Friday, April 16, 2021

Quiero Relajarme

Mi vida es sencilla
No tengo problemas grandes
Pero lo paracen
Cuando los pienso mucho

Los pequeños hacen grandes
Y me preocupo

Mis amigos me dicen
Que necesito relajarme
Y yo sé que ellos tienen razón
Pero no puedo
Así es como soy

Lo siento en mi espalda
En los hombros y el corazón
Lo siento en mi cabeza y los pies
Lo siento en todas partes
Y en mi alma también
El estrés

A veces me come
Aunque yo trato de escaparme
Pero no puedo
Donde voy, me encuentra

Me encuentra
En Estados Unidos
Y en Ghana y México también
Me sigue por todo el mundo
No puedo huir de el
Viene conmigo
El estrés

Por una vez
Quiero relajarme

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Lessons Learned From A Year in Mexico

I moved to Mexico at the beginning of April 2020.  This means I have been here for a year.  I took some time to reflect on what I learned.

1) The world needs more peacemakers and less agitators.

I was guilty of being an agitator - mostly because I was agitated.  I publicly ripped Trump and everyone who voted for him during and after the election.  Trump voters include my family members and people I've been friends with my whole life.

At the time, I was so angry and disgusted by what was happening that I didn't want anything to do with Trump or anyone who sided with him.  I didn't want to hear one word from them.  However, you can't just get a divorce from half the country.  We are going to have to learn how to live together one way or another.  

So we need more peacemakers and less agitators.  From now on, I vow to do my part by not calling people ''assholes'' or ''idiots'' no matter how misguided their political ideas may be.  Which brings me to my next point...

2) Things that are obvious to me are not as obvious to everyone.

This doesn't mean that I am any more smart than them, or any more stupid.  It just means I have a different perspective.  I had the good fortune of receiving an excellent education.  I also had the good fortune of living in England, Ghana and Mexico.  These experiences shaped me and changed me dramatically.  I see the world very differently than I did ten or fifteen years ago.

Specifically, it's obvious to me that the attacks on Asian people that are happening right now are directly caused by having a racist President.  What's insane about this is that I personally know many Asian people who voted for Trump.  To me, racist attacks are a foreseeable result of having a racist President.  Why any non-white person would ever vote for a white racist is beyond me.  But I guess it wasn't as obvious to them as it was to me that having a racist President was going to have horrific consequences.  

What kind of country is this where someone's grandma can't go to the grocery store without being attacked by a deranged Nazi?  What kind of a country is this where a kid can't go to school without getting shot and killed by another kid?  It's a war zone.  It's a dangerous, third world shithole.  That's the kind of country it is.

3) Nobody hates your success more than someone who has failed at what you're doing.

Don't expect people who have failed at what you are doing to be happy for you.  Expect them to be jealous.  It doesn't matter what skill you are learning: a musical instrument, a sport, a second language, or weight loss.  There is no bigger hater than someone who has tried and failed.  

Surround yourself with people who have succeeded at what you want to do, not people who have quit.  Associate with people who found a way to win, not people who found an excuse why they couldn't do it.

4) Following American news just means being angry all of the time.

Democrat or Republican, it doesn't matter.  If you're watching the news, you're pissed off.  Turn it off and pick up a book.  Especially if you're watching Fox News.  It's poison for the mind.  Unfollow the news and go do something else.

5) Greeting people in the local language is the single most important key to integrating into a new society.

The simple act of saying "hi'' or ''good morning'' in the local language goes farther than you can even imagine.  Even if that's all you can say, still say it.  Greet your neighbors and the people you meet in the market.  Greet people you pass by on the street.  In a village, everybody knows everybody.  Greeting people will establish you as a friendly face and will open up conversations.  These conversations will lead to friendships and opportunities that would not have happened if you had stayed silent.

6) I don't ever want another job for the rest of my life.

My stated goal is to never have a job again.  Some people want to be a billionaire.  Some people want to be famous.  I want to live to be 100 without ever having a job again.  I have more than enough ways to occupy my time.  I don't want or need anyone telling me how to spend my days.  

I will agree to contracts, and I will fulfill them.  But I don't want anyone telling me when to wake up, when to eat, or when to show up to work.  That's what happens when you're an employee.  They own you.

7) The greatest thing about America is diversity.

Living in a highly homogenous society (Ghana) made me appreciate the diversity we have in the U.S.  Even in Mexico, there are pretty much Mexicans and a few white westerners.  I have not found many black or Asian people here.  In the U.S., you can find people from every background under the sun.  The problem is that we don't have nearly as much diversity in congress as we do on the street.  American politics are still run by the same greedy, egotistical, white male pricks who have always run American politics.  

America is great specifically because of it's diversity, and for almost no other reason.  America's diversity is it's strength.  Things will start getting better when we start getting more women and more melanin in the American Senate and House of Representatives. 

8) The greatest American export is music.

Go anywhere in the world and you will hear American music.  Even in countries that don't speak English.  If America is rich in anything, it's music.  We have all different types, each with their own unique history and culture.  We have rock, punk, jazz, hip hop, EDM, reggae, classical and everything in between.  I'm not aware of any other country that has as deep or as broad of a music culture as the U.S.  This is something to be proud of.

9) America doesn't value humility, and it's ruining American culture.

Americanism is egotism.  More is never enough.  Win at all costs, including lying, cheating and stealing.  

The one thing your ego will never let you have is ''enough.''  But ''enough'' is where happiness and contentment lie.  You will have no semblance of peace as long as you are constantly craving more.  The Buddhists figured this out long ago.  It's time for America and the rest of Western society to catch up.  A society of humble, real people is a much happier place than a society of arrogant, phony, egotistical pricks (like Donald Trump).

