Language & Thinking
Introduce a Book: Read the book written by Alex Honnold, himself. Synopsis: “Alone on the Wall recounts the most astonishing achievements of Honnold’s extraordinary life and career, brimming with lessons on living fearlessly, taking risks, and maintaining focus even in the face of extreme danger. Now Honnold tells, for the first time and in his own words, the story of his 3 hours and 56 minutes on the sheer face of El Cap, which Outside called “the moon landing of free soloing…a generation-defining climb.”
Life & Home Skills
Create a Teachable Moment. There’s a lesson to be learned from Alex Honnold regarding planning and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone: “Years ago, when I first mentally mapped out what it would mean to free solo Freerider, there were half a dozen of pitches where I was like, ‘Oh that’s a scary move and that’s a really scary sequence, and that little slab, and that traverse. There were so many little sections where I thought ‘Ughh—cringe.’ But in the years since, I’ve pushed my comfort zone and made it bigger and bigger until these objectives that seemed totally crazy eventually fell within the realm of the possible.”
Teach Passively: El Capitan is in California’s Yosemite National Park (here is a 2-minute video on it by National Geographic). It is more than half a mile high, which taller than the Burj Khalifa (the tallest building in the world at the time of the documentary’s filming) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Create a Teachable Moment. Tranquility: “There are other climbers in Honnold’s league physically, but no one else has matched his mental ability to control fear. His tolerance for scary situations is so remarkable that neuroscientists have studied the parts of his brain related to fear to see how they might differ from the norm. Honnold sees it in more pragmatic terms. ‘With free-soloing, obviously I know that I’m in danger, but feeling fearful while I’m up there is not helping me in any way,’ he said. ‘It’s only hindering my performance, so I just set it aside and leave it be.’”
Create a Teachable Moment. Discipline: “He is obsessive about his training, which includes hour-long sessions every other day hanging by his fingertips and doing one- and two-armed pullups on a specially-made apparatus that he bolted into the doorway of his van. He also spends hours perfecting, rehearsing, and memorizing exact sequences of hand and foot placements for every key pitch. He is an inveterate note-taker, logging his workouts and evaluating his performance on every climb in a detailed journal.” – National Geographic
How else might important subject matter be learned from this interest topic? Comment below! Half-baked ideas are more than welcome, too.