Every now and then, human beings accomplish things that stretch the imagination of what is possible. It also reminds humanity why it is the dominant species.
These events expand our definition of possibility. Our traditional notion of achievable gets challenged, changed and increased. These seminal events come from different corners of human endeavors.
Charles Lindbergh’s legendary quest for the first non-stop flight between New York and Paris, Manhattan project during the world war 2 & putting the man on the moon during the cold war are all such events that expanded our imagination of possibility not slowly and incrementally but suddenly, drastically & instantaneously.
The effect of such events to the observer when they first hear or see is immediate and instantaneous. It stays with them for days, weeks & years.
This is what I am reminded of when I saw Free Solo. Where Alex Hannold climbed a huge granite rock vertically without any rope. Sounds quite simple but when you actually watch the documentary and hear Alex speak, the effect is astronomical. Every vertical step towards the top of El Capitan compounds the effect.
The method is simple but perfect.
The path looks plain vertical but convoluted & complex in execution. It looked like he was climbing from one angle but in another, it looked like he was dancing.
But at the end, after the ascend it was surreal, pure & incredible.
Alex’s achievement expanded my view of what is possible. At the same time it reminded me how life is a lot more like a Free Solo.
Every second that passes is an irreversible step towards the end of your life’s climb.
Every wrong decision is a lost step forward and a shorter path to THE END. A wrong step might not lead to immediate death but it will change your path and might lead to death.
A successful life, like a successful climb, is all about engagement.
There is no bigger truth than this if you ever ask the question, what is the purpose of your life. Even though I believe this question is useless, the answer is engagement.
Engagement in what you do is the only truth.
Engagement is what you are looking for. And you cannot have a Free Solo to El Cap without engagement in what you are doing.
One should prepare for Life like you would prepare for a Free Solo. Life, like a Free Solo, has to be climbed for yourself, not for the documentary of the others.
Like in a free solo, how ridiculous the target might look, how unachievable the peak might stand, how stupid it might be to think that you can do it, don’t give up on your ascent. Don’t.
Because giving up is death. It’s the end. End of the journey. End of your engagement and End of your truth.
P.S — Below is Alex’s most rad video.