Whats going on in my life?
Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you really need to do, in order to have what you want. _ Margaret Young
“When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully” – Dr Johnson
In one of the final chapters of The Obstacle Is The Way, Ryan holiday talks about how near death experiences tend to act as a catalyst for people to reinvent themselves and ‘emerge from the experience a completely different, and better person.‘
IN the past 12 months I have thought about death more than any other time in my life. The BASE jumping course I attended at Snake River BASE Academy begins with us sitting down and writing a letter to our friends and family saying that we have died BASE jumping and that it was no ones fault except our own.
They do this for 2 reasons :
1: It acts as their wavier. If you happen to die while participating in the course they are able to produce a handwritten letter by you saying it was your fault.
2: It makes you really think about what you are about to do. In a sport where fractions of a second can mean life or death its definitely not something to be taken lightly.
I attended that course three times last year. Twice as a participant and once as an assistant instructor. Each time I was there I wrote another letter and in the times between I gave a lot of thought to my mortality and I can honestly say that it has made me a better person.
Death is inevitable. It is really the only thing you can guarantee on happening in life but its also the one area people don’t like discussing or even planning for. This past year I knew two people who died tragically. One was in a skydiving accident, and the other was in a fire. One day they were here and the next they were gone. This was a huge reminder to me of how precious life actually is and how it can all be over so quickly.
Following my initial BASE course I started writing more letters to friends and family, and making audio recordings with the intention that they would only be read, or heard if I happen to die unexpectedly. When I am going out to make a jump I am fully aware that there is a chance that I may not come home. People may think that it’s very morbid but it actually has the opposite effect on me and my interaction with those around me. I’ll be eating dinner with my wife or walking my dog and think ‘This may be the last time I ever do this” and it forces me to be present. I want those who I am with to remember those moments as being ones where I was connected to them and showing them I care for them vs being distracted, or playing on my phone, or whatever. I am not saying I am perfect in these actions – far from it, but having those thoughts to pull on is extremely beneficial to myself and those around me.
I can honestly say that I do not fear dying. I know it is coming eventually and when it happens it happens. The world will go on as normal. Having said that I want those I care about to know that I cared about them after I am gone. I want something to exist in my place. This also makes me want to set big goals and accomplish big things while I have the opportunity to. I could be in a car crash tomorrow and end up in a wheelchair the rest of my life. For me this is not a reason to play it safe and be conservative, it’s a reason to go after what I want even more. BASE jumping is what pulled this to the front of my mind but I’m applying it to everything in my life more and more.
You do not need to have a close call or traumatic event happen in your life for you to view the world this way. You just need to actually acknowledge the fact that someday you will be gone and being prepared for it can give you great perspective on how you want to spend the time you have.
“Reminding ourselves each day that we will die helps us treat our time as a gift” – Ryan Holiday
“It’s easy to be grateful when things are going your way but the challenge lies in being able to grateful when things are not going your way and see how it is serving you.“
This time of year is great for reflection of the past 12 months, and planning for the next. I’ve written many times on my belief of the importance of constantly setting goals and taking action to achieve them. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, you always have the ability to start something new. Having said that the first of the year symbolizes a fresh start the world over so its common for the majority of people to think like this. The same thing applies around Thanksgiving – everyone takes time to acknowledge what they are grateful for in their lives and makes time to spend with loved ones. While I believe that the world would be a better place if everyone did this more often I understand that my views of the world don’t really matter in a global sense and instead of going around saying ‘people should do more of this and less of that‘ that I am far better off simply leading by example instead of creating more problems by telling people how they should be living their lives. Instead of complaining about people not setting goals and being grateful often enough I am going to be grateful that there are at least designated times of the year where everyone thinks about these things a little more.
A little over a year ago I was diagnosed with a torn labrum in my right shoulder and that I needed surgery to get it repaired. Up until that moment working out and my own physical development was my main priority in life and to have it taken away was crippling. Unfortunately over the years several of my clients have had the same issue and I have watched them go through the recovery process. It was not a road I wanted to go down for several reasons.
