"I want to know what passion is. I want to feel something strongly."  — Aldous Huxley

Moving Up

We are into everything here. Or at least learning from everything. In between working on the exciting projects TAO will be launching over the coming year, I’ll be rock climbing.

I’ve been playing on rocks since I was a little kid, and I’ve been doing what you might call “technical” rock climbing for about 15 years with varying degrees of intensity. This sort of physical practice is fraught with life lessons.

In the interest of illustrating this, as well as some entertainment and distraction, here’s a video of one of the best climbers in the world Chris Sharma, doing his thing and talking about life lessons:

 

If you’ve spent anytime monkeying around on rocks or at a climbing gym your arms have gotten tired. Improving as a climber demands that you train your arms and get stronger, but also demands efficiency. Get stronger, and climb like you’re weak. Or better: climb efficiently. Efficient climbing is a dance between strength and avoidance of effort. And, interestingly, it is foot work, careful precise foot work that unlocks most difficult sequences for even the strongest of arms. 

Working as a climbing instructor I’ve seen a lot of guys (yes, guys - sorry girls you’re rarely this dumb) who think they can just muscle their way up the wall. They can’t. For powerful arms to do anything amazing they need delicate footwork to position the torso so your body can work efficiently.

Everyone who walks has plenty of leg strength, in climbing it’s key to remember to leverage that strength instead of trying to climb like we’re on the monkey bars. You can make up for a lot of weakness in your upper body with a little bit of work on your feet.

It’s like that in life and learning. Learn what your strengths are approach every problem from your strengths - then when it’s clear you need to do some pull ups, go do some pull-ups.

Play to your strengths and train your weaknesses. In TAO’s Artist Studio Suite we are working to facilitate this sort of efficient and self-aware growth.

The practice of moving upward by brute strength, problem solving, flexibility, and focus requires the continual balance and improvement of these skills. For the artist in today’s world it is not sufficient to be brilliant at one’s own vocation, it is essential to also be a shrewd businessperson, a generous partner, an unblinking accountant, a ebullient pitchman... the list goes on. In the Artist Studio Suite we are bringing together the resources to allow us all to work toward the powerfully balanced suite of skills that artists need in order to thrive.

 

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