Determination and a Carabiner

A Determined Carabiner

A Determined Carabiner

I am constantly amazed at what can be accomplished with a little determination.

Recently, one of my students brought me a carabiner that he had found on the playground at Butler School – where we have our Challenge Course.

When I examined the broken carabiner, I thought I knew exactly what had happened.  The ‘biner had two breaks, resembling round holes, one at the top, and one at the bottom of the ‘D.’  These holes were each cut diagonally into the metal – as though the ‘biner had been tilted at a bit of an angle when the holes were made.

“Someone must have tried to use the aluminum carabiner on our zip line, and it had broken from the friction of the soft aluminum riding on hard steel.” I told him.

I imagined some unfortunate youth attempting to ride the zip line without a pulley, and falling somewhere along the ride when the carabiner finally broke.  Yikes!

I asked the student to show me where he had found the carabiner, hoping I would find more evidence to support my theory – while simultaneously dreading the possibility that I was right, and the potential lawsuit that awaited me.

As we headed out to the playground, I noticed one of the heavy duty ‘wings’ that covered the play apparatus was blowing in the wind.  On closer examination, I noticed that the tarpaulin was connected to the poles using a steel cable.  As I looked at the other wings, I noticed that they were connected to the poles using – aluminum carabiners.  Case solved!

The constant motion of the aluminum carabiner rubbing against the steel cable had slowly but surely worn down the aluminum, until it finally broke.  Although it took over 3 years, the carabiner never stood a chance.

As a team building facilitator and adventure guide, I spend a great deal of my time challenging my clients to do more than they think they can.  I tell them “you don’t know what you can do until you try,” and encourage them to keep working, even when it seems like an impossible task.  Although some individuals will give up, give in, and deny themselves of the achievement, most people step up to the challenge.  With a little determination, most groups have success and  learn and grow from having pushed through the difficulty.  Following the program, the majority of my clients tell me that the best part of the day was overcoming the biggest challenges.

A little determination can go a long way.