11. Wake up an hour early (Monday 4/7)
A bit harsh, BUT, in her defense, some of my challenges have been pretty difficult. This day and challenge was particularly difficult as I felt very tired all day. I also didn't find myself to be particularly productive in the morning, although I did get to work 15 minutes early, which was good since we are very busy right now.
Anyway, the moral of this challenge is that I should just let my body get the sleep it needs and that I am not a productive person in the morning. Anyway, I did it, so Challenge #11, check...
12. Handstand for 5 seconds (Tuesday 4/8)
Next up for me in the world of inversions will be an unassisted (no wall) handstand for 5 seconds. However, for now, I am very proud of the progress I have made and can confidently say: Challenge #12, check!
13. Lead a 5.11a inside (Wednesday 4/9)
So here I am sending my new project. This climb happens to be much more "my style" than the other one. You will see that the beginning is pulling a roof, but the end is balancy and delicate. It's a really great climb, and I actually sent it on toprope the first day, about five days ago. Since then I focused on smoothing out my moves and finding rest spots. Interestingly enough, I actually botched quite a few of my moves and clips in the video. I chalk (tee hee) that up to me being nervous and tired.
One thing that I feel compelled to mention is that my head game was considerably better on this, a climb that is at my physical limit, than has ever been in the past. I acknowledge that this is due to the mental training I received while reading Rock Warrior's Way, by Arno Ilgner, and the corresponding climbing clinic taught by the same man. One of the greatest things I've taken from both the book and clinic is that once I have thought through my options, and when I make my decision (to either keep moving upward, with the possible outcome of falling, OR, to back down from the rest of the climb), that the thinking process is over. I most act upon my decision and not be harping on the other possible choices I had. At this point I need to allow my body to do what it knows to do intuitively.
Thanks for the mental training and helping me get to this point, Arno! Challenge #13, SENT!
14. Watch 5 new TED talks (Thursday 4/10)
I started off strong with my first TED talk, "Hidden Miracles of the Natural Hidden World". Take the 7:30 minutes to watch it, you will not regret it. My words will not do it justice. Science x Art x Curiousity.
"Knowing that there's so much around us we can see forever changes our understanding of the world, and by looking at unseen worlds, we recognize that we exist in the living universe, and this new perspective creates wonder and inspires us to become explorers in our own backyards." - Louie Schwartzberg
You guys, this next video, "Are We Designed to be Sexual Omnivores?", is freaking hilarious. Definitely watch this one too. I mean, really, you need to watch them all.... but if you are looking for a laugh then you need to take the 15 minutes to watch this one. Also, in addition to learning some new things, around 11 minutes in, he takes a surprising turn toward a political/social statement. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but here are two very standout quotes:
"What I'm saying is that to argue that our ancestors were sexual omnivores is no more a criticism of monogamy than to argue that our ancestors were dietary omnivores as a criticism of vegetarianism. You can choose to be a vegetarian, but don't think that just because you've made that decision, bacon suddenly stops smelling good." - Christopher Ryan
"Edward Wilson says we need to understand that human sexuality is first a bonding device and only secondarily procreation. I think that's true. This matters because our evolved sexuality is in direct conflict with many aspects of the modern world. The contradictions between what we're told we should feel and what we actually do feel generates a huge amount of unnecessary suffering. My hope is that a more accurate, updated understanding of human sexuality will lead us to have greater tolerance for ourselves, for each other..." - Christopher Ryan
I probably NEEDED to watch this third video, How to Make Stress Your Friend, more than any others on my list. I tend to be highly anxious and feel stress very easily. Kelly discusses the misconception about stress and how it effects our bodies and long-term health. At the core of her talk, she argues that if we mentally learn to accept stress as good for us, then our bodies reacts differently to the stress and we actually do not experience negative long term effects. Fascinating. And it all starts with our thought process, as does many things in our lives.
"Can changing how you think about stress make you healthier? And here the science says yes. When you change your mind about stress, you can change your body's response to stress." - Kelly McGonigal
"Now, in a typical stress response, your heart rate goes up, and your blood vessels constrict... And this is one of the reasons that chronic stress is sometimes associated with cardiovascular disease. It's not really healthy to be in this state all the time. But in the study, when participants viewed their stress response as helpful, their blood vessels stayed relaxed... Their heart was still pounding, but this is a much healthier cardiovascular profile. It actually looks a lot like what happens in moments of joy and courage." - Kelly McGonigal
The fourth video, which was "What I learned from Going Blind in Space", was a really interesting because he discusses human nature and how we deal with fear. Very appropriate to the book I am reading right now, Rock Warrior's Way, which deals with mental training/fear in rock climbing (as mentioned earlier). Basically, knowledge is your greatest power to fight fear, because ultimately the unknown tends to scare us the most. But by practicing facing your fear, and slowly and respectfully pushing the limits of your comfort zone, you can definitely minimize the fear. Oh, and Chris sings a song at the end!
"But the key to that is by looking at the difference between perceived danger and actual danger, where is the real risk? What is the real thing that you should be afraid of? Not just a generic fear of bad things happening. You can fundamentally change your reaction to things so that it allows you to go places and see things and do things that otherwise would be completely denied to you..." - Chris Hadfield
The last and fifth video, "Love - You're Doing it Wrong", was a really sweet and witty look at the way we value each other in love. I will let Yann do the talking...
"There is a great different between an escalope and my wife, for instance. That is if I value the escalope, the escalope, on the other hand, it doesn't value me back." - Yann Dall'Aglio
"We are all useless. This uselessness is easily demonstrated, because in order to be valued I need another to desire me, which shows that I do not have any value of my own. I don't have any inherent value." - Yann Dall'Aglio
It will never cease to amaze me at how lucky we are that we can share ideas so quickly and effortlessly in today's world. It makes me a little sad to think about the thousands of brilliant ideas and theories and stories that may have died with person who held them most valuable. I believe that the easiest way to pay respect is to another human is to listen, genuinely and without ulterior motive, to what they have to say.
So here I am, doing just that, joining the millions of people who have viewed TED talks online. I am interested in expanding my world view, and am thankful that it's made so easy for me that all I need to do is click play. This was one of the most stimulating days of my 30 before 30 that I've had so far.
Challenge #14, check!
15. Get a hot dog from Pink's (Friday 4/11)
I just got back home from dinner at Pink's Hot Dogs, and after waiting in a long line, the verdict on the dog is: DEEEEEEE-LISH. I don't even really like hot dogs, but the chili cheese dog really was tasty. Challenge #15, check!