Winning. Losing. Just Being.

An Update on the Most Epic of Quests.

What is up, party people!?  There is a lot in this post, so please read all the way through.

We’re well into month eight of my Quest, and holy moly is there a lot that has transpired since my last update.  Adventures I have gone on.  Soul searching I have done.  Work accomplishments that have come and passed.  Books I have read.  Let’s get into the nitty gritty and break down this on-going self-improvement quest into its five key areas of focus.

Mental Health.  I have to say my mental health is pretty steady.  Besides having random bouts of self-doubt, I have maintained a pretty optimistic outlook on life, am successfully practicing non-reactivity, and am trending in a direction that I am content with.  That is not to say I don’t, at times, find myself slightly down or unmotivated, but I am able to define where my negative feelings are coming from and isolate those feelings to whatever obstacle is responsible for the negative thought loop.  Once I do that, I can break that thought loop.  Often, any negative feelings can be traced back to my impatience with my career or financials, or not being able to do something I want to do.  When there is nothing I can do about the outcome, or if the solution is one that will take time to achieve, I have started to breathe through my discontentment and reframe my perspective to take the action needed to help me get where I want to be.

My meditation practice has seen some significant growth and is bleeding into my daily routine, meaning, I am finding myself clearing my mind by noting my breath when feelings of anxiety, stress, or self-doubt begin.  That is a massive change that has significant benefits, maybe even the most significant development that I have undergone during this process.

Physical Health.  Stated simply, I’m in shape.  I am strong, I am lean, I workout 4-7x per week and am maintaining a weight at around 182-185 lbs.  Although I would consider that on the lighter side for my frame, I feel fantastic and think that adding any additional muscle mass is only going to benefit me aesthetically.  My diet could use some work, but if I just got rid of the momentary lapses in discipline that urge me to shovel spoonfuls of PB with a delectable honey drizzle into my gaping mouth, then I would be doing just fine.  I, also, tend to drink an iced hazelnut americano at some point during each day, which I have started being cognizant of, not just from a health perspective (the syrup and cream), but also because of the sheer amount of plastic that a habit like that generates.

Here’s what my diet regularly looks like:  In the morning, I, typically, fast until 10 AM -1 PM.  I break that fast with either a protein shake or some eggs over a bed of greens (with an avocado if we have one).  Lunch is often a salad and some leftovers, but if I’m in a rush, a sandwich or burrito from Whole Foods or PCC may be indulged.  I have, as of lately, been cooking my dinner on the grill.  After my daily workout I drink a large whey protein shake.

I, also, take some supplements, here is what I am currently taking:  Whey Protein, Creatine, Pre-Workout, Alpha Brain by ONNIT, Brain by Host Defense, CoQ10, B12, Krill Oil, Vitamin D3, ZMA (Zinc Magnesium Asperate), 5-HTP, Collagen Peptides, Aniracetam (nootropic – take only as needed and sometimes with my pre-workout for added focus)

Creativity:  Honestly, I have not been doing all I can here.  My focus feels somewhat divided between work, the outdoors, the gym, and I have been neglecting to let my creative juices flow like the river they could be.  I haven’t even been updating this blog very regularly, but what I have been doing is enjoying editing and recording videos of my adventures, which I have posted to the “a Life to Summit” YouTube Channel.  I, also, am feeling more inspired lately and feel that I have a lot of pent up writing to slog through.  One of my goals for this coming month is to make some progress on the book I am writing.

Relationships:  In some ways, this has seen tremendous growth.  My girlfriend and I have been fighting and bickering much less than normal, and I feel like we are understanding one another better and acknowledging what sets us off.  It’s not perfect, as no relationship ever is, but we’re making strides, and I’m very pleased with that.  My other relationships with my family and friends are going just fine, minus the fact that there is just not enough time to adequately spend with all the people I care about.

On the other hand, I have further written off the most toxic relationship in my life, and harsh, but incredibly honest, words were conveyed through text messages to that person and their significant other.  I have come to terms with the fact that some people cannot be changed, and no matter who that person is supposed to be to you, if they are negatively impacting your mental health, they do not need to be in your life.

