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SOUTH KOREA | Thursday, 23 April 2009 | Views [438]

i just watched a video that a friend of mine suggested i check out featuring a veteran rock climber speaking on ted talks about the 9 lessons he's gleaned from climbing over his climbing career (childs).  i don't agree with everything he says and i certainly find most of his lessons to be fairly remedial considering what climbing is capable of teaching.

his list goes like this:

1. don't let go

2. hesitation is bad

3. have a plan

4. the move 'is' the end

5. know how to rest

6. fear sucks

7. opposites are good

8. strength doesn't equal success

9. know how to let go

he actually doesn't even refer to these as lessons, but as 'rules' which i detest on principal.  rule 1 and 9 contradict each other.  first he says don't let go and then he says know how to let go.  O_o??

i don't agree with rule 3 that you need to have a plan.  i think being able to make decisions on the fly based on careful attention and quick thinking is far more valuable.  rule 7 is vague, even when he goes into talking about using oppositional forces.  it just doesn't apply much outside the realm of climbing (which is what i think these lessons, or 'rules', should be doing).  "fear sucks" gives no advice whatsoever.  it's a negative statement that generalizes our fear.  the truth is, not all fear is bad.  being able to recognize what fear is warrented and what isn't, is a crucial skill for keeping yourself safe.  "strength doesn't equal success"... of course not.  thanks mr. obvious.

so this is what 35 years of climbing has taught you mr. childs?  a drunk monkey could learn more about itself from climbing than this guy.

being a drunk monkey myself, let me give it a shot.

1. the ego is the biggest hindrance to doing anything well.  our desire to look good in the eyes of others is a huge distraction to applying ourselves to the task at hand, whatever it may be.

2. pay attention.  it is only through awareness of ourselves and our surroundings that we can begin to see problems for what they are, and discover ways to work through them. 

3. know your fear. fear of the unknown keeps us from learning anything new.  phantom (imagined) fear saps our attention from the task at hand.  knowing when an arising fear is real and worth listening to is a valuable way to keep yourself from getting hurt.

4. use your imagination wisely.  if you are wasting your faculty of imagination on worrying and concocting scary "what if...?" scenarios that leave you powerless to perform, you are obviously not applying that faculty to problem solving.  the same goes for fantasizing.

5. perspective is everything.  you choose how to see the world. is the glass half full or half empty?

6. be adaptable.  our situation can't always change for us, but we can change to live in it.  like the soft bamboo that bends in the wind standing next to the hard birch that cracks, inflexible.

7. the destination is the journey.  don't try and rush through what you're doing to get someplace else.  for better or for worse, you are here dealing with what's right in front of you.

8. failure does not exist.  the only mistake you can truly make is the one from which you learn nothing.

9. breathe.  as crucial in everday life as it is on the rock.  watch your breath from time to time and know right where you are.

these are all off the top of my head and i feel like there is more i can add.  they're in no particular order.  but they are certainly all things that climbing has helped teach me.  though obviously they can be picked up from just about any pursuit.

...as long as you pay attention.

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