The Edge

Three Life Lessons from Rock Climbing

Abhishek Kothari

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Nico Baum on Unsplash

Anyone can be happy and cosy. Nothing good happens in the world by being happy and cosy — Alex Honnold, Free Solo

Prologue: The World Calls Me ‘Risky’

I recently took to rock climbing at a local gym. At first, it didn’t seem much — a straight (artificial) rock wall with markers and placeholders to put your hands and feet on to scale the rock wall. Follow the markers, place your hands and feet progressively upwards on the placeholders and you reach the (artificial) summit. What seemed like an innocuous hobby turned out to be a great learning experience. I learnt valuable lessons applicable specifically to my work and to my life in general.

To accurately describe my experience, I need to provide you with a backdrop. The world describes me as a thin, wiry individual. I prefer a better description — lean muscle. The world would call me a geek. I prefer to not put labels on people — everyone is a legion (multiple personalities rolled into one). The world and my mother call me ‘risky’. I prefer to describe my adventures (sky diving from 10,000 feet above the ground, scuba diving with tiger sharks in the Great Barrier Reef, rock climbing, flying an airplane and a failed attempt at bungee jumping) as constant efforts to expand my comfort zone until my comfort zone engulfs all of my fear. The world calls me a very obedient individual. I prefer to describe my obedience and discipline as the fuels to my rebellious spirit. The world calls me a simple black and white individual. I prefer to describe the color white as the confluence of all colors and the color black as dark matter that surrounds the universe. In short, the two colors describe life as we know it in the universe.

If you feel that the world’s description of you is very reductive, you are not alone. It is hard for the world to grasp that life cannot be described by labels or reduced to algorithms. Of course, labels help the marketing of products immensely. In sum, if you feel the world doesn't understand you, this story will inspire you. In it, I will describe three of the most valuable lessons I learnt in life from rock climbing in particular.

A Bias For Action

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Abhishek Kothari

Futurist@The Intersection of Finance, Tech & Humanity. Stories of a Global Language: “Money”. Contributor @ Startup Grind, HackerNoon, HBR