Dither Me This is a weekly publication that presents current, old, spontaneous, or nonsensical musings for the reader to use as a writing prompt, discuss with a friend, lover, or to read and move on. Authors may present questions, creative processes, or thoughtful means to end the week; and while you may still be left staring at the walls, it is not without a new thought mulling the paint into iterative transformation. Thus we send waves into the electronic ether and see what is returned – extending a baton to the world, only a little afraid to let go.
8 – Honnold
with Matt Carpenter
What’s the point in posting about rock climbing anymore? Alex Honnold already free soloed El Capitan! You’ll never do anything that cool and no one will ever be as impressed. I sent a 12c yesterday. It was a sport climb with a bunch of safe bolts that caught my numerous falls before I finally pulled it off. But Honnold free solos 5.13! I climbed El Cap once. My partner and I even made great timing up The Nose by doing it in just three days. But Honnold didn’t need a rope or any climbing gear to climb it in just under four hours. What a jerk!
Does this undermine my accomplishments?
What can we all take away from this?
Humility. Humility not just in terms of “I’ll never be the greatest climber in the world,” but humility in terms of motivation.
What motivates you?
It took so much more than the promise of fame and legacy to get that guy to do something like that. He must be motivated by so many more interpersonal challenges. He is motivated by the rock itself and the personal trials it offers him. Probably. I’m sure the attention doesn’t hurt.
Take a lesson here. Don’t let that lesson be that you need to free solo harder things because it’s cool. You’re not Alex Honnold. You’ll die. Take the lesson that you should evaluate what you’re doing in your life. Ask yourself:
“Am I following my passion?”
I hope you’re not following extrinsic motivators like popularity, credibility, or money. For most people, that doesn’t get you where you need to be.
For you rock climbers: the bar for extrinsic reward will constantly be raised. Don’t expect that sending the next highest grade number will fulfill your desires and leave you feeling full. If you truly love rock climbing then you don’t need anyone’s approval. I’ll always appreciate the challenge and adventure that climbing affords me. Sure it’s fun to have everyone congratulate you on a proud send but the reward doesn’t last. For me, what has lasted and will continue to last is this lifetime of personal challenge, adventure, friendship, and experience.
So the next time you’re feeling that your current personal goal is impossible, or invalid, remember that Alex Honnold free soloed El Capitan and he wasn’t a bitch about it.
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