Evolve, Adapt, Grow

At some point during my climbing career I wrote a note to myself that read:

"Don't be a fool who builds a monument to his achievements and turns to stone along with it."

I wrote it as a reminder to guard against stagnation and a man's tendency to believe he had arrived, or achieved and could relax into complacency. The idea kept me evolving as a climber. I constantly assessed myself and my capabilities and I tried to match them to ever more difficult challenges. Some were technically harder, others required greater psychological engagement, some were merely isolated and distant with no possibility of help should something go wrong.

A few years later, after having retired from hard climbing I revisited the statement while I was searching for my future. I had come from climbing and climbing made me who I'd become. But I wasn't a climber any longer. I had to look ahead. I was different and the world was different. To my original thought I added the following:

"Evolve. Adapt. Grow up."

More recently I undertook an exercise that eventually led to the creation of the Salvation site. During that process I wrote out a list of characteristics and ideas I considered important, and part of the foundation of the Gym Jones philosophy, which is inextricably linked to my own. The gym came into existence by having adhered to that original reminder.

Be willing to move on from a particular identifying idea or activity or period in your life. When it is time to do so, let it go instead of inhabiting it. Do not become it, or die chained to it.

The first goal need not be the final one
Use physical activity to diagnose and learn oneself
Use physical activity as meditation - become what you are doing
Use physical activity as a developmental tool
Learn the truth of one way and extrapolate to all ways, to self
Do something all the way or don't do it at all
Understand the shallowness of dilettantism
Understand the shallowness amateurism
Also understand the necessity of each
Bite off more than you can chew - deal with indigestion or the tiger on the end of the tail if it becomes an issue
Maybe it won't

Cause change
Try new things
Don't lose track of the past or the path that led here
Let the past influence the future
Do not dwell in that past
Don't get stuck on a particular rung of the ladder
Try on many shoes
Reject stagnation
Understand the danger of repetition
Understand the value of repetition
Constantly shift focus from big picture to small detail, back and forth, back and forth, wide angle, zoom
Constantly shift focus from master to student and back in an instant

Be dogmatic when it works
Be open and bending when that works
Hard works, soft also works, each appropriate to a moment
Expect more from yourself
Do not settle for good enough unless the task does not truly matter
Obsession is how one gets things done
Body teaches mind and vice-versa
Learn with the body
Learn with the mind
Allow both to grow
Drive both to improve (according to particular objectives)
Do not coast

I will never arrive
I will never "know"
I will only know how little I know
If and when I know more than others I will wear it on my sleeve, as a badge, as my standard. I will be ego-driven where appropriate and sometimes where it's not. I will be ego-less where it is appropriate, and necessary. I will try not to get in my own way. I will use my talent instead of wasting it.

I won't make excuses when I fall short.
Instead I will make corrections.

Mark Twight
Mark Twight