What Happened When I Took On A Year-Long Quest To Change My Life

Today I finished a year-long effort of abstaining from alcohol while simultaneously improving myself in five key areas.  It’s been a year of tremendous self-discovery.  If you are unaware what the hell I am speaking of, I called it “The Quest,” and I started it on October 3, 2017.  “The Quest” started quite differently than how I am now finishing it.  I did, however, layout that it would be fluid in nature and I would change things as I saw fit.  I lived up to that much.  

As of now, I have decided I will be doing four quests in total, treating each quest like a year of college and adding onto the learnings and accomplishments of the year prior.  This gives me a direction to take my creativity and life goals, as well as an outlet to write.

I learned so much this past year and the results were resoundingly positive.  If you haven’t been following along on my path, the goal was to create lasting change by removing distractions, turning bad habits to good, and focusing on five “silos” for growth.  The five silos were: Mental Health, Physical Health, Creativity, Career/Learning, and Relationships.

Accomplishments (the five silos)

Let’s start here, with all the good things that I accomplished over the past year in the five key areas.

First, and foremost, I did not take a single sip of alcohol in 365 days.  I’ll call that, Accomplishment Number One.

Physical Health: Lost approximately fifteen pounds, maintained strength, increased endurance, aesthetically look as good as I’ve looked in years.  I feel healthy… very healthy.

  • My diet has been mostly on point.  I eat far less sugar and carbs than I used to.  Due to my activity level, I may actually need to increase calories, but I have become quite comfortable being leaner than my past bulky self.
  • Worked out approximately 4-6x a week over the course of the year.
  • Sauna, Steam and Cold Therapy 3-5x a week.
  • Regular outdoor activities and exercise (also mental health).

Mental Health:  Noticeably altered my perspective, removed negativity, gained clarity, learned to reframe my thoughts and how to fix a negative mental state.

  • Drastically increased my ability to meditate, which in turn has positively impacted my mental health more than anything I have ever done.  This is a habit that I practice about as often as I go to the gym.  Sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more.  I, as a result, find myself breathing through negativity and am less anxious than before.
  • Journaled regularly, which helped digest feelings, prioritize goals and work through emotional baggage and thoughts.
  • Regular exposure to nature.

Creativity:  Wrote more than I had written in many years, something I have always loved to do, but had been neglecting.

  • I started and continually expanded and defined a blog and vlog.
  • Improved my video editing skills.
  • Wrote blogs, book chapters and journal entries.
  • Recently started painting.

Career/Learning:  Started a new career, became truly self-employed, and had some early successes.  Learned a range of topics, read books, and applied new knowledge.

  • I committed to, put in the necessary 90 hours, studied for and passed the Washington state real estate exam, allowing me to start a new and exciting career.
  • Significantly cut back on indulging in unimportant time sucks and always try to choose the option at that moment that creates a better or more productive outcome.  This has led to many more hours reading, workouts, more informative viewing options (such as watching a show that teaches rather than just entertains), etc.
  • I read or listened to the following twenty books:

1. Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

2. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

3. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

4. Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss

5. Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

6. 4:2 Formula; Getting Buyers Off the Fence and Into a Home by Jeff Shore

7. Adjustment Day by Chuck Palahnuik

8. Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk

9. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

10. Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg

11. Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

12. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

13. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

14. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

15. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

16. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

17. I Can’t Make This Up by Neil Strauss and Kevin Hart

18. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babbin

19. 12 Rules For Life by Jordan Peterson

20. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

21. All the other books I have indulged in, but either got distracted from or put down in favor of another before finishing.  This was probably the longest book I listened to or read all year 😆

  • Outside of actual book studies, I learned how to manage a blog, meditate efficiently, exercise better, control my weight, and other miscellaneous things.

Relationships:  I have cut out of my life most of the toxic people and have been working to improve my relationship with my girlfriend.  This is more of a personal endeavor, and one that is harder to articulate progress in.  I do feel closer to the people in my life that are meant to be there, and less worried about trying to fit people in that do not try to do the same for me.  Lastly, I am less worried what others think of me.  Although, I am unsure if this was ever a severe ailment of mine, everyone suffers from this on occasion and I can definitely can be a people pleaser.

Where Did I Fall Short?

