Let me preface by saying I’m not a rock climber. Though you may see photos of such on my posts, heights and I have an interesting relationship. Put me up high, and I have a desire to jump. Perhaps I need to speak with someone about that? But I also have a desire to learn how to achieve the impossible.
There’s a movie that was recently released, Free Solo. A documentary, that depicts the real life attempt, by Alex Honnold, to climb El Capitan in Yosemite. But this is no ordinary climb of a 3,200 foot vertical rock. After two years of practice, with ropes, Alex attempts to climb without.
Yes no ropes. A free solo, as referred to in the climbing community.
How To Achieve The Impossible?
The first question that invariably comes to everyone’s mind is “how.” Watching the trailer above and your jaw drops. Imagine seeing El Capitan in person. Looking straight up and then truly grasping what this amazing person accomplished. I bet that word would become “impossible” in describing what he achieved.
But if you watch the trailer, listen to countless interviews with Alex, you’ll pick up a snippet of what made this possible. “I was able to wrap my head around it.” Those nine words may not sound like much. But they are. What seemed impossible to Alex, after years of analysis, became possible. Through study he found a path.
Not just a path in terms of where to place his hands and feet. But a path in his mind. He looked at El Capitan differently. It was no longer one unfathomable block of granite. Going straight up. He was able to break it down into sections. Realizing that journeys in life are just that, journeys. A series of steps. You don’t go from point A to B in one step.
You Too, Can Scale Your El Capitan!
By no means am I planning to scale El Capitan. Remember that “thing” I need to speak to someone about? But for years, I have studied running from point A to B.
My journey is one hundred miles. A race, that in 2019, I have finally decided to run. After one failed attempt in my early thirties, now at age fifty, I have decided to once again take this challenge upon me.
What’s changed? I finally saw a path. Wrapped my head around the distance. I no longer see it as one hundred miles. But rather two fifty mile runs. The first fifty will rely on physical efforts. The last on mental toughness. It’s the latter I was lacking.
The ability to not focus, on the entire journey, but the individual steps before me. At mile one, to think of mile two. If even that far. Not to think of the ninety nine miles “I still have to run.” That’s the secret. That’s how you wrap your head around the impossible. Whether doing an endurance event, building a business, or climbing El Capitan.
Remember the story of the wall I have referenced? You have to run along that wall. Waiting for doors to open. Doors that allow passage to even deeper places in our lives. Places where not only self-discovery is found. But true greatness is achieved.
Are You Ready To Live?
Greatness is an individual thing. When I complete my hundred mile run, a National Geographic film crew will most likely not be by my side. That’s not why I am doing this. Nor is that why Alex did his climb. Rather it was to achieve, not what others say is impossible, but what your heart desires.
One hundred miles has scared me for many years. But today I see it differently. I see all challenges in life differently. No longer suffering but opportunity. No longer impossible, but possible.
So how do you achieve the impossible?
By focusing on the moment. The very steps before you. Understanding that the path is long. Constantly evolving. Requiring different skills, at different times. Be courageous in life. We are truly greater than the limits we all place upon ourselves. Once we remove those limits, then life can truly be lived. In the words of retired Navy SEAL, Jocko Willink, “get some!”