1- I was already scheduled to have foot surgery at the end of December and the recovery from that was already going to be a couple months.
2- I had jumping trips planned every month from Feb-June and I didn’t want to postpone them.
3- I was unwilling to accept the fact that I was going to be unable to workout like I had been up to that point.
I decided to wait until June to make a decision and in the six months or so do everything I could to make my injury livable. I took close to 3 months off any upper body exercises and gradually started to reintroduce some things and did exactly that. I did a lot of basic strength stuff for my shoulders and the daily pain I was experiencing gradually went away.
Long story short I didn’t have surgery and my focus on my fitness gradually got moved away from ‘being the best physical version of myself’ to ‘being healthy and injury free’. The whole year was basically a wash for me working out wise. I didn’t increase the numbers on any of my lifts or reduce my times on any benchmark workouts. Throughout the year I made a few attempts to ‘come back’ but as soon as I started to push it for a week or so my injury would remind me that it’s still there and not going to magically go away.
I was forced into this new mindset but I got to the point of accepting my injury for what it was, and then just moved my focus to somewhere else. Keys to aiding this new mindset was shifting focus towards work, jumping, and personal development. You can make plans and have goals as much as you like but things don’t always go the way you want them to and instead of wishing the world had dealt you a better hand you are far better off just figuring out how to play the one have. This is very easy to type out but a lot harder to practice. Lots and lots of mental struggle.
At the beginning of last year I set several goals for myself – The most notable was to ‘take a non work related trip every month of the year’ – This was huge in getting my mind off my shoulder. I managed to do 9 trips which I am very happy with. In spite of the expenses involved I still managed to hit my financial goal of saving a certain amount this year which I am quite proud of as well. For the first time in my life I actually have a savings account and I’m contributing a portion of everything I make into it. With the trips I simply booked them and then figured out how to afford them afterwards. With saving I set up an auto-withdrawl into a savings account every month and didn’t worry about it.
For my trips I had the opportunity to go to:
San Deigo, Idaho x3, and West Virginia – All jumping trips
Vegas, Amsterdam, and London – Bachelor parties, and a Wedding
Maui- A little R&R
I also hired two full time employees, opened a 2nd business, started a new partnership, became a BASE jumper, and learned how to backflip! In my final post last year I wrote:
“This time of year is great for reflection of the past year and projection of the next. 2013 was a year of profound change in every aspect of my life and I am extremely grateful for each situation that contributed to it.”
I’m simply going to give this +1 this year.
When I tell people what I do and how I live life I often get called lucky or people think that it all comes without challenge but nothing is further from the truth. The struggle that comes from owning a business, having employees, traveling a lot, and anything else you want to single out is endless. Theres a Haitian proverb that says: ‘Behind mountains are more mountains’ and that is exactly the case.Every obstacle you overcome reveals a bigger one to encounter and it’s up to you if you want to turn your back on it and let circumstance dictate your destiny or face it head on, overcome it and grow from the experience. A lot of times things don’t work out as you planned but you simply adapt to the situation and keep going.
I know that I set several goals last year but unfortunately I did not write them all down- #rookie.
This year I am going to physically write them down, put the piece of paper in a sealed envelope, keep it somewhere I will see daily, and not open it until next year. If anyone reads this and wants to participate take a photo of it and post on instagram with the #feelthefear2015 and tag myself @johnny_craic and @crossfitcraic that would be awesome. I wrote a post for the gyms blog linked here detailing how to write your goals.
Heres to another year of adventure, challenge, love, presence, and gratitude.
2014 has been a crazy year for me. Lots of challenges to overcome, physically, and mentally. It’s hard to believe that this time last year BASE jumping was just a dream in the back of my mind and now it’s something I do regularly and constantly think about. The personal growth I feel like I’ve gained from it is near impossible to describe in words but I will continue to try as time goes on. Each and every time I go out to make a jump it’s a completely new experience. Even if I’m jumping off something I’ve jumped before it’s always different. There is always a new variable to take into consideration and that makes it ever more exciting.
