On Mindset

How you perceive things forms habits that eventually create your very reality. I wrote something like a few years ago. Some time has passed since my last post, and a lot has changed.

I look back on my photos every few months, and I get a vague sense of what each year was like, and where I was mentally. It’s encouraging to see a clear progression, and that as the years go by, I develop a more calloused mind.

At this time, I’m wearing a 3-inch bandage on my left index finger, after a nasty injury at the climbing gym. In the beginning of this year, I dropped a 50lb weight on my finger that was resting on a thin edge, and I had immediately crushed the top of the fingertip, fracturing my finger and nearly severed the first joint of my finger. It’s healing  somewhat well now, but the doctor says amputation is still a possibility. Yikes!

I look back and remember how calm I was when it happened. I looked at my finger and saw that it was extremely malformed. The adrenaline had numbed the pain, and as I was gushing blood onto the canvas, I asked my friends to help me to the bathroom to try and stop the bleeding. A worker was helping me out, and I honestly held myself together better than she did! I thanked her for her help, and she thanked me for being calm and easy to work with.

I went to the ER as I did last year for my appendicitis, and I sat there on the bed. “I’m back.” I thought to myself. I waited for the doctor to see me. I didn’t panic and worry about what might come. I watched the doctor try and sew my fingertip back together. As freakish as it might sound, it was entertaining to watch, and I made it a point to enjoy myself because I wasn’t going anywhere.

My friends told me of Tommy Caldwell, a professional climber who had lost the very same finger I had injured, but had gone and climbed some of the most challenging routes in the world. My climbing career has been on hold many months ago due to my appendicitis, and now again because of my finger! Bummer, but it is what it is!

The climbing gym owner called me today to check in to make sure that I was fine. He told me about people in similar incidents who fall into depressive states stemming from similar injuries. I laughed because I knew that I was so far removed from that reality. I took a step back and realized how thick-skinned I had become over the years. I became more aware of my ability to see clear and steer clearly in what could be a terrible situations to others.

Goggins’ book reiterates the point of callousing your mind. In this golden age of safety and access, I notice that myself and many of my peers have lost that sense of what it was like before. This is why I strive to callous my mind. Because of the what ifs. What do you do when things go south? Do you freeze up in panic, or do you make the most logical decision in quick succession? Mike Tyson has this great quote, “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”

At the end it comes down to a battle for control. People fear the unknown, and this can be extremely debilitating in the extremes.

Cheers to another year of life, blessings, and gratitude. We don’t know what the future holds, but we still press on, in aggressive pursuit for what we believe is right.

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