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Same old bad habits, same old problems.
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_fiend_


Mar 30, 2007, 6:36 AM
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Same old bad habits, same old problems.
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Recently I've failed on several routes - failed in terms of getting to the top (but forget that bit for now), but more importantly, failed in terms of how I've dealt with the route and with my attitude on the route. BTW if failure isn't a palatable word, replace it with whatever you like. The point is, I've done badly, psychologically, on routes recently. For example:

Route 1 - got pumped and hot and thus stressed, didn't see the holds that I could have used to continue. Didn't accept the chaos of the situation.

Route 2 - faced with a fierce move and very committing dyno, I choose to back off because I couldn't bring myself to do it. Didn't accept the very safe fall and was unable to just try it.

Route 3 - got in strenuous position and started worrying (unnecessarily about gear), let the discomfort get to me and didn't try to continue. Didn't accept the discomfort as part of the journey.

Route 4 - faced with a committing sequence above gear, I backed off rather than committing to a potentially "scary" situation. Didn't get out of my phantom fear state.

My reaction to most of this was first Mad then Mad with a bit more Mad, mellowing a bit to Unsure and finally Crazy. Which brings me to my question...

Why the bloody hell am I still screwing up like that??

Given that I have managed to climb reasonably well (i.e. in terms of psychology) in the last year, and managed to apply a RWW style sometimes (by no means extensively or well, but I have been doing it), why do I still fall into these same old habits?? I've been climbing long enough, trying to progress for long enough, that surely I should be able to do better by now??


It makes me feel that my progress is an illusion, that I've just been finding "bulges" in my comfort zone to "push out into", without really expanding it to include the discomforts I haven't dealt with in the example above.

Now, I know this is a negative perspective, I know that isn't true, I know I have made progress and learnt a lot, and I know things will go "wrong" in the way I do things as firstly one's ability ebbs and flows, and secondly it is part of one very long learning progress. One never "arrives" at the RWW state, one just keeps trying to apply it, and that application, as variable as it might be for some of us, IS the RWW.

However my "why the bloody hell is this still happening?" is my gut reaction to it. Which leads to another question:

Okay, it's still happening, you still screw up Fiend. What are you going to do about it??

Well what can I do?? Learn, keep trying, keep applying what I know, keep trying to improve my approach and attitude....is that about it??

I'd appreciate people's thoughts....not necessarily answers unless you want to....just thoughts on the subject in general.


(This post was edited by _fiend_ on Mar 30, 2007, 6:38 AM)


saxfiend


Mar 30, 2007, 11:34 AM
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Re: [_fiend_] Same old bad habits, same old problems. [In reply to]
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_fiend_ wrote:
Okay, it's still happening, you still screw up Fiend. What are you going to do about it??

Well what can I do?? Learn, keep trying, keep applying what I know, keep trying to improve my approach and attitude....is that about it??
For me, it helps to get real specific -- about what the problem is and then about how to deal with it.

So instead of "I keep screwing up" (general), identify the problem: "I backed off from a committing move" (specific). So how do you address that specific problem? Instead of "I'm going to keep trying" (general), maybe you decide "I'm going to spend a lot of time toproping routes with committing moves without any stake in whether I'm successful with the move or not" (specific).

I found myself in a similar situation recently where I was falling on lead because I was getting pumped and missing holds or moves that I should have seen but didn't. My evaluation was that I sort of lose my marbles and get tunnel vision when my arms are shot; I know from experience that I climb more intelligently when I've got better stamina. So part of my solution is to do lots of laps to build up my endurance.

From that point of view, the routes I was falling on were not failures, but instead helped me to identify a specific thing to work on in my climbing.

Let's see what Arno says.

JL


pappy


Mar 30, 2007, 3:12 PM
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Re: [_fiend_] Same old bad habits, same old problems. [In reply to]
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I'd just say you are over thinking alot of thing's. When I climb my only thought's are smoothness, clean foot work, and always know where im going. So what i'm saying is try to block the bad things out and only think of the things that will help you get to the top. Smile


_fiend_


Mar 31, 2007, 5:05 AM
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Re: [saxfiend] Same old bad habits, same old problems. [In reply to]
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Saxfiend,

Yes I agree with that, that's what I was doing in posting up the routes I'd had problems with, trying to be clear about it what problems they were rather than just "OMG I suck!". The personal questions later on were just a summary.

What comes out of it is:

- I'm struggling to commit to situations where I might fall.

- I'm struggling to deal with the discomfort of situations.

Both classic RWW territory!! And yes I can problem-challenge-opportunity them but they're so fundamental it just boils down to keeping trying to apply RWW all round.

...

Pappy,

In reply to:
I'd just say you are over thinking alot of thing's. When I climb my only thought's are smoothness, clean foot work, and always know where im going. So what i'm saying is try to block the bad things out and only think of the things that will help you get to the top.

I only think about things in retrospect, to try to work and learn from them. At the time I don't analyse, I just try to act - BUT I have these issues that I'm struggling with inhibit the action - that's the whole point of what I'm posting. RWW is about dealing with "the bad things" and allowing your ability to work unhindered by mental baggage.... Which is what I'm trying to do!!


jedasmith


Jun 27, 2007, 5:30 PM
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Re: [_fiend_] Same old bad habits, same old problems. [In reply to]
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Fiend--
Have you had any recent breakthroughs regarding this? When I read your post, I felt like I was reading something autobiographical! I am in the same exact mental place you are (or were as of March). Any wisdom?
Jen


_fiend_


Aug 27, 2007, 6:22 AM
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Re: [jedasmith] Same old bad habits, same old problems. [In reply to]
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Hi J,

Sorry I didn't reply, haven't been checking this forum for a while.

