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Lan Ha Bay, Vietnam

The Joy and Misfortune of Spontaneous Travel

Lan Ha Bay, Vietnam

Lan Ha Bay, Vietnam

It seems like every time I sit down to write I am doing so from an entirely different vantage point.

Last time was from the living room of a 34th floor apartment in Hanoi.

The time before that I was overlooking Cat Ba Bay from the dining room of our hotel.

This time it is on the rooftop terrace of our Airbnb with beautiful views of Saigon.

When we departed on this adventure, I really had no idea what was in store for me. I had never done anything quite like this before, and historically I have preferred much more stability in my life.

This time was going to be different. Unlike the rest of my life, I had done very little planning for this trip. Truth be told, we are supposed to fly out of Saigon tomorrow and up until just a few minutes ago, we hadn’t even booked a plane ticket. It was really stressful for me in the beginning to have such an uncertain future but I am learning to let go more and more and enjoy the adventure of it all.

Many wonderful things have been able to occur due to this spontaneity such as rock climbing in Vietnam. It was never even on our radar before this trip started, and it only happened because we let go of the need to plan and decided to be open to what came up along the way.

It is the same reason we are here in Saigon right now. We never had any intention to visit Saigon. I had been here before and there were 50 other places on our list that we wanted to see, but along the way an opportunity came up to spend time with an amazing individual so we took it. We said yes immediately, booked our tickets, and we were off.

Living this way is tough sometimes though.

We never really know where we are going to be. We literally live out of a suitcase and it seems like every time we turn around, it is time to pack up and move on.

The things we took for granted like the ability to go to the grocery store, buy some fresh fruit and vegetables, and cook our own food has been more of a luxury than a regular occurrence, but it has opened the door for some pretty interesting experiences.

One of these occurred just last week in Cat Ba.

There are no supermarkets that we could find in Cat Ba, good Western food was almost non-existent, and we had nothing but a mini fridge in our room so we had to resort to eating every meal at restaurants and food stalls.

We asked around where the best Pho Ba was located which is a stock based clear soup with beef, rice noodles, scallions, and sometimes fresh ginger. It is always served with fresh lime and really spicy red chilis on the side. Eat the chilis with caution. They are hot!

If you want to know where the best pho is, just look for the places with the giant vats of broth simmering for hours or sometimes days with beef bones. They are the tastiest and most authentic. Some other places just use instant broth and just taste like one of those cheap cup of noodles you buy at a convenience store.

Anyway, we had been eating at this place probably a half dozen times. This time was the first time I needed to use the bathroom.

After we order the food, I walk to the bathroom and open the door. There next to the toilet I find a giant plastic container of beef bones sitting in putrid water.

I was immediately grossed out thinking that I had been eating here for the last few days, and I am just about to eat a soup made from old beef bones that had been soaked right next to the toilet.

I realized I had been traveling in Asia for a while when my next immediate thought was, “These bones will be boiled in hot water and probably kill all of the bacteria so I am sure I will be fine.”

Next thing I knew I was sitting back in my seat enjoying a delicious bowl of Pho Ba.

If you want to grow you have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone.

I know you have probably heard me say this before, but are you doing it? If not, then it is worth repeating.

Book a ticket or drive a few hundred or even a few thousand miles to meet someone that you have always wanted to see. You can’t connect with someone the same way over the phone that you can sitting face to face with them.

Yes, it costs more money. Yes, it takes more time. Yes, it requires booking a hotel and dealing with some of the misfortunes of travel.

But also, it is an emphatic yes that it is worth it.

You will never regret investing in yourself and your relationships.

– Matt Westheimer

Hanoi, Vietnam

Experiencing Fear and Doubt – A Lesson from Hanoi

 

If you ever experience doubt or uncertainty, you are not alone.

I’ve always prided myself on being unwaveringly and unshakeably confident in the eyes of all those around me.

The truth is I am not always confident. I have doubts at times. I have insecurities. I have plenty of things in life I am unsure about.

I used to run away from things I was afraid of. I would run from any feelings of discomfort and insecurity.

I was always really good at attaching myself to things that I was really good at and things that came easy to me, and avoiding things that really challenged me emotionally.

It was great for capitalizing on my strengths but made me weak when dealing with things that scared me or made me emotionally uneasy.

That was one of the reasons I decided to take this trip around the world.

My strengths have always been working, achieving, and being productive.

My weaknesses have been dealing with downtime, times of being idle and not pursuing something tangible or big future goal, and taking time to just be present and live in the moment.

Quitting a great job, selling 90% of my things, not knowing where I will be sleeping a week from now, and dealing with times of idleness and boredom have proved to be as challenging as I expected it to be.

In the past, there was a place I could run to when feeling uneasy – work and achievement. Now there is nowhere to run.

