“Be shameless for your dream, go after it, ask bluntly for help, never give up, pour out a contagious passion and energy about it, and it will definitively happen!”Continue reading
“Be shameless for your dream, go after it, ask bluntly for help, never give up, pour out a contagious passion and energy about it, and it will definitively happen!”Continue reading
In the months leading to my ocean crossing, I have come to realize that the most important is self-motivation: to do, to think, to act, to contact, to call, to make, to train, to rest, to work, to prepare, to make happen…. Nobody is going to do it for me. If I want it, I have to do it myself, no matter what needs to be done.
In my kayak, I will be alone. For SE-VEN-TY days, every day, I will be alone. That’s just the cold hard truth. Just myself. Alone. Every decision will be mine. Every move will be my choice. Every consequence will be my making. I have to be ok with that. My life depends on it.
Crossing the ocean solo is SO different than going at it as a team, like I did in 2016. These 1,000 decisions to make can be shared, and it’s so much easier on the mental. When you are solo, you have to own your decisions. “Me, myself and I, will decide what to do. I will OWN what I do.”
For the preparation, that means that I need to do my homework and decide on: electricity set up, paddling intensity, weather patterns, current forces, best gear to use from head to toes, solar panels and power capacity of the batteries, shape of the boat, survival in storms, size of the sea-anchor, navigation at night, food quality and quantity, repairing and fixing the water producing equipment, curing wounds, regulating the mental and the emotional, …. Etc.
I came to realize that, if I were to be successful, I would have to find my own fire. I would have to be able to initiate the spark from WITHIN, with MY own thoughts and ideas, MY own desires and wishes, and then convert in MY own actions and moves. It all starts from WITHIN, or with the SELF.
Basically, I had to teach myself the art of deciding on my own, or SELF-decision. Again, the crucial word here is SELF, because it means that the subject is taking control.
“If I succeed, success will be mine. If I fail, failure will be mine too. I am ok with that!”
As the months went by thinking like this, I started to realize what a drive that is, and how it is key to being successful, in LIFE. I started to notice that all people that I consider successful had that trait! They were entrepreneurs, leaders, visionaries, adventurers… They traced their own path!
Why don’t you do the same exercise: find the person you consider the most SUCCESSFUL. For this, you can take the definition of success that you prefer.
Now, tell me if he is not a CHAMPION in the art of those following SELF-actions:
Become that champion YOUR-SELF.Continue reading
In one week I'll be paddling from Lake Shasta to the Golden Gate Bridge, in a 370-mile kayaking adventure.
In this 6-minute video, I am reviewing the electronics that I will take with me and use on a daily basis.
I agree it's quite overkill for a 10-day down river trip, but I will use most of these equipment on my ocean crossing next year, so using them now is the best way to get familiar with them.
Tracking map will be available on www.CyrilDerreumaux.com starting May 30th, 2020.
It is amazing what you can achieve once you have no choice.
Many people in the world act bravely, courageously, and surmount extreme difficulties with strength and endurance, simply because they do not have the choice to do otherwise. That’s what we must do when we have to mourn the loss of a dear one for instance. In many other poor countries, the most simple and basic needs require the same kind of strength. In our modern lives where almost everything is available and customized to our choosing, most of us barely know what “not being able to choose” means.
We need to change that.
“Not having the choice” is a powerful source of making things happen.
Why would one willingly put themselves in conditions where there is no choice? The answer is simple: “In order to achieve a preset target. Big targets, small targets, ANY targets.”
Recently I was taking a flight from San Francisco to New York and had to be at the airport at 6:15 am. It was surprisingly easy to get up at 5am, right at the buzzer of my alarm clock. Why? I think it’s because I wasn’t given the choice. I had to do it. My will of staying in bed had no power against the fact that the plane was going to take off without me.
The odd thing is that my alarm goes off around the same time every day, yet other days it’s much harder to get out of bed then. Why? That’s because on a daily basis, I always have the choice of either going to my morning workout or not going (deciding to stay in bed). It basically comes down to my will battling against my laziness. Those 10 to 15 seconds are the hardest, as my mind will try to find all the reasons to “not go.” It’s cold outside, it’s dark, you already worked out yesterday, you have a long day ahead, you deserve to rest a little, you are in a rush… etc. etc. It is a matter of self-discipline to make the right choice and go.
The easiest solution is to remove the “choice making” step of any action we want to do, PURPOSEFULLY. This is what we already do for brushing our teeth, for going to the bathroom, for eating, for going to work, etc. We’re not questioning whether we want to do it or not, we have to do it, that’s it!
So, what if we just remove the “choice” factor from the equation and put yourself in conditions where you cannot decide the outcome of the moment, but for targets of our own choosing. For instance, “Every morning, I will go work out,” no matter what.
We can take the decision on our own, but that does take a big amount of will and mental disciple. An easier way is to make sure the decision is taken by someone or something else, but affects us:
The whole thing is a four-step process:
Sometimes you have to act in new ways to discover new ways of functioning. Not giving yourself the choice is definitely a new way of thinking and acting.
Try it, it might work for you!Continue reading
When I was preparing for the Ocean Row, I really was thinking on how to get best prepared, and that included being prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally. That entailed a lot of parameters. So many it is overwhelming. Where do I start? Who do I ask? What questions do I even have to ask?
I knew I had to be ok being tired, being salty wet, being hungry, being hurt, being in a confined environment, being exhausted, being frustrated, being injured maybe, being helpless, being…. All these are not comfortable, I think you would agree. They have physical, mental and emotional triggers. To get prepared for the row, I had to find a way to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Getting comfortable with discomfort was vital to the success of this expedition. To get there, I had to ask myself many question: What does it mean to be uncomfortable? What does it mean to be comfortable? Why are we as humans searching for comfort? What do we consider comfortable, and is it good or is it bad?
