wasn’t suited for the challenge.

Thankfully, he listened to his internal firefly.

Have you got a mountain? Of course you do! If you’re pondering your climb, here are a few secrets from the unwritten verses.

Mountains are Personal

It’s your mountain, not a group effort. Don’t expect others to see your mountain as you see it. In fact, THEY may not see it at all. This is a solo mission. Stop seeking permission to climb.

Climbing brings Growth

You cannot help but become stronger along the way. The trail may be steep and passageways treacherous, but freshly fallen powder longs to capture your footprints at higher altitudes. There may be scrapes, bruises and scars; but you’ll be a better you if you climb.

Experience reveals what was LOST

You’ll meet your best friend and worst enemy in the reflections of the mountain streams and icy glaciers. Tune into the conversational whispers of your inner voices. There was a time you heard them clearly and I promise you, they are still chattering away.

* * * * * * *

The self-imposed pressure of living up to assumed expectations can keep a person’s greatest gifts forever hidden. You are not what you do. You are what you are. And, you are somewhere on the other side of that mountain. Climb!

“It had long since come to my attention
that people of accomplishment
rarely sat back and let things happen to them.
They went out and happened to things.” 

                                                                             – Leonardo da Vinci