Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Plateau...let's think about that word for a moment. How does it make you feel? What is the first thing that comes to mind? By definition it means a flat or level landform, which makes perfect sense. I am going to make a guess that your mood was brought down a bit and you may be leaning towards words such as: boring, ordinary or monotonous.
I hear people in the climbing community discuss hitting a "plateau" all the time. If your reading this and thinking to yourself I have never been there, then don't worry your chance will come. To us, a plateau is when you hit a flat-line in ability or level and you remain there for what seems like forever. It may seem impossible to pass for a while, but there are ways to overcome and move past rock bottom.
I've had multiple plateaus personally and am just figuring out that they are mostly mental. Meanwhile, I've learned a few things that one can think about and do when stuck in a “plateau”:
1. Never say “I can't” - that may seem like an elementary statement, but truthfully whoever tells you this has probably been in the same position and is speaking from experience. When you think or say the word "can't" you are only predetermining your failure. The mind is largely responsible for how your body behaves, and any positive self-talk may very so be the line between defeat and success.
2. Ask yourself “why?” - You need to get yourself thinking about the specific reason you're not making progress, is it mental. Is it a physical weakness. Or maybe you're just not as into it as you were before. This is an important step to breaking a plateau, because until you can realize what you need to work on you are not ready to move up.
3. Want it and love it - You should enjoy what your doing and want to get better, without the passion and the want you will be unable to make any progress. Once you are committed and you truly love what you are doing, you will excel, but of course not without some new obstacles and bumps on the road (that's life).
All of the ideas mentioned are great concepts to practice in life and in climbing, but in the end it is up to you to put them into action. Remember to be honest with yourself and not to get too frustrated, failure is a part of learning. Every time you don't send a problem you will figure out what you need to change to make it happen. With plateaus, it may seem as if you will never overcome them, but persistence and the right mind set can push you through. You will crush again, but it will take work.
at 9:03 PM