The Wanna be Surf Bum Manifesto-
“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.” – James Michener
(As the one concrete certainty in this world is constant change, we are forced to evolve. So does this Manifesto and I have kept all the versions below for you to understand the evolution of this manifesto, site, mindset and life.)
May 9th, 2009-
(San Diego, California)
The Greeks did not write obituaries. They asked only 1 question when a man died “Did he have passion?”
It has been said that the hardest thing in the world is to simplify one’s life.
Writing this at the age of 27 I know this to be true.
Having spent my college years chasing women and my post college years chasing money, I have had my fair share of the American dream. Now I chase something far different. I chase an ideal, I choose to chase passion.
In Tony Hsieh’s book “Delivering Happiness” he talks about the actual science behind what is is that everyone is truly seeking. Starting with an exercise, simply ask yourself what you want to do with your life. Now, no matter the answer ask yourself….why? And again, no matter the answer, ask yourself…why? Interestingly enough if you ask yourself why enough times you will get to the same answer as everyone else. Because you believe that whatever you are pursuing will ultimately bring you happiness.
The interesting thing you learn when studying happiness is that people as a whole are extremely bad at knowing what will actually bring them long term happiness. Why? Because as a whole they focus on the wrong “type” of happiness. For all intensive purposes, happiness can be broken down into 3 levels.
- Pleasure- The shortest lasting happiness that is based off stimuli and always chasing the next high. It is this happiness that most people focus on with things like material possessions or sex, yet it has been proven to be a very fleeting form of happiness.
- Passion- The second longest form of happiness is Passion. Passion refers to a state in which you achieve “flow” or what is sometimes referred to as “being in the zone.” Time passes without notice when you are passionate. When you find something that not only gives you pleasure but also becomes a passion then you have achieved this second level of happiness.
- Higher Purpose/Ideal – The longest lasting form of happiness is being connected to or with a higher purpose. This supports Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs that states once the basic fundamentals of life are met, human beings desire to be connected to a higher purpose or something bigger than themselves. It is this purpose or ideal that in turn gives purpose and meaning to life.
As a general rule, the vast majority of the population chooses to chase pleasure and vow to get to passion and purpose once they reach the proper amount of happiness. When in reality to achieve long lasting happiness you must actually do the exact opposite. Find your purpose first and then layer passion on top of your purpose and ultimately find the pleasure that comes along with it, not the other way around.
This is a concept that I believe we all know inherently, but we lose over time as the world pushes us back to and rewards us for pleasure based happiness. To have seen this concept so simply laid out like above was a turning point in my belief system, lifestyle and life.
Just as the surf bum spends his days in search of Zen through surfing and the stoke that goes along with every wave, we too must each find our own purpose and have the courage and strength to pursue it.
This site is dedicated to and written by those who are out there doing it, living their dreams, finding their purpose and pursuing their passions. I encourage you to peruse the site, get involved and starting thinking about how you can take some of the ideals and concepts referred to above and apply them in your life today.
December 23, 2012-
(Grand Lake, Colorado)
A good friend of mine once told me to write my goals in sand and not in stone. I thought at the time this to be a bit of a cop-out. Your not “burning the ships” I thought and leaving an option to retreat….to fail. And while there may indeed be some shred of truth in that sentiment, over the past few years, I have woken up to an entirely different reality. A reality in which said goals are not the focus of my everyday life, not the driving force for my existence, but rather a by product of being fully present in the here and now. Let me elaborate…
Several years ago when I created this site and used the metaphor of the surf bum, I must admit, it carried a much more surface level meaning for me. The Surf Bum merely represented an outward lifestyle that I wanted to live and portray. It was one of those things where if someone asks you “why do you like surfing?” or “why do you like to ski or be out in nature?”, I would not have a great answer. More of a simple “I don’t know, I just do.” It had occurred to me that it felt good to surf, to be a part of that wave, that ocean, that moment in time, but that’s about it. Through various personal experiences over the past few years, I have come to understand the basic experience of surfing, skiing and general existence on a much more fundamental level.
