I recently watched Free Solo, a movie that provides an intimate and unflinching portrait of professional rock climber Alex Honnold as he prepares to become the first person to climb the famous El Capitan, a 3000 feet rock-fare in Yosemite national park, without ropes or protective equipment of any kind. In the 2018 film that recently won Oscar for Best Documentary, Alex described free soloing as a low risk (to me it is high risk), high –consequence pursuit. When asked why he does it when he knew he could die if he makes a mistake, he replied “There are a lot of things about soloing that are fun. It’s faster and more free. You don’t have all the weight hanging off you –a rope weights at least 10 pounds. Apart from that it just feels incredible, and that goes hand in hand with the challenge of it. And for me, there’s certainty a component of doing things that have never been done before and feeling like I’m making my mark on climbing.” Alex is not the first person to do what many people call suicide mission. Remember when David went ahead to fight with Goliath. It was a suicide mission to many but not to David who had confidence he could defeat the giant because of his faith in God. We may not (in fact we should not because we are not climbers) do exactly what Alex did, but we can learn from him on how to take risks and break records. First, Alex believed that impossible is nothing. He believed he could do it even though nobody had done it before. Two, he knew everything he ought to know about climbing. Three, he prepared hard. He climbed the mountain fifty times with rope before embarking on it without a rope and four, he didn’t allow fear (of falling and dying) to stop him. His fear of losing wasn’t greater than the excitement of winning. The lesson we can also learn from this story is that, with faith in God, knowledge, preparation and courage, we too can have a record breaking success.
“We must have courage to bet on our ideas. To take the calculated risk and to act everyday. Living requires courage, if life is to be effective and bring happiness” ~ Maxwell Maltz