The Eddie (And How Big Wave Surfers Handle Fear)

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There was a lot of randomness and chance that led me to being at The Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau. First of all, the legendary big wave surfing contest hadn’t run since 2009 due to conditions not being perfect. They only run the contest when Waimea Bay is over 20ft and perfect all day. It’s run only 8 times in the last 30 years. Earlier in February the contest was green lighted, but on the morning of the contest it was called off for conditions not being good enough. Everyone was bummed, but with the contest period extending till the end of February, they were hoping for one more big swell before month’s end to potentially run the contest. A few weeks later, Brock Little, a North Shore surf legend, passed away from cancer. Brock was loved and respected by many, and it was a huge loss in the surf community, especially on the North Shore. Days later a massive swell was headed for Hawaii. On the radio I heard that it was the biggest swell ever recorded there, since they had started recording swell data 50 years prior. It was named #BrockSwell. The Eddie was again green lighted on Monday to be run that upcoming Thursday, February 25, 2016.

I had never been to Oahu before, but on that random week in February, I happened to be there. I had never been to the North Shore before, but on that random Thursday I happened to be there. And on that Thursday, February 25 at 8am, they called The Eddie ON! I rescheduled most of what I was supposed to do that day and headed over to Waimea Bay to see many of surfing’s biggest names surf massive waves in what will forever be one of the greatest days in surfing history.

 

As I watched these guys drop in on 30-40ft waves, I could only imagine how fucking scary it would be to be out there. Looking at their faces though, I couldn’t tell if they were scared, or if there was so much adrenaline that they were just ready to charge. I remember thinking, as I watched wipeout after wipeout, are these guys just insane madmen, or are they just really good at managing the fear? I’m sure it’s a little bit of both. I read this article recently called How Big Wave Chargers Accept and Handle Fear, and two of the best actually break it down pretty well.

Greg Long was one of the surfers in the Eddie, and is the current Big Wave Champion of the 2015/2016 season. I love how he breaks down:

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GL: For me, the greatest trick to overcoming fear, especially in big waves, is the understanding and embodiment of the fact that I have total control over how I interpret and react to every situation I face in life. All of our experiences are a result of how we perceive what is happening around us, and in every moment of our life we have a choice to perceive them in a positive, or a negative way.

Fear, is actually a very healthy emotion to feel. I simply interpret it as I have stepped outside of my comfort zone…and that is one of the greatest things to do in the world.

Unfortunately many people have been conditioned into believing otherwise and let fear manifest into actions of panic which is the worst thing you can do in any situation, especially riding big waves. Knowing that I have the choice in every moment to decide how I feel and that I don’t have to let the reactive mind take control of my actions has helped me tremendously to embrace those moments of fear.

Here is something I do regularly to help prepare myself for those inevitable times; Well before any big wave session, I think about all the situations I may encounter that may invoke those feelings; be it getting caught inside, paddling over the steep ledge into a wave, dealing with a long hold down etc.

Then I identify the very best way to react in each situation, as well as what I may also do if I were to react negatively out of panic. In identifying the negative, it becomes easy for me to recognize and change, in the event I do start behaving accordingly.

By identifying the positive, I have a thoughtful understanding of the best course of action to achieve whatever goal or overcome whatever obstacle is before me.

And most importantly, in the moment, I never forget that I have complete control over my feelings, and actions.  And no matter what you do in life, it is always better to keep them thoughtful, constructive and positive.

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Albee Layer surfed Jaws in Maui on the day of the Eddie, and got one of the greatest waves of all time there. Check it out…

 

Albee also has great advice around dealing with fear:

AL: I don’t think it’s so much over coming fear as much as accepting it. Like, everyone’s scared all the time surfing big waves (besides Aaron Gold, maybe) so it becomes about using that fear positively.

Fear has its place in big wave surfing but panic does not and it’s important to identify the difference between them. I read in a book called “The Fear Project” that it’s a battle of two brains, your ancient brain and your young brain. You have to battle your most basic instinct which is survival (old brain) with your new brain that’s aware of your ability to make it out of potentially lethal situations okay.

