This quote comes from Aretha Franklin during a 1964 interview for Ebony Magazine; and it serves as a great illustration for life. Turns out, a smooth mountain and a smooth life are quite similar because they both leave you with nothing to hang on to. On a smooth terrain, it’s easier to slip and fall. You physically have nothing to hang on to in order to reach the top. Meanwhile, the more rough edges you have, the easier the climb.
Similarly, a smooth life–one without hardships–leaves you with fewer life lessons. It’s these lessons that become what you “hang on” to when things get difficult, and it feels like you can’t hang on. They keep you from slipping and falling, and they facilitate your climb through life.