Climbing, competitions, #theroadtosochi, family, #vanlife, business.  Too many minds.

Tom Cruise

“Please forgive. Too many mind.

Too many mind?

 Mind sword, mind people watch, mind enemy.

Too many mind?

Too many mind.  No mind.  No mind.”

This little dialogue is from a movie, “The Last Samurai”, where good ol’ Tom Cruise is learning to be a swordsman whilst being held captive in an ancient samurai village.  The movie, it’s pretty good-standard Tommy movie, but this part, where he and another discusses “Too many minds”, well that resinated with me…deeply.  You see, Tommy kept gettin’ his ace handed to him buy one of the top Samurai swordsman.  Beat down after beat down; Tommy couldn’t understand what the problem was.  Until another “local” took him aside and explained, “Too many minds”.

When you have a goal and/or dream, and you decide to go after it, reach for it, try to attain it, if your mind is distracted by a million other things…or one other thing, chances are such efforts towards said goal/dream are going to become more taxing than rewarding.  It’s kinda like texting and driving.  You look down to check your phone, send a text, even check your facebook or email, all the while what you should be doing is focusing on the task at hand…DRIVING!  The same could be said about trying to reach a goal.  When you get distracted, even for a moment, you can be thrown off track.

All summer, to this very moment, I’ve been working really hard at my training for this upcoming winter season.  I have goals.  Big goals.  So, for months now, I’ve been dedicating tons of time, session after session, training hours a day, day after day.  At first, i was trying to juggle way too many things.  Work, family, training, actual climbing, travel, #vanlife, etc.  Too many minds.  It felt like i was getting pulled in every which direction.  Not good.  Something or, rather, some things had to…maybe not go…but…be toned down a bunch.  And now, i’m not talking about my family.  The moment i start sacrificing my family, it’s time to shut ‘er down and re-group, ’cause things are out of check.  But yeah, I needed to focus in on the goals, the task at hand, and give all my attention to that one thing, in the moment.  I don’t have the ability to just let go of my family, or my job, or climbing for that matter.  In my world…it doesn’t work like that.  Simple.  Plan B: In the moment…No mind.

When i train, i get organized inside (my house) first.  Most days I train (in the backyard) after the kids are in bed.  One less mind.  When I head out into the backyard to train on #thegreatarch, the moment i leave the back door, i shut off every other mind and focus on why i’m out there.  At the base of the arch, I wrote a little note, “Let go of fear”.  One less mind.  Fear can hold us back.  Fear of failure, fear of falling, fear of getting hurt, fear of getting beat by another.  Too many minds.  You need/I need to let go or continue trying to let go of fear.  It’s only going to hinder us from moving forward, to succeed, to perform at our best.  The last time you had a stellar session, or clipped the chains on your project…remember that feeling? I bet it wasn’t fear.  Flow state: the moment you enter into a mind set where there’s only one thing on your mind, the focus is directly on what matters, in that particular moment.  It’s like nothing else on earth exists.   shutterstock_128802712Just you, and what’s in front of you.  No minds.

Last year, within several competitions, my mind was full of too much crap.  Fear, family, competitive anxiety, lack of confidence, “crap are my tools sharpened enough? Maybe I should warm up again.  Why is he wearing that? What if I fall? What are people going to thing if i don’t win? Oh Sh%t I’m pumped.  Oh CRAP!!” Too many minds.  This summer, I’ve come to realize that if you want to be the best at what you do, in my case, in the competitive realm, stop worrying and just be the best.  But what i mean by that, is not necessarily “the best” in a world’s view, as the “best” changes hand too much to measure any on “best”, but more so within yourself.  When you perform at your ultimate best, you can’t ask for more.  In fact, there may not be “any more”.  “Best”, in that moment is like putting a period at the end of a sentence.  “Best” is a complete state.  Best, however, is not infinite, as Best can always be better, but in that moment, when you experience “best”, then in that moment…you are the best.

When you come to realize your weaknesses, or “a” weakness, you need to step back for a second and focus on understanding the complexity of it, learn about it, dissect it, tear it apart, and then once you see it, the raw state of it, then, and only then can you stare back at it with a smile and say, “you don’t own me.”  Don’t let your weakness(es) control the fate of your goals and dreams.  Last year, my weakness, fear, it owned me.  Whether in competition, climbing in general, whatever, fear owned me.  Through and through.  I wasn’t able to perform at my best because I was too worried about too many other things.  Too many minds.  “Mind sword, mind people watch, mind enemy, too many minds”.  You don’t have to erase everything in order to have “no minds”.  However when you come to the moment; to perform, to send, to swiftly move through the crux, you need to clear your mind.  There’s a difference.  For me, it was letting go of fear.  tattooFYI, to remember this on a daily basis, I tattooed “Let go of Fear” on my forearm.  Every day, every minute of that day, I see my arm, and by reading the message, I’m reminded of what to do.  Let it go and you’ll find yourself at “the chains”.

Life is busy.  People are busy.  I’m busy.  Damn, so busy.  But that’s ok.  In fact, likely, I’m always going to be busy…because that’s my M.O.  That’s my style, how I roll, and keeps the ticker tickin’.  So I train not only with physicality, but mentally-to turn off the list of to do’s, so that when it’s time…there’s no mind.  This year is going to be different than previous.  There’s a new style, a secret weapon, and a mental state that’s stronger than ever: no mind.

In June I started training for this coming winters’ competitive stage.  Now, nearing the end of October, near 5 months later, my confidence level is up, goals of being stronger, faster, smarter…check.  Competitions start next month with the Korean Nationals.  Then World Cups start, leading off with South Korea, and then into Europe.  And then, #theroadtosochi, representing Canada on the biggest stage of competitive sports; the Olympics-ice climbing as a demonstration sport (cultural event).  2 months of mayhem and excitement.  Prepare, ready yourself, execute, be the (your) best.  No mind.

The time has come.