Your brain and body actually does its best work at a certain level of fear, this is why you can run faster when running away from something, rather than just sprinting but if you get too scared it can make you lose control of normal functions over your body, like, when you’re too scared to move and freeze. So what it all really comes down to is understanding and balancing the fear; that you are going to feel there’s no avoiding it or over coming it just learning to live and work with it.

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I’m definitely not about to go chasing waves the size that Greg and Albee ride. But watching these guys charge it at the Eddie made me want to step out of my comfort zone. Seeing the way they dealt with fear, and how they came in from their hour long heats just torn up and laughing, made me want to feel at least a little part of what they are feeling. There was such good energy that day on the beach at Waimea Bay. It was inspiring. It’s hard to describe. I could use a little bit more fear in my life. I would enjoy it. I think we all would.

 

Ditching My Closing Speech 15 Minutes Before The Speech

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Three days ago on Friday, I was sitting at the Sacramento Airport eating a falafel burrito, waiting for my ride to come pick me up, and I look over and see a familiar looking face walking by. With a mouthful of falafel, I dropped my burrito to run over and say “Are you Chris Guillebeau?” His response was yes, and with tons of excitement I said, “It’s really nice to meet you! I’m a huge fan, I’ve followed your blog for years and read all your books, and I just wanted to say thank you for doing great work! What are you doing in Sacramento?” Turns out that despite all the traveling he’s done (he visited all 193 countries by his 30th birthday), he had never been to Sacramento Airport. He asked what I was doing in Sacramento and I told him that I was about to go run a training for 60 college students on the topic of entrepreneurship. After 30 more seconds of chit chat, he heads over to his gate and I head back to my half eaten burrito, and that was that. If you’ve read other posts on this blog, you’ll know that I’ve mentioned Guillebeau more than a dozen times, and it was pretty cool meeting the guy in person.

Fast forward to Saturday evening, I’m prepping for my closing speech at the training I’m running. It’s about 15 minutes before I’m about to go on, and I’m reviewing my slides, which are the same slides I used to close a similar training the weekend before. The talk starts off by asking the college students in my audience to complete this phrase: “Millennials are the E________ Generation.” Like planned, they answer “The Entitled Generation” and I get them to discuss why they think that is. Then, I turn the corner and tell them that if I was to complete that phrase, not based on most millennials, but based on my friends, and the students that I have mentored before them, and individuals I hope that they become, it would read “The Entrepreneur Generation.” I follow that up with a couple articles from Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes, Inc.com and the New York Times, making the case for Millennials as the Entrepreneur Generation, and my goal for the rest of the talk is to inspire and encourage them to develop entrepreneurial characteristics as opposed to characteristics of entitlement.

But something came over me about 15 minutes before delivery. I didn’t want to give the same speech I gave the weekend before, because what’s the fun in that? I usually don’t give the same speech more than once, and although I was ready to give what I thought was a pretty good speech, I needed to keep things fresh. And plus, I really wanted to work my run in with Guillebeau into the mix. Last minute and on the fly, I came up with something completely new.

The first part of my new talk hit on the importance of role models and looking up to people  who have the characteristics that you want to emulate. I asked the crowd who some of their role models were and why, and I got answers ranging from “my former self” to Kobe Bryant. Then I shared a story of growing up as a young baseball player, really looking up to Cal Ripken Jr.  When I was young and in Little League, I liked him because we played shortstop. I had his baseball cards, knew his stats, and admired him for multiple Gold Glove awards as well as batting titles. And then on September 6, 1995, when I was 9 years old, I saw Ripken break Lou Gehrig’s 56-year seemingly unbreakable record by playing in his 2,131 consecutive game. He didn’t miss a game for over 16 years! Ripken, now known as the Iron Man, really made an impression on me, for his consistency, his perseverance, his work ethic, and ability to show up and do his job everyday, for 20 years and over 2632 consecutive games. In the past 8 years working for my company, I’ve taken ZERO sick days. Whenever I’m not feeling it, and remember Ripken and his streak, and I remember the importance of showing up and doing your job no matter what.

