“When I fall on a project I pitch a fit. Are there tricks to controlling anger?”—subscriber
Being angry is like drinking poison and hoping your enemy dies. Just look at Mike Tyson. But, anger is as human as farting, and we all know what bottling up that stuff can do to you.
People who pitch fits are making themselves into victims. The rock is smarmy. The bolts are in the wrong spots. The rope is too slack or too tight. You are entitled to succeed. Waaaa!
Falling is nothing to fly into a rage over. It is just shameful. Your disappointment in your performance is manifesting itself in anger because you are failing to accept responsibility for your mistakes.
If you’ve ever pried a milky teat away from the wiggling fingers of a baby, or a ham bone from the drooling jowls of a rottweiler, you understand that anger is a survival instinct and is fueled by adrenalin, which helps explain why so many climbers, like you, pitch fits.
Just the other day this piss-ant crawled up my leg and bit me in a soft spot. Did I curse and kick? No, I reached up my pant leg, grabbed the little fellow by his cojones and crushed him like a red-tagged project. I responded appropriately. Your response is inappropriate.
Some climbers used to use their anger to actually climb harder. This technique, now called being a dick, was popularized in the early 1990s and was effective. Today, you can find those same folks living out of bread vans, flipping the bird to everyone, real or imagined, who ever short-roped them. You can do better. Next time you feel a wobbler coming on, imagine that your granny is smiling down at you from heaven, cheering you on your send. If that doesn’t change your behavior, you are s.o.l. Whatever you do, do not get a job at the post office. Next!
Feature Image Eddie Fowke/IFSC