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Devin Martin's LifeStyle Integrity Blog

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16

Sep

WHY DO HARD THINGS?

The picture above is me wading into a random river on day 2 of 6 hiking over 100 mi on the Appalachian trail. I jumped in way over my head. I’ve never hiked with a backpack, never mind up and down mountains for 10 hours a day, never slept alone in the woods, never drank water from streams, and never carried all the food I’ll need for a week on my back. It was hard. My body hurt at the end of day one. My ankles swole up like balloons and screamed at me to stop with nearly every step.

It was great. ⁣⁣⁣

My original plan, pre-covid, was a week long silent retreat at the Zen center; also a beautiful struggle every time I do it. I finally accepted the fact that the Zen center was not going to open up for sesshin this year and I desperately needed a media free week in silence, but why choose pain? ⁣⁣⁣
⁣⁣
I’ll give you 4 reasons:

WE KNOW THINGS BY THEIR OPPOSITES

My Uncle once asked me, “If given the option to spare your children from ever experiencing pain, would you choose this for them?”

I answered with an immediate “No” replying, “how could they ever know joy if they didn’t know pain?” ⁣⁣⁣This points towards one of the reasons I like to do hard things. In the picture above I am joyously rinsing my skin in a river. I don’t usually get excited about rivers. After a mere 48 hours without a shower, without washing my hands, after sleeping outside in my own filth, covered in sweat with my muscles aching, the joy of being refreshed and clean is almost overwhelming. Jumping into that river was bliss. The cold water of the river reminded me just how comfortable my life at home is every single day. I take hot showers for granted. I take sinks for granted. I take my bed for granted.

In the image above I am preparing to spend the day hiking in the rain. I take the roof over my head for granted. I take hot meals for granted. I take the safety of sleeping without bears and coyotes circling my tent (yup, happened two nights in a row) for granted. Most of all, I take the company of others for granted. ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣

I practice GRATITUDE daily, but there is plenty of privilege that I overlook. Doing hard things shines a light on just how much I have going for me every day. Carrying everything you need to live on your back for a week and hiking in the woods has beautiful elements as well, but mostly it was a challenge. It is simple and hard and exponentially less comfortable than life indoors. You don’t get to wash your hands after going to the bathroom. You don’t get to adjust the temperature on the thermostat. You are not safe from poison ivy (I got it) bugs (bit me), rodents (attacked my food), coyotes (surrounded me) or bears. Yes, I enjoy roughing it, but mostly I appreciate the way it reminds me just how little I need to survive and how much extra I have in my life to be grateful for.

TO KNOW YOUR LIMITS

Most of us leave A LOT on the table. At the end of the day, how often do you feel that you gave all you could possibly have given? When you do feel this way, isn’t going to bed the best? If you rarely feel this way, how much regret do you imagine you will have at the end of your life? Have you read that Top 5 Regrets of the Dying list? It’s not failure that stings, it is the things we never tried that haunt us at the end. Dreams unfulfilled become nightmares. Knowing you have more to give is one of the most exquisite pains that emerges at the higher stages of personal development. This is what self-actualization is all about.

If you don’t test your limits then you don’t know what you are capable of. If you don’t know what you are capable of then I guarantee you that you are selling yourself short on a near daily basis. Most of us don’t spend enough time outside of our comfort zones to really know how strong we are and how resourceful we might be under pressure. I like to do things specifically because I don’t know how to do them. It may seem completely unrelated to the rest of your life to do something hard like an endurance challenge, but the confidence you build in yourself translates into all realms.

TO PUSH YOUR LIMITS

I don’t just seek my limits just to find out where they are. I seek limits because I know that when I touch them….they move. It is one thing to find a limit, it is another to accept it. I believe that every boundary I see in my life is negotiable.

What happens if you conceptualize every skill to be more like a muscle than a bone? Muscles grow strong when you stress them and limber when you stretch them. They are antifragile. You can lose bone, but as an adult, what you see is essentially the most you will ever get. Bones are ‘use it or lose it’, but muscles adapt to the challenge they face.

Many people see skills as bones. They seek to discover where they have “natural talent” and avoid the places where they don’t. This is the definition of a fixed mindset. Well guess what? The research is in. There is no such thing as natural talent. We have natural curiosities. No one can explain why we like what we like. Some feel drawn to art and others to engineering. But if we can sustain effort, especially if we engage deliberate practice, in any area, improvement is inevitable.

The opposite of a fixed mindset is a growth mindset. Take whatever talent you have now, multiply it by the effort you are willing to put in and this gives you the skill you end up with. Mastery is asymptotic. There is always more to learn.