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It’s been over a decade since I played in my last competitive baseball game, and Ripken has long since retired. Now, my role models include mostly entrepreneurs, which comes to no big surprise considering I run a company. I really look up to Yvon Chouniard, the founder of Patagonia, for his “let my people go surfing” approach to business, as well as many other philosophies that make him a very unique and successful entrepreneur. I look up to Tim Ferriss for his work in entrepreneurship, lifestyle design, and meta-learning, and I get almost every book recommendation from him or the guests on his podcast. Coming back to my speech… Knowing that my students were about to embark on their first adventure in starting a business, I also encouraged them to find role models based on the characteristics that they wanted to emulate. And then I decided to tell them a quick little story about how I met one of my role models the day before at the airport. I told them how excited I was that I got to meet Chris Guillebeau, and how I told him I was in Sacramento to run a training on entrepreneurship. He wished me luck in my training, and about 15 minutes ago I decided to give them a little bit more than some Guillebeau luck. I had learned so much from Chris as a role model, I decided to end my speech giving the students some Guillebeau wisdom.

Guillebeau’s first book was The Art of Non-Conformity, based on his blog by the same title. My first piece of advice, from that book, was this:

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His second book was The $100 Start-Up, in which he gives many examples of entrepreneurs who were successful NOT because they had large start-up funds or MBAs, but because they found something they were passionate about, developed the right skills, learned on the fly, and worked extremely hard.

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And his most recent book of his that I’ve read, The Happiness of Pursuit, is all about how long-term quests are tied to long-term happiness. I talked about the difference between enjoyment (sitting in your sweatpants watching Netflix) and fulfillment (accomplishing a worthwhile goal) and encouraged them to take their new business quest one day and one step at a time.

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The final message was this:

Through the challenge of starting their own businesses this year, I hoped that they developed the character traits of the people they look up to and aspire to be like, and they find new role models who inspire them to be better. Quoting Thoreau, “What you get by achieving your goal is not as important as who you become by achieving your goal.”

——

In 15 minutes, before giving my closing speech, I decided to toss my old speech, throw some slides together, and wing it. It was the most fun I’ve had running a training like that in a really long time. It reminded me why I love my job. It reminded me why I love coaching college kids, to inspire and encourage them to be more entrepreneurial and become better versions of themselves.

My 2015 Annual Review

Inspired by Chris Guillebeau,  I did my first Annual Review at the end of 2013. It was fun to relive the fun and I enjoyed creating it. It was good to look back at my goals and see which ones I nailed and which ones I failed. I like that now and in years to come, I can look back and get a snapshot of what happened in 2013. But, despite my 2013 Annual Review being titled “Why 2013 was the best year ever, and 2014 will be even better,” 2014 turned out to be the worst year ever. I didn’t do an Annual Review for 2014 because, to be honest, I wasn’t at all proud of who I was and how the year went down. I made some very poor decisions. I learned from them. Coming into 2015 I was determined to be a better person, a better friend, and to live a healthier lifestyle.

 

Health

I signed up for WellnessFX and took my first blood test at the very end of 2014. The results were alarming, yet not surprising. My liver health was deep in the red. “A marked elevation in liver enzymes can signify liver dysfunction.” Well, I was 3-4 times the normal upper limit.

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I made some big lifestyle changes:

  • I cut WAY back on the drinking. Way back. And the funny thing is, I don’t think I sacrificed any fun at all. More on this topic in a bit.
  • I stopped eating meat and started eating HEAPS of veggies. I even started growing veggies in the garden. (If you’ve known me for a while, this is crazy. You can read more here Why The Son of a Butcher Gave Up Meat)
  • For the first quarter of the year, I juiced every day. I learned beets are good for liver health, and had tons of the bloody juice.

In March I took another blood test to see if the lifestyle and diet changes were making an difference. When I saw the results, I was f*cking amazed at how big a change there was in such a short timespan. But I knew that it wasn’t just about making a short term impact. Summer was coming – the time of bachelor parties, company payroll events, unforgettable experiences, and Cabo and Cancun – and I knew I had to stay healthy and keep it somewhat mellow. I took another blood test in September, and I was stoked to see things were still looking pretty good.

