There’s No Way Up But to Climb

By Greg Baer M.D.

September 2, 2008

In the process of talking to people who want their lives to be happier, I commonly suggest that they tell the truth about themselves in order to find more Real Love, or that they change their behavior in some other way. More often than not, my suggestions are followed by a complaint or protest of some kind: “Oh, I can’t do that,” or “That’s too hard,” or “I don’t have time for that.”

I completely understand. I don’t believe there’s anything as difficult as changing the human soul, but I’ve also discovered that in the process of finding happiness, there’s no way up but to climb.

For years I was a Boy Scout leader, and on many occasions I took young men on hikes up the sides of mountains. Before we began any climb I always asked them if they wanted to reach the top of the peak. Only if they indicated their agreement did I begin the journey with them. Along the way I often heard the grumbles of those who complained that the climb was too steep or too long or too hot or too something.

If the complaining persisted, I sometimes stopped the climb and asked those who were whining, “Do you have a better way to reach the summit?”

The answer was almost always No or a shake of the head.

“Did you tell me at the bottom of the mountain that you wanted to make this climb?” I asked.


“Have you changed your mind? Do you want to stay here and wait while the rest of us make the climb? Or would you like to turn back and wait at the bottom until we return?”


“So you’re not turning back, and you don’t have a better way up the mountain. Why then are you complaining? What purpose does your complaining serve? I’m just wondering if it makes the climb easier for you in some way.”

At that point the fussing usually ceased.

Whether we want it to be or not, life is an upward climb, and we are involved in it, whether we want to be or not. The farther up the mountain we climb, the happier we become. Anytime we want, we can stop climbing, we can turn back, and we can waste our time complaining, but none of these activities will get us farther up the mountain. Only climbing will do that.

The laws of life are as immutable as the laws of physics. If we obey them, we’ll find ourselves climbing up the mountain and becoming happier. If we’re truthful about ourselves and if we engage in those activities that lead toward our becoming more loving, we will become happier.

If, on the other hand, we choose not to be loving, we will not be happy. In the end, it won’t matter that we complained that the steps toward becoming loving were too difficult or that the climb was too steep or time consuming. We’ll find that either we’ve climbed or we haven’t. We’ll either be happy or we won’t. There’s no way up but to climb.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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