Can You Really Climb the Wrong Mountain?

An image of a man standing on a cliff overlooking a valley. The man is wearing a suit, looking out over the vast valley from an outcropping that is mostly rock with a few plants on it. He has a speech bubble that says, "Oh no. I climbed the wrong mountain."
Vintage Postcard via Brad Montague

When I first saw this image on Brad Montague's Instagram feed, I actually laughed. Not because the joke is sooooo funny (I guess it's pretty clever?) but because I was looking at it as a hiker and thinking how funny it would be to worry that you had a beautiful hike and a beautiful view from the... wrong.... mountain? Like how can you really go wrong there? You went on a hike! Hikes are beautiful!

But of course, this was shared to spark a discussion about the metaphorical mountains of success we climb, and how terrible it would be to devote your life to climbing one mountain, only to realize you made the wrong choice.
In his Instagram caption, Mr. Montague says,

"Climbing the wrong mountain .... and not realizing until you’re already there. Aaaa! Yikes. I don’t want it to happen to me. I don’t want it to happen to anybody! But surely it happens all the time. In fact, it’s a major fear of mine: being successful at all the wrong things... Just such a sad and scary thought — succeeding at the wrong things."

Actually, I would like to return to my initial assessment of the image. You lived life, you faced challenges, you gained experiences and enough perspective to get to the top of the mountain, and you're worried you did all that... wrong? Is there a wrong way to go on the journey of life?

Yes, some people realize after they work really hard to achieve success in one way that the success they sought is hollow or that they actually made the world a worse place because they invented social media and now we're all doomed and oh dear they can't undo it. It's hard to suddenly realize that your dream job isn't a dream or the accomplishment you thought would make you happy is actually hollow.
It's hard and also, so what? Did you think you would climb one mountain in life? That you would pick the perfect mountain, get to the top, and then sit there, enjoying the view until you died? Sit somewhere long enough and it becomes the wrong place because we are ultimately wired to move. We try new things, pursue new goals, and pick new mountains (or hills or outcroppings or paths that follow a crest from one mountaintop to another or valley lake strolls).
You picked that mountain based on what you knew when you were standing a sea level. You now have the perspective, from the top of this mountain, of what the other mountains might really look like at their tops and pick another one. You weren't just going to sit there anyways. You keep living, you keep moving.

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