What we receive in climbing or life is directly dependent on what we give. We must give first before we receive. Yet, we can fall into unconscious habits of focusing on receiving before giving. This orientation usually causes us to be frustrated or disappointed when our expectations aren’t met. Frustration and disappointment focus our attention on receiving and diminishes our effectiveness. Therefore we need to develop awareness when we become frustrated or disappointed and redirect our attention toward giving.
For example, I taught a clinic recently where a student became frustrated because she struggled and fell on a route. She had picked a 5.11 route and created an expectation that she should be able to do it. When she struggled and fell, she became frustrated.
In a different clinic I had a student who was very afraid of falling. He participated in the falling drills but didn’t like the feeling of falling and made little progress. He created an expectation that the clinic should eliminate his fear. Since his fear of falling wasn’t eliminated, he was disappointed.
Both of these students had created expectations centered on receiving an end result. The frustrated student expected to receive a successful ascent. The disappointed student expected to receive a fearless mind. Focusing on the end result and what we want to receive focuses our attention on wanting something for nothing. We want the successful ascent or the fearless mind (something) for no effort (nothing).
These students require awareness. I talked with the frustrated student and used a bar-graph to help her understand that she was unconsciously focusing on receiving. I said, “The challenge is this high; your ability is only this high; what’s missing between your ability and the challenge?” She answered saying that the route was too hard; she needed to improve and learn how to climb 5.11. That missing piece required effort on her part and when she saw the bar-graph it made sense to her.
I also used the bar-graph with the disappointed student. I said, “Having a fearless mind is this high; your ability to fall without fear is only this high; what’s missing between your ability and having a fearless mind?” At some level he understood me but was still disappointed. He was too identified with receiving the end result of a fearless mind from taking the clinic. He needed to make a shift toward processes and giving. Only then would he be patient with his learning process and focus his attention on giving effort.
Getting frustrated or being disappointed means we want something for nothing. Most people don’t want something for nothing once they become conscious. They understand that all progress requires effort, sometimes a lot of effort, before receiving end results.
Practice Tip: Something for Something
All learning requires effort. You can’t receive something for giving nothing. Align yourself toward giving something for receiving something. Keep it in that order. Do the following steps to achieve this alignment:
- Catch yourself when you become frustrated or disappointed.
- Identify what end result you expected to receive that caused the frustration or disappointment.
- Redirect your attention to giving effort. Ask, “What can I give; what do I need to learn?”