It’s been another week of ups and downs working on our film of Echo Wall. We were most definitely in need of a break from the screen by Friday. It was Claire’s birthday so we headed for Tilda Swinton’s very retro cool film festival in Nairn. Just being outside the house was so brilliant. I got really excited to be out travelling around Scotland after so long indoors. On our return I managed two brief escapes to Sky Pilot to claw back the fitness, throwing myself on the problems like no tomorrow.
The film inches closer to a final cut. Most exciting! We’ve certainly chosen the right moment to be editing a film. The Lochaber monsoon has been impressive as usual, but excelling even itself for August.
As always, I’ve been learning lots from the whole experience of doing Echo Wall, even though the route itself is done. I was expecting to feel, and did indeed feel a massive sense of nothingness after doing the route. After so long aligning yourself to one goal, it’s suddenly gone and you are left with no focus until something replaces it.
That’s nice because it reminded me just how much I like the simple act of climbing, solving climbing problems being outside. A massive reminder has been of my need (or addiction) to exercise. I’m not sure if it’s exercise or rock movement or whether they can be separated at all. But either way, it’s real! I’ve been in total withdrawal these last two weeks, literally climbing the walls in the house. This is a happy addiction. If it dies before I do, I’ll be extremely surprised.
I’ve been reading a lot too about approaches to risk, and satisfaction from things like sport. Partly for my own sake and partly to help me distill my ideas to communicate in our film.
Three general traits of human nature, demonstrated in research, but obvious and tangible to ourselves only in moments of clarity, usually after a highly emotive experience, stand out for me.
The first is our aversion to loss. People hate to lose things more than they take pleasure in gains of a higher magnitude. A gift of an amount of money affects our mood far less than the stress caused by losing an equivalent amount. This aversion to loss progresses to a default position of unreasonable aversion to risk when coupled with a second trait. We aren’t very good at visualising probabilities and usually end up stressing far too much about remote possibilities while distracted from the really important stuff. We worry more about small chances of injury, public failure etc than we do about the rewards and satisfaction of going for something good.
The third is our rather poor ability to forecast our own feelings down the line. In general, we place way too much importance on immediate gratification, at the expense of suffering short term discomfort for a much larger windfall of satisfaction later. This has the secondary problem of us not giving enough weight to things that will make us happier for longer, but forecasting in error that sources of immediate happiness will last much longer than they actually do.
Avoiding these natural pitfalls is a tough job, requiring constant attention. But awareness of their constant pervasive influence at least allows the opportunity to stay above them.