 

Financial 

My liver was not the only thing in the red after 2014. My credit card debt soared and credit score was in the dumps. At the beginning of the year, CreditKarma said my credit rating was poor. Funny thing is, my financial problems were very tied to my liver problems. I really lived it up in my mid-twenties, to say the least. Long story short, after spending a year with much less partying and drinking, I was able to pay off a lot of debt and get my credit score back to a respectable number.

 

 

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

More than anything, there was one big lifestyle change that really made the biggest impact: I moved in with my Mom. Saving on the rent obviously helped, but that was hardly the difference maker. Mom is the perfect role model. She’s healthy, a vegetarian, a kundalini yoga teacher, very caring and selfless, and just an all-around great person. So naturally, spending a ton of time with her in 2015, some of those things rubbed off. I meditated 73 times and started growing kale in the garden. Obviously I had some outside influence here. I really do believe, more than ever, that if you want to make big changes in your life, you need to put yourself in the right environment and surround yourself with the right people.

 

Fitness

In 2015 I exercised more than 150 times… less than 5 times in a gym. My fitness goal was to get OUTSIDE – surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, biking, hiking, beach volleyball, beach runs, trail runs, hill runs. I went mountain biking for the first time. I went whitewater kayaking for the first time. I even played bubble soccer… twice.

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Books
In 2015, if I wasn’t listening to the Tim Ferriss podcast or reading articles on Brainpickings.org, I was probably reading/listening to one of these…
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Top 5:
#1 Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
#2 Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynman
#3 We Learn Nothing by Tim Kreider
#4 Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
#5 The Martian by Andy Weir
The rest in no particular order:
  • On the Shortness of Life by Seneca
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  • Endurance – Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
  • Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance
  • The Score Takes Care of Itself by Bill Walsh
  • Abundance by Peter Diamandis
  • Eleven Rings by Phil Jackson
  • The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Sean Covey

 

 

Favorite quote of the year:

“How we spend out days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

– Annie Dillard

 

Habit of the year: Discipline

Discipline is something I really focused on in 2015, and will continue to focus on. As a discipline habit, I took a cold shower more than 200 days in a row. 365 days vegetarian, despite loving meat, took a lot of discipline. I worked remotely (worked while traveling) a lot last year, and that took discipline. I learned that discipline is the key to freedom.

Discipline equals Freedom. I got this from Jocko Willenk, a badass Navy SEAL commander, when he was interviewed on the Tim Ferriss podcast. It would seems as though discipline and freedom are opposites. You would usually associate freedom with just doing whatever you want when you want. But, as Jocko explains, discipline equals freedom, because if you wake up earlier, you get more done, and have more free time. If you’re more disciplined with your time management, you have more time and freedom. If you are more discipled with your diet and health, you can accomplish more because you feel better and have more energy and are more capable. Makes perfect sense.

 

New skill of the year: Photography

Towards the end of 2015, I bought my first DSLR camera and started learning photography. I took a few beginner classes on Udemy, and got pretty into it. Here are some of my favorite pictures from last year:

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Theme of the year: Redefining “Play”

Playing isn’t something we are restricted to doing only when we are children. I believe that life is better the more we grow older and retain our youthful enthusiasm for playing.

When I was a kid, play meant baseball, basketball, hide and go seek, climbing trees and getting dirty. When I was a teenager, play was surf trips to Mexico and Costa Rica, snowboard trips to Mammoth, and playing guitar and jamming with my friends. And then, in my mid-twenties, play became going to bars and clubs and getting as drunk as possible. Play was going to New York City and doing 5 consecutive nights of bar hopping until we couldn’t walk. Play was going to Vegas with bottle service and your favorite DJ. Don’t get me wrong, there are very few things that are as epic as a day party at Nikki Beach with your best friends, and I hope to do that once a year forever. But, after spending most my mid-twenties damaging my liver and spending money that I didn’t have, I thought that it might be time to redefine what “play” meant to me.

