Changing my attitude…
Climbing is thought to be this highly personal, altruistic endeavor, where man/woman challenge him/herself by choice. We push ourselves on something that is either physically, and or mentally demanding. It is supposed to be about the person and their own challenge. Of course, as humans, it is hard to isolate ourselves in this bubble. We watch others, we compare, we emulate, and sometimes we envy.
We all want to be our best, but what we do to get there is not always the right formula.
I had a pretty crappy day not long ago climbing. Basically I sucked. Or at least I told myself I did. My ego was inflated enough that my expectation of myself was truly not realistic to my abilities. One M12 does not an M12 climber make! I felt I “should” be able to perform better, and since I didn’t…I gave up. It is one thing to have the ability to try hard when you feel like you should be able to do something, achieve something. It is another, to believe you should be able to do something, but not expect to try as hard as you might have to, to truly do it! I feel like I have fallen into this trap numerous times lately and every time I fight the same battle with myself, the battle of self-defeat and self-dislike. I don’t mind failing…but I HATE giving up.
The same day I watched Will onsight El Matador, a feat that has never been done until now. No draws were hung, fresh icicles dangled waiting to be cleaned and although there was more ice on it then when originally climbed, it still involved a ton of tenacity, skill and experience to negotiate all the unknown factors on it. I watched experience. Definitely years of mixed climbing practice, ice climbing, movement and strategy all came into play. But the experience level that I took away from this was the mental one.
1) Never enter a climb, a climbing day or a comp expecting yourself to perform with a certain outcome. The only expectation should be that of commitment and desire to try your hardest. Other factors can always come into play, but your attitude is the only one you can control. Climb one move at a time and only focus that far.
2) Don’t climb to impress those around you. So many times I have avoided getting back on a climb I have already sent because it feels like I can only digress from a send and there is no way to improve from it. That outlook sets myself up for failure before I even start and prevents me from using every day and every climb as an opportunity to get stronger, both physically and mentally.
3) If you suck at something…do more of it! I know I know, we have all heard it a bunch…work on your weaknesses….but this is So true! I suck at the unknown when it comes to mixed climbing…instead of projecting an M10 that I might get after a few trys once I know the moves, I would benefit a ton more by onsighting easier routes and forcing myself to work through the mental tenacity required to go into the unknown.
Sometimes it is hard to separate myself from climbing. My work, my play, my friends all surround climbing. The problem with this is that a bad day climbing can leak into how I feel about myself and my entire life. This is a problem. Just like a fresh send does not make me a better person, a crappy day climbing also does not make me a worse person. The learnings I take from that crappy day could actually help me in many ways beyond climbing, so perhaps it is a blessing.
Looking forward to going to Bozeman and playing in Hyalite!