Monday, April 25, 2011

Good Stuff on the Internet

I would like to paraphrase a a joke describing climbers who participate in different types of climbing: A sport climber will pontificate on grades, route beta, conditions, etc. You'll hear about all the routes he's done identified by their numerical grade and how their latest project is going, how close they are to sending, how many times they've needed (or will need), and on and on.  The traditional climber will usually speak a bit reluctantly about single and multi-pitch routes, but eventually you'll hear about how bad the protection was, how hard it was to place, long run-outs, no-fall zones, etc.  An alpinist just smiles and doesn't say a thing.

The part below is from the forum section of the Gym Jones site.  It is obviously about the state of things on the internet, but the points made could be applied in many areas where communication is involved.  (I think it really applies to running a course, teaching and coaching.)

A good friend, ally and member of the salvation site posted this on his website yesterday, and with his permission I thought it would be an invaluable "how-to" on communication. Thank you Rob Fusco for your insight.

"There are few original things left to say.

Chances are good that someone else has said what you’re thinking well before you thought to say it, and that they’ll have said it better.

Perhaps the best you can do is to write from your own life and to speak simply and succinctly.  Respect the brevity of life enough not to waste anyone’s time with pointless, ego-driven garbage which serves nothing but the author’s ego.

People, myself included, tend to fill the air with polysyllabic garbage, didactic phrases, cheerleading, busy talk and noise to mask the hard truth: they speak when nothing needs to be said because they don’t know what needs saying.

Are we really that afraid to appear to know nothing?  How important is it that other people read what we write or hear what we say?  Is it a matter of wanting to help, lead or impress others?  I have a strong suspicion that honest answers here will hurt.  Good.  Pain is a precursor to growth.

Write less but say more. Commit to knowing when to shut the fuck up for once. Then  perhaps in turn you may develop a sensitivity to the moments where something actually needs to be said (and what that something is).  Then have the balls to say it and the talent and attention to detail to communicate in as few words as possible.  Boil things down and they’ll taste better.

If this ultimately leads to me writing less and speaking less, then good.  Rarity lends to value.  Contemplate the difference between a drop of salt water and an ounce of platinum and you will see my point.

Speak short, live long."

There is however some really good stuff on the internet, some of it is listed in the Links sidebar.  Additionally, check out Colin Haley's site for some of the best writing and pictures about alpinism.  Ueli Steck, also an amazing alpine climber has a great site here.  You can learn a lot from these two sources.