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Audio eLesson 2013-1104

Having an “either/or” approach to stress is limited and tends to focus our attention on the comfortable part of a cycle. A “both/and” approach is more inclusive, valuing both stress and comfort. “Either/or” indicates that either I value this or that, but not both. An “either/or” approach, concerning the weather, for instance, values sunny weather over rainy weather, because sunny weather is comfortable, whereas rainy weather is stressful. It values the end result over the process.

To expand awareness we need to include both parts of a cycle. We do this with a “both/and” approach. We value both sunny and rainy weather because both are necessary parts of the cycle to sustain life. We value both end results and processes because end results give us vision and processes give us the means, and help us process stress, to accomplish that vision. In short, we value both stress and comfort.

In business, without an end goal, employees do many processes that take them in many different directions. Those processes aren’t aligned toward a vision. By having a clear vision, everyone in the business can align their actions, the processes, in the direction of the same vision. Doing this allows their processes to create better teamwork, moving in the same direction. The team becomes more than the sum of the individuals. Each individual has responsibilities, but when all individuals are aligned by a common vision, their efforts are leveraged.  Processes, such as communication, strategic or tactical thinking, remaining relaxed, helps us take action to process stress and accomplish the vision. Saying “Either I get a raise or I’ll quit” will probably get us fired. Saying “both adding more value and getting a raise” will help us integrate into the team, so the team can become greater than the sum of the parts.

In climbing, we set the end goal of climbing a specific route, in a specific manner. Take for instance, Scarface at Indian Creek. The end goal is to on-sight it: to climb it, from the ground to the anchors, placing all gear on lead, without falling or hanging. This is a clear vision that helps identify the processes we’ll focus on. First we have a thinking process we do with the mind to plan: identifying protection placements, rest stances, climbing techniques, and falling consequences. Second, we have processes we do with the body for climbing: effective resting, jamming, falling, movement, and gear placement. These processes help us do the specific actions needed to accomplish the vision and process the stress as we move toward that vision.  Saying “either I’ll succeed or fail to climb Scarface” will distract attention toward failure when the difficult climbing causes stress. Saying “I want to both succeed to on-sight Scarface and focus on climbing” focuses our attention on processing the stress of difficult climbing.

Remember, awareness is what’s important. An “either/or” approach limits awareness. A “both/and” approach expands awareness.

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. sylviavannierop

    I gonna try this! My experience till now is, that if I only focus on the goal (on sight it), I certainly fail. The best climbing experience, and most fun I have, is if I focus on having fun with climbing. With playing during climbing.
    It is funny I once wrote a poem about ‘or’ and ‘and’… In that poem I discover the value of and as you describe in this article.
    But untill now I never used it in climbing… So thanks, I gonna try this focus on having fun on the wall AND on the end goal….

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