Do Extreme Things Daily

After reading different books and watching different shows, there is one commonality amongst the people that interest me most.  They push harder and further in an often unestablished direction that has never been done quite the same before.  Wim Hof, for instance, climbs snow and ice covered mountains in shorts by controlling his adrenal system with very specific breathing patterns.  He, then, teaches people how to climb snow and ice covered mountains in shorts doing the same.  That is a pretty extreme way to earn a living, or a reputation, but it’s awesome.  Hamilton Morris flies around the world learning about drug culture and the effects of psychedelics.  Leonardo da Vinci juggled painting, science, inventing, and engineering… he could also play instruments and write poetry.  Joe Rogan is arguably the best interviewer of our time, he’s also a stand-up comedian, practices MMA fighting, hosts the UFC, has an acting career, and a grab bag of other miscellaneous talents.  Bill Gates created Microsoft, but, arguably, more importantly, established philanthropic channels to solve some of the biggest problems facing our world.  There are plenty of impressive people we could list, and Walter Isaacson will likely write a number one best-selling book about them like he has on the aforementioned Leonardo da Vinci, as well as, Steve Jobs and Einstein.  My point is, people who do extreme things find extreme success, or, at the very least, fulfillment.  Don’t believe me?  Check in with your buddy from high school who peaced out to some ski village or gave up the corporate life to drive around in a van and surf the world’s biggest waves.  It doesn’t have to be monetarily based, but often that’s a byproduct.

The people listed above were probably, or are probably, odd.  That’s a good thing.  Odd people do not follow social norms or let trivial obstacles stop them from accomplishing some big hairy audacious goal.  It’s not part of our current discussion?  Elon Musk gives zero fucks.  Maybe these people don’t even have a big hairy audacious goal, and are just following their internal compass (Oh yeah, that’s a call back, baby: A Journal Entry Concerning Time; Finding Your Internal Compass).  There’s a lot to be learned here, but as I was sitting at my table considering the best way to market my real estate business to gain some new clients, I came across this video of Wim Hof and through today’s numbing and annoying brain fog, I saw something clear.  Nothing, except myself, is preventing me from jumping in ice water at this very moment.  And, when the opportunity arrises to jump into ice water, instead of taking the comfortable route and remaining warm and clothed, the alternative would be to jump in headfirst until the cold no longer stings.

On a recent trip to the North Cascades, Adam and I did just that (Quest Update: As Summer Adventures Come to a Close).  On our drive home, we spontaneously came to the agreement that we were going to follow an impulse, pull off to the side of Highway 20, strip down and into our swimsuits, and jump into a turquoise blue, glacier fed, alpine lake, known as Lake Diablo.  After an incredible couple days of hiking along the PCT, on the eastern side of the National Park, this quick dip was still ranked up there as one of the perks of our trip.

So, you haven’t gone for a run in a long time; lace up those shoes and knock out eight miles today.  Go lift the most weight you’ve ever lifted or go swim the furthest you’ve ever swam.  Meditate ten minutes longer than your longest session.  Prospect 100 more people this week.  There is no failing, only doing.  Honestly, seven years ago I could hardly call myself a skier.  After my girlfriend Brandi and I agreed to go on our first official date at Stevens Pass, I decided that skiing was something I was going to do from that day on.  I, also, suppose, perhaps unknowingly, that I decided I was going to do more than ski; I was going to ski well.  After that initial day on the slopes, I bought some gear and skied every chance the snow would allow.  If the opportunity arose, I would pack my skis with me on work trips in an effort to get turns in on the hills of Montana and Idaho.  I would isolate myself in a hotel room for multiple weeks to visit clients, but more importantly, so that I could ski more.  I pushed myself down runs that were hard until they became easy.  After my first season back on skis (I skied semi-regularly as a youth until I was about twelve years old), I was skiing double black runs by the end of it (not very well, but I never got injured 🙃).  Now, however, I can ski just about anything you throw at me in almost any conditions, although I’m not Candide, so don’t expect me to ski dirt, even if it were possible, I like my skis too much.

Skiing is an easy thing to love, it’s a quick-paced, adrenaline-filled sport that puts you deep into the moment, removing thoughts about work obligations, bills coming due, begrudged politics, etc.  Jumping into an ice cold lake doesn’t seem quite the same, but it is on a smaller and more basic level.  What you’re doing when you take that plunge is taking the now into your own hands, continuing your narrative on your terms and shifting the monotony of daily life into one of spontaneity and excitement.