  • Still a Procrastinator:  Using this post as an example; I should have wrote this last week and then easily posted it today by clicking a button, instead, I have had to write this all up this evening, which took an immense amount of time to do.  I procrastinated.  I tend to do this with most things.  A habit that I will be looking to address in Quest Part Two.
  • My God-Damned Thumbs: I still pick them constantly.  This must stop.  It’s such a bad habit, but I don’t know if it’s rooted in anxiety, or more so, just something I have started doing while I’m thinking or listening.  I did conquer this habit for about two months out of the year, but somehow it came back, probably around when I started practicing real estate.  What a fucking creature of habit, I am. 
  • Patagonia: Unfortunately I have some time before I will be able to afford this trip. 
  • I Like My Sleep:  God damnit, I need to get up earlier.  I, think, this week, I figured out the hack to this: Get excited about the day.  We’ll see the progress that comes from such an epiphany.  I realize that I dream really deeply and have a difficult time breaking from my dream and placing value on getting out of bed over the comfort I feel while lying in it.
  • Money:  Not where I want it, yet.  This will be one of the main focuses in Quest Part Two.
  • Feeds and Screen Time:  I know I just stated this as a positive thing that I have gotten better at.  That’s not entirely true, as I didn’t even have social media before I started real estate.  What I am getting better at is how to better manage this.  It really has to be a cognizant effort or it doesn’t resolve.
  • Writing:  I have, yet, to finish writing the book I said I was to write.  This will, also, roll over into Quest Part Two.
  • Yoga:  My weekly yoga practice never stuck and became something I do on occasion, rather than part of my weekly exercise routine.

What Did I Learn From This Process?

Mostly, I learned that anything I put my mind to, and fully commit to, I can accomplish.  I, also, learned that things happen faster than they seem to, but not without effort.  Patience is, however, key to seeing a goal all the way to fruition.  A year is less time than it seems to be, but longer than most attention spans can hold.  More can be done in a year than expected, but five years of continual progress results in a landslide of change.  I heard this somewhere… probably Tony Robbins or some shit.. but, whatever, it’s relevant.

Would I Do It Again?

100%, absolutely.  As I stated above, I will be taking on another three years of quests that will be different in structure and objective, but build off of what I have completed this year.  This is, again, in attempt to simulate a college-type learning scenario.

Abstaining from alcohol was not difficult once I got started, and though I am looking forward to having a couple beers, I do not plan on overindulgence and know that I have the ability to cut it off entirely at any given point.  I could happily go the rest of my life without ever having another sip of alcohol. 

What Would I Do Differently?

Pertaining to quests, less is often more.  I loaded too much shit into the outline of “The Quest” from the get-go and that resulted in periods of inefficiency where I became frazzled with all the “to-dos” and started neglecting things that were much more pertinent to take care of.  In fact, when I started this whole thing, I was more focused on writing blogs and making sure that I meditated than doing taking care of much more necessary tasks.  Structure is good, but too much structure kills creativity, progress, and is hard to sustain.  In regards to journaling, this was especially true.  As I made my journal more complex, I ended up abandoning journaling for a period.  Keeping a checklist and writing a daily or bi-daily entry seems to keep me on track enough; overcomplicating the process killed the habit entirely, exhausted the free flow nature of it, and was ultimately unproductive.

The same was true with other aspects of “The Quest.”  For example, trying to meditate every single day became a chore, albeit one that I enjoyed, but when it was left unchecked off my to-do list, I became disappointed in myself.  This is actually the opposite effect than the one I was trying to create.  I translated that into a learning experience not to force things and have found that if I just fit my meditation in where its comfortable, I get it done.  With that said, trying to keep on schedule for the first couple of weeks is a good way to kickstart the habit.

I, now, find that I meditate, read, journal/write more days than I do not. 

Exercise is the one area where this does not apply.  If you do not feel like going to the gym, then go to the fucking gym.  A workout, simply, solves most problems and clears the cache.  Also, if I do workout, I am more inclined to meditate and do a heat/cold rotation.  If you are injured or need a rest day, there’s always room for exceptions, but don’t compromise on your commitment to your health and well-being.

Linking these habits to one another, also, seemed to improve the likelihood that I would get them complete. 

What Aspects of My Life Changed the Most Drastically?

Well, first off, I look completely different than I did when I started this.  I wasn’t in terrible shape then, but there is a stark difference in fitness level.  I worked out pretty regularly before I started “The Quest,” and had already started a pretty solid regimen.  What I did not foresee was that I would somehow get down to, and sustain, my body weight at +/- 180 pounds.  Putting weight back on has actually become a difficulty, this is partly because I just don’t like eating a crazy amount of food, but also, my metabolism resembles more of what it did during my high school years than my post-thirty ones.