10) There are lots of people who move to Mexico to "learn Spanish.''  There are few who actually do.

Learning a second language seems like a great idea until people realize the amount of work and consistent, daily commitment it takes.  Everyone wants to learn a second language, but few ever do.  Simply moving to Mexico isn't enough.  There are people who have lived in Mexico for decades and still can't even order food in Spanish.  Learning a new language takes consistent, daily studying and commitment over the course of months and years.

11) I still don't know how to chill out.

My life now is probably the least stressful that it's ever been, at least on paper.  This is mostly because I don't have a ''job.''  

But I still feel anxious and depressed and angry.  Yesterday, I got so sick of my headphones falling out during training that I stopped in the middle of a run, smashed the headphones into a tree, then slammed them on the ground and stomped them into oblivion.  Anyone who saw this must have thought they were watching quite a madman.  What crime had those headphones committed to meet such a fate?  They fell out of my ears one too many times, and I don't like my training sessions being interrupted.  So I smashed them.

The headphones were only about two weeks old, and I could have returned them and got my money back.  But I didn't think about that at the time.  I saw red.  All I could think about is how mad I was.  I've been mad for as long as I can remember.  I've tried meditation and therapy, but I am still mad.

I said earlier that my goal is to never have a job again.  That's one goal.  But my real goal - my most important goal - is just to stop being angry.  Surfing helps.  Weed helps.  Not having a job helps.  But honestly I am still struggling.  I am full of fear about running out of money, and it gives me constant anxiety.  I have an anxiety attack every time I go to the ATM, and it's not because I'm broke.  The mere thought of running out of money is enough to stress me out constantly - it's every day that goes by without a paycheck.  

But I would rather suffer this than take a job.  A job might ease some money worries, but it would make me even more miserable because I wouldn't be spending my time the way I want.  I know this from experience.

So the choice is pretty simple.  I could take a job and not have money worries, but the rest of life would suck.  Or I could keep spending my time the way I want, and feel constant pressure for money.  I choose to spend my time the way I want, and I will just have to pray that I can get money when I need it.  People tend to be deeply religious in places where they don't have much.  I can see why.  When you don't have money, you need God.  Those prayers really start to take some meaning when you're afraid of being homeless or being a drain on your family.

I am closest to God when I am dead broke, or about to get smashed by a giant wave.  Those are the moments when God and I are really looking at each other.  

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Surfing, Playing the Guitar and Other Grievous Crimes Against Humanity

I always imagined that my life would be much better without a job.  It turns out that it is.  It's much better.  It's so much better that I don't ever want to have another job again.  The job that I want is no job.  This doesn't make me a bum.  It makes me the opposite of a bum.  I have a rigorous schedule and I don't want to give it up.  I surf, read, write, play the guitar, train, body surf, cook, eat, walk and sleep every day.  These are really the only things I want to do with enough regularity to be considered a job.  So that is my job for right now.  How long can I keep this up?  Only God knows.  It seems like a grievous crime against humanity for a person to live his life the way he wants these days.  Free from any kind of a job whatsoever.  Free to spend his days bettering his life in exactly the ways he wants.  Spending his time exactly the way he wants.  I am guilty.  I am guilty of the crime of doing pretty much what I want, when I want.  And I've never felt better.  I've never been healthier or more productive.  I'm in the best shape I've ever been.  My health is the ultimate gauge of whether what I am doing is good for me, and I am in the best shape I ever been.  I've been surfing and doing yoga every day, and I feel great.  Some days I body surf.  Some days I run.  Some days I do both.  I cook myself healthy meals and my roommate cooks healthy meals, too.  This is the job I want.  I want the job of nothing, so that I am free to do the things I like doing and be as healthy as possible.

My friend and I started a language club at her café here in Manzanillo.  We meet once a week in small groups.  Facemasks are mandatory.  We practice our Spanish together.  There are a few Canadian people who live here seasonally, and an American couple that owns a place down here.  Last week we had several local Mexican people join as well to practice their English while we practiced Spanish.  It was great.  Everyone seemed to have a great time.  I have made good friends at the café here in Manzanillo.  I come here pretty much every day.  I know everyone who works here, and several of the regulars.  It's a very nice community.

I have made good surf buddies, too.  We go on regular surf trips to the local breaks.  My friends are locals and Spanish speakers, so it's a great opportunity for me to develop my Spanish, too.  We are in the car for a while together.  Sometimes I fall asleep on the car rides, but I try to stay awake for them. We went to Barra de Navidad one time.  We did a camping trip to La Ticla for the weekend.  I didn't sleep for the whole weekend for a variety of reasons, and was completely exhausted by the end.  We visited Maruata and Faro de Bucerías.  I was so exhausted I could barely move.  

At one point, we visited Dedo de Dios.  Finger of God.  It's a rock shaped like a hand pointing up to the heavens from the ocean.  I told my friends that I need to go lay down and go to sleep.  I went and laid down in a shady spot on the beach under a palm-leaf roof.  Apparently some people had to be rescued while I was asleep on the beach.  I heard a commotion and voices, but I didn't know what was going on.  Then my friend told me afterward that a group of people had to be saved.  I didn't realize it at the time, but I felt bad that I slept right through it.  I put my sweatshirt down on the sand in the shade, faceplanted, and fell asleep.  I was exhausted.  I couldn't understand why people were yelling while I was trying to sleep.  Well, it turns out some people needed to be saved.  And thankfully they were.  By someone who was not asleep at the time.  I have been reading surf biographies and books about surfing by experienced surfers and it seems like almost every real surfer is called upon to save someone in the ocean at some point.  There was another near drowning right in front of my apartment building.  I was on the patio doing yoga.  By the time I realized what happened, they were pulling a boy out of the water unconscious.  Thankfully there was a doctor on the premises and the boy did not drown.  He recovered, but he was taken away in a stretcher.  He choked on water and almost drowned.  It happened in a matter of seconds. 

