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 🤙 ,