In 2015 I wanted to bring it back to what play meant when I was a kid.  I wanted to explore, climb things, get lost, stay up late, tell stories, laugh, find beauty, take pictures, do things for the first time, play sports, get dirty, and go fast…

So…

In 2015 I spent 30 days surfing… not at my home break. I surfed all over Australia, Tasmania, Cabo, Ventura, Morro Bay, San Diego, and more. I scored the best waves at K38 in Rosarito Mexico, over Labor Day weekend. I had the most fun every time I surfed with my brother, especially Christmas Day at Roaring Beach in Tasmania.

 

In 2015 I spent 6 days snowboarding… and it was epic. I boarded in Whistler and did Peak to Creek runs with my best buds. I took my dad and little sister to Mammoth for her 6th birthday, and she got to snowboard for the first time. And I lived like a ski bum for 5 days in Montana.

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In 2015 I spent 10 days camping… none of which at a campground. I camped with Evan and Derek just outside of Zion National Park for 3 nights, each night in a different spot at the recommendation of the waitress serving us that night. I camped in a van with my brother as we surfed and drove from Byron Bay down to Sydney Australia. I camped with Kyla, the camping-extraordinaire, for 2 nights somewhere outside Moab, UT. And I camped for another 3 nights with my brother and friends at 3 off-the-grid locations on the east coast of Tasmania.

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In 2015 I went to 7 National Parks… and I’m speechless. I went to 3 National Parks in Utah. I hiked Angel’s Landing at Zion National Park which is one of the most rigorous hikes I’ve ever done. I hiked the Fiery Furnace at Arches National Park, which is a real-life maze with exactly zero other people there. I hiked the Needles district of Canyondlands National Park which made me feel like I was on Mars. Yellowstone National Park in Montana/Wyoming was the first time I ever went in hot springs. At Royal National Park just south of Sydney Australia, we thought we were going to score some waves but didn’t. At Freycinet National Park in Tasmania we camped with the snakes at Bluestone Bay, and hiked over a mountain to Wineglass Bay. At Phang Nga National Park in Thailand I explored caves and saw some of the most beautiful island scenery I’ve ever seen.

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In 2015 I travelled… A LOT. We’re talking approx 150 days last year. That’s 40% of the year on the road. But I wouldn’t want it any other way.

  • 46 days in Northern California
  • 30 days in other California cities
  • 21 days in Australia
  • 10 days in Mexico
  • 10 days in Nevada
  • 9 days in Utah
  • 5 days in Montana
  • 3 days in Canada
  • 3 days in Michigan
  • 3 days in Oregon
  • 3 days in Thailand
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Tools/resources I used most in 2015:

  • Coach.me for tracking habits
  • Headspace for meditation
  • MapMyRun for fitness
  • WellnessFX for personal health
  • Five Minute Journal for gratitude
  • CreditKarma for personal finance
  • Udemy for learning new skills
  • Audible for reading books
  • Nikon D3300 for taking pictures
  • Chase Sapphire for free flights
  • SPG American Express for free hotels
  • Raen for sunnies and style

 

My goals for 2016: Coming soon…

 

Why The Son Of A Butcher Gave Up Meat

And How A Lifestyle Experiment Turned Into A Lifestyle Change

My dad is a butcher. I grew up eating the best cuts of meats. Rib eyes and filet mignons were a normal thing in our house. Don’t get me started on Dad’s Backyard Boogie Burgers. It was wonderful, and as you could imagine, I fell in love with meat. Once I moved out and started doing my own shopping, I would get the huge Costco packs of chickens and steaks and pack my fridge and freezer. When it came to bacon, I would spend extra buying only the best bacon, the thick kind that is seasoned on the outside. My shopping cart was always filled with ribs or corned beef or anything to fill my crock pot. One time a guy in a meat truck pulled up next to me on the street and sold me 80 frozen steaks on the spot. How could I say no?

So why did I decide on December 10, 2014 to stop eating meat?

