The strategy of giving up on "determination, grit, self-confidence, desire" might be more relevant to the typical NYT reader if the author were not already an expert climber with decades of experience. The Everything Store has a preview of his book, The Zen of Climbing, in which he recounts this episode in more detail. The route, "a soft 5.13a/7c+, but not a gimme" is in fact the highest expert level, just before Super Expert, Elite, Super Elite, and Aliens.
I wasn't mad, but for the first time in my life, after climbing for nearly 30 years, it struck me that the desire to climb the route had actually been the thing preventing me from doing so. That was the beginning of a massive shift in my perspective.
He did not give up on his hard-earned skills, nor the physical capability developed over years. "When I took away (the desire for success), my body moved with greater fluidity and naturalness." One wonders why he would even make a second attempt if there was no desire for success, but I think this implies a relaxing of the standard for success, not simply getting to the top but facing the challenge and learning from it.
Your only goal is to breathe, and stay there, each move by each move. Just execute. Try hard, but not too hard. But don't panic. Relaxed aggression. Poised, but with nothing to lose. Listen to exactly what your body needs. Respond as quickly as possible. Make good decisions.
This sounds like good advice for someone who has reached the level of mastery at which "nerves" have become the biggest obstacle.