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


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