Rough sleeping conditions were a theme of the La Ticla trip.  The first night we tried to pile three guys into one small tent.  There was too much farting and not enough fresh air.  So the next night, I tried sleeping in the car.  I couldn't get comfortable in the car, so I decided to put a towel down on the sand and sleep on the beach under a blanket.  It sounds glamorous, but it wasn't comfortable.  I don't think I slept a wink.  The next morning the neighboring campers said I could have slept in their hammock, which would have been clutch.  But they were asleep at the time and it never even crossed my mind to jump in their hammock without permission.  It was still nice of them to offer it up afterward, even though it was too late.

My surf buddies and I have also been making regular trips to Boca de Pascuales, which is one of the best surf breaks in the world.  The waves are powerful, even when they are small.  And it gets big there, too.  I've seen it get 20 feet.  I've been out when there are 10 foot faces and big hollow barrels.  I am not charging those ones yet, but I am out in those water conditions and able to maintain control of the board.  I am riding a thin, 6'3 shortboard now.  It's not that short for my height, 5'8, but its thin and light and I had enough paddling power to use that board with 10-12 foot waves out at La Ticla.  I wasn't charging the biggest waves, but I was out there paddling around.  That was the first time we went to La Ticla.  The next time, when we went camping, the waves were smaller and I was able to catch a lot of them.  Some good rights.  And some lefts too.  The waves there were long enough to get a few good turns in. 

But I have been down here having the time of my life.  With no job.  And I don't want to get another one any time soon.  How do I plan on surviving?  I don't know.  But I do know what I am going to do with my time.  For as long as I can.  How much do I do?  As much as my body can physically tolerate without pain from repetitive use injuries.  I don't have time to delay for one minute.  I want to take advantage of every moment of this freedom and I don't want to give it up.  I don't ever want to spend one minute as a slave to a job.  Never ever.  I don't ever want to have a job again.  That's why I hustle so hard.  Because the minute this dream ends, it's right back to a job.  I am out here doing the work just so I can do it again tomorrow and the next and the next day.  I don't ever want to give my time back.  I have gotten a taste of freedom and it's every bit as sweet as I ever imagined.  I am not sure that I could go back, even if I wanted to.  I think I am a lifetime no-jobber.  Not because I am retired, but because I am just getting started.  Being a no-jobber isn't the end my career, it's the beginning.

I'm not against making money.  Don't get me wrong.  I will gladly accept certain contracts.  Writing gigs, I like to get.  I like projects I can do on my own time.  I have my own schedules that revolve around surfing, eating, training and sleeping.  I don't like my schedules interrupted.  This is serious business.  I am hard at work.  When and how and if I ever get paid for it is up to the Gods.  But I choose to keep doing what I am doing.  I am still an inactive member of the California Bar and I could go back to California and activate my Bar membership and become a lawyer again any time I want.   But I don't want to.  I want to keep doing what I am doing.  And the question of how I will support it remains a mystery.  This is a why I am an outlaw.  A vigilante.  I have the audacity to chase my real dreams without knowing how or when or if they will come true.  My great crimes are to surf, read, write, play the guitar, train, body surf, cook, eat, walk and sleep.  If these crimes land me impoverished and shamed, then so be it.  Whatever my plight may be, let it be the plight of a man who does the things he wants and nothing else.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Book Notes - Pipe Dreams by Kelly Slater

Fear of Big Waves
  • As a kid, he thought anything over the 2 footers his Dad was catching was a pipe dream
  • Watched the Pipeline Pro as a kid and was glad he wasn't in the water
    • Pipeline = greatest 10 seconds on earth
      • Prior to the 1960s, it was considered too dangerous to be ridden
      • Two story waves breaking over a few feet of water
  • He ran from big waves early in his career, but a big one at Pipe (during the quarterfinals of the Pipeline Masters, no less) gave him the confidence to take them on
  • Couldn't fathom that he would learn to thrive on waves that scared him senseless
  • He spent thousands of hours on tiny waves in Florida and found it easy to apply the same moves he learned on bigger waves.
  • When he started as a kid, any wave bigger than the board was too big
  • His first time surfing big waves, he got scared and went in.  He was already beating pros by that time, but had never ridden bigger waves.  He was desperate to get to shore even though he already ripped on small waves.
  • He got smashed once by Pipeline the first time he was there and stayed away from it for the rest of the trip.
  • Ease your way into bigger waves at your own pace
    • He was already an accomplished competitor when he started moving on to big waves.  He was already winning contests left and right when he realized it was time to step it up in bigger surf.  He had already reached the top of the competitive ladder (by 15 years old), but was still scared of big waves.
  • Eventually, he got taken out by a big wave and it wasn't bad at all.  This gave him the confidence to surf big waves.
  • Won the world's most important big wave contest: Eddie Aikau Invitational
    • 3 groups of 10 surfers
    • Each group gets one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening
    • Each competitor's top 4 rides are tallied
    • Highest point total = winner ($50K prize.  No final heat.)
  • Waves that once scared the hell out of him are now his backyard

