Sunday, 18 October 2009

No.164 Of Big Decisions and Little Ones

Lovely day today - for work! It's grey. It's miserable and there's rain in the air. I cycled in quickly this morning and will have to do it twice as quick on the return leg lest I get completely soaked.

I watched the DVD last night "Touching the Void". This is one of the most extraordinary stories of survival and determination you're ever likely to see. The film recounts the adventures of two climbers from Britain who attempted to scale a previously unclimbed mountain peak in Peru. They managed to do this but on the way down one of them broke his leg. The other controversially cut the climbing rope which held him and his mate together as the latter with his fractured limb dangled over a cravass. Left for dead he managed to crawl back to base camp - a journey that took four days.

There's loads to be had from the film. One of the most important points is that the disabled climber managed psychologically to do what he did by breaking his epic escape journey into segments. Had he thought about the trek back in terms of the miles ahead he might well have given up. Insteady, he broke it down often into journeys of more than 100 metres and once there repeated the process again and again. Instead of climbing out of the cravass (which was a physical impossibility) he decided to lower himself further into it in the vain hope there was a way out at the bottom. What he said was "I had to take a decision - even a bad decision was better than no decision at all which would undoubtedly kill me".

Decision for today. To get on my bike and get home.

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