Don’t Look Down

Dec 8, 2007

Anyone who’s done climbing will probably have heard the tip “don’t look down”. There’s a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, it’s for safety (this is what I just read), because if anything falls, you don’t want it hitting your neck. Secondly, and this is the point that I want to discuss, I think it’s about confidence. Sometimes when you look down, you realize how far off you are, and that gets you slightly more apprehensive. And that apprehension is never good.

In life, whenever you’re trying to progress, when you’re trying to go ‘higher’, it’s always risky. And when you look down, it’s always going to be scary. So my advice? The same advice that rock climbers are given.

Whatever you’re pursuing, don’t look down. Yes, you prepare for the worst. You make sure that you don’t come off too bad (like the safety harness for climbers). But once you get going, don’t keep thinking about the worst case scenario. Don’t think about the risk you’re taking. Basically, throw out all second thoughts once you get going. If you’re doing it, go in 100%. Because if you don’t, chances are, you won’t be successful. You need to be committed, believe that you’ll succeed, and just keep looking forward.

Once you’ve started climbing, don’t look down.

How do you stop yourself from having second thoughts about what you do?

Photo Credit:

093007 climb lcl mgs
Originally uploaded by MICHAEL G. SEAMANS

Snowboarding and Discomfort

Dec 5, 2007

I’ve personally gone snowboarding a couple of times, and I’m decent at it (especially considering I don’t get too much practice being in Singapore). I’m not good by any means, but I get by, and don’t fall. And what I’m writing here is based on what my experience learning snowboarding.

2 points. One about apparent risk, and one about vision (and my personal failure).

Firstly, risk. Or rather, apparent risk. In snowboarding, if you want to turn, you lean in the direction you want to go. It’s not always the most comfortable position. It’s slightly off center; off balance, if you will. But it’s the only way for you to direct yourself, instead of being dictated by the environment, controlled by the curve of the slope. It might seem risky (you’re off balance, leaning to one side, seemingly more likely to fall), but in the larger picture, it’s the only way to be sure of where you’re going.

In life, sometimes you have to do what seems risky. You have to go off-kilter a bit. You need to know where you want to go, and lean in that direction. It might seem risky, it might bring you off balance for a while. But in the end that’s the best bet you have if you want to control your own path.

My second point is more about my personal failure in snowboarding, the biggest thing I myself have trouble with. I never manage to board toe side (with my back facing downhill). I always struggled with being unable to see where I was going. I knew where I was going. I could see the slope before I got on the board, and I’m pretty sure the slope didn’t change. But just the inability to see where I’m headed as I’m moving made me nervous. And that has held me back (until now) from going to the next level in my snowboarding. It’s something that I need to get over.

Again, this lesson can be applied to life as well. I personally have to learn this lesson as well. Sometimes, it’s hard to take a step without being able to see where you’re going. Even if you’ve seen the path before hand. But sometimes, if you don’t take that ‘blind’ step, you won’t be able to progress to the next level.

Both these lessons have a common thread, though. Doing something that might not be comfortable. Because, as Curt Rosengren, the M.A.P Maker, told us, being too comfortable can be bad.

I’ll leave you with the same two questions as Curt, because I don’t think I could phrase them any better.

How are you exploring your Discomfort Zone right now? How could you?

Photo taken by Jasmic

Tribute to a Daredevil

Dec 1, 2007

Evel Knievel, the daredevil, has just died. So this post is dedicated to him.

The name of Evel Knievel is more or less a household name. As his Wikipedia article puts it, he is “arguably the most iconic motorbike stuntman of all time”. He made his living by pushing the limit. He took risks and achieved what others thought was impossible.

And that’s why his name is a household name.

I’m not asking you to go jump off cliffs on motorbikes. But the risk-taking, the desire to push the limits, is something we can all learn from him.

As my favorite sports brand says, “Impossible is nothing.”

What risks are you taking today? What “impossibilities” are you willing to pursue?

Link via Hoovaloo – Evel Knievel Has Jumped His Last School Bus

Guinness World Record Seekers

Nov 17, 2007

I’m not really a fan of the Guinness book of records, in that I personally would never attempt to get into it. Plainly because, most of the time, the things seem really meaningless to me.

But I do have to give credit to these people who are pursuing the records. They’re putting their time and energy into something that they believe in. It’s something that others might think pointless (like getting in a bathtub full of snakes), but they’re pursuing it anyway, regardless of how crazy others might think they are. It’s something that others might think impossible (after all, for it to be a World Record, it must mean it hadn’t been done before), but they believed in themselves, and had faith that they could do it.

So while I don’t particularly see much of a point in the book itself, I have a lot of respect for the people in it. They’ve gone through great lengths and taken a lot of chances in order to pursue their dreams (as crazy as others might think they are), and being in the record books – having their name recorded for future generations – is just reward.

How far are you willing to go to pursue your dreams?