Competition + Technical Surfing Tips
  • Paddle faster by pulling your arms under your board (not out to the side)
  • Keep your eyes open in the tube
  • Beach breaks - waves pop up randomly and you have to hunt for them
  • Dedication + determination are what won him contests
  • Caribbean = great stepping stone to bigger waves (Puerto Rico + Barbados)
  • He possesses extraordinary spinal flexibility and is very limber.  Mobility and cardio are the keys in surfing.
    • Surfing training = mobility + cardio
  • It took 8 years before he beat Tom Curren in a heat
  • Competition brings the best out of you
  • Commitment is how you earn your stripes in surfing
  • Consistency is a trait shown by all world champions
  • Once took him 13 minutes to paddle out in the final of a competition, with everyone waiting
  • He studied the ASP rule book from cover to cover
  • ''Everybody on tour has the ability to win at any time, so it comes down to understanding the conditions and getting the best waves.''
  • Keep bodysurfing
    • All serious bodysurfers wear fins
  • Golf
    • Like surfing, the guys with best technique are the most consistent
    • Video is a great tool for improving both golf and surfing
    • Focus on your technique whenever you surf, just like you do with golf
      • Surfing: if you have to recover from a technique, then you performed it slightly wrong
    • ''I may want to be a pro golfer on the Senior Tour when I am 50."
  • ''If I lost all the heats I won in the final minute, I might only have 1 or 2 world titles."
    • He does whatever it takes to pull it out at the end, and never gives up until the final bell.
  • Good bottom turns form the foundation of good surfing.

    Lifestyle
    • Once he started surfing, he couldn't stop
    • Golfs, plays guitar, practices martial arts
    • Mom occasionally let him skip school to go surfing
    • Learned 360s while surfing on a bodyboard as a kid
    • The ocean was his refuge and surfing was always there for him
    • He doesn't do drugs and feels a sense of obligation to keep a clean image
      • ''I'm a two beer guy.  All the fun happens in the first two.''
    • Advice for parents: if the kid is good enough, he'll win the right contests and get the right sponsorships.  Back off.
    • His parents always supported him emotionally for surfing
    • Mom told him not to brag or act cocky
    • He did well in school and in his sport (he finished 7th out of 130 students in high school)
    • Surfing was his savior and competition the ultimate escape
      • Audacious goals kept him focused.  He needed to set high goals to stay focused.
    • Once signed a record contract with Sony, along with Rob Machado and other surfers
      • The band actually toured for 3 years and opened for Pearl Jam (Eddie Vedder apparently loves to surf)
    • From the time he was 11 years old, nothing came before surfing
    • Got so focused on winning that he shut everyone out at various times
    • Being a parent himself made him realize how difficult of a job it could be
    Surf Culture
    • 20K people at pro events in Huntington Beach
    • No surfer is fully respected until he performs in Hawaii
    • Brock Little to Interview Magazine: "People ask what I do for a living, and I do nothing.  I pick up a check in the mail and go surfing.  And when the waves aren't good in Hawaii, somebody pays me to surf somewhere else.''
    • Getting spit out of the barrel is the ultimate in surfing
    • Anyone can become a pro surfer by simply entering a pro contest
    • Maybe 1 in 100 surfers actually compete
    • Pro surfer = spends more than half the year travelling
    • Always get to know the locals in every location you go.  Don't spend time in generic hotels.
    • He regards tow in surfing as its own sport + believes tow in surfers may eclipse 100 foot waves
    • Sometimes guys get pounded by waves for 15 minutes straight, even in the middle of pro heats.  Train to be able to handle that.


    Friday, February 5, 2021

    Book Notes - Liferider by Laird Hamilton

    • One absolute rule: raw honesty.  Applies it fiercely.  Sometimes too fiercely for some.
    Death
    • ''You are an organism.  You are in competition with death.''
    • Death and your relationship with the ocean are one.
    • Survival is about adaptation
      • Every wave is different, so you must be able to adapt quickly
    • You can kill yourself stone dead by overreaching your limitations (especially in the ocean)
    • Denying one's feelings is a bad strategy for survival
    • Brilliance and compassion are what makes us human.  The challenge is to survive without losing these.
    Fear
    • Feeling fear and being scared are two different things
      • Fear is about respect.  Fear leads to informed action.
    • "Your imagination is always greater than reality.  You imagine things to be much worse than they really are.'' 
      • This is why the longer you wait at the top of a cliff, the harder it is to jump
    • The majority of society is usually living vicariously through the risk takers - people who face fears.
    • Hang on to the feeling of fear.  Don't try to avoid it.  Complacency from success is dangerous.  Losing respect for dangerous activities can lead to instant death.
    • Fear the unknown, but don't be scared of it
    • Beware if you can't answer the question, ''Why am I here?''
      • If it's your core - your essence - then keep going
        • ''I don't know if I am ready for this ass whipping I am about to get, but I am here and I know why I am here.''
      • If it's anything else - ego or material driven - then get out of there
    • In the early days of the car, people thought we would die if we went over 20 mph
    Humility
    • If you want respect in Hawaii, you have to be humble.  Arrogance, showiness and hubris are frowned upon.
      • Western society doesn't even recognize humility as a guiding principle.  This is the problem.
    • Be humble and honest about your own failings and hubris.  This is how you keep it real.
      • ''Keeping it real'' = having the humility to admit you were wrong and commit to correcting it.
      • We typically wrong people in the absolute belief that what we are doing is right
    • Humility fuels compassion

