Today, I had a discussion with my classes about projects. They are facing a pretty heavy project in class at the moment, and I wanted them to see that taking the easy way is usually not the best way. Looking into the world of big wall rock climbing shows what it really means to use a project as a means of making oneself better.
This short video is an excellent starter for this conversation. Tommy Caldwell doesn’t look at a mountain and try to find the quickest, safest, most efficient way to the top. If he did, he would walk up the back of the mountain. Instead, he looks at the mountain as a project.
Look at the definition of a project: “an individual or collaborative enterprise that is carefully planned and designed to achieve a particular aim.” Caldwell isn’t just trying to get to the top of a mountain. He is trying to climb the Dawn Wall in a way that has never been done before. He wants to show that he has the mental and physical fortitude to overcome the mountain in the hardest most challenging way possible.
After watching the video with the students, we talked about how they could be like Tommy Caldwell in the face of the projects I assigned in class. Too many people look at a project and choose the easiest and quickest way to get it done. Instead of doing that, I encouraged students to do something that showed thought and hard work.