In closing, there’s plenty to be excited about and a world of opportunity to explore.  Do something extreme and scratch the itch you didn’t realize needed to be scratched.  Take whatever it is you desire to do to the furthest place you can take it.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

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A Journal Entry Concerning Time; Finding Your Internal Compass

Time is probably the most precious commodity that we, as humans, have.  As it passes by, our lives go with it, leaving only memories and wisdom behind.  It’s interesting to watch how many people fill their days with activities they otherwise hate, and their minds with worries of the future or empty entertainment that keeps them distracted from the present.  People that I know and love spend much of their lives worried about how they’ll retire, and often, they skip past the part of their life where they are the most capable and able-bodied.  Others don’t take any time to do this, live only in the moment, and are miserable because they have yet to find how to properly fit into this world.  I watch as people circumvent their own dreams and aspirations for the realities of others.  They do this by using their time to watch television, scrolling Facebook or Instagram feeds, or gluing themselves to the always BREAKING cable news programs designed to breed anxiety and further division.  I still fall into these time-sucks, but I am now cognizant of what they’re accomplishing and how their accomplishments change me for the worse.

Other ways this can be emulated is in the working of a nine-to-five for a company that often does not align with one’s own ideals.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with watching your favorite show on television, and we all need to put food on the table, but the truth is, most of the time we spend in front of digital media is 100% useless and is just a method of escapism that keeps us from fulfilling what is authentic to us as individuals.  The goal here being: to create a reality that is preferable to the one we are told, by society, to follow.

Preparation, however, should not be skirted, and it is important to take steps to create a stable future.  Dwelling on it as life’s main objective, however, seems to lead to missed opportunities, as well as a somewhat bland, and perhaps, meaningless life.  Often, with people who follow this course, once in retirement, purpose is still missing.  Family seems to make up for some of this, as well, a family lends itself to a larger purported purpose, however, with one’s individuality unfulfilled, even the most accomplished businessman, might feel unaccomplished if their true desires and potentials were never fully met.  If they never tried to write that book or taste the snow on top of that one mountain.

As I close out my first “Quest” —the year of self-improvement that I started following my brother’s wedding on October 3, 2017; a day that began with a hangover as I moved to cease my consumption of alcohol and focused to redirect bad habits into good ones— this has been one of the take-away lessons that I have learned.  Last night, as I was journaling, I wrote about it.  Below is that entry.   img_4436

With little more than a week left in my Quest, I will be sharing the changes that have occurred in myself, and the lessons that I have learned along my path.

For me, finding my internal compass has been one of those lessons.  A lesson that can only be learned void of distractions; when one clears their mind and turns off the outside voices.  There are so many profound and exciting revelations that have come from this year’s experience, and I cannot wait to share with you what those have been and how I plan on continuing my growth in my upcoming Quest Part Two.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

Environmentalism vs. Capitalism vs. Society; Is It Time To Mine Plastics?

Here is my first think piece.  Please feel free to continue the conversation in the comments section, but please keep this discussion open and free from insults.

I wrote on someone’s Facebook page the other day, and then, this morning, I deleted it when I realized the post was public—and because I swore, and, now, have a professional image to uphold—that the world is environmentally doomed.  The ecosystems of yesteryear are starting to collapse under the weight of the toxic waste that we, as humans, create.  My basis for this theory is, well, besides the overwhelming consensus by scientists that we are entering another mass extinction, and besides the threat of climate change that most of us with internet access are aware of, when you remove a single species from an ecosystem, that ecosystem often cannot recover, and it often renders many more species obsolete.  Most species are unable to adapt at a speed quick enough to correct the missing component.  An ecosystem, and all the intricacies one entails, are all intertwined in ways unimaginable to us yet.  In other words, we don’t even fully understand how much harm we’re creating.  So, who cares about some fly?  Well, probably some fish that eats it.  This is ultimately why climate change, the ocean’s acidification, circulating plastics, deforestation, mass forest fires, etc., are looked upon as the pending sixth mass extinction that may very well take us with it.  Now, it may be that I am looking at this from a “doom and gloom” angle, but I cannot imagine that us as a species will be able to step away from this mess unscathed, there’s just too much recklessness and unaccountability weaved into the system.  There’s too much money being made and not enough being put back into sustainable practices.  When a company comes along and wants to make a ton of money, they, of course, take shortcuts to optimize their growth and profitability.  There’s really nothing wrong with that from a business perspective, in fact, it’s smart, which is why the issue is perpetuated, because society wants businesses to thrive, to create, to make money and make the economy hum.  In America, this is the American Dream, but when does that dream become one of selfishness and irresponsibility?

