Workouts can sometimes be challenging to the point of giving up. In fact, many people fail at following through a workout because of the mental strain that they start feeling. Simply, some things seem impossible to do, and we lose courage the moment we think of them.
This is not the case for Professional Rock Climber Sasha DiGiulian, who has been climbing since the age of six and has become the first woman in the world to climb 5.14d. In climber language, this is an excruciatingly hard grade and there is a handful of climbers who can say that they have achieved such a climb.
So, what makes DiGiulian succeed in achieving such extreme results? Is there anything we can learn from her persistent and courageous practice? On a Future/Fit panel at SXSW, she revealed the challenges she goes through on a professional level and the lessons that any athlete (professional and amateur) can learn from her experiences.
Similar to having some kind of mantra that helps you to keep going through the workout, DiGiulian’s ritual involved something which takes only a second to do and can help in any difficult challenge, regardless its nature.
“The last thing I do before leaving the ground — whether it’s 100 feet or 1,000 feet — is I smile,” Sasha said. “That puts me in the zone to perform well. Even if smiling isn’t your go-to, find what does put you there and create a habit of it.”
This simple trick goes well beyond the fake-it-till-you-make-it trick. It has been proven that smiling indeed improves our mood, fights stress, and gradually changes our tendency to tilt toward negative thoughts. Simply said, it is among the most powerful tools we possess.
So, next time you want to give up because something seems too difficult, smile and give it a try. Even if you don’t really feel like smiling, force one smile and see how you will feel better than the minute before you smiled. All the courage you need is bottled up in a single smile.