All you have to do is reach for the next rock (and not let go)

We were rock climbing the other night. I was up to the purple rocks.

There was this one path I kept falling off. You hold on with your left hand, and both your feet then your right hand reaches out. That’s when I’d fall.

I’d grab the rock with my fingertips. Get it with a good hold. Then my feet would fall off and I’d hit the mat.

So I gave up for a bit. Then went and climbed some other rocks. And made it to the top a few times. Making it to the top boosts your confidence.

Not finishing a certain path over and over gets addictive, you know. We humans are hard wired to finish things we start. Even if it’s having negative effects on us. In psychology, they call it the sunk cost fallacy.

‘I can’t leave now,’ I said, ‘I can’t leave until I get it.’

Eddie was giving me helpful tips.

‘Use your feet Dan,’ he said, ‘keep your hips close to wall, once you get to this rock, you’ve got it.’

Easy.

I rubbed chalk on my hands. The chalk absorbs the sweat. My shirt and pants were covered in chalk.

I grabbed on. All four limbs on different rocks. Up, up, up. Right to the rock I’d fallen off before.

‘KRRKKKK,’ my fingers gripped on. Better than anytime before. It was skin on sandpaper.

My feet were gone but I wasn’t letting go.

Then I reached out to the final rock with my left hand. Another good hold.

All I had to do was meet my left hand with my right and I’d be done. I did it. Then I let go and fell to the mat.

I walked across to Athon and Eddie. We fist bumped.

What was different about this time?

I didn’t think. Like Nike, I just did it. I let it happen. I got out of my own way.

Eddie was right though. Rock climbing is a metaphor for life.

Don’t look down.

Use your legs.

Hold on tight.

Onto the next one.

You have to continually take the risk to fall. That’s where the value is.

You fall off and you try again. And again. And again.

Then it happens.

My hands are still stinging. It’s a good sting.