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Career/Learning:  I have sold two houses so far and have been busily growing my pipeline.  I am, currently, in between very active buyers, believe I have a couple listings coming up and am generally looking at this career move as the best decision I have ever made.  With that said, I am somewhat stressed out, the lull between clients has been too long and led to some self-doubt, but think I will make a solid career out of this venture once I have fully ramped my business up.

I am reading daily and applying what I read to my life.  Great things are coming from that.  Listening is the other thing I am working on, and my Audible and Calm apps have been great tools to hone that skillset.

 

As I have been gearing up my real estate business and further growing this blog, I have been paying attention to how people interact with their social media, and there are a couple things that have bothered me about what I have witnessed.  One of those things is that I feel like there are a lot of phonies out there.  Frauds, if you will.  People who convey that they are someone that they truly are not, and I want to do my very best to ensure I do not fall into this category, because, in reality, I am not some zen-minded intellectual, rather, I operate in chaos and my life has been a series of me stumbling into stupid decision after dumb outcome, rinse, repeat.  The whole concept of this year has been to find balance and learn to clear out that chaos.  It’s a step that has been needed to be taken to correct an unstable path.  With that said, these people I have deemed as phonies might not deserve such a harsh critic.  In fact, it is a negative time suck to even judge these people who are just trying to figure out who they are in this digitally connected world.  Or maybe they’re just trying to make a buck.  What drives someone else is completely separate from what drives me, and it is very easy to choose which lens you decide to view others through.  What I am trying to say is, I have kind of been a dick for a lot of years, but I think I might be coming to a place where I am shedding that dick skin. 😳

If I could offer advice to people out there battling with their online personality versus their true self, I would say to just get out and do what it is you claim you do and make it part of who you actually are.  For instance, if you are claiming to be a bad ass personal trainer who is a crazy hiking machine, then get the fuck out there TODAY and go hike something extremely hard.  Then do it tomorrow, too!  Followed by three more next week.  Show the world you can do things others cannot and set a precedent for yourself to stop encouraging half ass efforts just so that you can get a picture on top of some easily attainable mountaintop that makes people unfamiliar with the area say, “Oh, wow, they’re on top of a mountain, that must be hard.”  It’s easy to be on top of a mountain, it’s hard to find the steepest, longest route, and push yourself beyond what you know you are capable of.

Stop talking, start doing, and don’t stop doing until you get the results you desire.

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Lastly, I had a discussion this week with a childhood friend.  That friend is Antone Gerontis.  I am going to write a whole separate post regarding Antone’s journey, but am bringing your attention to him now, as his story is one of the most inspirational and heartbreaking things I have come across.  His mental strength is unrivaled and I am so honored to have had the chance to converse with him.  Antone and I went to elementary school together, and, unfortunately, he has become very, very sick for the last six plus years.  As we were talking he was prepping himself for a surgery and had a gaping hole in his chest.  Even with all of that, he had nothing but the kindest words to say and was telling me his dreams and goals for when he is healthy, again.  I know he is going to get there, but he needs your help.  He has spend all of his money battling his disease.  Please go visit his site and read his updates.

https://www.youcaring.com/antone-gerontis-563753

 

When an issue seems like it is too large and burdensome to bear, remember that any issue at a certain distance vanishes completely from sight and is no longer an issue at all.  I have spent a lot of time feeling like I am winning or losing at life, recently I have realized that I am just being, and will continue to just be until that vanishes completely from sight as well.

Cheers 🤙 ,

~Dane

P.S. WHOEVER DONATED A THOUSAND DOLLARS TO aLifetoSummit.com’s Patagonia trip!  HOLY SHIT!!!!!!! THANK YOUUUUU!!!!!!! I, literally, just saw that and am so emotionally overwhelmed and thankful.

P.P.S.  I have alot of footage to upload to my Vlog, including a trip into the Olympics with my little brother.  Here is the recently uploaded video of us climbing Saint Helens in May.

P.P.P.S. Here’s what one of my recent workouts looks like:

Warmup:  1300 meter row on 10 difficulty in 5 minutes.

