Clinging to a Rock, 200 Feet in the Air

Reach Beyond Your Grasp - Commit

To the average onlooker, rock-climbing seems like a sport based on brute strength. But most climbers will tell you that their skill is 99 percent mental.

Humans are naturally scared of falling off cliffs. If you’re clinging to a rock, 200 feet in the air, and your next move requires you to let go of your handhold – well, fear is normal.

And if you’re releasing that handhold in order to reach for something that’s a little beyond your grasp — if you doubt your ability to grab that next handhold before gravity yanks you down – the fear becomes blinding.

Most climbers are limited by their mental agility, not their physical prowess. They’re confined by their ability to overcome that fear, let go of the rock, and reach for the next hold.

Successful climbers conquer their fear by repeating a single word: “commit.”

That’s not a hollow term. Log onto any rock-climbing forum or join any climber’s club, and you’ll hear climbers talk about training their minds to commit.

They commit to letting go of that secure hold. They commit to making the next reach. If they master that mindset, they might make it.

But if they allow a shred of doubt — if they hesitate — they’re guaranteed to miss the next move. They’re guaranteed to fall off the rock.

Plenty of climbers commit and still fall. That’s how their strength gets tested. Once they’re back on the ground, the real work begins. Now they have to guard their commitment, despite the last tumble.

You’re an intelligent adult. I don’t need to spell out the analogy here. You get it.

Commit to your next move, even if it seems out of grasp. It’s simple, but it’s not easy.

Thanks to Maria Chily for today’s photo.

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3 Responses to “Clinging to a Rock, 200 Feet in the Air”

  1. Kathleen @ Frugal Portland
    20. Jun, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    YES I love climbing analogies. I still get scared when I climb up a ten foot wall, inside! You have to be strong, and you have to trust that you are strong, and you also have to trust that you won’t die when you fall.

    Now, I want to go to the climbing gym!

  2. krantcents
    20. Jun, 2012 at 12:50 pm #

    Conquering our fears is very important, but I will never climb mountains. Most of my fears are much less monumental! I overcome my fears with preparation. I find the better prepared I am, the easier it is to overcome my fears.


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