On free solo climbing and perspective
Over the last few months I have periodically shown a video to my groups about a rock climber named Alex Honnold. The first time I watched this video
, I squirmed in my chair, just like I suspect you will. This climber climbs without ropes, and does so on the most difficult routes in the world. Sometimes I will show this video to students to get the conversation started about choices, support, and relationships. Really, this video will get people talking.
Inevitably, another topic comes up with students as we discuss this video, and usually I have to point it out. The sheer magnitude of what this guy is doing tends to overshadow a quote he makes between the 9:06 and 9:45 mark as the interviewer challenged his mindset as he takes these incredible risks. What is interesting is how he confidently states that he knows what he is doing while also admitting that he might not have the ability to know how dangerous his actions are because he is “too close”.
Since I began working with teens I have observed how they see things. Unfortunately it is not that different then how we see them as adults. We tend to focus on the negative aspect of a situation which leaves us frustrated, stressed, and many times unable to move.
In conversations when I have been able to talk through how a scenario will be presented I always recommend a similar action. Start with a positive. This can change a whole conversation. Obviously there are no guarantees for how a person will hear what you say but you want to present the best possible perspective regardless of how bad things really are. Here’s how to do that.