My overall well-being has significantly improved.  I feel much more dialed and cognizant of how I spend my minutes by actively trying to live in the present.  My perspective is positive and most of my negative thinking is kept at bay.  I, ultimately, learned to control this by noticing who and what I am talking about, stopping myself from gossiping, and framing things in a manner that end in a specific point, rather than some flow of consciousness-styled rant.  Mainly, I have stopped ranting entirely; something I used to do daily.

I have become a much better writer.  Exercising that muscle either through this blog or in my journal has become an irreplaceable outlet for my thoughts.  I will further curate this into an actual talent in the coming years.  Writing a book is still something I long to, and will, eventually complete.

Preparation, as mentioned in an previous post, is something I now consider necessary to advancement.  As well as, taking action.  Learning to balance the two to become more efficient is a necessary skillset that I has seen development.

Random Side Effects:

1.  Foul Language: I cuss less… like, much less.  I have been called out in the past for using “fuck” three-plus times in a single sentence.  The other day, while discussing some random topic, I realized I hadn’t swore in multiple strings of paragraphs.  This was not a work discussion, this was talking to my girlfriend.  Don’t get me wrong, I still probably cuss more than your average Joe, but much less than I used to.

2. Articulation:  My language and conversation skills seem to have greatly improved.  I feel as if I am talking, and perhaps, writing clearer and with more purpose.  That could be my perception, but it could also be from an increased mental acuity coming form mindfulness techniques and the knowledge gained from reading books.

3. Listening:  I’ve become a better listener.  I don’t know what combination of new habits to attribute this to, but I am less likely to cut someone off in conversation than I used to be.  I, also, try not to automate my responses.  I think listening to Audible is part the reason for this, as there is no place to interject oneself when you are listening to a book.

4.  Emotions:  Control, is what I most notice.  I am able to better control MOST of my emotions.  Especially anxiety or unease, as well as lurking depression.  When I do suffer full blown depression, it becomes harder to rebound from.  I have found the cure though, and that is becoming productive when it arrises.  Usually I can tie my depression to some sort of burden I feel I am carrying.  Once I make the burden actionable, it lightens the load and I can move past it.

5.  More Open to New Ideas:  I stopped shutting down ideas that I found imbecilic, and instead embrace new ideas with curiosity.  If for no other reason, to learn why people think the way they do.  So, although I find Alex Jones to be an absolutely insane, crazy person, learning what makes people believe in such obvious falsities intrigues me.  He is still a piece of shit, but one that can be shrugged off.

6.  Funny:  I cannot confirm if this is true or not, but I feel less funny than I used to be.  Maybe it’s an unfair statement, but I used to consider myself a pretty funny guy.  Now, I just feel more focused on accomplishing goals, and much less on making people laugh or being clever.

7.  Narcissism:  I am aware of the narcissism involved with blogging and vlogging, hash-tagging and just social media overall.  I would have relentlessly clowned on this very blog just a year ago, but I also wanted an outlet to write and a way to hold myself accountable to stay on track towards my objective.  It worked.  So, fuck it, I now blog and vlog…  I know it is self-indulgence at its finest, but until I accomplish what I have set out to, that will have to be an asterisk.

8.  Loss of Interest in Media:  I, currently, hate spending time watching TV.  More so, I hate spending time staring at my phone.  Although, I do still find myself on the couch watching Netflix, I have started turning it off when I am disinterested.  I had this conversation with my friend Jarod this week, and we both were on the same page here.  When I am watching TV, I should commit fully to watching TV.  No phone in hand, no searching for hours for something to watch.  Just turn on the show, watch the show without distraction to completion, TV off, next task.  This really should be applied to any activity.  Be present in everything you do.

What Habits Will I Continue?

Most of them.  Removing only the overly-structured constructs that I initially put around goals in an attempt to accomplish them. 

What Habits Will I Discontinue?

I think, when I started doing this blog, I said I was going to run regularly.  I don’t think that will stick as a regular activity.  I have no intention of running much, as it can hurt my knees.  Plus, I find hiking, biking, or even rowing, more enjoyable.  I do like trail running though, which I would gladly do more of.

What Would I Like to See More of Next Year?

More Alpine.  More Stability.  More Money.  More Adventure.  More Mountains.  More Learning.  More Yoga.  More Mindful.  More Hustle.  More Patience.  More Love.

What About the Future Most Excites Me?

