/ What big-wall climbing teaches you about life

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natetan - on 05 Sep 2013
In life, as with climbing, I find the bigger the challenge the more (and faster) you learn; there are some interesting parallels between being successful on big wall routes and getting things done in life.

I guess just interested in other peoples thoughts!

Aid climbing and the habits that define you..

Personally I find aid climbing a slow, however, not being super strong, on big walls I will generally find myself doing it at some point. That said, the interesting thing about aid climbing is that the lazier you are, the harder and slower it is. Efficiency is everything.

For example; let’s say you aid climb 1000ft of a route, your aiders are about 5ft long with about 1ft per step.

If you are being a little lazy, you use the second step on your aider and place your gear at a ‘comfortable’ distance, instead of top-stepping and placing the gear as high as you can, the difference in height gained at each placement can easily be 2ft.

Over a 1000ft of aid climbing, this would mean 330 placements instead of 200… 130 extra placements, at 3 minutes each = 390 minutes = 6.5 hours more time spent climbing. This can easily mean an extra day on the wall, which means more food and water, which means slower and harder hauling compounding the inefficiency.

The point I am getting at is that, seemingly benign inefficiencies, when multiplied out throughout a route has a significant impact on your ability, and the time it takes, to reach your goal.

Your life is a bit like a really long aid climb and, almost any way you cut it, this analogy applies, for example;

- Financially; Let’s you like a nice coffee and a bit of cake every working day, you buy your lunch at the sandwich shop near work and you take the tube instead of cycling. Say this costs, as it would in London, £15/day. Over a year = £3975. Over 20 years with 8% compound interest; £175,000; which could give you £14,000/year in interest in your retirement and enable you to retire a few years earlier. Instead, due to a seemingly benign ‘comfort’ habits you work longer and are less financially secure.

- Health; That bit of cake every day, along with a tendency to skip a bit of exercise for the odd drink after work seems totally fine, but over a period of 20 years, the extra calories in, and fewer calories out means you put on weight. Combined with a slowing metabolism and the fact that being fat makes exercise harder you ‘come to terms’ with the ‘inevitability’ of putting on ‘middle age spread’ and now your just another fat dude sweating it out on the tube wearing a suit that used to fit.

- Your personal projects; Most people I know have some kind of side-project. Something they are doing which is not their main vocation but would kinda like it to be. However most people I know do not work overly hard to achieve the side goal and, in reality, because ‘today was a long day at work’ or ‘I deserve a rest/treat/meal out’ or the myriad of lame excuses people use to do nothing in the part of the day don’t sell to an employer, they don’t get it done. If you spent a little over 2 hours a day on your project; it would equate to 16 hours; 2 ‘working days’ a week. If you were given 2 working days a week by your employer to do your own thing; what would you get done?

If your not bored the rest of my diatribe is here.. http://njmurphy.com/
Michael Gordon - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to nathanmurfie:

Some interesting thoughts though I'd say the link with aid climbing is tenuous at best!
The Pylon King on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to nathanmurfie:

I blame the industrial revolution.
John_Hat - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to nathanmurfie:

Whilst in theory I agree with you, I think there is a value in having both physical and mental down time. "Recovery" time if you like.

I'm 40 now, and can't run either my body or mind at full tilt without needing rest, and significantly more than I used to. A few injuries picked up along the way don't help, as injury management unfortunately means more time not exercising. I went swimming last Thursday and my shoulder is still aching now.

I'm not saying that this means you have to spend 3 hours a day in front of the telly, but I think it does mean its not necessarily wise to flog yourself until you drop.

I climb, run, do martial arts, play piano, do a lot of DIY, and study loads (exam on Saturday, eeek) plus a shedload of other interests - "side projects" if you like - but frankly there's time when what's really nice is sitting in the garden with a pint. If that takes an hour out of the day its mental and physical recharge time for the rest of my life.

Also, and an important point, spending quality time with the one you love is a very important and lovely thing, whether it be going for a walk, chatting, or anything else.
ice.solo - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to nathanmurfie:

Good post.

Big climbing taught me that anything you cant be bothered to put a clip loop on you lose.
Enty - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to nathanmurfie:

El Cap taught me that no matter how f*cked you are doing anything - just carry on and get it finished - It's worth it.

E
Wiley Coyote - on 05 Sep 2013
In reply to nathanmurfie:

Aid climbing taught me I never want to go into any part of the freight haulage business
Jim Nevill - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to nathanmurfie:
I see your point, and we can nearly all be 'lazy' at times; don't think it's each & every time though.
I'd love to know where you can get 8% compound interest on savings, and 8% interest on the saved amount - please tell m, as the world I live in offers 2.2% or thereabouts - before tax!!!
Tall Clare - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to nathanmurfie)
>
> El Cap taught me that no matter how f*cked you are doing anything - just carry on and get it finished - It's worth it.

Wise words.

natetan - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Jim Nevill: haha - obviously not a bank account!
Ridge - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Jim Nevill:
> (In reply to nathanmurfie)
> I see your point, and we can nearly all be 'lazy' at times; don't think it's each & every time though.
> I'd love to know where you can get 8% compound interest on savings, and 8% interest on the saved amount - please tell m, as the world I live in offers 2.2% or thereabouts - before tax!!!

Agreed. £14,000 a year on £175,000 capital? Dream on.
Ridge - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Ridge:

That aside, interesting post. On the middle aged spread, Mr Hat has a good point. I'm 47, generally watch what I eat and do a steady amount of running and some MTBing. Been gradually losing weight very slowly. I spend 5 days on holiday, 12 mile walks with a couple of thousand feet ascent most days, pub meal and a few beers each night without tearing the arse out of it, and the weight's piled back on. As age and injuries increase unless I starve myself I think weight gain is pretty much inevitable unless you have a very fast metabolism.
natetan - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Ridge: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_23463826/retirement-planner-good-investment-mix-can-take-you - "The 15-year annual average rate of return for this mix of investment types was 8 percent"

Personally not a financial advisor of any kind but when you look in to it there are plenty of examples of 'safer' mixed/spread stock investments can return 8% over a longer period of time.
natetan - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to John_Hat: Agreed, quality time out, or time with family is also valuable, ensuring you can do that is a worthwhile aim in my mind. Efficiency in other areas can help ensure you have more time to do it.
dale1968 - on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to Ridge:
> (In reply to Ridge)
>
> weight's piled back on. As age and injuries increase unless I starve myself I think weight gain is pretty much inevitable unless you have a very fast metabolism.

It's only inevitable if you allow it, and believe me I can black cat you on all fronts, but I choose to not allow middle age spread, I don't starve myself but I do eat with the knowledge that portion control is key, and you only have to do this 80-90% of the time, so it's not inevitable only if you choose it
Timmd on 06 Sep 2013
In reply to nathanmurfie:

We do need down time mentally or physically to recharge ourselves, but in principle I think you're completely right.

It's a thought I often have lurking at the back of my mind, how I could be more productive and time efficient. It irks me.
Timmd on 07 Sep 2013
In reply to nathanmurfie: That should be 'that' I could be more productive and time efficient.
Blue Straggler - on 07 Sep 2013
In reply to nathanmurfie:
> If you spent a little over 2 hours a day on your project; it would equate to 16 hours; 2 ‘working days’ a week.

Either: how many days are there in a week on your planet?;
or, why not just say 2h17mins per day?
matt perks - on 08 Sep 2013
In reply to nathanmurfie: I have a suspicion that is the return without (at least some of) the various charges and fees. However, I may be mistaken.

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