Have you ever been rock climbing? Most people have been at least once, climbing at their local mall or at the fair. Most people go about it the same way the first time they try it. They immediately start grabbing at every rock they see, pulling themselves hard and fast up the wall. This works… on the easy routes. Once you start doing anything other than the mall rock wall, however, you start to learn a few tips. After rock climbing for a few short months now, I’ve learned that trying to force your way up a wall by pulling on every rock you see is surprisingly not the best strategy. The trick, instead, is to use your feet to push yourself up the wall, using your hands only to grip the holds and reach accordingly. The most important part, you see, is to find your footing first, and move forward only when you’re ready.
I couldn’t help but find myself pondering how this tip could be applied to our everyday lives. Most of us want it all right now. We want the dream job, the lake house, the fast car, the beautiful girl, and piles and piles of money. So you dive head first, trying frantically to get to the top. You keep pulling and pulling at every rock you see, but never take the time to find your footing first. In your rush to have everything you want in life, you end up just like the novice rock climber. You fall on your ass.
I think maybe the best course of action is to stop rushing. Take a deep breath, and find your footing first. Maybe you’ve just graduated, and are upset that you didn’t get your dream job or even your dream industry. Maybe you thought you’d have a spouse and a family and a house in the suburbs by now. Maybe you’re simply disappointed with where you are in life, and feel that the top is so far away that you will never achieve your dreams. This is the plight of the novice rock climber. The trick isn’t to look at the top. The trick is to look at the next step. Don’t worry about where you thought you’d be and how far away that goal seems to you. Take an honest look at the goals that line up with your character, and ask yourself what is the next step I need to take?
If you are surrounded by instability, find your footing first. This might mean simply focusing your energy on the job you have, and not thinking about the job you don’t have. Maybe it means focusing more on the people that have been introduced into your life, even if you can’t see how it could possibly lead to the romantic interest you’ve been dreaming of. You can’t always see the end goal and how you’re going to achieve it, but if you find your footing first, and continually take small steps towards your goals, you’ll begin to see the big picture unfold, and before you know it, you’ll be at the top of the wall.