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arnoilgner


Mar 17, 2006, 1:47 PM
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Motivation
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I posted two articles on RC.com: Motivation Justification and Serious Fun.

Let's get a discussion going about what motivates you and why. Agree/disagree with points I make in the articles and be ready to explain why.

arno


esoteric1


Mar 17, 2006, 4:07 PM
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motivation for me, comes and goes....
im convinced its a passion thing...Ive been soooo modivated that it actualy scared me, figured i was turning into one of those compulsive types, but i loved every minute of it.
now....it takes a sharp stick to get me off the couch....
damn, i dream of the old days when i would actualy go boulder alone...
i wish i would get bit by the bug again....
mark


vector


Mar 17, 2006, 9:56 PM
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Arno,

Great articles. I am not sure I have much to add, as you sum it up brilliantly. I especially liked the Motivation Justification article, primarily because you speak in your own voice without the distraction of the quotes.

As for my personal experience with 'love' based motivation, understanding of this concept came in a very distinct moment. I puzzled over the 'love' motivation when I read of it RWW (although it seems obvious in retrospect). It seemed so out of place in the 'suck it up' world of rock climbing. It finally made sense in one of those 'why the hell am I here' moments halfway up a climb that was a real mental and emotional nemesis for me. I was observing all the crap talk in my head when it occurred to me--why the hell I was there was because I loved climbing and there was no place I would rather be at that moment. Recognizing this, none of the negative thoughts in my head retaining any significance. I just got on with the climbing... and loved it.

Whenever frustration or fear start to hamper my climbing now, I just ask myself if I still love climbing. So far, the answer remains yes and my motivation remains high.

Henry


8flood8


Mar 17, 2006, 10:49 PM
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I am definitely motivated from a love of climbing. There are so many climbs that i want to do and still, i am waiting to tick 5.12 --

but i have realized what i am lacking, that keeps me falling short of my goal.

to me the answer is power and endurance. My life has changed dramatically. Last year at this time i was riding my bike to work 3 times a week and losing a ton of excess body, climbing hard and accomplishing goals... Then -- i started dating the woman who i will marry. i got injured... i went traveling...

i got fatter...

my life changed and my motivations changed.. i was more in love with Evening than the idea of climbing... what was fun changed. I still love climbing, I still love Evening.

but my motivations are changing again. I started the workout John Long posted online "the workout from hell." Evening and i started it together. The first day, we did 1 set of 3 of the workout because we ran out of time at the gym. Then next day, Evening had something else she'd rather do and i stayed alone at the gym and i finished the day 2 portion of the workout.

during the time that i was working out, i was just pushing myself to do 1 more... 1 more... 1 more... knowing that eventually 1 more would turn into "the last one." I was savoring the moment that the last one would arrive and salivating over the feeling of accomplishment that i would feel.

it didn't come.

the last one arrived and i sat up, put the dumbells away and realized that i wasn't satisfied yet. I won't be satisfied until i'm climbing in the numbers that i have pre-ordained for myself.

well... that seems like it is goal oriented. Did i have fun working out? no.

working out isn't fun for me, thus i have never stuck to a "work out"

But climbing is fun for me. I climb every week as often as possible and i know that getting into a stronger body will assist me in achieving my goals. Yes the goal is to climb hard and climb well, but the love and the joy all comes from the total package of climbing. See the beauty of the rock, sharing the beauty of my friends and the feeling of doing something i felt i might not be able to do. even if i have to try as hard as i can for months or years i know the my passion is climbing and when i feel the plateau coming, i concentrate on something else, like trad.

since i am plateauing right now, i am concentrating on power and endurance... with weightlifting. I know the end of this mean and this particular end is merely another mean to a different end. It is the same as climbing to me because, when i can't do a problem, i try different beta. If climbing 3-4 times a week isn't making me stronger, then i will make myself stronger and then climb.


