Learning converts intellectual knowledge into experiential knowledge. Learning also converts something stressful into something comfortable.
Learning can only take place if stress can be processed into comfort. If there is too much stress, you will revert to habitual behaviors and contract in the face of the stress. If there is too little stress, you’ll act out your current behaviors with no need to change. You convert current behaviors into more effective ones by processing through stress. Finding the balance between too little and too much stress allows you to take appropriate risks, allowing you to learn while keeping risk of injury to a minimum.
To find this balance, you need to diminish your mind’s interference and tune in to signals from your body. These signals will let you know how well the stress is being processed and when it is time to add more. This approach will keep attention in your body, making you become aware of how well it is adapting.

figure 4-1Learning converts intellectual knowledge into experiential knowledge. Learning also converts something stressful into something comfortable.

Learning can only take place if stress can be processed into comfort. If there is too much stress, you will revert to habitual behaviors and contract in the face of the stress. If there is too little stress, you’ll act out your current behaviors with no need to change. You convert current behaviors into more effective ones by processing through stress. Finding the balance between too little and too much stress allows you to take appropriate risks, allowing you to learn while keeping risk of injury to a minimum.

To find this balance, you need to diminish your mind’s interference and tune in to signals from your body. These signals will let you know how well the stress is being processed and when it is time to add more. This approach will keep attention in your body, making you become aware of how well it is adapting.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Can you go in to more detail about the signals to pay attention to? I’ve read a lot about what to do “to” the body (eg. breathing, focusing the eyes deliberately) but not much about what to listen to “from” the body, if that makes any sense at all…

  2. Hi Laurel, Yes, I understand what you mean. The next lesson will go into detail about that. Arno

  3. A lot of the advice I got around fear and climbing, ran along the lines of “just push through the fear,” and “you can’t progress if you don’t go outside your comfort zone” “Just commit” etc. The result for me was that I learned how to climb with a lot of tension when I was on lead. My breathing was shallow and quick. I climbed with tension in my calves. I overgripped, and carried tension in my shoulders. My heart pounded. All of this tension then interfered with my body’s intuitive sense of movement, which really negatively affected my climbing. (And I was often miserable ) When leading and tension began to go together, my performance went backwards instead of forwards, and climbs that I had led smoothly in the beginning or that were well within my level were generating the same amount of tension load as an unknown lead at my level.
    Then I finally had a response to my partners urgings. “Before I go outside my comfort zone, I need to create a comfort zone.”
    So this lesson really resonated with me, because I experienced not only how stress can cause me to “revert to habitual behavious and to contract.” but also that climbing fearfully can become a learned habit that I can carry with me no matter what the climb

  4. Hi Ramona, Yes, many climbers climb just to get the climbing over with so they can get back to their jobs. Their focus is: Just get through the stress any way you can. That approach doesn’t lead to learning how to deal with stressful situations, which is what climbing harder routes requires. And, how much fun are they actually having? Probably only having fun (or feeling terrible if they didn’t climb well) as they walk back to their jobs, allowing their egos to dwell on the end result.
    Take a look at the current lesson–BERP–and how it complements this lesson. Arno

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