Alex Honnold is a world renowned rock climber.
In 2017, he scaled the nearly 3,000-foot granite wall known as El Capitan, in Yosemite National Park, California.
It took him 3 hours and 56 minutes, and he did it without ropes or other safety gear.
The climb tested every aspect of Honnold’s physical abilities – strength of his fingers, forearms, toes, and core, as well as flexibility and endurance.
But the true test for Honnold was controlling his mind.
One false move, one slip on the cliff face hundreds of feet in the air, and he would have fallen to his guaranteed death.
20 years in the making
Honnold fell in love with climbing when he was 11 years old after his dad started taking him to the gym.
In his late teens, he dedicated himself to the sport full-time.
On top of all the climbing itself, Honnold has spent countless hours hanging by his fingertips and doing one- and two-armed pull-ups on a custom-built apparatus bolted to the doorway of his van.
He also religiously reflects on his performance, taking detailed notes of every pitch he climbs in a journal.
The Long Game
There’s no doubt Honnold’s ability to control fear is unique (indeed, he has been the subject of neuroscience investigation to try and understand it).
Yet, like every top performer in their field, his ascent to the top of the rock climbing world has come about through a deep love for what he was doing, and clear understanding of the physical and metal requirements to be successful, and the patience and perseverance to master them over time.