I am done worrying about the past or the future.  Even getting pre-maturely excited about the future tags it with an expectation that may or may not conclude how it plays out in actuality; resulting in disappointment.  The excitement that I feel is towards the opportunity to tackle the goals right in front of me, right now.  I am excited to do that everyday, with everything I decide to do.  I am excited to approach every task with an enthusiasm and vigor that continues to grow as I further learn to hone my presence in the moment.  Balancing all the different aspects of my life gets me excited, too.  As does, increasing my knowledge.  This all fills me with a significant amount of purpose.  That purpose brings a sense of calm, and that calmness is better than excitement, it’s contentment.  Contentment is balanced and consistently a good place to be.

 

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

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

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

The Constant Battle Against Self-Doubt & My Thought Process To Overcome It

No matter what progression I make, there always seems to be that one day or week that I trip really hard and catch myself with my forehead on the pavement.  A single event, but usually a chain of them, occurs that strips away my blooming positive outlook.  Sometimes these mental clouds are as trivial as a business call gone awry, a rude prospect that forces me to look inward, a friend who disappears from my social media feed, an argument with a significant other, not getting my way with a service provider, or a client/friend who decides to work with someone else.  Whatever the cause, once that snowball starts rolling down the neural pathways of my noggin, a darker and more pessimistic overview can quickly take shape… What was it that I said that offended these people?  What turned them off?  Am I not likable?  Annoying?  Stupid?  Of course, in reality, it’s completely beyond my control, but being “liked” is something most of us desire.  Something, as a people pleaser, I definitely desire.  But, if you do not believe me, then go look at your own social media feeds and see how many pictures and “thoughts” you post.  Are they just any photo?  Just any thought?  Not likely, instead they are probably photos that people will view favorably, that people will “like.”  Or something that your “tribe” will “like” that will persuade the clearly unreasonable opposition to see your point of view.  Even if you are not in your own photos, one’s intent is often to paint the portrait that you are good at, in the simplest case, taking those photos.   Check out my sexy montage of #mountainscapes on my Instagram account.  Ohhhhh yeah, I’m soooo good at pictures.  Don’t you think?!?!?!  Like them all a thousand times per!!

Most people don’t want you to see them at their worst.  Maybe they feel that type of honesty would jeopardize their career or image, maybe they’re not proud of who they really are, maybe it’s fear, maybe they’re private, maybe they’re depressed, maybe, maybe, maybe… the list of reasons goes on for infinity.

I’ve met some incredibly kind people lately, but I’ve also met some vicious assholes.  Funny thing, the kind people who I have come across do not loom in my head as long as the negative interactions do.  I am unsure if this is a “me” thing or if this is human nature, but I would bet on the latter, with an exception being the small percentage of people who have broken out of that type of restrictive thinking.

IT IS PART OF THE JOB:
Everyone knows that a career salesman has many confrontations with rejection.  As we’ve all been told, it is part of the job, and one that we, as salespersons, must become fairly comfortable with and learn to overcome.  Being a salesman who has had to cold call businesses and work his way through the phone lines of Seattle’s technology industries, host open houses, sell gym memberships to people in the artery clogged state of Indiana, travel to Montana only to find his client forgot that we had a meeting (yes, that actually has happened to me more than once), etc., I have become well-adversed with rejection.  It, literally, happens more often than not and typically isn’t bothersome.  What we don’t typically get is verbally “sized-up” by some random prospect.  I had this happen recently, and although I felt I was being attacked, I do not think this individual felt as if he were attacking me.  After helping this not-so-gentleman with questions pertaining to a home he was viewing and the cost of homes in the area, he started lambasting me and told me he was “not impressed” and “not sold” on, basically, what… me?  If it was not ME that he wasn’t sold on, I missed his point, although when I asked him, he seemed to say it was not.  Oddly, I was not pitching him, I was simply assisting him, to the best of my knowledge, with his many questions, and so this came across as an insult.

“Excuse me sir, I just want to be clear, I am trying to help you with the questions you have asked by getting you the answers.  As is my job, I would love to assist you in the purchasing of this home or the sale of yours.  If I said or did something to offend you, I apologize, but I am unsure where the miscommunication here is occurring.”

He, again, said that I had not done anything wrong, but his tone was such that I had not done, at least, something.  Otherwise, what was he not sold on or impressed by?  He had expected a level of service from me that he was unsatisfied with.  I left that Open House feeling somewhat deflated, mentally going through the conversation and where I could have ventured off-piste.  I ranted to a couple of friends.  I was left ruminating on the question: What did I do wrong that would merit his response?

