Do what you can. With what you’ve got.


Inspired by my friend Will Gadd’s story of how he, one of the worlds most prolific cs when it comes to all things extreme, found himself settled back on the couch feeling sorry for himself with a broken finger.


We all know the feeling. Something unexpected comes along to ruin our day, and we find ourselves “taken out”. Reduced to doing less, or being less.

Will’s a smart enough guy that he soon snapped out of it; realizing “Hey, I may not be able to ice or rock climb on this finger, but I can at least get up and go for a run. Or a ski…” Or pretty much anything that didn’t involve putting undue stress on that one finger…

Like may things, this is again an exercise in perception.
On how we see a given situation.
Often we fall into the trap of having our focus draw in on the problem, leaving no room to imagine the possibilities available to us outside of it.

Here’s how my own experience with injury has panned out this winter.
I managed to injure my left shoulder (supraspinatus) whilst bouncing on the trampoline with my niece and nephew over Christmas. I know…

It gradually became more and more painful, gradually limited my motion more and more, before I finally saw a physiotherapist and began the process of getting it back on track.

Eventually it became strong enough to cross country ski on. I did as my physio told me and made sure to keep my shoulder blades tucked back and down, and started on the flats at first.

As it improved I began to ski hills and then, one day I get a little carried away and ski too far for too long, and discover that because I’m using my shoulders in a different way, I’m now using my forearms in a different way…

Cut to a diagnosis of lateral epicondylitis, or “tennis elbow” in my left arm…

OK, so as a guy with no legs, now I’m really in trouble…

Did I spend a couple of days on the couch?
Yeah, and then some.

But here’s the thing.

As soon as I felt it was strong enough to go for an easy ski, I gingerly set out and found that by being super careful with my form, and having my shoulders and forearms locked in place, I could not only get in a decent ski, but it actually forced me to focus more on form than skiing uninjured.

So, here’s the takeaway.

I had two of my most debilitating injuries ever this winter, and yet I still managed to get in probably 25- 30 ski days since Christmas…

Yes, injuries suck.
Anything that stops you from doing what it is you love to do sucks.
But we can’t let it take us down.
We’ve got to focus on what we can do. Not what we can’t.

What does this mean for you?


Do what you can.
With what you’ve got.

Archived Comments

1 Comment

  1. Roberto Rodriguez Esteves says:

    August 6, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Warren, you indeed something special. Thank you for sharing this article, once again super useful for those of us who may get stock in the smallest of the things. I have taken the liberty of sharing it in my professional Facebook page (The Flying Kite Incorporated), where I have a few hundred followers, some who only speak Spanish. I think that it is a brilliant example for everyone to follow. Way to go man!