What rope are you climbing?

Posted by on Jun 16, 2013 in career, perspective | 0 comments

Remember when you were a kid in gym class and you had to climb the rope attached to the ceiling? It was hard business for a little third grader, rope burns on your hands and sore biceps to boot. I was horrible at it, but just like everyone else, I had to try and climb the rope, even though I only made it up a few knots. It has been a long time since I attempted to climb up a rope. I don’t think I would be any better at it now, and I can’t think of a reason why I would ever need to try.

That’s the great thing about being an adult; you can do what you want for the most part. But  it can also make you complacent, don’t you think? I have to be very purposeful about doing things outside of my comfort zone, because if there is a choice between something difficult and something simple, I will usually choose the latter. Normal life is tough enough.

Take math, for example, where my comfort zone is pretty tiny. Frankly, I don’t have much need to know how to do anything more difficult than calculate sale prices at the grocery store. That is, until I found out that I needed to take the GMAT as part of my application process for my doctorate. Consider me shoved out of my comfort zone.

Actually, it kind of feels like a rope burn on my brain as I have attempted to haul myself up and remember basic concepts of algebra and geometry. Everyone keeps telling me that I’m going to be fine, but as I have struggled to recalibrate my brain to think through functions and terms and equations that are buried in dusty synapses, it has seriously made me question my intellectual ability to do this “big thing”.

I know…that’s probably a little dramatic. I’m not getting a finance degree, and this is just a standardized entrance exam. But when you spend most of your time choosing to do things that you know you will be good at, it makes you woefully unprepared when you try something else that isn’t “your thing”.

Woefully unprepared.

It’s good to push ourselves into what is uncomfortable. It’s good to do things that could be a failure. It’s good to look up that rope, all bristly and rough, grab a knot, and start climbing. It’s good…in a painful sort of way.

What rope are you…or should be…climbing?


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