    Risk

    • If you aren't ready to take the biggest wave of the day on your head, then you probably shouldn't be out there
      • The same goes for business.  If you aren't ready to lose your entire stake, then you probably shouldn't get involved.
    • The risks you take in business aren't life or death.  In surfing, they can be.
      • Business risks aren't real risks.  Surfing giant waves and base jumping are real risks.  Business people who crave risks seek out the real thing - the desire isn't satisfied by business risk.  This is why entrepreneurs take on extreme sports.
      • If you aren't willing to take risks in business, then you won't have the opportunity for maximum success
    Success and Failure
    • Believe in the possibility of success more than the probability of failure
    • Don't be defined by the success or failure of any of your businesses
      • If your business is your whole identity, you're setting yourself up for problems.  This puts added pressure on you that only inhibits success.
      • No one business should make or break you.  The failure of any one business should never break you, but they should all be able to make you (or at least contribute to your continued success)
    • The business always plateaus when you get conservative
    • Owning multiple businesses: consistent message across businesses is key
      • Authenticity is the spine that runs through multiple businesses
    • Things don't always work, but you at least have to try
    • To avoid losing money, cut the line quick when things aren't going right.  Don't keep pouring money into it.
    • Entrepreneurship takes a long time.  
      • You need stamina and belief.  These are what will carry you through.  It takes years and years.  Longer than you think.
    • Be responsible to the people you do business with
      • Always stand by your decisions and be accountable for your part`
    • When you've failed enough times, it has less of an impact on you.
    • The tipping point between success and failure in business is WHY you're doing it
      • Clarity of purpose is the key
      • Purpose is the North Star for everyone to follow
    • All businesses Laird is involved in reflect needs of his - boards, foods, training tools, clothes - he uses all of them personally.  He creates things he needs and shares them with others.
      • Nothing is strictly financial.  Not interested in pursuing things just for money.
      • Even in business, health is the top priority
    • Focus on your strengths.  Bring in experts EARLY in the areas you don't know or are weak in.
    • Surround yourself with high quality people, because you will have to delegate no matter what
    • Small business has to be super tuned.  You don't have the luxury of mediocrity that big businesses have.
    • Business should use culture to create a sense of family and belonging
    • The key isn't inspiration.  It's work rate.  It's commitment to the idea.