LOOKING INWARD & RUMINATION:
Once you start falling into the pattern of negative thinking, it makes you over analyze everything.  Was I coherent and present during the conversation we were having?  Did I come off as too pushy?  Was I impolite?  The answer is: OF COURSE I WASN’T PERFECT.  I am a pretty new agent.  To have perfected a new craft in just a little over two months does not reflect the true nature of the human learning curve.  Even just from a sales perspective, I could have controlled the conversation with more authority.  But, that’s not what I was thinking right then, that comes later, because rumination does not end at the one event that started it off, it leads to: Is that why So-&-So did not respond to my message?  Emails, phone calls, text messages, DMs, or any other attempted contact that went unresponded to start adding weight to my mental plight.  Clients that changed their mind, do the same.  All of a sudden, something that had not bothered me is bogging me down, making me doubt my capabilities… my likability… this is self doubt.  I have (temporarily) lost.

THE REALITY:
People are busy!

“I would’ve responded if they had contacted me,” I say to myself, but is that always true?  Do I miss calls and forget to text people back?
     Yes, dude, you do it all the damn time.

AND, People are dicks!

Dane, when was the last time you decided you wanted to yell at someone who really didn’t deserve being bullied?
     Uhhh….

Did you, Dane, ever lose it on a lady at Papa Murphy’s over a coupon?
     Oh shiiiit, why ya gotta bring that up? 

Did you mean to make that poor pizza maker’s night utter and pure shit or were you just irritated over a coupon policy that was out of her control?
     Well…… 

So, maybe this guy did or didn’t have a reason to talk to me like that, but, dude, just brush it off, learn from it and move on.

and, PEOPLE ARE NOT YOU:
I am unique.  You are unique.  Everybody interacts differently and has their own opinions and thoughts.  There is not one right or wrong way, there are just infinite ways and infinite outcomes.  Even the people I idolize most will have completely varying and contradictory thoughts to my own, also, they’ll have completely complimentary and similar ones.  One person’s negative opinion does not define me, nor does their positive opinion.

As much as we want people to act in a certain way, it takes some sort of voluntary or forced control to have them comply, such as an authoritarian regime or employment.  In fact, the more we push our own agenda on others or try to control them, the more others will tend to turn from it.  Don Juan DeMarco has women swoon over him while a love sick puppy repels the same ladies.  .

The loudest voices receive the harshest criticism, something to be kept in mind when we decide to speak.  If we decide to yell, we might get attention we do not want.  This is both literal and figurative.  It applies to both the three-dimensional world and the digital.  It applies to getting in political fights on Twitter, peacocking in a bar, posting a provocative photo on Instagram, claiming expertise in a particular subject, or even just holding a forward facing job where interacting with people and social media is a necessity.  Everything is subjective and not everyone’s opinion will be fair to you or I.

NOW, THAT I’VE HAD MY PITY PARTY:
And it’s a good thing I did, because then I did some thinking and if I don’t have that occasional shitty pity party, I then don’t do that thinking, and I then forget all the things I’ve been teaching myself.

  • I forgot that social media is a negative time suck, and though I need to play in this world, I, also, need to keep my wits and not fall into comparison models, the judging of others, or self-critiquing.
  • I forget to turn off the TV or video games and journal, write, meditate, exercise, and get outdoors.  The foundation that has gotten me where I am right now.
  • I forgot that my life is the only one I am in control of and that the actions of others are exactly just that: their actions.  They don’t matter to my goals.
  • I forgot that I can do whatever the fuck I want to do if I just stay on MY path.

After some reflection, I remembered my goals, and realized that, for just a second, I had let someone else’s opinion of me enter into my world and make me question it.  But, now, I’ve reframed my thinking and I also remember the cool CEO who was nice enough to respond to a LinkedIn message that I had sent him a couple weeks back about his inspirational panel discussion.  I remember the hiker I met at the top of Mailbox Peak who wrote for Powder Magazine and Teton Gravity Research, who gave me incredible feedback and advice on my writing.  Who told me to OWN IT.  I remember the clients who agreed to work with me.  The family, friends and co-workers who are rooting for and support me.  The hikes I get to go on.  Ski-days I take.  Physical feats I’ve accomplished and the ones I want to.  All of a sudden, I’m like, “hey, fuck your own doubts, dude.  And, fuck those, for lack of a better term, haters.  I’m pretty Gad damn rad!”  The fact here is that I am just jumping into something feet first and it takes time to perfect that.  It takes throwing myself into situations that I’m uncomfortable with, and that one guy who disapproved of whatever it was he disapproved of, is nothing more than an opportunity to learn how to make him my fan.  And, then, it’s like, BOOM, laser beam focus back on, until the next thing throws me off and I GET TO reevaluate everything all over again.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

 

 

Quest Progress Report; “YOU KNOW WHAT, DUDE!”

