It was a rough morning climbing.
I woke up really excited to climb and we hiked down to a well know crag in Meir Valley at the Red River Gorge in Kentucky to set up shop for the morning.
It was beautiful. You had to walk through an archway of a huge boulder which took us to our private oasis of climbing perched high on top of a hillside.
I started with a couple of easier climbs which turned out to be a blast. Both of them followed a great line to the top and were perfect warm-ups.
I then decided to attempt a couple of the tougher climbs.
The first one I tried was well within my range but I hit a sticking point which really frustrated me. I started blaming the rock (Crazy, I know). I then started blaming the people who put the bolts in that I needed to attach my rope to.
After much blaming, I finally had to come to the conclusion I just didn’t have it. I finally begrudgingly finished the route after a lot of struggle but I had some assistance so it didn’t feel like much of a victory.
I then decided to redeem myself on a slightly harder route on the same wall. I made it to the first bolt but could not figure out how to get to the second bolt so I had to bail and get lowered down without completing the route. It was the first route I have tried in the last couple of months that I couldn’t finish and gave up on.
That is either a testament to my willpower and tenacity in choosing to not give up or the fact that I am just not challenging myself enough. I’ll leave the judgment up to you.
Anyway, I was looking forward to getting out of that area and meeting friends of ours at a very sought after area of Meir Valley called Bruise Brothers.
It is a beautiful wall with some amazing lines.
I started on some easier routes and then decided to step up to some harder stuff. After the struggles I had on the previous wall earlier in the day I was resolved to just stick to the easier stuff but I saw a route I just couldn’t say no to.
It started out with some technical moves and then moved to an overhang with some big moves and had a great finish. I got up with no problem and started to build my confidence again.
The next one I wanted to do looked amazing but was at the peak of my ability. I’ll be honest I was scared to get on the wall. It was a huge climb with only a little crack to use about 40 feet off the ground.
Fortunately, another couple of climbers decided to do it before us. It was probably a bit of a false sense of confidence because he was a much better climber than I was and made it look way too easier.
Either way, I decided to give it a go.
Surprisingly, I made it without too much effort.
I was re-energized and wanted to test my limits for the last climb.
We shifted over to a really interesting climb.
The first part starts off as a fairly easy climb straight up the wall. At least it should have been easy but ended up feeling much harder than it should have been.
The next part is a giant overhanging roof about 30 feet off the ground that you have to climb horizontal to the ground below you and then over the top for the finish.
I resolved that I was going to have to take a couple of falls but there was no way I was going to give up on this.
What’s funny is a friend of mine completed the route just before me and still had his friend’s gear up there. His friend shouted at him to take his gear back down and put the rope directly through the anchors just in case I didn’t finish it.
Reflexively I shouted, “Leave it up there. I’m finishing it and I’ll bring it back down.” It was my little version of the “burning the boats” story where retreat and failure were not an option. I was going to finish this no matter what.
As I reached the top of the first part of the climb, I leaned back and peered over my head.
Doubts started to set in. It looked a lot harder up close than it did from the ground.
But there was no giving up. Remember, I told him to leave his gear at the top. I had to finish this climb now.
I decided to take it one bolt at a time; total presence.
There were 3 bolts and a finishing anchor.
I grabbed onto the first part of the roof, leaned back, and brought my feet a bit higher. A quick draw was within reach so I reached down, grabbed the rope, and clipped it in the carabiner.
One down, three to go.
I reached up to the next part of the roof, heel hooked the other part of the roof, and saw the next quick draw was within reach. I slowed my breath, relaxed my body, reached down, grabbed the rope, and slowly and methodically placed it in the next carabiner.
Two down and two to go.
The next one was a huge reach. I searched for a moment, found a decent hold, grabbed it, got my legs up and clipped in. I looked up and found the anchor just a short easy climb away.
I was so focused and so present that I was surprised the finish was right in front of me.
A wave of emotion and a tremendous sense of accomplishment came over me as I clipped into the final anchor.
It is easy to live life in the middle where there is no true sense of accomplishment but also no real risk of failure. It is easy to play it safe.
But sometimes, just sometimes, it is worth it to burn the boats and destroy the bridges so failure is not an option and there is a point of no return.
That is really when we are tested. That is where the sweetest juice of life can be found.
– Matt Westheimer
It has been 77 days since I parted ways with my chiropractic practice to pursue a dream of traveling around the world.
Currently, I am sitting in a giant metal tube 40,000 feet in the air on my way to NYC. I can’t believe I have been traveling for 2.5 months so far. Some days feel much longer than others, but overall the experience has flown by.
