Rock climber Alex Honnold opens his TEDTalk with a vertigo-inducing shot of California’s famous El Capitan cliff face. Sitting minutely within a crevice, climbing at an almost imperceptibly slow pace, is his solitary, stretched body. There are no ropes, and Honnold seems to be stratospherically high.
It looks terrifying, but the free solo climber assures us it didn’t feel like it at the time. It felt, he says, like a walk in park. How is this possible? You’ll have to watch the whole talk to get the ins and outs, but here’s the short version:
You may tell yourself ‘No, I can’t do that’. But don’t assume it’s a permanent no. Wait until you’re in right mindset.
To get in the right headspace, Honnold recommends visualising your task from start to finish – not just the mechanical side of it, but the physical and emotional feelings you will likely experience at each stop. Work on erasing all doubt through this process.
Make practical preparations for the seemingly impossible task. For Honnold, this meant doing a lot physical preparation to allow him to execute precise leg swings and have the strength to cling to almost invisible notches with his fingertips.
Honnold’s obviously talking about physical challenges here, but we reckon his advice is pretty applicable to any task making you anxious.