It started as a lifestyle experiment, inspired by some Netflix documentaries. I did a deep dive on Netflix food documentaries. Fed Up was the first one I watched, and it really opened my eyes to the power of the food industry and big business and their control of the eating behaviors of the mass public, which has resulted in an epidemic of obesity in America. Next I watched Food Inc., which dove further into the horrors of the food industry. My feeling after watching these two documentaries was that I as a consumer needed to be more conscious and careful about what I ate. I should read labels more carefully, and only buy organic, non-GMO, free range, grass fed, etc.

And then I watched Forks Over Knives, and that’s what got me. The documentary examines the claim that most degenerative diseases that affect us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods. Degenerative diseases like heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and several forms of cancer, could be prevented or even reversed by adopting a whole-foods, plant-based diet.

Could I even go without meat? Every meal I ate had meat in it. I loved meat. What’s a breakfast without bacon, really? Well, I was about to find out, because at that point, I was at least sold enough to try a little experiment. No meat for at least 90 days. I was no stranger to these little challenges. I have done months on the Slow-Carb Diet, I’ve done 30 days without drinking, and I’ve done 200 days in a row of taking a cold shower in the morning. As difficult as it would be, I knew could do 90 days without meat. (For the record, I continued to eat fish)

I forgot to mention one thing before. Not only did I love meat, but I really didn’t like vegetables all that much. I ate them, but definitely didn’t look forward to eating them. I had previously never thought to myself, “oh yummy, brussel sprouts!” So this new whole-foods, plant-based diet thing would definitely be interesting. After the first couple weeks of trying it out, to my surprise, I felt great and honestly was having a lot of fun. Two things happened: I was really excited to cook again, and I looked at a restaurant menu with an entirely new perspective.

Cooking in Uncharted Territories

The fruit and vegetable section of a grocery store was uncharted territory for me, so navigating that was intimidating the first few times. I remember thinking a zucchini was a cucumber once. Cooking based on recipes was also completely new to me. When I cooked meat, I would put it on the BBQ, season it, and it was good to go. But cooking with plants was a little more complicated. This also made it more fun. I have always loved to cook, and cooking without meat actually forced me to really think about what I was cooking, what ingredients I was using, and follow a recipe. I got my first cookbook, Thug Kitchen. It’s awesome. And even beyond recipes, I got comfortable throwing artichokes, roasted red peppers, and jalapeños on some homemade pizza dough, cooking up multi-veggie omelets and scrambles, and even made a vegan chili in my crock pot that was just as delicious as a chili con carne. I eventually got so into cooking with veggies that I started growing two different types of kale in my garden. I now love waking up early in the morning and picking kale in the garden for a kale scramble or kale smoothie – though that still feels weird to say out loud.

Kale from my garden

A Whole New Menu, and a Whole New World

Shortly after deciding to not eat meat, I was eating at a restaurant in Vancouver called Forage, and the menu was split into 3 sections: Land, Soil and Sea. The old me would have gone straight to the Land section and had a tough choice between the bison rib-eye and the brown butter miso-glazed duck breast. But, with discipline, the new me looked at the Soil section, a section the old me would have completely ignored. Not knowing even what this dish was, or how to pronounce half of it, I got the French lentil and squash curry with cucumber raita, oven-dried tomatoes and Indian roti. The dish completely rocked my world! I remember it was at that moment that I thought to myself that I actually might have enjoyed that more than if I got a meat dish. After that, I started to really enjoy this new restraint I had on my diet, and this new lens on which I viewed a menu.

Menu at Forage Vancouver

I am now closing in on a year without eating meat! After the first 90 days, I decided that I wanted to keep going and at least make it a year. I really started to look at it less like a lifestyle experiment and more like a lifestyle change. And as I approach my year mark, I’ve had mixed feelings about eating meat again. Part of me wanted to stay vegetarian. Part of me felt like once I accomplish the year-long goal I should eat some bacon, similar to the way I had a nice glass of whiskey after 30 days not drinking, or took a nice long hot shower after going 200 days taking cold showers. I wouldn’t go back to eating meat every day like before, but if there’s bacon in the brussel sprouts at a restaurant, I wouldn’t have to remove that from the list of possibilities. I didn’t know what I was going to decide. These mixed feelings and indecision lasted until yesterday…

Yesterday I watched Cowspiracy, another Netflix documentary, and it put me over the edge – I’m not going back to eating meat. My mind was blown by the stats and realities presented in the documentary. Eating meat isn’t just a problem that affects personal health and animal well-being. Animal agriculture is the most destructive industry facing the planet today. The amount of animal products today’s humans eat is not sustainable. It’s the leading cause of global warming. It’s the leading cause of water depletion, of deforestation, of species extinction, of ocean dead-zones. See the infographic below for more stats.