Squats
135 lbs x 10
Pause set: 135 lbs x 10
205 lbs x 10
255 lbs x 6
315 lbs x1
255 lbs x 6
255 lbs x 6

Shoulder press dumbbells
50 lbs x 10
50 lbs x 15
50 lbs x 12
50 lbs x 10

Single-Leg Leg Press
90 lbs x 10 ea
180 lbs x 10 ea
270 lbs x 4 ea + 180 lbs x 8 ea

(Superset with)

Isolated High Row on Hammer Strength (Plate Loaded)
90 lbs (180 lbs total) x 10 each
115 lbs (230 lbs total) x 10 ea
135 lbs (270 lbs total) x 10 ea

Lateral and Frontal (Alternating Sets) Dumbbell Raises
25 lbs x 10  L
25 lbs x 10 F
25 lbs x 10 L
25 lbs x 10 F
25 lbs X 10 L
25 lbs X 10 F

Low Cable Crossovers
80 lbs (each stack) x 10
80 lbs x 10
80 lbs x 10
80 lbs x 10

Rear Foot Elevated Lunge
25 lb dumbbells (50 lbs total) x 10 each leg
25 lb dumbbells x 10 each leg
25 lb dumbbells x 10 each leg

Sauna and Steam.

 

VLOG #2: What’s da Happs & Mid-week Update

A mid-week recap of my sobriety, progress, challenges and just me talking about the weekend. Enjoy… Or don’t.

(Header pic taken at Showbox SoDo in Seattle after the Nick Murphy / Chet Faker show on Saturday)

I may have been slightly over-caffeinated for this VLOG.  Also, Vlogging is the least cool thing I’ve ever done, but what the hell…

 

Full Nick Murphy / Chet Faker video edit coming once I have to sit down and put it together.  I know I promised it earlier this week, but PLEASE BE PATIENT WITH ME!!!

Cheers! 🤙

~Dane

Getting Back on the Swing: Week One (1/2 Week) of Sobriety & Self-Improvement

The second half of this week my ADHD has been a bit of a motherfucker.  Last week’s travel with the addition of coming off of an ethanol-fueled week has been a hinderance to my focus, productivity and emotional states.  I have been a little rough around the edges in the 72 hour following my return and it took me until this morning to truly get my brain back in working order.  With that said, I am BACK BABY!  And, now, I’m feeling like I’m in a place where I can start executing and further defining my plan of attack over the coming months and year.

When I got back from Denver on Tuesday night, there was a package waiting on my doorstep.  In that package were two books, both the same, titled Principles by Ray Dalio.  One of my closest friends, and somewhat of a mentor/older brother figure in my life, Erik, had sent me this read as we have been discussing some challenges with mental health and one another’s personal growth over the last couple months (he’s seemingly much farther along than I).  Since last year he has sent me a couple of books – see previous post – that have been insanely helpful, to the point of prompting this journey, and so he sent me Principles to read and deconstruct together.  He also figured that if he sent both copies to me it would force us to actually meet up.  Ironically, and so far unbeknownst to him, I had purchased this book at the airport bookstore in Denver the same day.  Great minds work alike!  Or, is it think alike?  Whatever.  I gifted the copy I had purchased to my friend Adam who was watching my dogs while I was away, as I already intended on buying him a book in the same vein.

So far, this is a very insightful read, and not only at establishing principles, but also as a timeline of economics over the last 50 years (I’m not very far into it – Chapter 3 – but so far I am getting a synopsis of Ray’s life and the events that shaped him and his business).  It’s a great overview for a dumb fucker like myself who truly has no grasp on economic markets, how they operate, trading, commodities, bonds… Blah.  I could take a nap.  Surprisingly, however, it’s been quite the page turner in the little time that I’ve put in; either that or my reading abilities are slowly increasing.  Probably a mix of the two.  See bottom of page for other books I’m reading if you care to know.

Quotes from Principles that I like so far:

  • “You better make sense of what happened to other people in other times and other places because if you don’t you won’t know if these things can happen to you and, if they do, you won’t know how to deal with them.” – Ray Dalio, Principles.
  • “There’s always risks out there that can hurt you badly, even in the seemingly safest bets, so it’s always best to assume you’re missing something” – Ray Dalio, Principles.
  • “It’s smarter to start with what you really want, which are your real goals, and then work back to what you need to attain them.  Money will be one of the things you need, but it’s not the only one and certainly not the most important one once you get past having the amount you need to get what you really want.” – Ray Dalio, Principles.
  • “…meaningful work and meaningful relationships were and still are my primary goals and everything I did was for them.  Making money was an incidental consequence of that.” – Ray Dalio, Principles.

