Living life to the fullest


On May 26, 2015, Dean Potter, the legendary rock climber, BASE (Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth) jumper, BASEliner, highliner, jumped off a 3,500-feet cliff in Yosemite park with his BASE jumping partner Graham Hunt, aimed to go through a V-shaped notch feature while flying through the air in their wings-suits. Dean and Graham have jumped off the same spot many times. Unfortunately, this was their last jump as both died on impact while trying to go through the notch.

In case you don't know who Dean Potter is, he's one of the most famous rock climbers in the world. He has been featured on many rock climbing films, best known for breaking speed climbing records and free-climbing mountains without a rope. Instead of me babbling on about him, here are some videos that you can check out for yourself.

I used to climb for fun but never got serious into the sport. Rock climbing in the great outdoors was a way for me to spend time in the nature, hang out with friends, and challenge myself physically and mentally.

Dean Potter did not participate in these extreme sports without any fear. It has been well documented that he had the fear of falling. Taking on rock climbing and BASE jumping was his way of trying to conquer this fear of falling.

While I'm nowhere as good of a rock climber as Dean Potter, he has always been someone who has inspired me. I get inspired by Dean Potter not only because he's an awesome rock climber or that he's an extreme sport athlete, but because he lived outside the norm. He has always pushed the envelope, pushed his comfort zone, and was not afraid to live on the edge. Dean pursued something that he loved and enjoyed. He lived his life to the fullest every day. He wanted to climb so he could be with himself and be away from the craziness of the modern society. Despite knowing all the dangers involved in the activities that he participated in, he had come to terms with these dangers and accepted the possible consequences.

Although not financially independent (note: my assumption), Dean was definitely living, what a lot of us consider, his ultimate dreams - doing something that he loved every day, living every day to the fullest, and being himself.

How many of us can truly say without a doubt that we live every day to the fullest?

Unfortunately, many of us think that we are unable to do the things that we truly enjoy doing every single day. So we trick ourselves into seeing the limitations and make up excuses and reasons to convince ourselves of those limitations.

Always wanted to travel around the world and learn about the different cultures? We convince ourselves that doing so will cost a lot of money and we simply do not have the financial means to do so.

Always wanted to pursue something creative like becoming a painter or pianist? We convince ourselves that we're not good enough at painting or playing the piano and that being a painter or pianist cannot provide sufficient means financially.

Always wanted to quit your job and start your own catering business and cook for people?

We convince ourselves that we love your job (no matter how much we actually don't) and that we can't possibly be our own boss. It is too risky!

By focusing on these excuses and reasons, we inhibit ourselves from reaching the possible results that we dream of. We limit ourselves from these possibilities and we are essentially setting ourselves up for failures. We pretend that we're trying to live our lives to the fullest, in reality we're setting multiple limitations to ourselves so we could never live our lives to what we wanted or what we dreamed of.

Why do we constantly set ourselves up for failures? It is because of our own fear. Do you know that the only two fears that a new born baby has, is a fear of falling and a fear of loud noises? These fears were written in our DNA and passed down throughout time as a protection from potential dangers. All other kind of fears are self manifested or self-reinforcing. Most of them through society and the media as well. A lot of us do not realize this important fact, so the fear that we hold in our mind tends to manifest itself and grow because our mind fuel these fears - fear of pain and suffering, fear of living, fear of failure, fear of success (I bet you didn't think that could be a fear), fear of poverty, fear of ridicule and criticism, fear of inadequacy, fear of disapproval, fear of alone, fear of being responsible, fear of boredom, fear of change, fear of losing control, fear of self, fear of heights, fear of rejection, and etc.

Instead of constantly spending time thinking about our fears and setting up ourselves up for failures, we could look at our lives differently. We could welcome changes and try to conquer our fear. I'm slightly afraid of heights, so you can imagine what it's like for me to try to rock climb. The very first couple of climbs of the day always scare the heck out of me, my muscles are tense, my mind is muddy. But I always tell myself that everything will be OK and I need to relax instead. Once I get used to the idea of pulling myself up a route while attached to a rope, I begin to relax and have fun.

Are you constantly worried about your job? Are you worried that you'll be let-go by your employer? Job security can lead to a lot of fear and worries, however it doesn't have to. Applying the living-life-to-the-fullest concept means you should continue working at your job but plan for other income sources. Make sure you have some money saved up, tidy up your spending so you're spending less than you earn, and look at other income sources. Stop worrying about things that you may not be able to control and learn to enjoy your life.