PART ONE:  At this very minute, it is 5:43 AM, though it will likely be much later when I finish writing and posting this.  I have been up since 5:00 AM.  So what?  So, that’s progress, baby, THAT IS PROGRESS!  But let me start with why you haven’t heard from me in the last couple of weeks.

I ch-ch-checked a major accomplishment off my to do list last week.  Yeah, it’s a Biggie Smalls of a win for me.  In the last couple weeks I have finished my real estate hours and quizzes, passed the national and state exam – on the first try, and been in the process of getting licensed and settling in at a brokerage (for the sake of keeping my blog unfiltered, I will not be dropping the name of the brokerage I am with, if you would like to know so you can make a listing with me in the greater Seattle region, you can email me at alifetosummit@gmail.com).  I had to take a break from blogging and other things to get this done, but now that it is done, I can get back at it.

My little brother is in town this week and I was catching him up on everything that’s been going on with my self-development/improvement.  He seemed pretty blown away at the progress I have made since his wedding.  He, immediately, commented on how lean I was upon first seeing me.  I am down to 182 pounds (as of yesterday) and feeling fucking awesome.  After getting sick over the New Years, I have found it hard to gain weight back to the 190 pounds where I usually sit, but my strength is back up, I just, currently, have a really low body fat percentage.  When I was a kid my dad had jumped into glacier-fed Lake Chelan and joked that the reason he wasn’t cold was his extra layer of fat.  I never forgot that and have teased him about it since then, but now that I have lost my extra layer of fat, and I do get surprisingly way colder.

Based on actions of my past self, this week should be one that would have me angry or down in the dumps.  However, even though my computer mysteriously deleted all my files for no apparent reason – literally all of them, and even though there is a certain level of stress that coincides with starting a new career, my demeanor is confident, collected, and I am ready to swan-dive into this new venture.  I started writing a book about a month ago and one of the chapters I had already penned was one of the files I lost.  I had sent the other chapters to a friend to see if it was a book he would actually read, but Chapter Three had not made it to that, or any other, friend.  My new stance: It was probably a decent chapter, but maybe I can rewrite it to make it even better; it was good practice.

Alright, I am going to take a break, as it is now almost 6:00 AM, and I am going to hit the gym.

PART TWO:  Holy Moly!  That was a solid gym, sauna, meditation, and cold shower sesh!  I feel infuckingcredible.

Expanding on that, let’s get into fitness.  So, my gym routine is staying at a steady 4-6x per week for weights.  Cardio on occasion – I should do a little more running, and I try to get a session of yoga in once a week.  My problem is that I am having a hard time gaining my weight back after getting sick a month ago, as mentioned above, so doing additional cardio is not going to help that.  Also, I think that this ongoing shoulder pain is hindering my upper body gains, as I can’t lift very heavy on chest or shoulders at the moment.  I’m trying some rehab exercises, but if this persists, I am going to have to get into a specialist.  I was getting AT LEAST one ski day in a week, but that has subsided since I decided to put everything aside to finish getting my real estate license.  Now that that is done, I am hoping to get a couple days in per week to finish off the season strong, though it’s likely I may get too busy to do so.  Ugh, responsibility.

I, actually, have an awesome weekend planned out.  Tonight, one of my best buds is coming to hang out to go watch Robert Kelly with me at the Parlor Live in Bellevue.  If you don’t know Robert Kelly, he is a New York comedian from Boston (New York now, Boston is where he started) who runs in the same circle as Bill Burr, Jim Norton, the late Patrice O’Neal, etc.  He has a podcast called, “YOU KNOW WHAT, DUDE!,” which I used to listen to regularly.  He was also a regular on “Opie and Anthony” before the show disbanded due to Anthony Cumia being a racist douche on Twitter.  Although I have since unsubscribed from Sirius XM, I imagine he is still regularly on the Jim and Sam show (which kind of is the replacement for O&A), regardless there are plenty of podcasts that he is a guest on besides his own.  Anyways, Robert Kelly is hilarious and I have been wanting to see him LIVE for many years.

On Saturday, I am hoping to skate off to get a day of turns in at Stevens Pass, and then, in the evening, I am meeting up with my little brother, my sister-in-law, and some of his friends in Seattle.  And, lastly, Sunday is my youngest sister’s birthday party, she’s now 17, and we are all getting together at my father’s place to have a cRaZy celebration.  All-in-all, a kick ass schedule is laid out before me for the coming few days.

