Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

On Belay

The worst thing you can do while rock climbing is fail to make the decision to move forward. You end up hanging on a ledge with limited arm strength. The longer you wait to decide, the weaker you become and soon the decision is made for you by your jellified arm muscles.

I think about this as a person who doesn’t particularly like to make decisions. It’s easy to think about the options.
To evaluate the consequences.
To consider the potential results.
To strategize the strategy.
To wait for more and better options.

But in most cases, the best way forward is to simply decide.

Most decisions we make are not unsupported, life-or-death, scaling-a-rock-face-without-a-harness kinds of decisions. You’re on belay.

There is almost always a harness, if not a safety net. A wrong decision (or a premature decision, or an expensive decision) may have consequences. But those consequences are usually not anywhere close to fatal. The important thing is to decide. Execute. If it was a wrong decision, take a little time to evaluate the wall again.

Is there another path? A better route? A different move?

Then decide again, a little smarter than before.

The worst thing is to be stuck mid-undercling, paralyzed by the next move, muscles weakening to the ever-present pull of gravity.

Get over fear and make the decision. Staying put will often guarantee failure. Decide. Make the move. Go forward.

You’re on belay either way.