Step one to a joyful life is to stop living in constant fear. When you live in constant fear, you're essentially slowly killing yourself.

Step two is to not ever feel too comfortable about your life. When we get comfortable, we have a tendency to be lazy and want to continue the norm because it is easy. This will prevent us from developing ourselves as human beings. Can you imagine not ever growing as an individual because you're too comfortable with your life? To live our lives to the fullest we should all strive to live without constant fear, continue to challenge ourselves and grow.

The result of living in constant fear means a lot of us make up reasons and excuses about why we cannot achieve something. We are so focused on these that we make ourselves believe that we simply cannot achieve what we want. The human mind is a very powerful tool. If we believe in something, we will subconsciously make all the efforts to make sure we achieve what we believe in, whether it's positive or negative for us, and we will find evidence that it is true.

You've probably heard the phrase "reasons or results"

The most important word in this phrase is not "reasons" and it is not "results".

Believe it or not, the most important word is OR.

We cannot have both reasons AND results. The two simply do not co-exist. We can either have reasons OR results. We must come to the realization that it's one way OR the other. If we focus on the reasons and excuses why we can't do something, we will never be able to live our lives to the fullest, hence never achieve any results. But if we focus on the results it is a whole different story. We will get there in one way or another!

How to create results that we want in life?

First of all, stop creating all the excuses or reasons about why you cannot do something. When you have limitations slapped in front of your forehead, you won't be able to see anything else. So focus on what you can do instead and then get better at it by practicing it every day till you are a master.

Second, create goals and strategies to achieve your goals. Make sure your goals are measurable. If it's a big goal, it's a good idea to break down this goal into something smaller so you can measure your progress over time. For example, becoming a millionaire by age of 40 is a big goal. If you're only 20 years old, this goal is 20 years away. So it makes sense to break down the big goal into smaller goals, for example to have a net worth of $200,000 by age 25, $350,000 by age 30, $500,000 by age 33, and so on.

Third, go outside and enjoy what mother nature has to offer, relax and be ok with just being you as you are!

Are you ready to live life to the fullest?

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  • Reply
    Adam @ IWTRS
    August 19, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Amen to this brother. I often think about this when evaluating my daytime job. It's so difficult in today's society to walk away from a well-paying job when many don't have one. Also something to be said for appreciating what you have! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • Reply
      August 24, 2015 at 9:37 am

      Hi Adam,

      Evaluating your daytime job is important. Once you build your financial empire and reach FI, walking away from a well-paying job wouldn't be as difficult.

  • Reply
    Income Surfer
    August 19, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    As a man who doesn't like heights, I say EEEEEEEEKK!

    I'm not living life to the fullest right now, and it's pissing me off every day. We're getting close to the day when we'll break out of this rut, but I made my wife a promise. I have to honor that promise.

    No pun intended, but I love the balance you and the other Ts exhibit. We used to be that way, and I can see the day we'll get back there.

    • Reply
      August 24, 2015 at 9:38 am

      Hi Bryan,

      I think we all aim to live life to the fullest but sometimes due to circumstances it's not possible. It's good to remind ourselves where we should be though.

  • Reply
    Jason @ Islands of Investing
    August 20, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Nice one Tawcan - posts like this are always a really good kick in the pants! I've been prone to seeking comfort, and making decisions that will increase comfort vs actually achieve something important to me. But many of those comfortable moments are not likely to be the ones I look back on as the highlights of my life, or as things I'm most proud of!

    • Reply
      August 24, 2015 at 9:39 am

      Hi Jason,

      The problem with being comfortable is that it limits our mental growths. When we stop growing mentally, it's time to pack it in. Certainly don't want to do that right now.

  • Reply
    What I’m Reading | Adam
    August 20, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    […] Living life to the fullest (Tawcan) […]

  • Reply
    Our Next Life
    August 21, 2015 at 10:10 am

    Aw, man. Dean Potter. When I first heard, my initial reaction was to get angry. Angry at him for taking unnecessary risk and squandering that incredible talent and passion. He had seemed like one of the few climbing greats who was going to make it to old age, but that BASE stuff -- it's one of the most dangerous sports there is. A lot like Shane McConkey. He could have lived a long time as a skier, and gone on inspiring people around the world, but it was adding BASE to the mix that proved to be his end, and in his case he left behind a wife and daughter. We're entrenched in the outdoor sports world, so we sometimes take these deaths personally, and we see a lot more of them among locals who don't have the same international reputation as Dean and Shawn.