We have experienced some pretty amazing things so far and encountered some really frustrating challenges.
The highlight of the trip has definitely been rock climbing. We developed a passion for climbing that exceeded my expectations, but I am certainly leaning into the feeling and looking for ways to explore the world with a rope and a harness.
We have met extraordinary people from all over the world. We have stayed at five star hotels and no star shacks. We have had some expensive food and $1 street food. We have met some of the nicest people on the planet and encountered some of the rudest and most frustrating.
We’ve had things stolen and lost but more than made up for it with the generosity of people and experiences along the way.
Being away for so long and living out of a suitcase really puts things in perspective and makes me grateful for some of the simple things in life like a good home cooked steak and a decent pillow.
Man, I never appreciated a decent pillow until now.
I realize that we only get one life to live and living in fear is no way to live it. Life passes you by way too quickly.
I have been meeting many travelers along this journey that are in their early to mid 20s and just working and traveling around the world. They are living day to day and traveling until their money runs out. Then they go back to work until they have enough money to travel again.
There is such a freedom in that. To get on the road with nothing to lose and experience the rawness of what the world has to offer.
There are times when I question my decision to travel. Of course, it would have been more prudent to continue working, but being prudent isn’t always memorable. Being prudent doesn’t always create exceptional experiences. Being prudent doesn’t always build lifelong relationships.
Sometimes it’s important to throw prudence out the window, take big risks, and follow your passion.
One of my favorites quotes that exemplifies this idea is “You’ll regret more the things you did not do than the ones you decided to do.”
Stop always being so prudent, go against the grain, and do something you’ve always wanted to do.
My philosophy more and more is evolving into the idea that there are only 2 types of experiences: extraordinary ones that feel amazing and ones that are crap but make for great stories.
Go out and make both.
– Matt Westheimer
Injured and Abroad in Vietnam
Ever since I can remember, there are two qualities that stand out a lot when I think of myself.
Ever since I can remember, there are two qualities that stand out a lot when I think of myself.
These two qualities are not ones I am especially proud – anxiousness and perfectionism.
Ever since I started traveling about 10 weeks ago, I never realized how distracted I was from just being present in my “old” life.
Sure, I would meditate for 10-20 minutes in the morning but what about the other 1,430 minutes in the day?
Much of it was filled with work and other obligations and activities. Feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, fears, and doubts could fairly easily be drowned out by the noise of daily life.
It is different when you are traveling long-term.
There are many times of boredom and nothingness. Questions begin to arise about whether it is ok to just relax and do nothing or am I just “wasting” my time?
Being still in the moment and just “being” is a challenge for someone who has had such a strong experience with anxiousness and perfectionism. Some moments I look out into the corner of the world that I happened to be experiencing at the moment and possess a deep sense of gratitude. Other times I am filled with stress and anxiety and questions of doubt.
What I am realizing more and more is there is no perfect reality out there. There is no scenario in life that is going to make all of your problems go away. Every scenario and permutation of life has upsides and downsides.
Unfortunately for me, whether it is nature or nurture or a combination of the two, I tend to obsess about the downside or challenges associated with things. There are advantages and disadvantages to this approach.
This usually isn’t so bad if it is something within my control.
Where I really run into trouble is when I am dealing with something outside of my control.
Many times I obsess and obsess until it drives me crazy.
For example, I have an old hip injury that has been acting up on me recently. I hurt it about 5 years ago and from time to time it still flares up pretty bad. I have literally tried just about everything I know to get this thing resolved but nothing seems to completely resolve it.
What is funny is that I help so many people resolve their health issues, but the hardest patient I have ever had is myself.
This issue acted up on me again right before our last big rock climbing trip to SE Asia. My mind started racing like it usually does. What if this thing keeps me from climbing? What if this never really goes away? How am I going to be able to climb hard and do all of the adventures and sports that I love to do? What is going to happen if this gets worse and I have to give up on so much of what I love?
Once I am able to see past the immediacy of the emotional trauma that I am feeling and somewhat self-inflicting through the questions I am asking myself, I do what I do best.
Take massive action.
I take massive action in regards to my physical health by reaching out to practitioners and experts in my life that could help me. I spend hours doing myofascial work, stretching, mobility, and muscle activation work.
I then work on my emotional wellbeing through meditation, writing, and asking myself better questions.
This is the most challenging part for me.
The technique that I find helps me most is this: What if what I fear most happens? What if I am limited in physical sports and adventure for the rest of my life? What would I do and how would I still find happiness and fulfillment?
