'Speak as they please, what does the mountain care?
Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?'
Four holds on the rock face - both hands and both feet - in the known. Secure. For as long as the muscles can hold your weight.
Keep at least three points of contact on the rock face at all times. Reach for the next hold with one hand or foot at a time.
That was me. Halfway up a cliff face.
Abandon one of those holds and stretch out an arm or a leg to inquire of the rock face above. Feel. Grasp. Test. Commit. Move.
That wasn't me.
I wasn't inquiring. I only had the strength to hold on. My legs were trembling with the strain - the 'sewing machine leg' we'd been warned about by our instructors.
To move I had to reach above and feel for a hand hold. I didn't know if I'd find one. I did know that the effort would suck my energy and probably for no gain. So I held on.
An instructor abseiled down beside me and I hated his encouragement that there were holds above me if I reached up because he was sitting in a harness of six month old blue sterling fusion nano rope and I was clinging to million year old quartzite.
Purely to hasten the standard tedious 'What did you learn from that?' debrief that we had at the top half an hour later I put up my hand and said 'Sir, I will reflect on today's exercise whenever I feel like I'm stuck.'
In the nearly 25 years since that answer it has never served as a metaphor for anything.
A good decision is one that advances us towards where we want to be.
Three fixed holds that secure the inquiring reach for the next unknown hand hold:
- My Widget
- The decision making process
- My response to what happens next
Each anchors a reach into the unknown - exceeding our grasp.
(Or what's a Widget for?)