December is the only month of the year that I haven’t been traveling this year. It’s been nice to settle into work and refocus a little. I’ve also been planning a lot of adventures and settings goals for next year. Topping everything this year will be a huge challenge but I’m confident I’ll make it happen.
I’ve started going through footage of my jumps from the past couple months and made a couple edits. Again it’s impossible to really capture these moments but I’ll do the best I can.
Thank you for watching
Standing at the airport Jarrod asks me “Is that Tim Ferris behind you?” – I turn around and was shocked to see him sitting there on his computer. We went over and introduced ourselves and chatted for a few mins. Tims book ‘The Four Hour Workweek” is one of the books that I can confidently say changed my life. For anyone who hasn’t read it I strongly recommend picking up a copy. Despite what the title says its not about only working four hours a week and it’s not just for people who run their own businesses. It’s simply a bunch of strategies that you can apply to your life to free up more time for yourself and for the things that you love while still accomplishing your mission critical tasks. I loved the book so much that I bought the audiobook and still listen to it regularly.
I told him how much I loved it and how I’ve implemented a lot of his principles into my own life.
What I thought of later (hindsight being 20:20) is that I wouldn’t have even had the opportunity to be taking a vacation to Maui had I not read his book. Pretty fuckin cool to meet a guy who is in some way responsible for me going on a trip when we never even met. I can only hope that someday I can pay it forward by inspiring others to do the same.
sunsets, mai-tais, my friend james, driving, BASE jumping, waterfalls, blunts, 30 year old men, nude old people, early nights, camping, more driving, waves, bare feet, house boats, tattoos, gainers, and lots of staring at amazing scenery.
Thats basically what my life consisted of over the past week. Ate A LOT of shit food, drove everywhere, and pretty much had zero responsibilities other than staying alive. Sounds amazing but I’m def happy to be back home and back into my ‘routine’. It’s hard to even say that I have a routine as it changes weekly depending on what I am doing. I feel like I have truly created a life I don’t need to escape from and majority of the time I am very grateful for things as they are.
Maui is a really cool place. Prob the most beautiful I’ve been to so far on my travels. The climate there is crazy. It can be pissing rain and look like the worst day of the year and then you drive for 20mins and its the nicest day of the year.
As I may have mentioned we (myself and Jarrod) went for a little business/mostly pleasure. We visited pretty much every CrossFit gym on the island and spoke with the owners/coaches. Our intent was to see if there was any market over there to possibly open another location but the end result was that its pretty saturated as it is. You could say the same for Boston, or any major city in America at this point but Maui is a small place and it def doesn’t have as much opportunity as over here on the mainland.
The highlight of the trip for me was jumping off my first Building! What a fuckin rush. I honestly can’t put it into words the battles I have gone through physically and mentally since starting jumping earlier this year. I’m blown away at how welcoming the BASE community is as a whole as well. I spent the last 4 months trying to arrange a jump while out in Hawaii and the stars lined up perfectly and managed to pull it off.
I’m not going to say where, when, or what time this jump took place. I’ll just say that the entire experience felt like pulling off a bank robbery only we did not steal anything, break anything, disturb anyone, or leave any trace. It was a true Bond mission. I was nervous as usual for the build up to the jump but it all went off really smooth.
This was my first building but it was way less stressful than jumping a tower or cliff. I think the exposure while climbing hundreds of feet and having to take breaks really builds up things in your head and while on a cliff edge things are intensified even more. Once your in the stairwell of a building you simply walk up the stairs and jump. Nothing to it right
The journey of pushing my limits and never becoming complacent is never ending.
The Fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow.
I have no more travel plans for the rest of the year which is a nice change of pace but I may sneak off for a weekend somewhere at some point. I’ve been away every month this year for a min of 4 days except for Jan (was recovering from foot surgery). I set a goal of doing just that last year and I’m psyched I was able to pull it off. I’ll most likely post a year in review end of next month detailing it a little more but next year ever I’ll no doubt be upgrading it again and continuing my mission of creating my life exactly how I want it to be.