nola_angie


Mar 18, 2006, 6:06 AM
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I know I climb for love, but I have to admit...there is a LOT of love of knowing I'm improving. It won't always come from redpointing a higher grade. Most of the time I am most satisfied when I'm pulling plastic...my way. By that I mean, slopers are kicking my ass, so I head to the gym and puzzle up my OWN routes that are mostly slopers and jibs. Then I run laps on it. That's where it feels so good...knowing I'm succeeding at an exercise that forces me to overcome my weaknesses. Yes, it feels good to knock something off a tick list...it feels good when you rap down from your first 5.10. But it's a different kind of satisfaction to say to yourself 'I need to figure out how to get past this type of problem' and then DO IT. My boyfriends line is 'honey, be smarter than the inanimate object'...it works for me. It reminds me I can't muscle it, and I need to think.

Those were great articles, and I now realize I have, in the past, gotten too enamored with the numbers game. Last fall, I let myself forget the sheer joy of using every muscle in my body, every technique I ever read or saw, using my eyes and brain that beautiful way climbing makes them interact...that won't happen again. I could wax poetic about feeling the coiled strength of setting up for a dyno, or the rush of a stretch for a hold, but we all know that feeling. And that feeling...it is love.


_fiend_


Mar 20, 2006, 5:26 AM
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I read them both, pretty good stuff, I found the motivation one was a little bit like a summary of RWW though. The serious fun article was more refreshing for me and made a good point in a good way!

Will write more later hopefully.


arnoilgner


Mar 20, 2006, 7:03 AM
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Hello 8Flood8

Yes, you won't enjoy the workouts unless you find something to enjoy in the workout, in and of itself. We all tend to do things because they are good for us. We lose weight so we can be healthy, we workout so we can climb 5.12. When we do this we really don't want to lose weight or workout; we want to have lost weight and have accomplished being able to climb 5.12. Our attention isn't on losing weight or working out. Our attention goes to what we want, so if we want the end result then we will not be present for the workout. We "live" where our attention is. To be effective and enjoy each part of our lives we need our attention in the moment. Therefore we need to find something in losing weight and working out that will hold our attention. By focusing on what we are learning about our bodies and our minds will help keep attention there.
Don't do something because it is good for you; do something because it gives you a feeling of being alive.
arno


arnoilgner


Mar 20, 2006, 7:06 AM
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Hello Mark [esoteric1]
What do you think will keep your motivation consistent?
If you don't know then what would it be if you did know?
arno


arnoilgner


Mar 20, 2006, 7:11 AM
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Hi nola_angie

"That's where it feels so good...knowing I'm succeeding at an exercise that forces me to overcome my weaknesses."

How would you feel if you were doing this exercise, working on a weakness, and you weren't "succeeding?"
arno


dirtineye


Mar 20, 2006, 9:52 AM
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When I started climbing, my motivations were:

This is fun.

This is a physical challenge, which will be good for me, and I like athletic pursuits anyway, so, I'll enjoy this.

Climbing is intellectually stimulating in the same way a mathematical proof is stimulating. Climbing can be a logical preceudure, with planning and evaluation.

The skills one must acquire to climb multi pitch FAs are fun to learn-- well, I just think learning is a fun process, so I enjoy that too. The idea that I may learn a new technique, that there is always something else to add is a nice feature of climbing.

Later on, these motivations remained, but two new ones joined them: The excitement and the joy of adventure, and the feelings of positive self-awareness and confidence that comes from climbing.

Even later, the idea of grades came in, along with onsights, red points, etc, but those are not much of a motivator for me. I'm happy when I climb a more difficult grade, but I'm happiest when I'm having a good time with good pals doing ANY FA, be it 5.6 or whatever.