There is only so much site-seeing and activities I can do to distract myself, but inevitably I must face these feelings of discomfort and learn to be at peace with them.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam

There are a few ways I do that.

Meditation is the biggest and most powerful habit I have added to my life. I start every morning with anywhere from 10 – 26 minutes of meditation. Sometimes I do silent meditation and other times I do a guided meditation (Hence the 26 minutes). Meditation has been incredible for me.

Writing. Sometimes I sit down and journal about whatever is on my mind or challenging me at the moment. I just write about whatever I am thinking about. I don’t try to sensor it. I just write. These are things that are just for my eyes. Actually, I usually don’t even go back and read them. Just the act of writing is incredibly cathartic.

Other times, I do exactly what you are reading now. I write about something I am working on, challenged by, or realized. It helps solidify an idea, concept, or practice in my own mind, and by putting it out for the world to read, I deeply hope it benefits your life by reading it.

Movement practice. Doing some type of exercise every day does wonders for my sanity. Sometimes it is an intense lung-screaming, muscle-beating workout, and other times it is a stretching and mobility session. The key is to get my body moving. Also, I always do this while listening to a podcast to feed my mind while I am feeding my body.

If you ever feel uncertain, scared, or stressed about life, you are not alone. I experience it as well.

The key is to lean into that discomfort and make it your friend. Don’t try and run away. Don’t try to avoid it. You can’t outrun it no matter how hard you try.

It helps to deal with these feelings by having some powerful rituals like the ones I mentioned. You just learn to be able to sit down and be at peace with those feelings and emotions. When you do, they no longer have power over you.

At least that is the idea. I am still working on that last part.

– Matt Westheimer

Cat Ba, Vietnam

The Struggle is Real

Cat Ba, Vietnam

Cat Ba, Vietnam

We are hanging 120 feet off the ground from an overhanging roof on the side of a mountain protected only by a harness that we clipped into 2 titanium bolts drilled into the roof.

Our legs are dangling underneath us are starting to lose feeling and go numb from the pressure of the harness’s leg straps. As we reach up to change our gear and prepare to repel ourselves down the side of the cliff, the harness digs in deeper into our inner thigh and cuts off more and more feeling. We have no choice. We have to keep going.

Many times throughout our week of rock climbing I found myself vacillating between moments of intense elation and extreme frustration.

Almost Giving Up

After “onsighting” (a term used for going up a route the first time without falling or stopping) a couple of challenging routes, I found myself in a euphoric state of accomplishment. This was coupled with a future route that should have been a cake walk in which I found myself almost giving up on due to the frustration of not being able to get past a certain point.

Truth be told I actually did give up on it. I got lowered back down, but in a moment of persistence and courageousness, I decided to not give up and gave it another go.

This time I made it.

I was really close to giving up, but I am glad I didn’t.

Great Metaphor For Life

I love rock climbing as a metaphor for life.

Things are going to be really hard at times. Things in life are going to be really uncomfortable and sometimes very painful. It’s important to keep going.

Sometimes you are going to want to give up – especially when no one is looking. It is in these moments of deciding whether to give up or not that your character is truly tested.

Don’t give up. Keep moving forward.

A great way to practice this is to put yourselves in situations where giving up is not an option.

I do that by putting myself in a position where I am hanging from a mountain 120 feet off the ground. Your way might be a bit different.

Either way, find your 120-foot cliff.

Sincerely,

Matt Westheimer

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Everyday Heroes in Thailand

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Railay, Thailand

Many times we can find everyday heroes all around us.

I witnessed a hero in action the other day.

We just arrived in Railay, Thailand a few days ago for a week of rock climbing.

The setting is extraordinary. Giant limestone walls overlooking the ocean are views that you’d think you can only find in the movies. It is the type of beauty that only mother nature could create.

The variety of climbing here is incredibly vast. They have everything from beginner routes to expert level. There are short climbs of 6-8 meters all the way to 100m+ multi-pitch routes.

One of our favorite areas to climb is a place called the Diamond Wall. It is a site perched on top of a hill with amazing views and great routes. There is also a hand ground organic coffee place on site which is an added bonus for coffee lovers like us!

It was our second day climbing at the wall when I witnessed something scary and inspiring at the same.

When you climb the walls in Railay, it is not compulsory to hire a guide. It is open and free to the public. As long as you know what you are doing and have your own gear, you are free to climb on your own. Most people, including us, hire a guide to make sure we are safe and help us navigate the walls better.

On this one particular morning, there was a duo there who were on their own.

From the moment I saw the climber on the wall, I knew they were people I needed to stay far away from.

The way climbing works is you have a climber who is attached to a rope, you have another person called the belayer who is attached to the other end of the rope. As the climber ascends the wall, he clips his rope to the wall to protect himself if he falls. If he falls, the belayer is there to hold the rope and keep him safe. At least, that is the idea granted that both parties know what they are doing.

