Lessons from climbing I'm applying in life - failure

As you may know, I'm very much into rock climbing. If you didn't know that, well, I guess I haven't bothered you enough with it, yet. I was first introduced to climbing almost ten years ago, and it is the sport, alongside occasional running streaks, that I kept practicing on, and on, and on. Almost daily.

When I think of the things that kept me attached to rock climbing for so many years, performance certainly isn't one of them. What kept me going back to it are the lessons I have learned during my process of climbing, lessons I learned while climbing, sitting in nature, chilling with friends, walking towards a climbing route... Lessons I try to apply in life, almost like training for climbing - daily.

The first of the many lessons I learned is that of failure.

All we do in climbing is fail, amongst many other things. We do it daily - not being able to hang from some edge while training, or not being able to climb the specific route or do specific moves. Possibilities for failing here are endless! And often with the interesting results - if you fall from a route, you experience a direct rush of adrenaline that comes with that failure. Some say that climbing is about 99% of failing. What impacts the other 1% is how we deal with that 99%.

What keeps people going through these failures? This I don't know, I guess it is different for each one of us. I'm amazed by all those world-class climbers trying unbelievable climbing routes and failing, continuously, just to succeed one time. And not just world-class climbers - I'm amazed by every one of us who persists (spoiler alert!).

What keeps me through all these failures?

Well, at first, it was the frustration - how can somebody do it and I can't?! This kept me for a while, in the beginning, at least. I was trying the routes, doing the training, because somebody else did it.

Then came the acceptance - the failure is a normal, even expected, part! So I failed, constantly, and every day. The thing that started happening with each failure was that I started learning something from it. Either my foot was too high, or I squeezed my hands too much, my balance was off, and so on. That helped me see every failure to do something, not just failure in climbing, as a learning opportunity. That kept me centered and prevented me from feeling down after a failure.

I learned to see failure as a building block for improvement.

P.S. Good climbing performance is still to come! 🤞