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?