      Surfing and Training

      • Don't train until you throw up.  Animals in nature don't do that.
      • Training for surfing
        • Deep sand running
        • Nose breathing
        • Cold water training (ice bath)
      • Your heart rate is lower (10-15 beats per minute) in water than if you put forth the same effort on land.  Being in water while training helps keep your heart rate down.
        • Hydrostatic training (training in water) is the best way to train
      • For surfing, you must train to be able to hold your breath at a high heart rate because you have a heart rate while paddling into and riding big waves.  So train by jacking your heart rate all the way up, and then holding your breath.  This is very different from holding your breath with a resting heart rate.
        • Go from a full sprint (100% heart rate) to complete stillness
          • This is how you mimic a hold under
        • Training cannot substitute getting pounded by surf.  It can only supplement.
          • You must get used to getting pounded by surf.  There is no substitute for that environment.
          • You have a different gear when you are under true threat - way more than you have in a controlled environment.
        • You can use breathing techniques to lower your heart rate in the water
          • Nose breathing brings your heart rate down
          • Slow your breath down and the heart rate will slow down
      • Two things need to happen when you wipe out:
        • Instantly go into calmness
          • Relax everything.  Go into stillness.
        • Get your heart rate down as quickly as you can
          • Use your legs as little as possible
          • Don't fight when the wave has you
          • Stay as calm as you can to get the longest use of the oxygen you have
      • Surfing and training are a lifestyle.  They are not just about fitness.
      • Train outdoors in the elements as much as possible.  It's more invigorating than a gym or indoor space could ever be.
      • Do headstands and handstands
      • Train to be USEFUL.  Not pumped or ripped.
      • Do headstands and handstands
      • Technique to mimic wipeout: sprint, hold your breathe, roll a few times, then come up and breathe
      • You must be properly hydrated to get more flexible
      • Do vision exercises
      • Wake up before or with the sun
      • You can't bully the ocean.  You can't "win'' the ocean.  You coexist peacefully or she will hurt you.
      Heart
      • Everything is in service to the heart (eating, sleeping, loving).  The heart is the primary piece of the organism.
        • Cardio is at the heart of the exercise regime.
      • The heart connects the science to the spirit.  It's the essence of our being.
        • Consciousness and intuition are not in the brain.  They aren't brain computations.  They are on a different level.  They are matters of the spirit.  The heart is what connects you to them.
        • Intuition sits between the conscious and unconscious self.  The heart is what connects you to intuition.  Trust your heart and your intuition.
          • The unconscious mind moves 32x faster than the conscious mind (this is how people are able to hit 95 mph fastball)
      • Always listen to your heart in the water.  It's wiser than the mind.
        • If your heart is in it, then go.  If it's not, then don't.  It's that simple.
        • Never betray your heart.
      • The heart can make it's own decisions about cardiac control independent of the brain and central nervous system
        • In essence, the heart has it's own brain (40,000 neurons)
        • ''Neurocardiology'' = the study of the relationship between the heart and the brain
      • The heart creates an electromagnetic field that can be measured from several feet away from the body.
        • The magnetic signals radiated by a person's heart can influence the brain rhythms of other people
      • ''Heart'' = someone's ability to go the distance = the spirit to persevere and prevail
      • The heart is the ruler.  The lungs are the healer.
      Leadership and Heroism
      • Compassion is at the heart - the very center - of every hero's journey.  Anyone who lacks compassion is no hero.  Leadership and heroism are powered by compassion.
      • If nobody embraces you as one of their own and shares in your victories, then you don't have shit.  No matter how big of a dog you are.
      • High performing individuals who are compassionate and caring in nature rule in Hawaiian culture
      • Real leadership is all about caring
        • Compassion isn't weakness.  It's true power.
      • The one key emotion is compassion.  You can't be truly heroic without compassion, period.
      • Your integrity must be rock solid to the core
      • There's a lot of fake leadership in business.  All posturing - no care or compassion.
      Self Development
      • "Make sure your dreams are bigger than your memories''
      • Never stop trying new things and improving processes
        • Doing the same routine over and over gets you less and less every time.  Keep introducing new stresses and new variables.
      • Make sure that you're always a novice at something
        • Be willing to subject yourself to being a beginner
        • You will humiliate yourself.  Period.  Do it anyway and don't worry about what people think.
      • We evolve when we try new things.  Try something new - something you suck at.
      • Tap into both physical strength and intelligence
        • Leonardo Da Vinci understood the importance of both.  He possessed legendary physical strength.  This is how he got so much energy.
      • Take your shoes off and connect directly with the earth
      • Getting things wrong is the fastest way to learn
      • Don't try to be multiple things.  Allow them to reveal themselves to you.
      • Getting things wrong is the fastest way to learn.  If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough.
      • Curiosity and innovation are the breath of life to an entrepreneur
        • Curiosity is the one of the fountains of youth
        • Innovation is just the evolutionary principle commercialized
      • Don't ever use other people as a reference for where you're at.  It's a mistake.
      • Keep the ideas flowing.  You'll have a hundred ideas and two of them will work.
      • Negativity lies in the way you react.  Not in what happened.
      • People love to disguise imperfection with complexity
        • It's not that complex.  The simplest answer is most likely to be right.
      • When you get to the top of a mountain, take a minute to enjoy it.  You deserve it.  Don't immediately run for the next one.
      • Balance is one of the most basic requirements of survival
      • Do everything you can do and feel everything you can.  That's a life.
      Community
      • Community is rooted in physical proximity and emotional understanding
      • You must:
        • Trust in the integrity of the people around you, AND
        • Understand that the exchange will be fair and balanced on both sides
        • If either of these are missing, the system will fall apart under stress
          • Listen for trust and reciprocity in every relationship
      • Representing something that is important to your tribe is how you gain meaning from life
      • Not getting along with your friends or your family or your kids can block you from what you need to do
      • Call people back.  Even if it's a no.
      Breathing
      • The breath and the spirit are connected.  They are one.
        • The breath is the doorway between life and death.  The spirit enters with your first breath and leaves with your last breath.
      • The lung is supposedly flexible enough to stretch over a football field
      • Types of breath training
        • Pranayama
        • Free diving
        • Holotropic breathing techniques
        • Tummo
        • Wim Hof
        • Oxygen Advantage
      • You can do the most stressful breathing techniques lying down on the ground, anywhere
      • Drive the breath into the groin to create lung expansion
      • Breath awareness can be done anywhere, any time
        • Ways to play with breathing: slow it down, speed it up, go deeper, take bigger gaps between breaths
      • If you're not nose breathing, you're running half empty
      • Anyone that does breath work will bring it back to meditation
      • Learn how to become more CO2 tolerant through breathing techniques
      • Do breath work on an empty stomach
      • Oxygen = energy
        • Every process in the body is connected to oxygen.  It's the top priority.
      • Singing is closely tied to breath.  Singing is breath.
      • Conscious breathing = breathing you can listen to
        • Listen to nothing but your own breathing, and focus on it.  Any time, any where.  This is meditation and can be quite addictive.
      Nature and the Ocean
      • Hawaiian ancients believed that all time is now
        • The present is not in opposition to the past or the future.  The present is the whole time.  The present is the complete, whole fullness of time.
      • With nature, you don't have to decide between science and spirituality.  Nature is both.
      • Green = signifies nature = calming color
      • In nature, sweet means safe to eat
      • Only 2-3% of the ocean has been surveyed.
      • Half of the people in the world don't go in the ocean
      • Evolution is smarter than humans and it's not exclusive to humans, so the Earth will evolve to purge itself of humans if we don't rightfully care for it.
      • Technology must be in service to the human, not the other way around.
      • The ocean provides the material of adventure, heroism, darkness and fear
      • The ocean needs it's own country, with a flag and a military
        • Militarized ocean protection is the only way to prevent abuses
      • NGOs aren't the answer to the climate crisis.  It's the government.  It's political.
      • Get people in the ocean.  It's the only way to get people to care.  If you don't care, you won't act.
      • We've killed over 90% of the fish in the ocean
      • Survival of individual interests vs. survival of the ocean.  These are the two forces at odds with each other.
        • Survival of the species depends on survival of the ocean