It's not easy to answer your question as this summer has been entirely fucked climbing-wise due to the weather. May was okay but I had little motivation and a shoulder injury. June and July were fucking atrocious, there aren't enough swearwords in existence to describe how rubbish the weather was. Thankfully recently it's improved enough to actually climb outdoors.

So how am I doing now in the context of the issues I mentioned??

Well I'm climbing okay, have had a few ups and downs but when I've been able to get out I think I've been climbing reasonably well although I haven't pushed myself quite as much as I'd like. The issues mentioned don't seem to have been the main issues around - for example any "failure" or similar seems to have been due to external circumstances like weird rock or access, and success in stressful situations seems to have been due more to having improved stamina and having exceptional "downclimb to a rest ability".

I don't think I've been conciously applying RWW much, but I have been in a few situations where it's been physically stressful and I have focused on feeling all of my body, accepting the stress as it is, and working with that.

I think, for me, these issues will always lurk there - they don't always govern my climbing but they are a part of it. At the moment I'm not worrying about them but nor am I naive enough to think I'm "cured". The next stressful situation who knows what will happen. But that could be both ways: cringing phantom-fear giving in, or perfect warrior application of attention. So each time could be bad....or it could be very good!! The other thing that always lurks there for me is the potential to bypass those issues. I just have to keep trying (or "engaging", if Arno prefers).


degaine


Aug 28, 2007, 5:47 AM
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Re: [_fiend_] Same old bad habits, same old problems. [In reply to]
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Hey fiend,

Always interesting reading your posts. Thanks for being so open.

_fiend_ wrote:
Why the bloody hell am I still screwing up like that??

Okay, it's still happening, you still screw up Fiend. What are you going to do about it??

I'd appreciate people's thoughts....not necessarily answers unless you want to....just thoughts on the subject in general.

I realize this is the Internet and that tone translates poorly, but the two comments in italics of yours that I quoted are pretty darn self denigrating and negative.

When on rock, I personally try remember that I do this for both enjoyment and to some extent fulfilment. Unless it is a safety issue the words screw up and me are never in the same thought or sentence with regard to climbing.


_fiend_ wrote:
What comes out of it is:

- I'm struggling to commit to situations where I might fall.

- I'm struggling to deal with the discomfort of situations.

Both classic RWW territory!! And yes I can problem-challenge-opportunity them but they're so fundamental it just boils down to keeping trying to apply RWW all round.

While I wont put it as elegantly as Arno would, Ill do my best: it all comes down to choice.

The best thing that ever happened to me mentally in climbing was realizing that I have made the CHOICE to be in whatever situation I find myself in on the rock. Run out 20 feet over my last bolt on Tuolumne slab is no time to start to panic, I CHOSE to be there, if I did not want to be in that situation, I should have never taken the sharp end in the first place. Once I come to terms with my choice, Im always able to move on whether it be up, or CHOOSING to downclimb. Now, I personally have no problem with downclimbing or backing off especially since its a choice I make. No screwing up, no Im such a f-up just me choosing.

In addition, Ive always enjoyed learning something in whatever situation Im in. When climbing I always try to get something out of (read learn) the outing, even if I flail all day long or on a given day am scared out of my wits. If I can take away one good nugget, then I usually come away pretty happy with the outing. Perhaps Im helped by the fact that quite a few crags are within 15 minutes of where I live, and so I never take a given outing too seriously.

Maybe youre the feeling of discomfort comes from the feeling of being pushed into a situation? (Even if its your own ego doing the pushing).

Maybe your struggle to commit also comes from a feeling of being pushed into a situation where you might fall - instead of CHOOSING to be there?

Cheers and have fun out there!


arnoilgner


Sep 4, 2007, 9:09 PM
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Re: [_fiend_] Same old bad habits, same old problems. [In reply to]
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Hi fiend,
somehow i didn't see this post until now. i don't have an answer that your mind will like but i'll put it out there anyway.
our mind doesn't like the stress that comes with learning situations. it will come back later and create all sorts of thoughts about what we should be able to do and on what timetable. you must develop an appropriate relationship with your mind. know its tendency to dislike stress. the thoughts in your mind are just thoughts; they are not reality. you can choose to react to them and feel bad about your self or you can choose to let them go and refocus attention on the learning process. you do this from the witness position. your witness is simply awareness; it isn't thinking, it observes. the main thing it observes is the distracting thoughts in your mind.
-
it sounds like you are facing the two typical stressful situations we all face in climbing: fear of falling and fear of exerting effort in stressful situations. find creative ways to practice both. your journey of learning can be fun if you allow it to be. to begin allowing it you must recognize your mind's intrusions and distraction, let them go and refocus attention on learning. but as john suggests, get as specific as you can on what to practice.
consider this: attention can be in your head focused on thinking or outside on what your body is doing, engaged in the situation. find ways to engage your body and you'll begin learning.
-
arno


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