These kick ass weekends used to include alcohol.  When I saw my brother the other night, all my siblings were drinking.  I, of course, was not.  Thing is, I want to drink a beer, but thinking about it no longer weighs me down.  I am past needing to have alcohol at all, and had a rad time without it.  The only time I want alcohol is when I catch the scent of a beer I actually want to drink… I tend to love certain IPAs, sours, and, honestly, many others.  Truth is, I just like beer.  It tastes delicious, but my need for it is gone, and that is something I am pretty happy about.  Grateful, even.

Which brings me to my last point of the morning: Gratitude.  Gratitude is something I have struggled with, especially during hard times.  The reality is, there is a lot to be thankful for and trying to train my brain to realize what it is I’m thankful for has helped change my outlook lately, even through events that would otherwise put me in a negative place, like losing every single one of my motherfucking files and documents.  Whenever I’m ungracious, overwhelmed, or just indifferent, I can just go outside for a run, into the mountains for a hike, sit in a chair and meditate, etc.  The options are truly endless.  Finances can be fixed, relationships can (often) be fixed, being gracious is the antidote for the negativity that stems from your hardships.  It’s the fix.

So, what am I grateful for?  Here are five things:

  1. A girlfriend who has sat by my side while I have been sorting through my brain’s internal complications, personal bullshit, and career.
  2. The outdoors and the hobbies I have in them that bring me pure and utter joy.
  3. My new real estate career and the accomplishment of taking the first step to get started on a path I could actually dig.
  4. My physical health, and, increasingly better, mental health.
  5. Friends and Family that have my back 100%.

Now, what are you grateful for?  What are you taking for granted or putting a negative spin on?  Once you figure that out, all you have to do is make the decision to reframe your thinking… Not easy, but doable.  Get after it.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

The Bluest of the Birds; Gorging on Crab Legs

Yesterday was another awesome day at Crystal Mountain.  It was my first bluebird (sunny) day of the year.  In one week I had my first REAL powder day and my first bluebird day.  I would categorize that as an exceptional week.  The runs were fast and, although the snow was heavy, even chunky, off-piste, the steeps were open and filled in beautifully.  Ski season in the Pacific Northwest is no-longer stuck in the early season rut where scoping out rocks and creek holes is a requirement.  We’re ready to rock up here and I spent yesterday hanging with two of my good buds doing exactly that… Rockin’!  I won’t bore you with descriptions of ski runs I took, but it was another fantastic day making my quadriceps sing in joyful agony as I worked on form, speed through bumps, and just all around having a swell time.

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This past week I have been working on aspects of my quest that I feel are helping me turn the page and move forward.  My creative output has drastically been increased as I’m writing daily now.  I started working on a book.. meaning, I’m going to write one.  I’m also reading much more than I was.  I have cut my TV and screen-time down to a minimum, although I still need to cut time spent with my newsfeed back.  Video gaming has been eradicated from my daily task list.  All-in-all, I’m making some serious strides towards accomplishing the goals I have set while still putting time in to work on my physical and mental health.  That has me feeling good and my relationships are benefiting as well.

This morning my girlfriend and I woke up and went on an early day date to a well-known local restaurant, Salty’s on Rodondo, for a belated birthday crab leg feast.  Did I mention that my girlfriend and I share the same birthday?  Well, we do.  Thank you, Jossy, for the birthday gift!  It was a great morning full of delicious food.  After I was done eating a food-coma came over me and I crashed HARD AS A MOTHERFUCKA.  It’s crazy what a cinnamon roll and excessive calorie intake does to you once you switch your dietary habits.  I felt absolutely destroyed.  I cannot remember the last time I had an all-you-can-eat buffet, but my last two meals have been such.  I will be abstaining from attending anymore fuck-my-face-with-food events for the foreseeable future.

My gal had her work’s holiday party last night.  Another challenge in sobriety is attending things that you hate to attend, like a party full of strangers, and not being able to drink yourself through the experience.  With that said, hilariously sung karaoke was a highlight of the night.  Also, when the Director of Operations of a Fortune 1000 company wished the entire party a happy birthday and didn’t correct course… yeah, that’s a fucking laugh riot, right there.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

Don’t Let Today Become Tomorrow’s Disappointment; Journaling

Hello all, I wrote a longer post with more on my personal quest but broke it into two as I didn’t want this to get lost in the mix.

