Falling is not Failing.

I had my first rock climbing class today. Here’s what I learned:

It’s one of the best ways to work on your mental strength. In Rock Climbing there will always be a climb you can’t clean. The instructor said something insightful, “In rock climbing, falling is not failing.” Because falling is so common, it gives you a space to take chances, take risks, and not suffer difficult consequences. It’s easy to go try again and again. It gives you a place to practice mental strength.

My instructor also said that one of the best ways to be a good climber is to believe you can. As son as you believe anything else it’ll become true. “I’m too short,” or “I’m too tall,” or “I’m not strong enough” are all phrases that will become true as soon as you say them, and the climb that was possible before, will become impossible for you.

This isn’t just true with rock climbing. What we say to ourselves matters, and it matters a lot. We shape the world in which we live with the words we say to ourselves. For this reason we must choose our words carefully, something I’m continually working on.

I was working on a coding project tonight for my information systems class, and I fell into a bad headspace. I became the victim in my mind. I didn’t think it was possible. This led to inefficiency and poor learning. I then realized I may not be able to ski tomorrow because I’ll need to finish it, and then I became even more negative and upset about the whole situation.

Here is how I’m trying to reframe it: I’m going to focus on learning, because falling isn’t failing. I’m going to do my best to believe in my capacity to learn anything, and work with the TA’s and do what it takes to learn, and do so with a smile. Because at the end of the day, learning is good.

And if I’m lucky I’ll be able to finish it in time to still make some turns tomorrow.

Think about how you talk to yourself. Choose wisely. It matters.

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