    To me, the lesson to be learned from Dean and Shawn is that it's great to follow your passions. Neither of them needed to die to prove this point to us. They were both rocking the world by doing things differently, innovating their own sports, and inspiring legions of people. And I'm 100% positive that if we could ask them now if they'd do everything the same, they'd both rather be living. So while it's important to follow your passions, it's irresponsible to do so in a way that takes on huge levels of risk, especially if you have a family.

    Okay, that's out of my system now. 🙂 Your larger point is such a good one: we only get one life, and wasting it in a cubicle is almost as bad as dying young in a preventable tragedy -- maybe worse, because you've never lived in the meantime, unlike Dean and Shawn. None of us know how long we have, and we have got to cut out the excuses that keep us saying, "Oh, I'll do that one day." One day may never come.

    Thanks for humoring me with this rant. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

    • Reply
      August 24, 2015 at 9:42 am

      Hi Our Next Life,

      BASE is dangerous, so many people have already died from doing this. Follow your passions is definitely something we should all do. Dean and Shawn are not trying to prove to anyone or show off, they're just following their passion. It's a shame that they're gone, they'll probably revolutionize the "extreme" sport of BASE if they're still around.

  • Reply
    Mrs. Crackin' the Whip
    August 21, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    I love this post Tawcan! I will be back tomorrow to fully engage myself in the videos you have linked. I admit that I get scared. I'm fearful of every blog post I write and with every comment I leave. I fear changing jobs too! You're paragraph of all the things we fear really resonates with me. Yeah, fear sucks and sometimes I want to run away. But I can't. I'm tired of the reasons and excuses too. That's why I'm here. My goal is to just keep showing up each day and doing the next right thing. I want to live life to the fullest.

    • Reply
      August 24, 2015 at 9:43 am

      Hi Mrs. Crackin' the Whip,

      Hope you enjoyed these videos. We need to conquer our fear somehow to continue to grow as human beings.

  • Reply
    Mr. SSC
    August 21, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    man, it always seems like such a waste of talent when people just can't keep from going one step further, and then it ends. If they always held back though, they'd never be who they became, so in the end, it's just part of who they will forever be.
    After this whole layoff discussion with us, the mrs. Is going to be disappointed but looking at the upside of it, we've seriously been discussing volunteering and getting a package. Is another 2 yrs worth it if she does make the cut? All of our lives would benefit from a non dual income situation. It's got us thinking....

    • Reply
      August 24, 2015 at 9:45 am

      Hi Mr. SSC,

      It's a waste of talent to see people die so young but that's how life is. Life is like a camp fire, some camp fires go for a long time and provide continuous warmth, some gives a burst of light and warmth. Good to hear that you and the Mrs are having discussion about your situation. To me it seems to make sense to take a change in direction.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2015 at 7:15 am

    Growing up climbing trees, swinging from branches to branches in Tarzan fashion. Needless to say, my parents were scared to death :). I was also afraid of height, but I'd do it anyways. Anyhow, I don't do anymore.

    There are 2 types or purposes of people conciously putting themselves in extreemly dangerous situation.

    One is like Mr. Dean, trying to overcome himself. Possibility of adrenaline rush.
    Other, japanese nuclear melt down in the early stage, men knew going into the zone, even with protection, they'd come out with severe damage, and if they lucky, they might have a curable cancer. Also a lot of adrenaline rush, but their purpose was to save millions lives of human, animals, sea animal, even trees and plants.

    I think the latter one is less vain. But everybody need to overcome their fear, depending on your upbringing.

    • Reply
      August 24, 2015 at 9:46 am

      Hi Vivianne,

      Good point about the second scenario. These people are called heroes. They do this to save millions.

  • Reply
    Mr. Crackin'
    August 24, 2015 at 4:26 am

    This is just what I needed this morning. A big dose of motivation juice!
    Small milestones for the big goal.. got it!
    Stop making excuses.. got it!
    Fantastic read!

  • Reply
    September 9, 2015 at 9:51 am

    hey Mr T, When I heard of Dean's death I was sad but not surprised. I think BASE jumping eventually ends up with this. Great post and encouragement! I recently wrote something about comfort zones, mapping my philosophy visually. I hope you will enjoy too (I know us engineers like diagrams!).

    • Reply
      September 9, 2015 at 11:28 am

      Those are great diagrams. 😀

      Yeah BASE jumpers seem to end up dead.

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