This week at work is a whirlwind. We’ve got a Big Event coming up starting Monday and we had to get ready for it and today was the last reasonable day we had to get work done given the sheer number of people who decided to burn two vacation days to get a five day weekend and Sunday is going to be a travel day for the team I’m supporting next week… so the team I’m supporting next week is taking tomorrow off.
This means that I finished working around an hour and a half later than I expected to and that meant that I got to the climbing gym about an hour and a half later than I expected to and so, by the time I got there, all my people were gone.
I asked the counterperson if he had seen my people and, yep, they were there earlier and, yep, they were gone now. Okay, fine. I’ll do the bouldering thing. I mentioned to the counterperson that I’d already beaten the one that was up front and didn’t think that I could really learn anything from it anymore and he laughed and told me that I should try the “Quiet Feet” technique.
Here’s the basic idea: instead of using techniques that result in any noise at all, act like you’re trying to tiptoe across the wall. “It’s not good enough to make it so you can’t hear it”, the guy told me. “Do it so that you wouldn’t be able to hear it if there weren’t any ambient noise in here!”
And that’s when I learned that my climbing technique is to kick the wall as hard as I can and then scrape my foot down the wall until it lands somewhere on the foot jib, then I scrape my foot back and forth until it’s seated solidly. Then I lean over and put my weight on it and thump my other foot and sidle my way across the wall as loudly as humanly possible.
When you have to do it quietly, it changes everything about how you move. Instead of leaning in and going for it and thinking that you’ll fix your foot position after you get there, you have to stand and look at how you place your foot and make sure that the ball of your foot (or big toe, whatever) is smack dab where you want it to go the first time. And doing it that way means that you’re climbing at half-speed. Maybe even slower than that. Which means that you’re going very slowly, very deliberately, and very quietly.
Or, in my case, kicking the wall with a very quiet thud before lowering the ball of my foot more or less where I want it to go the first time.
When I did it slowly, did it deliberately, then I watched myself pick up better technique than when I just tried the “brute force your way through it” approach (which, don’t get me wrong, was successful).
And this wiped me out in about half the time I normally spend there.
I figure there’s a life lesson in there somewhere.
So this weekend will be spent trying to apply that sort of thing elsewhere.
So… what’s on your docket?
(Image is “Play” by Clare Briggs. Used with permission of the Briggs estate.)