The Warriors Way

It seems as though this concept of learning and perception of living your life as a compassionate community member is distant from most of the academic community. This isn’t just the academic community either; it seems that it is in all veins of society. I am a rock climber, which means I choose to be in a continual struggle to improve and work to become a “better” climber. I noticed that this idea of continual struggle is the exact same as our lives and in our educational careers. It is common to think that working harder will make you better and resting and reflecting is a waste of time. I have adhered to that thought in my educational career for many years.

I was up late last night thinking about training for climbing this summer, and my other arenas of training (academics). I was up late reading from Arno Ilgner’s book “The Rock Warrior’s Way mental training for climbers”. This man has worked through the struggles of life to climb at his peak. He started by researching the philosophy of mental awareness.

This book has always struck chords with me, in the ways I choose t approach life, and climbing. This book outlines a philosophy of deliberate practice, and mental training that accesses one’s ability to perform in high stress situations (sounds like exams or climbing in dangerous situations). He has outlined this book into seven sections.

1: Becoming Conscious: To improve your ability to observe your surroundings and more importantly yourself. This is also where you analyze your ego and worth and assess leaks of attention.

2: Life is Subtle: Once you are able to “become Conscious” one collects their attention, and focuses it to a place of interest. It is key to have an inner dialog of the goal and positive affirmation. This is important to squash out the inner dialog of failure or FEAR.

3: Accepting Responsibility: Accepting responsibility is a place of taking in the situation, and becoming responsible for the situation; to not assign blame, fault, and hoping for a different situation. If that is occurring you are taking away the control out of your hands. Rather accepting the situation and come to terms with it, and assess the risks involved with the action whether that’s failing an exam or falling from a climb.

4: Giving: In giving one is taking a new attitude of power, which means to become an active person in your goal; to be “powerful” is to take in a new perspective of not what I can gain from this but more what can I learn from this to attain my goal. (Focusing not on the goal of the end of the race, but on learning, will allow you to win the race.)

5: Choices: It is now the moment of truth to make the choice. In climbing this usually means to assess the risk of a dangerous fall. Or in academics is to assess whether you have trained to take an exam. The choice is to either direct your attention to the failure of the success of the test, or the climb. In climbing this usually means that you are either going to try with all your effort or you are going to “back” of the climb. Either choice is made with 100% commitment. This is key to accepting responsibility for your actions. (Sounds similar to the real world huh?)

6: Listening: Oh the power of listening, once you have made a choice you are going into your exam or your climb with 100% commitment, and it is key that you are listening to your body, becoming distracted or split focus you rob yourself of your ability. Some call this the “flow” state, where information is coming in and being received and dealt with.

7: The Journey: “Once in the chaos of risk, you focus on the journey not the destination”. Life is stressful and exam or a climb is STRESSFUL, but I think that is why people do it, and train for it. In those situations we are most able to see who our character is, and how to take in the information and learn from it. Climbing is a process just like education is a journey and it isn’t being on top of the mountain but working to try to climb it.


I am enjoying the hell out of learning about my climbing performance and applying these thoughts into my everyday situation! I hope that as we build a community of bloggers we are looking to dent this world and change the way we all think about stress and hurdles.






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