      Saturday, January 9, 2021

      Book Notes - Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

      I enjoyed this book and I think it was a good time to read it.  Reading anthropology gave me some perspective on otherwise crazy recent world events.  Below are some of my favorite pieces of information from the book.  I have not independently verified these facts, but I believe them to be accurate enough that I am willing to share them.  I will update this blog if any of the facts presented are conclusively disproven by trustworthy authority.
      • Buddhism is older than Islam.   Buddhism started 2,500 years ago.  Islam 1,400. (Timeline of History)
      • Chimpanzees are the closest human relative. (p. 5)
      • Chimps spend 5 hours per day chewing food.  Humans spend only 1 hour per day (thanks to cooking).  (p. 12)
      • The Indonesian island of Flores once had a species of dwarf people who got no bigger than 3.5 feet tall and 50 pounds. (p. 7)
      • From about 2 million years ago until about 10,000 years ago, there were several different human species living on earth at the same time. (p. 8)
      • The brain accounts for 2-3% of your total body weight, but consumes 25% of the body's energy when the body is at rest. (p. 9)
      • Eagles identify thermal columns rising from the ground and allow the air to lift them upwards. (p. 13)
      • Humans are the only animal that engage in trade.  (p. 35-36)
      • The first humans in America encountered rodents the size of bears, oversized lions, giant ground sloths 20 feet tall and weighing 8 tons, mammoths and mastodons.  Within 2,000 years humans killed most of them. (p. 70-72)
      • On Madascar, elephant birds and giant lemurs both went extinct about the same time humans arrived on the island.  Elephant birds were flightless, 10 feet tall and weighed almost 1/2 ton.  (p. 72-73)
      • In the early 19th century imperial Britain outlawed slavery and stopped the Atlantic slave trade.  Slavery was gradually outlawed throughout the Americas in the following decades.  This is was the first and only time in history a large number of slaveholding societies voluntarily abolished slavery. (p. 141-142)
      • Tomatoes, chili peppers and cocoa are all from Mexico.  They reached Europe and Asia only after the Spaniards reached Mexico.  (p. 170)
      • There were no horses in America in 1492.  Horses were brought to America by Europeans. (p. 170)
      • More than 90% of all money exists only on computer servers. (p. 178)
      • The Aztec Empire was smaller than today's Mexico. (p. 190-191)
      • ''A person who does not crave cannot suffer." (p. 226)
      • Memes are cultural information units. (p. 242)
      • Admitting ignorance made science more dynamic, supple and inquisitive.  (p. 253)  I believe that admitting ignorance makes a person more dynamic, supple and inquisitive as well.  
      • "The real test of knowledge is not whether it is true, but whether it empowers us.'' (p. 259)
      • Average life expectancy is around 80 in the developed world. (p. 269)
      • Genetic engineers have successfully doubled the life expectancy of certain worms. (p. 270)
      • A few serious scholars suggest that by 2050, some humans will become a-mortal (meaning they won't die unless killed by an accident). (p. 271)
      • The native population dropped by up to 90% upon European arrival to Australia and New Zealand. (p. 277)
      • In 1775, Asia accounted for 80% of the world economy.  India and China together accounted for 2/3 of the world's total production.  By 1950, Western Europe and the U.S. together accounted for 1/2 of the world's economy and China's share was reduced to 5%.  (p. 280)
      • Admitting ignorance is the beginning of learning. (see p. 284)
      • Local Aztec enemies helped Cortez siege the Aztec Empire because they didn't know they would fall under control of the greedy and racist Spanish regime which was far worse than the Aztecs.  (p. 295)
      • British imperial policies in Bangladesh caused a famine which killed 1/3 of the Bengali population (10 million people) in about 5 years.  (p. 301-302)
      • Culturalism is the new racism.  You know longer say, ''it's in their blood.''  You say, ''it's in their culture.'' (p. 303)
      • Capital flows into states which uphold the rule of law and private property.  (p. 318-319)
      • Indonesia was ruled by a private Dutch company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie) for close to 200 years (around 1603 to around 1800).  (p. 321-322).  
      • India was ruled by a private British company (British East India Company) for about 100 years until 1858.  (p. 325)
      • Hong Kong remained in British control until 1997. (p. 326)
      • 70% of the African slaves imported to America worked on sugar plantations. (p. 330)
      • Shares of slave trading companies were sold publicly on Dutch, English and French stock exchanges.  (p. 331) 
      • The problem with free market capitalism is it cannot ensure that profits are made in a fair way or distributed fairly.  (p. 331)
      • Monkeys separated from their mothers were emotionally disturbed and suffered from high levels of anxiety and aggression.  (p. 344-345)
      • England was the first country to adapt a national timetable in 1847. (p. 354)
      • In Medieval European cities there was typically a single, giant clock mounted on a high tower in the town square.  (p. 354)
      • 3rd world discontent is fomented by exposure to 1st world standards.  (p. 384)
      • People are only made happy by pleasant sensations in their bodies.  Nothing else. (p. 386)
      • "From a purely scientific standpoint, human life has absolutely no meaning.'' (p. 391) 




      Monday, December 28, 2020

      The Surfing Machine: 10 Reasons To Surf

      2020 has been a banner year for me.  I kicked 2020 square in the nuts.  I'm realizing my dream of living in Mexico and learning Spanish.  I live right, smack on the Pacific Ocean.  I hear the waves crashing when I fall asleep at night, then I wake up and ride them.  I finally learned how to surf here, and I have been surfing twice per day.  Surfing is at the center of my long term plans.  I have big goals for 2021 and beyond.  Bigger goals than ever.  But I'm not telling anybody what they are.  Not even my Mom or my best friends.  Nobody. 

      I do the same things every day.  I surf in the morning, work at the coffee shop in the afternoon, then surf again in the evenings.  It's been cold in the mornings and I have been the only person on the water.  I've been doing dawn patrol by myself each morning since I stopped working with my instructor.  We went out together every morning until I learned the basics, but now I am on my own.  I keep going out alone every day, even though I miss my coach.  Surfing with friends is always more fun, but if I want to be a surfer then I will be surfing mostly alone for the time being.  

      There have been no other surfers out in the mornings and nobody on the beach except for a few local fisherman.  The fishermen are the only ones out there to see my good rides and my good wipeouts.  I've been surfing at such a feverish pace that I have given a myself a new nickname: The Surfing Machine.  Surfing took hold of me so quickly and so mightily that I have already asked myself many times why I'm doing it.  There is no single answer.  There are many.  This list is not exhaustive, but here are 10 reasons I surf:

