Fearless is climbing El Capitan in Yosemite. Overwhelming and epic is ascending the famous rock with only 10 fingers and 10 toes and a bag of chalk—in about 3.5 hours, no less. Talk about someone who has personal motivation removed of insecurities or what?
A rock climbing associate of my husband told him that Alex Honnold’s crazy, free-solo climb of El Captain’s Freerider face last weekend with absolutely no ropes or safety equipment of any kind has turned the rock climbing world on its head. The feat is that insane. Honnold might have well as walked on water.
The 31-year-old has already accomplished more in the climbing world than anyone else ever has and maybe ever will. He’s Michael Jordan, Mohammad Ali and Tiger Woods rolled into one. Revolutionary comes to mind.
But if you passed him on the street, you’d never know it. Honnold is an extraordinary man in a quite ordinary body who lives in his van yet refuses to allow fear as an excuse to quit. When interviewed by 60 Minutes a few years ago, he was asked if he ever had girls in his van. His response? “Do I look like I have girls in my van?” he rhetorically asked with a self-effacing grin.
He has been likened to a mere Clark Kent on flat land, but the moment he digs his fingers into rock he transforms a bad ass, indestructible superhero. He climbs with the grace of a brain surgeon, and professional ballroom dancer rolled into one. But he also outworks every other climber in terms of preparation, taking a yogi-like approach to planning each climb.
After his rather leisurely climb of El Capitan last week, when most roped-in climbers can spend a week or more on the rock before reaching the summit, Honnold said he feels fear like anyone else. Unlike anyone else, he calmly sets the fear aside because, he reasons, fear is of absolutely no help to him in achieving his goals. Talk about enlightened!
“Sometimes I have moments of anxiety, where I don’t know what I got myself into,” he modestly explained.
Honnold, an avid fitness enthusiast, and environmentalist is no dummy either. Don’t let his daring be confused with stupidity. He sported a 4.7 GPA in high school and was a promising student. He attended UC Berkley and studied engineering but dropped out at age 19 to devote his life to climbing.
The Bottom Line:
When it comes to fear and anxiety, it can seem as if we might fall off the proverbial cliff. But nothing we face comes close to what Honnold looks forward to every day when he wakes up: Proving the impossible is possible.
Are you willing to work and put in ridiculous effort to achieve your goals? You don’t have to hang upside down by your fingers and toes for hours on end like Honnold does, but you can fight for your successes while at the same time accepting—even reveling—in the fact that you might fail.
Or do you expect to simply receive what you think you deserve, rather than making the proper plans and taking calculated steps to make it happen?
What motivates and inspires you to push beyond perceived limits in your quest for achievement? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Most Recent Related Article I’ve Also Written Elsewhere: Motivation Is A Muscle: Let Insecurities Go & Start Now