Thursday, April 16, 2009

Taking a Look in the Mirror

This is an excerpt from and interview with Jean-Baptist 'Jibe' Tribout.

Most of the time I fail, but it doesn’t matter, because my goal is to succeed, instead of “not to fail”. This means I can be much more relaxed when I climb, and as every climber knows, it’s very important.

Jibe is 46 now and until recently had not been climbing seriously for about 10 years. He has already climbed as hard as 5.14b and he claims that he is nowhere near as strong as in his youth. He attributes much of his recent success to a new attitude toward climbing. The wisdom quoted above is a recent revelation, discovered in the absence of the self-imposed pressures many climbers subject themselves to.

I have to admit that when I'm climbing something particularly important to me the thoughts that creep into my head mid-climb are often along the lines of 'don't fail'. This bothers me for several reasons:

1. This train of thought doesn't manifest itself exclusively in climbing situations.
2. Its obviously counter productive.
3. This thought process can transform a recreational activity into something more akin to work.

Don't get me wrong, this isn't something I deal with everyday out climbing, far from it in fact. I can name a half dozen or so occasions (long term projects) when this became a real problem. Of course there are minor occurrences from time to time but they are usually insignificant. Last weekend for instance, while trying to top out a new problem I definitely thought "don't fail" but that was mostly out of concern for my safety and I have no regrets about that. Still, how does one deal with this type of negative thinking?

To be quite frank about this, I've been thinking a lot about going back to school over the last six months or so. I've more or less decided it is something I want to do and yet I'm having difficulty being proactive about it because of this type of negative thinking.

I understand the principals behind Jibe's wisdom but putting it in practice is something entirely different. What am I missing?


Mandi said...

Any event can be interpreted as a failure or a success. Even if you send, you could have done it better. Even if you "fail" you still did some things well.

As Donnie Darko said, "You can't just divide everything into 'FEAR' and 'LOVE'. It's just not that simple!"

Peter "Nancy" Newman said...

I have found failure to be easier when supported by a safety net of friends. Thanks. I'll be your Huckleberry.

J V said...

I'm not getting a clear sense of the goal you have (to achieve or "fail" to achieve) by going to school. Maybe you should crystallize that first.

Becky said...

Nice post Justin. You're not missing a thing. It's gonna happen.