Not eating meat is what I can do to make the single biggest impact on the environment. How crazy is that? And how many of us are actually willing to make such a big change? Definitely not many of us, at least without an alternative, which is why I’m really interested in the companies that are trying to solve the problem with non-animal alternatives to everyday foods. There is a company called Beyond Meat that creates products like burgers and chicken strips that look and taste like meat and have the same nutrients and protein. There is a company called GoBeyond Foods that makes plant-based dairy alternatives to milk and ice cream. Hampton Creek creates egg alternatives, mayo, and cookie dough that have no real eggs. Many of these companies are being invested in by the big VC firms in Silicon Valley and investors like Bill Gates and the founders of Twitter. Exactly like how Uber is disrupting the transportation industry and AirBnb is disrupting the hotel industry, I really think these food companies will disrupt the food industry. They have to, because we cannot continue to consume animal products at the current pace we are going at.

It was hard to stop eating meat. It will be hard to continue not eating meat. I won’t lie and say that I’m not tempted to eat some bacon every now and again. But after the past year, I know I can do it, and I know that I should do it. And you should do it too. If you’re more interested in how this change could affect your health and life, watch Forks Over Knives. If you’re more interested in how this change could affect the environment, then watch Cowspiracy. Or like me, watch both!

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If You Want to Change the World, Start Off by Making Your Bed

What does making your bed have anything to do with changing the world?

I just watched last year’s University of Texas commencement speech by Adm. William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command. In his 20 minute long commencement speech, he tells stories and gives advice based on his experience in Navy SEAL bootcamp. Here is an excerpt (http://www.utexas.edu/news/2014/05/16/admiral-mcraven-commencement-speech/):

I have been a Navy SEAL for 36 years.  But it all began when I left UT for Basic SEAL training in Coronado, California.

Basic SEAL training is six months of long torturous runs in the soft sand, midnight swims in the cold water off San Diego, obstacles courses, unending calisthenics, days without sleep and always being cold, wet and miserable.

It is six months of being constantly harassed by professionally trained warriors who seek to find the weak of mind and body and eliminate them from ever becoming a Navy SEAL.

But, the training also seeks to find those students who can lead in an environment of constant stress, chaos, failure and hardships.

To me basic SEAL training was a life time of challenges crammed into six months.

So, here are the ten lesson’s I learned from basic SEAL training that hopefully will be of value to you as you move forward in life.

Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Vietnam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed.

If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack—rack—that’s Navy talk for bed.

It was a simple task—mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection.  It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle hardened SEALs—but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.

If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day.  It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.

By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.

If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

“Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.” Man, I just love that.

This excerpt really makes me think just how important morning routines are. It also really makes me think of discipline habits in general and how important they can be. After taking a cold shower 100 mornings in a row, I learned that having discipline is hard. It’s incredibly hard to stick to something like that, but I learned to have the discipline to do it, and that discipline was beneficial in other areas of my life, with work, relationships, health and more.

I also just read a good article on the Zen Habits blog about how to start a discipline habit. Leo says “you start by washing your dishes. It’s just one small step: when you eat a bowl of cereal, wash your bowl and spoon. When you finish drinking coffee or tea, wash your cup. Don’t leave dishes in the sink or counter or table.” (http://zenhabits.net/start-discipline/) Again, you start with a small task, because it’s the little things that matter.

Accomplishing big goals and changing the world – it starts with discipline, being able to stick to something, being able to take pride in the little things, the little details – like making your bed or washing your dishes.