I love these series of questions because if you can still find fulfillment and purpose even in the worst case scenario, then what you fear most loses its power over you.
Then I can get back to doing the real work. And the real work is taking massive action on everything that is within my control and working on the emotional aspect of accepting, and maybe even embracing, the things that are outside of my control.
I am still learning to let go more and more and lean into discomfort.
What I believe is that happiness should not be the goal. It is too dependent on our emotions in the moment.
And let’s be real. If you are really trying to experience a truly extraordinary life, it takes a lot of struggle. But the key is to struggle through the things that are worth struggling through and are most important to you.
The goal should be fulfillment, growth, and contribution. It should be finding peace and presence and curiosity in the moment. Sometimes those moments feel like crap and other times they feel great.
Either way, lean into it.
- Matt Westheimer
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
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.
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
As I plunge deeper and deeper into the water, the pressure builds up, the water gets colder and darker, and my lunges begin to scream for a breath of air.
I am freediving in the Gulf of Thailand on the island of Koh Tao which is a little island off the eastern coast of mainland Thailand.
I have always wanted to take a course in freediving.
As a kid, I grew up snorkeling almost every weekend along the coral reefs of South Florida but I wanted to be professionally trained.
There is something so primal and pure about freediving. It is just you and the water. It brings you back to the old days when you had to hunt for food with nothing but your body and a spear.
I love the purity of it. I love how it involves a strong mental and physical aspect. I love that it forces you to be present and live in the “now.”
Every random thought, unintentional body movement or contraction, mental stress, anxious moment, or inefficient movement, uses oxygen and deprives your brain and body of this essential nutrient.
There is very little room for error. There is a real chance of losing motor control or even blacking out in the water. If you follow your training, it can be very safe, but you don’t want to deviate from the plan.
My Personality is BAD For Optimal Freediving Performance
As a Type A person, my engine is usually running on all cylinders. My mind is always racing. My body is always running. I have a tenancy to live in the future. I tend to sway in the direction of anxiety and the most common word people have used to describe me is intense.
These are not great qualities for an effective freediver.
In freediving you must live in the moment. You must breath to a point of deep relaxation before you dive down and maintain that relaxation throughout the dive. You must not stress or think too much because brain metabolism requires the use of oxygen, and when you are diving down into the depths of the ocean on a single breath, every bit of oxygen counts.
It was such a challenging and rewarding experience to be able to devote 6 consecutive days to pursuing my level 1 and 2 freediving certification. It forced me to confront my fears of deep diving and fighting the strong urge to breath. It forced me to push pass my limits of what I though was possible. It forced me to relax and live in the moment.
The Big Realization
There was one pivotal moment I remember vividly while I was in the water.
I was really getting stressed out and anxious about diving deeper. I was putting a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to perform. I could feel my heart racing and my head pounding.
Out of nowhere I heard my mind say silently to myself: “Stop putting so much pressure on yourself. This is supposed to be fun. Enjoy the process.”
At the thought of these words, a smile appeared on my face and I decided to just have fun and enjoy the process.
I realized it’s important to challenge ourselves and do things on a regular basis that scare us. It is the only way we grow. But it is equally important to stop putting so much pressure on ourselves and just enjoy the process.
It is interesting what happened when I relaxed and decided to have fun.
My performance increased. I ended up finishing the course with an 87.5 feet (27m) free dive and a 3:15 breath hold.
This never would have happened if I let my stress, anxiety, and fear get the better of me.
So what is the final lesson from this experience?
Challenge myself. Do something every day that scares me. Stop putting so much pressure on myself and always remember to have fun.
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
One of our favorite places to stay in Bali is a town called Canggu.
We’ve been there a couple of times and always said we would love to go back to do a yoga retreat.
Canggu is a mecca for healthy living. There are many yoga studios, organic restaurants, and world class surfing.
We stayed at a really quaint and quirky place called Serenity Guesthouse. It truly lives up to its name. It is a peaceful place mostly made of bamboo. There are organic gardens around the whole property, a healthy café with homemade Kombucha, a few yoga studios, a meditation room, rain collection bins for water, and they recycle everything.
I have been practicing yoga on and off for years. I started doing yoga about 8 years ago when I was in chiropractic school.
To this day, I still remember the first class I did. I always had a negative view of yoga. I thought it was a lazy form of exercise. I viewed working out as lifting a lot weight – period.
I decided to give a class a try after suffering from shoulder issues for a while. I figured it would be a relaxed way to work my body with minimal effort.
Boy was I wrong!
