The Power of Falling

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by: John Winsor

A couple of weeks ago I took a big fall while climbing a route that I was scared of and having trouble figuring out. I was about 20 feet off the ground when my feet and hands slipped at the same time sending me flying towards the ground.

While I did hit the ground, the rope softened my landing. I stood up with only a few minor scrapes. But in that instance, adrenaline pumped through my veins and gave me the amazing ability to over come my fears and, 5 minutes later, fly up the route, accomplishing something that I didn’t think possible.

Falling in climbing is a lot like failing in business in that it’s an important part of innovation. A friend and well known Australian climber, Julian Saunders, gave me this advice on how to improve my climbing:

FALL…a lot. fear of falling is the biggest of all handbrakes. that translates to a few thing. jump off at the anchors regularly if you are getting there without falling. this necessitates choosing a belayer that gives you a soft ride, in that they do not just sit on the rope so that you slam into the wall at the end. if you at all worried about falling, you will never try your hardest. you wont be focused on the next move, but rather on the fall. and then you might as well just give up.

TRY TRY TRY. Never say ‘take’. try until you fall. and when you think you are done and going to fall, try anyway. you’ll be surprised (i guarantee it) how many times you will go through to the anchors. not too mention you will generally just be happier with your effort. you belayed me on one of those times; i gave myself no chance, but threw at the next hold regardless. and it just happened to come off a few times in a row. unusual, but really memorable. it’s is especially difficult to convince yourself to do it at the time, because the chance of falling in your own head is almost a given. so you think about that instead. easier to say take or down climb, but you are usually under selling your capacity. back yourself with the might of a nuclear warhead. climbing a couple grades above yourself is more about trying than training.

ALWAYS lead if it is possible, even when you are warming up.

Sound advice when pushing into new territory in both climbing and business.

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