I don’t know what part of it caught my eye, but something in an MPR Member email about the National Geographic series at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota intrigued me enough to coax friends into going and scoring awesome seats for the Bryan Smith talk.
I’ve been watching a ton of documentaries lately on climbing – mostly alpine, some rock – even though I haven’t been climbing since college. It’s in my brain for some reason. And the description for the event talks more about kayaking than climbing, but it turned out to be a good fit for my current frame of mind.
It’s a drag, most of the time, to wonder what your work is really accomplishing. Beyond that, if it’s really fulfilling. Are you going to look back in a week, a month, a year, and see anything produced that you can say you’re really, truly proud of?
What We Learn From Moon Walk
Bryan Smith can. And he splashed it across the stage in vibrant colors and high resolution, taking the audience white water kayaking, up close with grizzly bears, and to the top of mountains. His story is one that I’ve heard before: find your passion, find a way to support it, and make it happen. But what I liked about Bryan’s approach is that he didn’t mince words when it comes to the challenges. That this is hard. It takes sacrifices. It’s not all Instagram pretty.
But when you get to create a shot like the Vimeo video above, it’s beyond Instagram. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience captured for the world to see, something that in his words will last more than a second but for decades.
Like the video above, created with a team. It’s a shot conceived of and executed with a lot of planning, a lot of luck and extreme problem solving skills. And it started with a passing thought: What if we…
It’s a reminder that, when something does catch your eye, you don’t have it dismiss it was impossible and move on. Take a second. Start unravelling what it is that makes it impossible, and maybe it actually isn’t. You are capable of more than you know.
P.S. Dean Potter, featured climber/slackliner in “The Man Who Could Fly,” has a different kind of passion that Bryan Smith elucidates clearly in his talk. If the National Geographic Live! talks come to a venue near you, check it out.
P.P.S. Moon Walk, or “moonwalk,” was recently redone by a new crew headed by Taylor Rees and Renan Ozturk. Infinitely inspiring.