      1) Surfing makes me a happier and therefore better person.  
      • I am kinder and more generous to people on land because I am energized by surfing.  Surfing  improves my attitude and energy level for the whole day.  Surfing relieves stress and elevates my whole sense of being.
      2) Surfing is great exercise.  
      • I know of nothing - and I mean nothing - that burns more calories than surfing.  Surfing will help you lose weight.  It will also improve your cardio, even if you are a already high-level professional athlete.
      3) Surfing is a great way to make new friends.  
      • The surfing world is full of interesting people.  I've already gotten to take surf trips with my local friends here in Mexico.  Of course, being able to speak and understand the local language is key.
      4) Surfing connects me with nature.  
      • It makes me completely present.  I'm focused purely on what I am doing.  I'm not thinking about anything else.  All distractions cease to exist while I am out there on the waves.  It's an escape from "land problems" - the bullshit government and the bullshit people in my life mean nothing on the water.  Civilization could crash and burn and I wouldn't even notice, let alone care.
      5) Surfing is fun for it's own sake.
      • The sensation of dropping down the face of a wave and riding along the surface of the water is priceless.  The feeling could never be described adequately.  It can't be captured by words.  It's something that must be experienced.  It must be felt.  There's a saying: ''only a surfer knows the feeling."  This is the feeling I speak of.
      6) Surfing provides schedule structure.
      • My day follows the surf schedule.  I surf in the mornings because that is when the surfing conditions are best, and before the sun is too high.  I surf again in the evenings for the same reasons: good surf and low sun.  I do my research and writing during the day because that is when I'm not surfing.  I eat and sleep in order to fuel up for surf sessions - there's almost no other reason.  I live to surf.
      7) Surfing demands endless learning.
      • Surfing is an art.  Like any art, it takes a lifetime to master.  A real artist never stops learning about his art.  There are endless dimensions to surfing.  Every surfer is also an amateur naturalist, oceanographer, weatherman, medic, handyman, geographer, cook, nutritionist, linguist and travel agent.  You keep learning for life.  
      8) Surfing demands self-sufficiency.
      • Surfing engraves a self-sufficient ethic deep into your core, through fear.  Being out there in big surf, all alone, on a small piece of fiberglass is humbling.  You realize that you and you alone are responsible for your well being.  Whether you have a great experience, or a near death experience, depends purely on your skills and the decisions you make.  Show me a great surfer and I'll show you someone who is remarkably self-sufficient.  They had to be self-sufficient in order to become a great surfer.  Surfing, by nature, targets and weeds out excuses for not surfing.
      9) Surfing is a reason to travel.
      • I can't think of a better way to see the world than through an endless string of surf trips.  This idea is so appealing that they made two movies out of it: Endless Summer I and II.  These movies are classic hits, and they continue to be the beginning of the surfing journey for thousands of people.  People absolutely lust over the idea of travelling the world surfing.  I'm living that fantasy as we speak, and I plan to keep it up as long as possible.  
      10) Surfing is a reason to care about the environment.
      • The first time you get diarrhea or a skin infection from polluted water, you will know what I'm talking about.  The first time you arrive at an isolated beach to find it covered in trash, you will know what I am talking about. 
      After my morning surf, I walk about a half mile to the coffee shop to do my deskwork.  I arrive at roughly the same time and sit at roughly the same spot every day.   I know everyone who works here by their first name, and they know me.  I greet them every time I come in.  They must laugh at me because I am so predictable.  They joke with me that the coffee shop is my office - and it is.  I show up every day, like clockwork.  Except on Wednesdays because they are closed.  If they were open on Wednesdays, I'd show up on Wednesdays, too.  I do research and writing at the coffee shop every day until it's time to surf again.

      Nobody makes me do any of this. Nobody checks my time card to see if I showed up.  Nobody cares.  That's what I like about it.  I don't have a boss.  I show up because I want to.  I show up because surfing means living the dream I've had since I was a kid.   Living my childhood dreams gives me a great sense of pleasure, satisfaction and accomplishment.   Learning to surf wasn't easy.  It took dedication, drive and commitment - but living out my childhood dreams is incredibly gratifying.  It's so gratifying that I've decided to keep doing it forever.  I plan to perpetually follow the desires of my inner child: the one who wants to do nothing but have fun all the time.

      The success of my life and my career will be measured in only one currency: how much fun I have.  Not by how much money I make.  Not by how many girls like me.  Not by how many people read my blog.  Not by any position or rank I hold.  Only by how much fun I have.  I am going to live this lifestyle as long as I can, and I am going to share updates.  So stay tuned.  The coming years are going to be humdingers.  2020 was just a warm up.  I have only begun to surf.

      Living this lifestyle is serious business, though.  It's not for everybody.  Freedom must be balanced by responsibility, or it will turn into chaos.  It takes a strong backbone and a strong moral compass to live this free.  You have to remain focused on your goals, or you will fall off track.  There are plenty of ex-pats who leave their country claiming to be on some righteous mission, but don't have anywhere near the discipline or dedication to actually follow through on their commitments.

      There are plenty of guys down here in Mexico who claim that they are "learning Spanish.''  Some of them have lived here for more than a year and still can't even ask for a menu in Spanish, let alone order from it.  I stay away from these guys.  

      There are also plenty of guys who are "learning to surf.''  They have a board and speak surfing lingo well enough to fool non-surfers into thinking they know what they are doing.  This ruse ends the moment they hit the water.  Whether you have been surfing or not, your skills will show it.  When it comes time to paddle out, you will not fool anybody - least of all, yourself.

      The only reason I even mention these guys is because I am tired of being mistaken for them.  I've been putting in the work every day.  It takes time to develop real skills like Spanish and surfing, and only time will tell who has been putting in the work and who hasn't.  

      But make no mistake about it: time will tell the truth.  The bums will remain bums, and those who've been putting the work will graduate to new levels.  I've never been more excited about things to come.

      Quiero Relajarme

      Mi vida es sencilla No tengo problemas grandes Pero lo paracen Cuando los pienso mucho Los pequeños hacen grandes Y me preocupo Mis amigos m...