I think that since I started out bouldering, and highballing, the issue of hanging or falling does not bother me so much. OF course I enjoy an onsight, but I feel like I've done more if I have fallen and had to reclimb and then get though the part I fell on. As long as I am honest with myself, I'm not too worried about a red point if I feel I have climbed a route to my satisfaction. Since I have that bouldering core, as long as I did a good job on the crux, I'm pretty happy, but I would not claim a clean ascent unless it was clean. Again, in bouldering highballs, it's pretty clear if you came off or not, LOL, and there is no hanging on a rope. IF a route has an attraction about it that makes me want to climb it more than once, then I would certainly like to be redpointing it before too long, and I do use certain boudler problems as a way to measure my current lavel of clibmign related to waht I have done previously.

I will say that I never did take climbing very seriously in terms of maximum grade climbed, and I more than likely could have climbed much harder routes before I began to have medical and injury problems, but since I got exactly what I was after, I really can't complain too much.

Climbing harder routes is not neccessarily climbing better, or enjoying it more, or learning more.


I will say that Arno's wonderful ideas about climbing efficiently became an area of great attention for me after I was not as strong as I had been, and that efficient climbing can be a nice goal and motivation all in itself.


nola_angie


Mar 21, 2006, 4:09 AM
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In reply to:
Hi nola_angie

"That's where it feels so good...knowing I'm succeeding at an exercise that forces me to overcome my weaknesses."

How would you feel if you were doing this exercise, working on a weakness, and you weren't "succeeding?"
arno

I've been there...I cuss, kick and generally pout until I remember a few things:

1)definition of insanity- doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results (ie, try a new approach)
2) be smarter than the inanimate object. This is where I look, and figure out *why* I'm failing. Sometimes, its back to square one (which for me is not being strong enough) other times it's a lack of technique.

Either way, after a week of failing, I'll analyze and review, then get a new plan of action. I tried to pull plastic pinch grips and failed for a week straight. It was just a matter of working on my grip. It's frustrating, it hurts and at times, I've just wanted to give up. But when I go back to find the root of my problem, when I see *why* I'm failing, and what I need to do to fix it, it all comes back. I may not succeed at the exercise for a bit longer, and I get frustrated at the baby steps I need to take sometimes, but in the end, the love of how a body moves while climbing, how it feels to think your way through a weakness, spurs me on.


cathy


Mar 21, 2006, 9:06 AM
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My motivation to climb has always been fun. What changes day to day, year to year, is my definition of fun. Sure, many times, fun while climbing is "serious fun," where I'm pushing myself, figuring things out, learning. But other times, it is less serious: the pleasure of movement, location, friends even if I'm not learning much (climbing easy or repeating a route). Seems to me that serious fun every time out, would be like a runner going hard every day. My mind needs easy days (sometimes easy years), free from striving, particularly when I have learning "opportunities" in other areas of my life.

I like so many aspects of climbing -- the physical, mental and social, the solitude and wilderness, the triumphs and, yes, the tribulations (and their later glorification in beery campfire stories) -- so even when it sucks in one way, climbing poorly, f***ing cold scary offroute, mosquitos tourists and other pests, there are still so many things to love that I always come back.


cool7081


Mar 22, 2006, 7:54 PM
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What makes me motivated is solving the problem. It's this thing i get when i don't clean a climb that makes me keep doing it till i can clean it. i might start out with lots of falls. Which makes me think i suck at life. But then after so much time i bring it down to a few falls and eventually clean the climb. Thats when it is a thrill ride. Working on a problem for so long then redpointing it. I Love it.
The difference between me and all you guys is that at the moment i only do gym climbing because i don't have anyone to go outdoor climbing with yet.
But i'm sure i'll have the same feeling. I won't want give up till i get it. I guess thats one thing that motivates me. But then there is always the Love of Climbing. Just Climbing something 30ft or higher with your bare hands and feet is a really cool thought. It's a Thrill ride the whole way up.
One last thing before i go is that climbing makes me forget about the problems i have in life just to focus on the problem i'm climbing. That takes the little stress i have and just puts it aside for a while. My break from life as we know it. Which is one of my biggest motivations.
-Brandon


harmonydoc


Mar 23, 2006, 1:17 PM
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I agree with what seems to be the essence of those articles, whilch to me boils down to "it is more rewarding to experience the moment and love the journey, instead of focusing exclusively on the destination". This would seem to apply to both climbing and life in general. The paradox is that in becoming less attached to the destination, it's likely your chances of attaining it will actually improve.

