Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Cold Truth by Romi Garduce, The First Filipino to Climb the Seven Summits, with an Introspection by Mara Ruiz

Also, The Things You Learn When You Say "Yes" to Whatever Event Sheng Invites You To.

When you find yourself in a talk about alpine mountaineering  four days after you turn 28 years old, you wonder -- Am I too old for this? The thing is, I was in a state of wander (as opposed to wonder) after my birthday because of some events that left me out of my center so to speak.

"What's with all the italics?" you ask. When you're twenty-eight and your core belief that you know what you're doing and people trust that you know what you're doing is shaken, it does things to you. You end up in an alpine mountaineering talk.

Thing is, I never really signed up to be an audience for Romi Garduce's, first Filipino to climb the Seven Summits, Corporate Climber, soon-to-be-author, Public Speaker, The Cold Truth. It's just that when one barrio girl finds herself in the company of another barrio girl, one finds one's self saying "Yes" to any opportunity to explore the city. This time, it's in one of the stores at Bonifacio High Street that I have never even been to.

Of course, when I refer to myself as a barrio girl it means a suburb in Cavite.

So what have I learned from an alpine mountaineering talk aside from the fact that I will never survive in the alps?

A lot, so it seems.
Not Romi. But made you look! Source.

What The Cold Truth Was

The Cold Truth is really about Romi's experiences as he traversed the different summits, the one I remembered being the most popular - Mount Everest. The beauty with Romi's talk aside from it being of  authority (he's got the street cred of being the first Filipino to climb the Seven Summits and it's Wiki-Confirmed), it was with candor mixed with humility and the usual guy's guy humor.

Do you know what was one of Romi's biggest obstacles when he goes alpine, er, climbing? He doesn't have enough vacation leaves to go to an expedition! In the bigger scheme of things, you realize that achievers, no matter how great they are, have their roadblocks, too. And Romi having to deal with VLs is something so relatable that I find myself putting myself in his shoes, asking myself, if this guy, who has limited vacation leaves, was able to trek a mountain of perilous ice and lived to talk about it, what the hell am I complaining for like I am a helpless baby? It was enough to shake me out of my sullenness.

I also threw in guy's guy humor because I have a geologist father who has trekked some mountains himself looking for geothermal energy, and there's really something distinct about the humor of guys who are in manly careers -- engineers, geologists, mountaineers.

What My Cold Truths Were (Also, some introspection)

Sure, I may not be able to remember anything about Romi's lecture on alpine mountaineering, but if there were some things that I picked up, like a typical woman, those were the leanings.

On my own, I picked up two:

1. When things go wrong, take it personally.

Romi's success as an alpine mountaineer was not a walk int a the park. Hello? Leaves pa lang hirap na! There were times when the storm got so bad, he had to abort an entire expedition that he trained months for.

"Take it personally," he said. "Nature will mess up. Other people will mess up. But what is it in you that's making you fail?"

Between a rock and a hard place. Totally different from what Romi is doing, but still as inspiring. Also known as 127 Hours, James Franco's pogiest movie to date. Source.

True. It's easy to blame other people. Other people may not understand what I do. Other people think that what I'm doing is magic. The landscape is so competitive now. But what have I been doing that's so infallible, it's so easy to blame other people and the landscape?

Then it hit me: Well-communicated ideas.

 2. Accept change; react quickly.

Any outdoors man would say this, but in reality, it applies to everyone and to anything.
So the wind blew west instead of east (if this is even possible, please correct me). What do you do?
So your nose fell off because of frostbite. What do you do?
So the game changed. What did I do?

Learning from The Cold Truth, I reacted quickly. I sought out what's out there and looked for possibilities. I didn't find what I was looking for the first time, but I now know better. I know my self worth and I have a clearer view of the landscape.

The following were nicked from Sheng, just because I may not picked it up the first time.

3. Find inspiration.

Romi found his in a seed of a tree. I found mine in two equally strong women:

Miranda Priestley of The Devil Wears Prada on style and tyrannical leadership skills.

Tina Fey for getting stuff done.

4. Tina Fey is correct: "Always say 'Yes BUT.'

This is actually something from Bossy Pants (best book ever!), but it's something I learned in the process of attending Romi's talk, so let's give due credit.

You want this report, when? In two minutes?

YES! BUT expect it to be a half-assed report that will make you equally half-assed when you present it.

You want a baby, now?
YES! BUT you take care of it yourself. 

It's the Rule of Improv, and in this case this is what happened to me:

You want to go to a mountaineering talk and learn about mountains?

YES! BUT you won't learn survival skills. Instead, you'll learn something about LIFE.

In retrospect, I never expected to learn so much from The Cold Truth. Sheng had been telling me about how Romi's talks are never preachy but always inspiring. She said Romi always ended his talks by asking the audience:

What's your personal Everest?

So, I found mine, and I'm trying to conquer it. What's yours?

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z said...

sana may credits din ako dito (as opposed to those other posts na puro may mention about me pero walang kwenta)

Mara said...

What are you talking about? You got an entire blog post about yourself.

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