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April 14, 2019

How to Test Your Limits - Inspired by "Free Solo"

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Recently, I watched a movie called “Free Solo”, which is about a guy named Alex Honnold who dared to climb El Capitan, one of the tallest rock faces in the world, without a support rope.  It is arguably one of the greatest athletic feats in history, but the underlying message in it was fascinating and something I want to talk more about.

At one point in the movie, Alex said something extremely profound. Alex stated, “if you keep pushing to the edge, eventually you’re going to find it”.  While the quote has quite a literal meaning in his life, the figurative meaning applies to us all.  So often are we told to go above and beyond and push the boundary because that is where opportunity lies. But, that thinking is misguided if you believe that there is no limit to the possibility.  The reason people color between the lines is because there is danger in stepping outside of the lines. This means that you need to take extra caution and be prepared for things to go wrong anytime you do push the boundary.

Now, how do we quantify that trade-off?  It seems like a big dilemma between risk and reward.

Well in Alex’s case, it was deciding between life and death. The way he approached it is exactly how all of us should approach our own relatable circumstance. First, Alex was practical, and had accepted the consequences of his decision, which freed him to act without obstruction. Second, he prepared incessantly, and got to a point where he was content with being uncomfortable.

While the stakes might not be so severe in your life, be mindful of this trade-off between risk and reward. Be sure to pursue opportunities in a way dares you to dream and acknowledges your limits.

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