What motivates me to climb? Camaraderie, beauty of nature, joy of movement and physical exercise, problem solving, exploration, release of workday tension, and most of all evolution and expansion of my inner boundaries which pushes me to try new things that I didn't previously imagine were possible. 2 years ago I was unhappy in my work life, overweight and out of shape, and didn't imagine I'd ever be "good enough" to lead climb. I now have a different job that is a much better fit, have lost 40 pounds, and have a handful of leads under my belt including easy multipitch trad (been climbing regularly about 9 months). None of these changes could have occurred if I hadn't first imagined them to be possible, and none of them are "final destinations" in the sense that I continue to evolve in my work life, my physical development, and my climbing.


cintune


Mar 23, 2006, 2:33 PM
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"We have to love climbing and the stress of risk zone so much that we want to be there. In other words, attention is focused in the moment--on learning and climbing—because there is no place else we’d rather be."

I'd say this sums it up for me. Those timeless "Zen" moments when mind and body feel perfectly tuned and moves unfold in seemingly preordained perfection are the big payoff, way more than sending the route or ticking a particular grade. Just calling it "fun" seems like an understatement, though. It's more than that, like entering a different dimension.


arnoilgner


Mar 28, 2006, 2:54 PM
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Hi nola_angie,

"I may not succeed at the exercise for a bit longer, and I get frustrated at the baby steps I need to take sometimes, but in the end, the love of how a body moves while climbing, how it feels to think your way through a weakness, spurs me on."

Consider redefining success and failure. "...but in the end..." Motivation won't stay consistent if it is fueled by "the end."
arno


arnoilgner


Mar 28, 2006, 2:58 PM
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Hi Cathy,
Yes, your point is important. I don't push myself in climbing all the time--too may other responsibilities and learning opportunities. And, my motivation to climb is still high. I climb routes for the sheer joy of movement, being with friends and outdoors.
arno


nola_angie


Mar 28, 2006, 4:53 PM
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In reply to:
Hi nola_angie,


Consider redefining success and failure. "...but in the end..." Motivation won't stay consistent if it is fueled by "the end."
arno

Quite true.

Honestly, I've been off the walls since I've started my new job (window washer...we are either dropping off 13 story buildings, or stuck pushing 50 lb. water fed poles extended out to 3-4 stories all day....too exhausted to climb by the end of the day!)

The time away tho, has given me time to think about just that. I am stuck tho. I can't seem to see past the carrot/stick mentality I've set up for myself. I tell myself I will always have new stuff to work on, and I know I will. But I am afraid I'll hit a point where it's just not enough.


arnoilgner


Apr 3, 2006, 7:43 AM
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Hi nola_angie,

All I can suggest is to decide to value the learning process and then vigilantly observe yourself when you fall into equating success with the end result and failure with not achieving it. You need to do this in all parts of your life so the transformation becomes consistent with how you interact with all situations.
Get excited with the learning process. Remind yourself of what you love about each activity you engage in.
best,
arno


nola_angie


Apr 3, 2006, 3:19 PM
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In reply to:
Hi nola_angie,

All I can suggest is to decide to value the learning process and then vigilantly observe yourself when you fall into equating success with the end result and failure with not achieving it. You need to do this in all parts of your life so the transformation becomes consistent with how you interact with all situations.
Get excited with the learning process. Remind yourself of what you love about each activity you engage in.
best,
arno

This may be why I got fed up with school and took a year off. Thanks!


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