Yesterday I decided I have to stop what I have currently been doing for money as soon as I can and find a different way to make some bank.  I am stressed beyond belief, don’t like the uncertainty and inconsistency of these paychecks, and am ready to buckle down and get something else going.  I need a thinking cap because the flipside of that coin is going back to work for another corporation that could lay me off at any given moment – like my last two positions prior did.  I guess that’s partly why I’m doing this whole sobriety challenge/year-in-review thing anyway.  I feel like I am purposefully making myself uncomfortable in a way I never really have and creating homework that I should actually enjoy doing.  I mean, that’s the mission and that’s all positive.  I just need the money to follow because being broke in this world is a bitch and I’m quite fed up of not having a solid nest egg and not being able to go heli-skiing in Revelstoke whenever I want.  I think Nas said that; at least that’s the white guy cliff notes as I doubt Nas would be interested in hitting the slopes with Tanner Hall or Sage Cattabriga-Alosa… I could be wrong.

Speaking of year-in-review and sobriety; I think I am going to make a change to the year of sobriety and change it to sobriety until I finish my trek to Patagonia.  So, One Year No Beer, may turn into a longer period… Thoughts?

I think the Physical Health portion of this challenge is going to be the easiest part.  I mean, how hard is it to open the front door and run to the gym for an hour or so?  Today I had a KICK ASS workout.  Front squats, squats, deadlifts, calf raises, 20 minutes cardio.  We went heavy and I was able to squat 315 for the first time in a while.  Yesterday I incline pressed 95 lb dumbbells for 4 reps and my shoulder didn’t bother me much at all.  Today I was a little low on energy, as I fasted this morning and didn’t have any caffein until after I ate a delicious post workout poke lunch with my friend and workout partner, Jarell.  I’m feeling strong and like I’m almost detoxed from a week of solid binging.  Next week and this weekend are going to rock, but I’ll save that for my Sunday night blog which will include things I need to work on and goals for the week.

6 positives for the week:

  1. Getting to hang out with my brother, his friends and my family continuing one of the best weekends of my life into the week.
  2. Consistently writing, journaling and reading.
  3. Setting up my blog and YouTube accounts properly to get this process all started.
  4. Eating better as of Wednesday night.  Salads were so necessary and I’m already seeing the beer weight drop off after only two workouts.
  5. Amazing friends who pick me up from the airport (Nate & Joss), put me through killer workouts (Jarell), watch my dogs for me (Adam & Bri), and send me books to help me become a better version of myself (Erik).  Thank you all! <3’s
  6. Ran a mile in 6:58!  That’s the fastest I’ve done in years.  I typically never run, but hey, I’m getting back at it now!

Random Mentions:

Here’s a picture of my brother after he saw his house turned upside down:
(For the reference, please see: https://alifetosummit.wordpress.com/2017/10/05/estes-park-the-wedding-my-last-day-of-sobriety/ ).  Everyone involved had a great laugh.

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My friend Brandon sent me this and I thought it was pretty original & hilarious:

For focus I have been listening to this track on repeat and holy shit can I buck out some writing and tasks when it is playing.  I just randomly found it while listening to a playlist on Apple Music.  Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty dope.

 

And, lastly, in case you are curious, here is a list of what else I am currently reading:

  • The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell for fiction.
  • Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin – I listen to this on tape while I drive or workout.
  • Tao of Seneca for a daily thought booster (also a Tim Ferris recommendation).
  • 52 Small Changes for the Mind by Brett Blumenthal – a once a week read (one chapter/week) to help improve mental health over the course of a year (also purchased for me by Erik)
  • Adam (my friend mentioned above), also gave me the Tao of Pooh to read after having a discussion on stoicism and eastern theologies… I haven’t added that to the list quite yet, but it’s on my nightstand.

Cheers!

~Dane