This is also true for your self confidence. Think of it like stretching. Right now you have a range of motion that feels accessible. Within this range you are comfortable. If you go too far too fast then you can easily pull a muscle. You have to be careful when you push. Blow past your limit and panic sets in. Anxiety is real. But if you can find your edge, lean into it, take deep belly breaths, and hang out there, your edge begins to expand. If you can’t touch your toes it’s because you don’t try (and fail) often enough. If you are afraid to speak publicly it’s because you don’t try often enough. When you play with your limits they change.

TO BUILD GRIT

I suspect that nothing correlates with success in life more than grit. Too much stress can break you, but too little leaves us weak and full of self doubt. I have coached the adult children of billionaires on multiple occasions. We all know what they have going for them, I’m not asking you to pity them, but they are illuminating when it comes to illustrating one simple point. Being coddled makes us fragile.

When we have things done for us, we tend to doubt whether or not we could do them for ourselves. If you never have to cook, clean, study without a tutor, pay for a meal, or rely on yourself to overcome scary and challenging situations, then you tend to assume your limits are far smaller than what they really are. Don’t get me wrong, each of these people was brilliant and full of amazing potential. Most of them just have a hard time believing it. If you are protected from experiencing discomfort you tend to assume that little things will break you. They won’t, but thinking about it won’t help. You must be tested.

Nowadays many of us are coddled by our parents. In a culture where everybody gets a participation medal, where rights of passage barely exist, it can be hard to know what would happen if you were truly in danger and had no one to rely on but yourself. This doesn’t mean be reckless. I take measured risks. I’m no pioneer. I don’t consider myself to be all that brave. I felt relatively safe on the AT because I know that so many other people have been there before. My growth mindset tells me that if others have done something then, if I am willing to struggle, so can I. My belief in the power of grit makes me smile when I get stuck, keep moving when I have doubt, and seek out new challenges when I feel stagnant.

Grit works like a muscle as well. I love sitting on the beach with a book for a while, but I love adventure a lot more. I want a life that is meaningful more than I want a life that is comfortable. I want to experience diversity more than I want certainty. And when it comes to my life having the impact that I dream it can have I know that I am going to have to be WAY outside of my comfort zone to get there.

18

Mar

AYAHUSACA! – Life Coach becomes Death Coach

Memento Mori Podcast

Ooooh….This is a good one

If you have been following my journey over the past 10 years you might have noticed that the way I identify myself professionally has morphed and evolved. How I work with clients has largely stayed the same, but my title has not. Depending on how people find me, they think of me as being one type of coach or another.

I am a Life Coach. This always seemed like the catch-all. I started out as a Holistic Health Coach, but only worked that before my sabbatical. If you search on Yelp I rank in the top 3 for both Life and Career Coaches in NYC. So many think of me primarily as a Career Coach. Over the past couple of years the growing majority of my clients became CEO’s and other executives. When they refer me to a colleague running their own company they hire me as an Executive Coach (first new page on my website in a while!). All of this was actually expected and is basically par for the course. It’s a kooky unregulated industry. My most recent titles I did not anticipate. Things are getting weirder.

Because I insist that my clients be open to discussing and working with all areas of their life it is hard to predict where things will lead, but I always assumed it would all fit within the “life” realm….until recently. Witness the birth of Death Coaching!

My client D.S. Moss created a podcast called The Adventures of Memento Mori. Memento Mori translates as Remember to Die. The idea is that, through contemplating impermanence one might really start living. This journey has led us through some truly strange and beautiful explorations, and now, in the last two episodes, to Peru, where he offers his ego up to the plant medicine of the local shaman. Believe it or not, this is not the first time I have been an Ayahuasca Coach, but it is the first time I can take you along!

This is work that gets my juices flowing. Who AM I? What lurks in the depths of my shadows? How do I kill my ego? All of the big philosophical questions smash head on into heroic doses of psychedelics in the final episodes of this absolutely brilliant podcast. Every week he explores death and our relationship to it through a new lens. I believe I am in the first episode, the last two, and maybe one more. The whole podcast is worth the journey. The last episode of the first season (episode #14) where the ayahuasca ceremonies actually happen, is particularly bewitching. Listen with headphones if you can. He really captures the sounds of the ceremony space. It brought me right back to my first ceremonies in Brazil.

17

Oct

The Fertile Ground of Bewilderment

charles-eisenstein

 

Does the phrase The Fertile Ground of Bewilderment perfectly sum up the current election to you?

Does it point to the real path forward when it comes to climate change?

How about the way to figure out what to do with your career or your health?

If the fertile ground of bewilderment does not point towards a solution, perhaps it should. This is the argument that one of my favorite thinkers on the planet puts forth in his forthcoming book and in the lecture that gives us a preview below.

Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics and The Yoga of Eating, is working on a new book about climate change that promises to evolve the discourse around this topic by asking us to go deeper than the simple solutions that we have all been talking about. Through an exploration of our fear of the phrase “I don’t know” Charles pushes us to look deeper. The simple, linear, carbon is the enemyTrump is the enemy, sugar is the enemy, lines of thought are great for choosing our enemies, but doing so can actually make things worse. Charles invites us in to a space of deep unknowing where true insights can emerge. In essence, he asks us to let go of the overly mechanistic/rational ways we view our problems and move towards a more sacred view of ourselves and our planet. Ever wonder why caring for children or for the dying doesn’t seem to be a great way to make a living? This is the place where even your smallest efforts to connect with and care for others are essential to all of our futures. (It’s worth the journey just for the parking lot metaphor)

The New & Ancient Story Podcast (the audio has a little static, but it’s worth it)

12

Oct

Purpose Up Podcast

purposeup

Ever wonder, what is my purpose? We all want to wake up energized and engaged. We want to live with purpose. Check out this great new podcast all about living with purpose. I’m featured in episode #3

Ep 3 – Devin Martin – Life Coaching, Intuition and The Essence and Form of Purpose

05

Nov

Michael Grab – Stone Balance Demonstration

Michael Grab balances stones. Perhaps you have seen a stack of stones in the woods, at the beach or on a mountain? These are nothing like that, or rather, they are just like that, but look like they are a CGI trick. They are not. Just to prove that they are not computer generated, but are actually just one man stacking some rocks, Grab has released a video demonstration of him balancing some rocks. In his words “the process boils down to contemplative stone arrangement; involving patience, adaptation, slow-breathing, steady hands, and a plethora of other practiced skills.” This is nature as spiritual practice as far as I am concerned, and both the process and the results are beautiful and inspiring.

You can learn more about Michael by checking out his website Gravity Glue

 This man is AMAZING! Wednesdays are for AMAZING MEN Find More Amazing Men by clicking HERE

Stone Balance Demonstration by Michael Grab (Gravity Glue) – 1409 – September 2014 from Michael Grab on Vimeo.

01

Oct

Kevin Hays is a Rubik’s Cube God

I’m not sure about children today, but when I was in school everyone either had a Rubik’s cube or had a friend who had one. Occasionally, someone was able to solve it. It was never fast. It often looked like luck. Kevin Hays is a master ‘speedsolver’. Not only does he appear to know exactly what moves to make, he executes them with super-human quickness. You have to see this video to believe it. Watch as he solves 6 Rubik’s cube’s, each one with more squares than the next.

This man is AMAZING! Wednesdays are for AMAZING MEN Find More Amazing Men by clicking HERE

#AMAZINGMEN

03

Sep

A Tribute to Discomfort: Cory Richards

Cory Richardson was named National Geographics Explorer of the Year in 2012. This is a great accomplishment. Now imagine what happens when this type of adventurer is an AMAZING photographer. Lucky for us, we don’t have to. The video below gives us a gorgeous glimpse into Richards work.

You can see more of his work on his website here: www.coryrichards.com

This man is AMAZING! Wednesdays are for AMAZING MEN Find More Amazing Men by clicking HERE

27

Aug

Simon Ata – 2014 Strength Workout

I love functional strength. Watching someone lift a 1,000 pounds will always be shocking, but most of those guys look like they couldn’t touch their toes. Then you have the gymnasts and the breakdancers and the “movement” crowd. These guys are pushing the boundaries of human physicality in incredibly holistic ways. They are not just perfecting one movement or one type of lift, they are perfecting their bodies ability to do anything and everything. Breakdancer Simon Ata from Melbourne Australia is an elegant beast. I’d be thrilled to be able to pull off one of the body weight exercise he does in this video.

slow clap

This man is AMAZING! Wednesdays are for AMAZING MEN Find More Amazing Men by clicking HERE

20

Aug

Sebastian Linda – The Journey of the Beasts

There are so many amazing men in this video I almost don’t know who to feature in this post. Clearly all the skateboarders involved deserve recognition, but I think what really drew me in to this clip was the camera work, the editing and just the overall vibe and energy of it. Sebastian-Linda.de, the remarkable filmmaker, gets the credit for this.

 

This man is AMAZING! Wednesdays are for AMAZING MEN Find More Amazing Men by clicking HERE

This first video is “The Journey of the Beasts” – It is the longest, but is the one that turned me on.

The Journey of the Beasts from Sebastian Linda on Vimeo.

The Epic & the Beasts

The Revenge of the Beasts

 

13

Aug

Dan Richer – Perfecting Bread & Butter

Dan Richer, owner of Razza Pizza Atignale in Jersey City, NJ is a man on a mission. That mission, is to serve bread & butter perfected. I love this. Anything worth doing is worth doing AMAZINGLY. DA

From Dan, “I aspire to be a sushi master of the bread & butter world. The ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ of bread and butter.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m salivating.

 

This man is AMAZING! Wednesdays are for AMAZING MEN Find More Amazing Men by clicking HERE

The ‘Jiro Dreams of Sushi’ of Bread & Butter: Razza Pizza Artiginale from SkeeterNYC on Vimeo.