You see the world we live in currently and the current state of 99% of all human beings on this planet are run on a day to day, minute by minute basis by their mind, essentially by their thoughts. Now without getting too deep into a philosophical discussion about why you are not your mind, you are the one who hears it, I want to focus on one integral part of all of this. Making it stop!
For thousands and thousands of years, the great Zen Masters and sage’s of the east have been teaching others how to “turn off” the mind so they can experience life in its true form or what many would call presence or consciousness. More traditional ways to turn off the mind and connect to that consciousness would be through modalities such as meditation or perhaps now even more common would be Yoga.
When you hear a professional athlete talk about being “in the zone” this typically refers to a level of consciousness where the mind stops and pure instinct/training/awareness takes over. This practice stops the mind for these athletes and not only allows them to perform at very high levels, but also feel more connected to something bigger in the process. It’s their “high” and they seek it throughout their lives, many times not even knowing why. They will attribute it to “a love of the game,” but in reality it’s more a love of how the game makes them feel. Not think, but FEEL.
The same rings true for surfing. Without really understanding, I wrote about this in my last manifesto, calling it the “stoke.” I still think this is an accurate description however for that flow state or more specifically that brief moment where the mind stops and your senses and consciousness take over. The same rings true for skiing or even just being outside in nature. Often times for most people, I don’t think that its actually nature that changes them, but rather the complete lack of stimuli. Your mind calms down and in time you feel more at peace. So in reality those who live what many may call a “non-traditional” lifestyle may actually be closer to the ultimate goal in life (happiness) than those more traditional life walkers. The ultimate goal does not change, it’s still happiness or more specifically lasting happiness or for you Buddhists out there “the end of suffering.”
So the Surf Bum Metaphor still rings true, but now with a new sense of what that flow state actually is. You might be saying now, Mat, you said above that you thought the flow state was just the second level of happiness. Correct, I still do. I view this flow state or space of “no-mind” as the gateway. The gateway to success both in the physical realm in thing such as business and relationships and in the higher realm in relation to spirituality. Thus, your ability to access that gateway more often and utilize it determines not only your perceived success here on earth but also in the higher pursuits as well.
But in reality, I digress. This manifesto is not about spirituality itself, rather how you can use this wisdom to live a more successful, fulfilled and happy life in the here and now. The truth is, business people (as described more depth in the book The Diamond Cutter by Geshe Michael Roach) are the perfect people to realize the higher realms of spirituality and visa-verse. Why? Simple. It is often those same characteristics that make people outwardly successful in pursuits such as business and relationships that also create success in the more inward pursuits of spirituality. They are inherently linked you see and those who can bridge the gap between their spiritual pursuits and outward lives in integrity are the truly special among us.
These people have the spark to create a movement, the inherent charisma and presence to motivate and lead large groups of people and the conviction/belief to see things through. If you have ever met one of these people, you will remember. You probably still reminisce or think back to a motivating conversation, a kind word or a simple piece of advice they gave you or sometimes even just how you felt in their presence.
It has been said the we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. The important thing for you to remember here as a spiritual being having a human experience is that you as a human cannot recognize all of these amazing traits in another if those exact same traits were not present inside of you as well.
My life’s purpose is simply that, to integrate my outward life situation with my inward spiritual path and to create success in my life and the lives of others along the way. Remember it does not matter if your beliefs are the same as mine. I believe in many paths to god, the way you pursue your vision of excellence and spirituality is your choice, your path, what is important is that we learn from each other along the way.
The bottom line is this. If your are nostalgic and always thinking about what could have been, you are living in the past. If you are always saying “when. When this happen in my life then,” your living in the future. Everything starts now, nothing else matters. The key to everything you want to achieve in the future and move on from in the past all begins in the present moment here and now. Your future will be decided now, in the decision you make in this very moment.
Welcome. Let’s get started.