Tuesday, 25 May 2010
This week I’ve had a good lesson in making goals. On the whole I’m absolutely terrible at achieving goals. I get by with looking to those who don’t know me that I’m actually okay at making goals because of two workarounds: I have lots of goals, I work really hard and I work all the time.
Working really hard and working all the time are good in small doses. But in the long run, it’s really really bad for you. It’s been really really bad for me. I can’t tell you how bad. In fact it’s the thing I hate about myself the most.
The smart thing to to, that I haven’t figured out how to do yet is to alternate work, rest and discerning between important and not important goals.
The root of my problem has been irrational fear, not being realistic about what I can and can’t do and being too simplistic in my approach to goals of different types.
Too simplistic? I read a nice idea about stuff that can’t fail, and it opened my eyes to a paradox. Some goals become much harder to achieve if you can’t afford to fail. Usually, you actually can afford to fail and in fact must allow yourself to fail many times if you’re going to manage it. It just feels like you can’t because of inner or social pressure.
A lot of climbing falls under this category. There’s the simple idea I explained in my book about how being afraid to fail, or fall in climbing cripples it utterly in most situations. I really took this to heart years ago in my climbing. If you watched E11 you’ll see that I really learned on that route that it didn’t matter that I wasn’t up to the job of climbing E11. I failed again and got closer to the level, one step at a time in a relentless push right to the end.
Great. But I learned the hard way that the same approach to other tasks doesn’t work. Sometimes you really can’t afford to fail, you don’t get another try. Different approach needed. Trouble for me is that I got really in the habit of not worrying about failing, having mountains of goals and not worrying if I fail on most but succeed on some in the process. So it’s an uphill struggle to adjust.
Irrational fear? Like most folk, I have stupid fears and waste a large amount of time and energy acting them out. Stupid, stupid, stupid! Hard to ignore all the same.
Not being realistic is a simple one - I just have an appetite bigger than my belly.
Good to have learned more about these things, hard to put into practice. But a few days of starting and I feel a little better.