Why do we love our book heroes? It’s not because they are all gifted. It’s not because they are all trained warriors or athletes. It’s not because they are perfect.
We love them because they show resilience in the face of adversity.
Now, it may seem silly that I was thinking on this just this morning as I was climbing an 88 floor tower as part of an annual charity stair climb – you’re already thinking I’m crazy right? But I had barely reached floor 30 and my body was going, ‘Wow, I’m exhausted and there is still 50 something flights to go (the ability to do mental calculations start dropping off when you’re trying to remember how to breathe).
So what got me through it? Mental resilience.
The ability to tell myself over and over, ‘Just keep going. Don’t look at the floor numbers, don’t worry about all those amazingly fit people passing you, just keep going. And DO NOT stop.’
As I climbed it got harder and harder physically because your body wants to stop, rest and re-oxygenate. But you mentally try to ignore that and use jedi mind tricks on yourself. ‘Oh, look, I’m at floor 50 – just 20 more and your on the last 10 flights.’ (me pretending that once I reach 80 flights there isn’t another 8 to go…)
But it made me think that this is what we love about our book characters. Whether they are fighting a war, pushing on in order to find love despite countless heart breaks or trying to save their world against all kinds of obstacles that we authors put in their way, they keep going.
So I didn’t manage a personal best today, but after not training for two months that’s to be expected. But I did finish and still did a good time (18min 41secs).
Its actually the fifth time I’ve done the climb, but just like re-reading a book over and experiecing the character go through it all over again, it never gets any easier mentally.
But unlike the characters we love, at least I know what’s coming each year 🙂