You go for a redpoint send, but don’t send. How do you feel after? You could feel frustrated, disappointed, or satisfied that you gave it your best effort. You go for a redpoint send and you send. How do you feel after? You could feel elated, or satisfied that you gave it your best effort. For most of us, we feel frustrated or disappointed when we don’t send and elated when we do, rather than simply satisfied that we gave it our best effort.

Feeling frustrated, disappointed, or elated puts us at the mercy of the external situation. Why would we do this? To answer why, let’s look at what is different between them. By NOT sending the end result isn’t achieved; by sending it is. We have fallen into the trap of being primarily motivated by the end result. The key word here is “primarily.”

We have discussed the motivation hierarchy before: being primarily motivated by the process; secondarily motivated by the end result. By being primarily motivated by the process of climbing, the stress associated with it, we feel equally satisfied whether we send or not. We feel satisfied that, for each effort, we have given our best. We may think we don’t give our best on each effort, but this is incorrect. Our physical strength, mental focus, and climbing skills all come together in each effort. We will have more physical strength on some days and less on others. The same is true for mental focus. To think we could have been more mentally focused is similar to thinking we could have been physically stronger. Neither of those is possible for your current effort.

Pay attention to how you feel after. There isn’t anything wrong with feeling a little more satisfied after sending than not sending. Sending a project represents achievement of a goal. It’s a test, a steppingstone, in our learning process. Just notice how big of a difference it is. If it’s big, check in with what is motivating you.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Chris graham

    Arno, this message couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Oddly enough, my climbing has been stellar and I have been very happy with my overall performance, both onsight attempts and with new projects. However, I recently have noticed that my climbing has not been as mindful, that I have been just getting by on poor technique and lack of balance. I couldn’t figure out what had changed and have been struggling with this issue for well over a month. Upon reading this most recent article, the bulb turned on and clearly my focus has been on the anchors and the final result. Result orientated and not process orientated like it was earlier in the season. I am curious to see how I do the next time I go out being a little bit more present in the moment and guided by the process.

  2. Dennis England

    Hi Arno, Excellent article. I seem to do okay with not sending as I am pretty new to climbing I take not sending with a grain of salt as they say. My struggle is somewhat different. It seems to be more with leading. I have lead a few routes and pitches here and there but the struggle seems to be with follow through. Very often I am planning to go climb, thinking, “I’m going to lead this pitch or this route.” I get there and start to have doubts and comfort seeking mind kicks in. My partner/mentor is significantly more experienced than I so I end up letting him do it. I 2nd cleanly, with no falls and think “I could have lead that.” Then I feel like I let myself down etc. Any thoughts or advice? Is this to complaex to address here?

    1. Arno

      Hi Dennis, How are things in Tulsa? Check Espresso Lessons, Chapter 1 (Awareness). It goes into all the mind tricks and how to deal with them. The TAP process helps with your situation. Specifically, finding little ways to engage. When you want to lead, do it bolt to bolt, with an option at each bolt to retreat. This way you only take on the stress of one small section. a

  3. Chris graham

    Just to add to my last comment: I definitely feel a bit lt down or disappointed when I don’t get the send. I tend to be a bit hard on myself anyway, and so I sometimes focus on what went wrong and that can weigh me down a bit. I have definitely improved in moving past those feelings and am able to look at the things that went well and can then focus on what it takes to move past the areas that gave me problems. For me, attitude and presence of mind is 95% of the battle.

    1. Arno

      Hi Chris, Improving comes from paying attention to the subtleties. Instead of “moving past those feelings” and “what it takes to move past the areas” be present for them. There is a seed of learning there and if you stay curious to that you’ll enjoy the whole process more. It’s climbing. Don’t move past; move through. a

Leave a Reply