In the 1950s, rock climbers Royal Robbins and Warren Harding were battling against each other in Yosemite national park. They were competing to conquer El Capitan. A rock face 3 times the height of the Empire State Building. It had never been climbed before.
Harding’s first ascent, in 1958, took 45 days over the course of a year and a half. By 1962 Robbins did it in 5 days. These guys lived and breathed climbing. Dedicating their lives to Yosemite, doing what they could to get food and get by so that they could live out their passion.
This is all detailed in Valley Uprising, but watching a documentary comes nowhere close to the lived experience. These guys were pioneers in the truest sense of the word. They were in uncharted waters, setting new standards. Doing what had never been done before.
When I think of inspiring, this is it. We love inspirational stories. The idea that someone is doing amazing work. How much of our own lives do we live observing the adventure of others instead of living our own? What do we do that is inspirational?
When intelligent people read, they ask themselves a simple question: What do I plan to do with this information? – Ryan Holiday
It’s easy to feel as though we are living purely by watching a documentary or reading a story about a hero. What about dreaming to become one of the greats? Our lives must be more than simply consuming. It should be about becoming the type of people we want to be.
When you die, what will you be remembered for? What do you want to be remembered for? What do you want people to say about you, at your funeral? That you did a great job of sending emails or that you made some incredible tasting beer and always made the effort to look after your friends? Being inspirational or living a life with passion doesn’t mean you must become famous but that you achieved what you set out to do. That you had a purpose. Often, we don’t set out to do anything.
Crossing the sea
Crossing the sea is about facing fear. It’s about preparing and knowing when you can do no more preparation. Knowing when it’s time to take action and embrace the risk. They say the hero and the coward feel the same thing, the difference is what they do with it.
Focus on what must be done. Can you imagine the fear Robbins must have felt scaling the monolithic El Capitan knowing no-one had done it before? There were no doubt times, when they didn’t feel like getting out of bed never-mind tackling the challenge but they knew that’s what must be done. That’s what their life purpose was. When a storm was coming in and the climbers were stuck on the wall, a rescue team was assembled but Harding send them this note.
A rescue is unwarranted, unwanted and will not be accepted – Warren Harding
Your own adventure
It doesn’t have to be scaling an unclimbed wall or kayaking the bass strait but it has to be more than going to work and watching Netflix. You have to take action.
Instead of simply finding the best coffee and leaving a review, could you embark on a journey to create the best coffee? Or start the greatest cafe? Maybe you’ll fail but you’ll have learnt something in the process. Something about yourself. You will have grown. You will have taken a chance. Bet on yourself.