Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What I've Learned From Climbing

You can't fall if you don't climb... But there's no joy in living your whole life on the ground! 

Last month, I joined a climbing gym, Planet Granite, and since then, climbing has quickly become my favorite way to stay in shape. As someone who is still very much afraid of heights, I never thought that I'd grow to love it as much as I do now. I'm also pleasantly surprised at the way it's slowly influencing my way of life and overall mentality. I now often find myself applying the following core values and lessons learned from climbing to my every day life.  

Fear Is All In Your Head
I first approached climbing as a way to get over my fear of heights. As expected, during my first few climbs, I let my fear get the best of me. I found myself giving up half way up the wall or three-quarters of the way up, with my legs quivering ready to be lowered back onto the ground immediately. But over time, I was slowly able to gain confidence and climb higher and attempt higher walls without hesitation. I've learned that fear only exists in your head, and as long as you work through your fear calmly and rationally, there is no fear you can't overcome.

Trust Your Counterpart
It's daunting to "literally" put your life in someone else's hands, but in life as well as climbing, you're not the only variable in an equation. I've learned that I thrive the most when I have another person's best interest at heart. When climbing, you and your counterpart must work as a team and do whatever it takes to allow the other person to succeed. Encouragement, clear communication, constructive criticism, and care for another's safety are all critical components to successful relationships. Without trust in your counterpart, things can go from bad to worse really quickly. You can become stagnant on the wall or even worse, never feel ready to leave the ground.  

You Can Reach The Top
You may not reach the top on your first try. You may even have to take several different approaches to get there, but it will happen if you want it badly enough. I never thought I'd have to think as hard as I do, while suspended in the air. I tend to focus on going at a pace I'm comfortable with, focusing on one problem at a time. The most important thing is to keep moving, no matter how slow. Like in life, the unique journey you take to reach your goals is just as important as reaching the peak of your climb. And when you get there, feel free to revel in your triumph, because you deserve it!