I highly recommend investing 20 minutes watching the rest of the commencement speech. Other stories end with “If you want to change the world get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward” and “So, if you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud.” You’ll be glad you watched it.

The Cold Shower Streak – What I Learned from Taking a Cold Shower 100 Mornings in a Row

“Boom! Every cell in my body wakes up. It’s like training your nervous system to rock. I don’t give a shit how you feel, you have to perform… That simple discipline that reminds me the level of strength and intensity that is available at any moment, at will.”
-Tony Robbins in the Tim Ferriss podcast

 

cold shower streak on coach.me app

Today is my 100th day in a row taking a cold shower. Most of my friends think I’m nuts, which is fine because I think that Tony Robbins is nuts, and he is the reason I started taking cold showers in the first place. If you’ve ever watched or listened to Tony Robbins you know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, you need to. The quote above is Tony talking to Tim Ferriss about his morning routine, cold showers and hydrotherapy.

My first cold shower was just a fun experiment. I wasn’t too serious about it, but was curious to see what Tony was talking about. I jumped in, and it was exactly what I was expecting: freezing cold and miserable. After about 5 minutes, I got out, and felt great. I felt awake, I felt energized, and I felt proud of myself for getting through the pain and misery of my first cold shower. I decided right then and there that I liked it, and I wanted more.

After a few more cold showers, it started to get tougher. The newness and excitement was gone. It became a mental challenge. I would lay in my warm and cozy bed a bit longer in the morning, knowing that as soon as I got up I’d be subjecting myself to the agony of ice cold water. I would stare at the shower nozzle for a few seconds longer each morning wondering if I should just end all this and go back to nice warm showers. After turning the cold water on, I would pause, and just think “why am I doing this?” But every morning I would get in and get it done. And every time, I would get out of the shower feeling great. I could literally feel myself building mental toughness.

I started to research the health benefits of cold showers. There are a number of benefits of cold water to the body: increased alertness and energy, better looking skin, improved circulation and immunity, fat burn, muscle recovery, and reduced stress. This definitely provided reinforcement that the discomfort was worth it.

But as I got longer and longer into my streak, the discomfort became worth it because of the discomfort itself. The ability to purposefully accept the discomfort, and stick to it each and everyday, has become why I enjoy cold showers the most. It’s about the ability to silence the mind right before getting into the shower. It’s about starting my day feeling like I am in control. I get out of the shower every morning feeling if I can do this I can do anything. I am conditioning myself to be able to step outside my comfort zone. It’s a freezing cold daily reminder to step out of my comfort zone.

Why Making 2015 Your “Best Year Ever” Starts Right Now

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Many people have big changes and improvements they want to make for the upcoming year. “2015 is going to be the best year ever!” they think. But here is the biggest mistake that 99% of people make: “I’ll start on January 1st.”

People set goals and new habits for the new year, and are incredibly excited and optimistic about how great the new year will be, but over the holidays create bad habits (over-eating, laziness, etc). Then January 1st rolls around, they wake up (probably groggy and hungover from the NYE festivities), and they expect that they are going to make huge changes but don’t have the habits or willpower necessary to make the changes, so they fail.

Its like training for a marathon, the training starts way before the race. You don’t just go out there on race day and run the race, it takes months of training and dedication leading up to the race to achieve the success you want. If 2015 is the marathon, you’re not going to achieve the success you want without training beforehand. You can’t just switch good habits on because the calendar year changes on January 1st.

So if you are serious about the changes you want to make and the good habits you want to develop, and you really want to make 2015 the best year ever, don’t start January 1st, start in December. December should be your best month ever if 2015 is going to be your best year ever. Obviously today is Christmas Eve so it’s a little late if you’re reading this now… but If you actually want 2015 to be your best year ever, it still starts today. If 2015 is really going to be your best year ever, then this week (Dec 24-Dec 31) needs to be the best week ever. Start making changes now. Start developing habits now. Start creating the right environment now.

So think: How can I treat now, until the rest of the year, as the best week of my life? How can I use this week to set myself up for success come the new year? This week will likely be a preview to the year to come.