Commit First, Deal With Details Later

Getting back into the swing of competing was never going to be easy. But over the summer, when two surgeries took me out of the game, I now realize it was easier than I thought to forget just how hard it was to plan and think and execute, while still working and taking care of everything else, while still living life.

Then I saw a feature on TV about a mountain climber named Jimmy Chin, who’s a photographer, filmmaker, and adventure-junkie. He was dedicated to his crafts long before anyone recognized his greatness, paid him for it, piled on the accolades and awards, and even fall in love, marry and have a family with him. He loves risky and extreme environments and the extraordinary stories produced when humans dare to go there. From stills to full-length feature films he produces with his wife Chai Vasarhelyi, every shot tells more than the story you see. It tells you his story and how he climbed his way from a comfortable and conventional childhood to the literal summit of success.

One thing Chin mentioned in the TV clip is how he prepares for difficult situations, whether it’s scaling a mountain or filming a new documentary. His motto: “Commit, then figure it out.” In other words, say yes, then work out the nitty-gritty of how to get there. By placing the goal ahead of the execution, you’re more than halfway there. You’ve already locked yourself in, signed on the dotted line, paid the price of admission. His idea goes against my normal mode of planning, thinking, worrying, and working out the details first. But what comes across initially as a pretty free-spirited way of doing things really isn’t. It pushes the petty details aside for a moment, allowing you to say “I can do this!” minus the “What if?” and “Coulda, woulda, shoulda” that comes with big, bold decisions.

I decided to adopt the idea and sign up for a 50k bike event next March. Two months before the national Senior Games, but why not? Good cause, never done the event, and it’s a first step forward in committing first.

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