Through trial and error, I have pieced together a system that I think adds structure to my journaling and will ultimately help get me to my goals and complete this quest.

On the front of my journal I taped a quote that I thought up recently (which may or may not be someone else’s quote, I’m sure someone thought of something similar at some point).  The quote reads, “Don’t let today become tomorrow’s disappointment!”  It serves as inspiration to take on the day with vigor and not let it slip past and just fall into the bucket of days that are now gone, not remembered, and did not push me towards my goals.

To add to this concept, I have broken my journaling into three sections: morning, evening, and weekly (I have intent to add quarterly and yearly at a later date).  Below is how I am currently structuring my morning and evening journal sessions with examples of answers I might give.  There’s no science to this, this is just how I do it and the things I want to accomplish.  If you would like to receive my templates, please send a request to alifetosummit@gmail.com and I will send them to you.

MORNING JOURNAL:

Daily Habits:

Journal Exercise Meditate Organize Sauna Spanish Read

These are things I need to do everyday without exception.  Journal in the morning and evening; Exercise in some capacity; Meditate; Organize my work and living space; Sauna (coupled with cold); 10 minutes of Duolingo’s Spanish course; Read a couple chapters.

What is today’s top goal?

Regain my mental clarity and get back on track with my processes.

What is the one thing I most need to accomplish today?

Finish two lessons of Real Estate class.

What is the one thing I would be most satisfied with if it were accomplished today?

Get tail light fixed on Durango.

What am I looking forward to today or in the coming week?

Dinner with my friend Kyle tonight.

What distractions must I avoid?

Internet wormholes, news, and video games.

What are today’s “To-Do’s” / Errands?

This is a general To-Do list to help set priorities so I don’t miss anything.

Freewrite:

Write for five minutes with no structure about any and everything that comes to mind.

EVENING JOURNAL:

What are the three things I am most grateful for today?

  1. Fernie (my puppy) is okay after getting sick.
  2. Stayed on task for hours at a time.
  3. My health.

What did I accomplish today and why was it prioritized?

I slept in later than normal today because I was groggy and needed rest.  I ate healthy today because I want to keep on track with my diet.  I did 5 hours of real estate today because I want to accomplish that goal.  I worked out my legs because I want to remain strong.  I meditated because it boosts my mental health and creates discipline.  (The goal here is to find positive in how I structured my day and give myself credit for it.  Clearly, sleeping in is not a positive thing to do regularly, but instead of beating myself up for it I acknowledge it, excuse it and give a reason why I prioritized such behavior.  I find that I still can see where my faults were throughout the day but also my reasoning behind them which I can adjust as necessary.  This is also just an example, but one based off of previous days.)

What two things did I learn or find interesting?

  1. The Wim Hof Method, one of the most interesting men I’ve ever come across.  I want to learn more about his method and how it is doable.
  2. STOP – a concept I received from my guided meditation.
    S – Stop; T – Take a Breath; O – Observe; P – Proceed.

    I like that.

What did I read today?  Any memorable quotes or lessons?

I read three chapters of Tribe of Mentors… I don’t have the book on me but there were a couple of solid concepts that I take from almost every chapter.  One that I recall from today’s reading was about a canyon and swimming in the middle of it, with the walls of the canyon representing stability, on one side, and chaos, on the other.  I feel like I live my life on the chaos side and could use more stability.  It was an interesting concept and one I would like to digest further.

If today were my last day on Earth, would I be satisfied with how I lived it?

I would most definitely not be okay with today as my last day on Earth.  I was having my share of hardships today and letting things get in the way of my happiness.  Ironically, days I don’t journal I feel like I may be happier and more content, due to this realization I think I am partly using journaling to bring me back to center when things feel off.

How did today help me get closer to my goals?

I worked out, thus getting physically stronger and more capable of my future trek through Patagonia.  I meditated, helping my mental health and adding clarity, part of my quest.  I did my real estate class, getting closer to completing a major goal and milestone for my future career.  I became productive when I didn’t feel like it, overcoming fear and procrastination and turning it into achievement.

What can I do to make tomorrow better than today?

Tomorrow I can wake up earlier, get started earlier, and continue on the path to building better habits.  More importantly, I can forgive myself when things are not going my way or I do not do something to my own standards.

Freewrite:

5 minutes of freewrite about the day and thoughts on it.

On Sunday I am going to post my weekly journal here with my actual responses (maybe slightly edited depending on content).  Until then, have a great week and I hope this may serve as a template to help you with your goals and personal growth.

Cheers 🤙,

~Dane