That first class I did was incredibly humbling. I struggled through the entire thing. I had to take rests more than anyone else in the class. I couldn’t touch my toes, my shoulders were on fire, and every muscle in my body was burning.
I was hooked.
I decided to make yoga a regular part of my fitness regime. I have struggled with keeping it a regular practice at times but like a home base, I always find my way back at some point.
Lately, my yoga practice has fallen a bit by the wayside. I have been doing much more calisthenics work like gymnastics as well as rock climbing and weight lifting.
I decided a great way to get back into the practice would be to do a yoga retreat where I would take 2 classes per day for 5 days and have a really immersive experience.
In short, it kicked my butt. It was very humbling.
I remember one class where I thought I had really advanced my practice until I looked over to my left and saw a guy making me look like it was my first class. He was doing moves I had always dreamed of doing.
At first, I started to doubt and mentally deprecate myself.
Then I realized this guy was where he was because of a ridiculous commitment to his craft. My mind shifted from putting myself down to admiration for the hours, days, weeks, months, and years he committed to molding his mind and body into the ability to master some very challenging moves.
Many times we only see what is on the surface. We see the successful person and assume she was just lucky.
We see the person with the great physique and chalk it up to genetics.
We see the musician, the speaker, the leader, or the athlete, and we ignore the fact that they put in countless hours of work, sleepless nights, and an unwavering commitment to excellence.
If we want to reach excellence in anything, we must remember it takes an extraordinary commitment.
First, stop beating yourself up if you aren’t happy where you are. Accepting yourself is the first step to transformation.
Then decide where you want to be. What is the result you are looking for?
Then decide what you need to do to reach the outcome you are looking for. Who do you need to model? What do you need to read? How much do you need to train?
Lastly, commit to taking massive action.
Speaking of which, time for me to practice some yoga. I have a lot of work to do.
– Matt Westheimer
The world has been going through so much change over the past 10-20 years. Through globalization, there are very few places that still retain the essence of the “good old” days. Western culture has permeated much of the Eastern world but there are still some places that have retained quite a bit of the Eastern charm.
Yogyakarta was one of those places.
I sensed it the moment we stepped off the plane onto the tarmac and faced a small old building that they call their airport.
Inside the terminal there was the hustle and bustle of locals and very few Westerners. Things were old, worn, and had lots of character. Just the way I like it.
We hired a driver from the airport to drive us to our hotel. Our hotel was spectacular. It was an old Dutch mansion that was built in 1918. It was fully renovated but still held the essence of the old world. We had a gorgeous room overlooking the pool which was an amazing site to see.
The floors and bathroom were marble. The bed sheets were soft and the pillows perfect. It was like being in a palace.
But do you want to know what we appreciated most about the hotel? Not the lavish rooms, picturesque pool, the outstanding service, or the old world charm. Don’t get me wrong. We loved those things.
But the thing we appreciated the most was the shower.
I’m not talking about the beauty of the shower either. I am talking about the water pressure.
Eighty percent of our trip had been showers that were either unusable, freezing cold, or plagued with water dripping out at a pace that resembled a leaky faucet.
It is amazing how you begin to appreciate the little things when you know longer have them.
My life in Singapore was really good. I had a really good shower. The water pressure was excellent and I never had an issue with hot or cold water. Do you know what happens when you have a perfect shower?
You find other things to complain about. We always find things to complain about. That is just who we are as human beings.
We get comfortable with the luxuries in our life that we call “necessities.” But really, if you are part of the 1 percenters of the world, which you are if you are reading this, what we call necessities are really luxuries.
I was complaining to my friend about having to go a week using a bucket of water to bath with. He started laughing and said, “You call that roughing it. I call it how I grew up. That’s how I bathed my whole life growing up.”
It takes effort to look at our life and realize what are luxuries and what are necessities.
It takes an even bigger effort to practice conscious minimalism. Get rid of some of the stuff you don’t need anymore. Take a cold shower. Stay at substandard accommodations for a week or go camping. Minimalize the distractions in your life and learn to appreciate more.
Every time we increase the standard of living in our life, it becomes the new baseline.
The things we once appreciate we no longer do as we up our game. This way of living can be really exciting but you have to look out for the downside, and the downside can be really big.
We lose ourselves. We lose our happiness, joy for life, and our appreciation for the little things.
Life becomes about achieving more and having more and we lose our sense of self in the process.
I am not saying we should ever lose our drive for achievement or that having more is bad. I wholeheartedly believe we should look for the harmony of drive for achievement and appreciation and gratitude for the little things.
But just think about how much better your life would be if you had a deep sense of appreciation for a nice warm shower with good water pressure.