This party did not.

You could tell from the beginning the climber did not know what he was doing. After he got about half way up the wall, it was very apparent that he was in serious danger. I only realized that because I heard one of the local guides frantically trying to tell the belayer he needs to take better care of his climber.

At this point, everyone around was concerned. The climber was stuck on the wall in a dangerous position. The belayer either didn’t seem to care or was ignorant to the fact that something was wrong, and he would not listen to the guide who was trying to help. Not only would he not listen, but he was being rude and condescending to the guide.

Here is the thing. The guide was getting paid to work with another group. He had no allegiance or direct responsibility to put himself in a position to get ridiculed and yelled at.

So why did he do it? Because it was the right thing to do.

Not only that, but he wouldn’t back down.

He took a stand for the climber on the wall no matter what.

He put his feelings and his ego aside because helping another individual was more important than staying comfortable and quiet.

Moments later, he threw on his harness, attached himself to a rope, and literally ran up the wall barefoot to rescue the climber that was in a really tough spot.

This man was certainly a hero.

It was a great reminder that we must stand up for what is right, not just what is easy.

It was a reminder that we must be courageous, even if it means we might be judged or ridiculed.

It was also a great reminder even though we may not think people are looking at us, they are. It is important we always act with integrity and set a good example for other people to follow.

Thank you, Mr. Climbing Instructor for demonstrating such courage out there on the wall.

People were watching, and you inspired all of us.

- Matt Westheimer

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034: Tapping into Greatness – How a Shy Girl Expressed Personal Power

 

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Experience has showed me we can all tap into greatness.

We can express greatness whenever we choose in any situation we may find ourselves in.

The question is, “HOW?” How do we tap into this greatness that seems to peak its head at seemingly random and distant times?

The answer is quite simple.

Listen today to a powerful story about a young girl that tapped into her greatness and discover how you can do the same.

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027: How to Deal with Stress and Anxiety

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I share 3 very powerful strategies in this episode to help you overcome stress and anxiety.

I have been on the longest holiday I have taken in over 7 years.

It was stressful and uncomfortable to be away from the office for almost 3 weeks.

Thoughts about how my staff and my patients were doing were constantly running through my mind. I was letting it really affect me.

That was until I received a phone call.

I received a phone call by someone close to me who was really stressing over money and a student loan that was hanging over their head.

My advice was simple: Even if you have the money, don’t pay the loan off yet.

My advice was to find out why this was causing him so much stress first.

Then pay off the loan.

At a Tony Robbins seminar... Looking forward to joining him up there someday :)

Communication: Do you have what it takes?

There is no greater way to influence people than through communication.

Martin Luther King Jr. demonstrated communication mastery with his “I Have A Dream Speech.” He mobilised millions of people to fight for equality. John F. Kennedy did the same thing with his “Man on the Moon” speech and in doing so did what was thought to be impossible at the time which was putting a man on the moon. Steve Job’s did so with his iconic new product launch presentations building one of the wealthiest and most influential companies in the world.

Communication is not only oratory in nature. It can also be accomplished through the written word. You have spiritual texts like the Bible, Bhagavad Gita, Tao Te Ching, Koran, and Old Testament whose written word has inspired billions of people around the world. You have literary works like Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” that led to the decimation of millions of innocent people. And you have positive pieces like those of Dr. Wayne Dyer, Eckert Tolle, and Viktor Frankl whose literary masterpieces have led to millions of people transforming their lives in a positive way.

At a Tony Robbins seminar... Looking forward to joining him up there someday :)

At a Tony Robbins seminar… Looking forward to joining him up there someday!

Words are powerful. The ability to formulate and articulately present those words is priceless. When we can craft our communication, similarly to the manner in which Michelangelo and Van Gogh paint, we can literally change the world around us.

I just delivered a talk today for a great group of people on the topic of health. Before every talk, I have a routine where I remind myself, “With this opportunity, I have the potential to transform these people’s lives. Make it powerful.” I then follow that up with one of Tony Robbins incantations that he uses every time before he goes on stage which is “I now command my subconscious mind to direct me in helping as many people as possible today; by giving me the strength, the emotion, the humor, the brevity, whatever it takes to get these people to change their lives now.” I repeat that over and over again to influence my physiology and get myself in the maximum state to be present and be influential.

I make it a goal to be able to go to sleep each and every night knowing I gave every conversation, every interaction, and every presentation everything I have because the people I have the opportunity to serve deserve it.

I am certainly not perfect and fall short of my goal many times, but the journey never changes; the process never changes. It was always the goal in the past, is the goal currently, and will always be the goal into the future.

Are you working on YOUR communication?

All the best,

Dr. Matt Westheimer