Is Your Ego Your Downfall?
The mind is a mysterious yet powerful thing. Yet, unfortunately, it often works against us. In this guest post for Master Rock Climber, I focus on the ego and how it can severely limit you as a climber. Enjoy!
What Is Ego?
Our ego is a false identity that we develop that relies heavily on other people’s opinions and perceptions of us. It always wants to have a better image of itself and has many ideas of what it wants to be. The ego often wants to be a better climber, or a stronger climber, or be recognized by others as a good climber. As you can see, the ego is very needy and dependent.
But where exactly does the ego come from? Fear.
Since our ego is so concerned with the way it’s perceived, it greatly fears anything that could prove that it is anything less than the identity it has created. Fear of failure and fear of judgment are the root of our egos.
How Does Ego Affect Your Climbing?
The ego can have a significant impact on your climbing. Without even knowing it, it’s existence can be what is holding you back from being the great climber that you are indeed capable of.
Since the ego fears judgment and failure it can prevent you from stepping outside your comfort zone. Instead of working on climbs that improve your weaknesses, you are attracted to climbs that showcase your strengths. Showcasing your strengths allows the ego to assert itself as a climber at a skill level that it deems acceptable. By constantly improving your strengths and avoiding your weaknesses you will eventually hit that dreaded plateau.
Stepping outside your comfort zone is where growth happens. No one ever really achieves great results by limiting themselves to only what they are comfortable doing.
Our egos also have the habit of lowering our confidence. This can be detrimental, as confidence is such a huge part of climbing. There are times when we may fall on a climb that we know is completely within our limits, which can be a huge blow to the ego. This usually results in two things. First, our egos need a way to prevent judgment and dismiss failure so it comes up with an excuse to justify the result. ‘The hold is greasy’ or ‘I’m really tired today’ are examples of excuses and also a sign that our egos are present. Second, a hit to our confidence can completely lower our climbing ability. This can turn into a vicious cycle that leads to a lot of frustration, doubt, and unfortunately calling it quits early.
How Can You Overcome It?
First, you should know that it is something that takes a lot of work. The ego is not so easy to get rid of because it’s something we’ve grown to become attached to and hide behind for fear of being seen as anything less than the identity it has built.
You have to understand that you aren’t currently the climber that you wish to be. If you were, then you would feel satisfied and complete and there would be no fear for your ego to exist. But, you must be careful with your desire to become a certain type of climber. It can’t be based on the want to be better than others because this relies on the perception and comparison of OTHERS. Instead, YOU have to be satisfied with your perception of YOU, and it comes down to tackling fear.
Any climb that you shy away from, DO IT!
Any holds that you shy away from, GET ON THEM!
And, if you fall? NO EXCUSES!
Be completely comfortable with the climber that you are. This is a great opportunity to see exactly where you stand, with nothing to hide behind. Here you can identify what your weaknesses are and work them. Notice the climbs that you climb over and over and take a break from them. Step outside of your comfort zone and give yourself access to your true potential. And most important of all; climb for nobody but yourself!
Climb and Conquer!