I, personally, have no serious qualms with capitalism, but what I do have a problem with is unregulated capitalism that allows massive corporations to take advantage of its consumers and successfully lobby against their best interests.  Energy companies are always a good example, so are Nestle (bottled water practices), Monsanto (agricultural practices), Comcast (ISP practices), and many, many others.  What I don’t understand is this pipe dream that many individuals possess where their intent is to protect the profits of these massive companies at the expense of the environment, our security, and other social injustices, all for this faulty concept of trickle down economics which has been proven to only profit the already rich.  I’ve heard poor people argue this moot point, and when I do, I think, how do you benefit at all from Comcast—as an example—making more billions?  The answer is, you do not, unless you hold their stock.  The only benefit that I can conjure is that this model allows them the dream that one day they’ll be at the top; the beneficiary who hoards the profits.  But, how long can this model possibly be sustainable?  How long can fossil fuels be extracted before enough is enough?  How long can we allow nuclear power plants to be built in the cheap, antiquated model that creates massive amounts of nuclear waste, instead of in the newer more efficient models that do the opposite?  There’s just no answer worth half-a-damn that passes my bullshitometer.  If it harms the Earth, if it makes an exaggerated expense (such as the cost of internet in the US), if it weakens our individual privacies or a nation’s security, then there should be some sort of checks and balances.  The EPA was meant for this purpose—on the environmental front of things—, but how successful is that model when a new President can come in and remove the protection aspect from the agency and line it with fossil fuel cronies?

I think there is a way to save the system.  I think there are people and companies doing the right thing to the best of their abilities.  The question becomes, are they doing it big and fast enough?  I don’t think so, and at no fault of their own, there is a massive force working against them and not enough people in this world give a flying fuck to prevent the potential collapse.  They likely have their own issues.  Much of this world still lives in poverty and doesn’t have time or energy for this debate.  Those of us that do, though, should be fully engaged.

Us who are lucky enough to live in prosperous nations are also okay with the current state of affairs because we have become comfortable with the norm.  We’d rather scream and fight about gender pronouns and other minor offenses than take a hard look at issues like melting glaciers and plastic islands circulating in the Pacific.  I get that a trans person might deem that as a harsh stance, but I have no issue with transpeople or calling them by their preferred pronoun.  I do, however, have an issue with a year of our lives being dominated by that discussion when the environmental discussion is a more pressing and immediate issue.  Not that there isn’t time for these conversations, there are terrible atrocities committed throughout the world on a daily basis, and the trans issue is a discussion that should be considered, but this perpetual outrage has become our society.  One side versus the other side with no center.  It is either, you are against the cause or you are for it, but what the cause is has become ambiguous, at best.  The whole system is flawed on both sides of the political spectrum.  We are living in cozy times that may very soon come to an end, but few are paying attention to that reality.  The ability to get angered and offended over such issues like pronouns or a tasteless joke is a sign that we are in a first world economy.  Should pollinators go extinct, that anger will be replaced with hunger.  Is that when everyone wakes up to reality?

The solution is not to become more extreme, the solution is to become smarter, better, faster, stronger.  How do you get rid of plastic waste in the ocean?  Ban single use plastics and ban new plastic creation until the oceans are cleaned up.  What does that mean?  It means, it may be time we mine the oceans instead of creating tons of new plastic waste on a daily basis.  It may mean we need to create other alternatives and drink out of seaweed containers or some product that has yet to come to market.  This can be applied across the board.  Old mines filled with toxic waste, how do we clean that up?  The government, or third-party non-profits and charities?  What about radioactive waste?  Can we use that to power a new type of reactor?  Answers to these questions are being worked out by some philanthropists, but when are we going to wise up as a society, get out of our tribal confines and actually have a productive conversation that outlines REAL threats that exist.  Real threats do not include Islamic terrorism (unless you live where that is actually prevalent), it’s much more likely that your child will be killed in a school shooting.  That is a real threat.  Real threats do not include immigration, they include toxic waste and unsafe drinking water.  Real threats are everywhere, but there are real ways to fix them.  Just like we, as humans, collectively fixed the hole in the ozone layer, we can collectively fix the problems that exist on this earth.  We need the right leadership, the right thought process, and the right and left to start getting the fuck along again.

Let’s get to work, people!

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane