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When we are training, attempting to challenge ourselves, it is important to distinguish what motivates our goals. If we are driven by energy from the idea of winning, or proving, the shoulds or should nots, then we may be successful for a time, however, the energy motivating our actions can, and usually will eventually, run out. However, if we are inspired by love and joy, our energy can be endless.
Parenting is a wonderful example of providing evidence for this idea. The endless sleepless nights disrupted by the need to feed and settle a child would not be possible for the countless months it takes without that key ingredient, love.
Let's also consider more carefully that word inspire. To be inspired means to be "Inspire comes from the Latin word that means to inflame or to blow in to. When you inspire something, it is as if you are blowing air over a low flame to make it grow." - Vocabulary.com
To be inspired is to be energized. To feel more alive.
When we are pursuing a goal we feel we "must" or "should", we often feel less inspired, or more challenged in the pursuit than we would feel if we were in love with the idea of the challenge.
All of this then is to say, it is essential to identify what you love and move in that direction when setting goals. Viktor Frankl noted this in his book, Man's Search for Meaning, when he describes the long cold march in the cold with his feet poorly shod and in his discomfort and suffering, he remembered his his wife, more importantly, he remembered the depth of his love for his wife. Not even knowing if she was still alive, this memory inspired him to survive so he may see her again.
In the climbing world, the magazines and press revolves around competitors or hard ascents; firsts. A few years ago it was Alex Honnold's first solo climb of El Cap. Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson's first ascent of the Dawn Wall in Yosemite making National mainstream news. More recent trending posts about who won a spot at the Olympic climbing competition and Daniel Woods doing the first US V17,
When I was living out of a vehicle and climbing, more than a few moons ago, I would attend competitions and spend my climbing sessions trying for the next hard redpoint or onsight. I definitely enjoyed days with nothing to do but rock climb, however, I do remember the day I figured out what I really loved.
I was spending my time writing a training book, and took a break to wander around the cliffs of Rifle to see what fellow climbers were up to. My partner and his friends were projecting a 5.14, and struggling to figure out the crux moves. I watched and considered the problem. Eventually I asked for a belay, despite the fact that the hardest thing I had ever one was in the 5.13- level. I hauled my way up to the section where they were struggling, gripped the handholds, reversed the moves and promptly demonstrated a potential sequence. Turns out my idea worked and later the climbers - much stronger than me - could make it through that section. They joked about how I should project the route. In truth, I had no interest in climbing the route, but I was very happy to have been able to unlock a potential sequence and helping others be successful.
Let me know how you made out. And reach out if you want some help deciphering your path to love and fulfillment.
Writing, journalling, podcasting... it's all about sharing the journey.