I believe there are good things in being comfortable. But I also believe there are good things in being uncomfortable. I think our perception of both feelings has a lot must do with our immediate environment, our own perspective on things and how we can trick our mind as we try to classify on things being one or the other.
For instance, when you work on something you are passionate about, it doesn’t feel like work, right? What some people could consider uncomfortable, you don’t see it as such, for some reason. At the same time, it still takes you effort, and patience, and determination, and drive. It’s not easy so I guess it must be uncomfortable in some ways. But it is still comfortable in other ways because your mind knows why you do it. So, I guess that’s it, it’s all a question of what happens in our mind when we do something, and if it makes sense for us or not, according to our own parameters and judgment. Making the uncomfortable comfortable…
Let’s not think about a crazy endeavor for a moment, let’s just take a random daily activity: vacuuming the house. You could approach it in a few diverse ways: 1. Do it with a negative energy: You do not want to do it and it’s a hassle. You’re dragging your feet to do it. (that was me when I had to do my chores as a kid…) 2. Do it with a neutral energy: you do it because it has to be done. It doesn’t bring nor pain nor pleasure. 3. Do it with a positive energy: It’s still not pleasurable, but your trick your mind in such a way that the experience becomes positive. For instance, you focus your thoughts on how you will feel when you’ll be done. Or how someone you love will feel once the house is clean. You can see that, for both 1. and 2., you will gain the comfort of having a clean house, but you will struggle for it. For 3., you will gain comfort, but you will like the process. Making the uncomfortable comfortable…
But then I started to think that instead of just trying to make the uncomfortable comfortable, I just had to start embracing discomfort as a whole.
When I am competing in a canoe race. It is long, it is hard, I push myself and I push the team, I breathe hard and I pant, I clinch my teeth and I grind, I push and I push, I resist and I struggle, I thrive and I go, I push but I fail, I come back and I breathe through it, I push and do it, I cheer and I hope, I push and I push. And I finally make it. Happy. It was not comfortable in some ways. It was effort. But it was pleasurable. And the result is pleasurable because I surpassed my pains and my discomforts so I feel good about myself. And it was pleasurable because I shared the experience with a team and we felt united in the effort. And I’ll do it again because the overall reward is awesome. Embracing discomfort…
Let’s take another look at the power of mental perspective. When you are running in the sun, it is comfortable because the sun rays are warm. We think it is positive energy and it’s easy to do. When you are running in the rain and it’s cold outside, it is uncomfortable because the signals in our body tells us it is. But I have found that I actually feel more energized after a run in the cold rather than in the hot. Cold temperatures trigger something in my cells that feels so good. Once I’m back home after that cold rainy run, I feel so pumped. Kinda like when you swim in that cold ocean. Don’t you feel like superman when you walk toward your towel? I guess it’s a question of perspective, and how one is able to trick his own mind. What if we consider hot and cold as energy rather than comfort and discomfort. Hot is energy. Cold is energy. When I run in the hot I feel energized. When I run in the cold I will feel energized. Maybe not at the beginning for sure, but we have to be strong in our mind to know that the end result is what matters. We have to sacrifice the harshness of the moment for the result. Do something we don’t want to do to feel like we want to feel, or go where we want to go. Embracing discomfort…
The problem is that we get used to comfort. And there are many types of comfort. It depends on our standards, wherever we are in life: in our personal history, in our education, in our culture…. In poor countries, washing yourself from a bucket of clear water is much better than a cold bath in a muddy river, so that’s comfort to them. For me, a warm shower with potable water is a standard and I sometime forget that it is a comfort. I feel so thankful to be reminded of this. When I did my trip around the world, I could see that my standards growing up in France were not shared with 80% of the world’s population. I felt thankful for that and it made me appreciate how lucky I was. When I did my ocean row and didn’t shower for 40 days, I felt thankful for the hot shower I took back on land, which I had taken for granted before. I like to put myself in hard conditions, just as a reminder that I have to be thankful for what I have. And how lucky I am. Embracing discomfort…
It’s in the nature of the human being to be constantly looking for comfort. I guess it is in our roots and back in the early ages of mankind, it was more comfortable to live in a safe cave, away from rough climate and danger, rather than in the wild outside where life is miserable and a lion could eat you up. Searching for comfort is good, but until what point? Here is what I believe: I think that too much comfort will lead to weakness and to laziness. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to feel weak and lazy, I like to feel strong. And to be strong you have to embrace discomfort. That’s probably why the army creates toughness in soldiers by training them to be accustomed and even embrace discomfort. Training hard to be hard. Personally, I really feel the “need” to embrace discomfort every once in a while, to oblige myself to do things “I don’t feel like doing”, in order to wake myself up from the lethargic state that life in my comfort zone could put me in. Nothing better that signing up for a race or a challenge that I feel I can’t do, and that will make it mandatory for me to bring up my game. Embracing discomfort…
Now how far should this idea of embracing discomfort go? We still have the chance of living in a developed society and there are some advantages to that. It’s ok to use a washing machine instead of washing your cloth by hands. It’s ok to use a car instead of riding a bike. But I think using the drive-in instead of walking to the bank is ridiculous. I think using your car instead of walking 10 minutes is silly. And I do it myself. I’m lazy to cook my food so I go out to eat, or I even order food to be delivered to me…. And if I do it, my kids will see it. I can’t stand the thought that I am teaching that to them. Am I teaching them to be lazy? Noooo! From being comfortable, we are going to easiness, and then crossing that subtle line to laziness. Too much comfort brings numbness, physical and mental numbness. And again, I admit that I might be guilty of crossing that line myself of course. But as a father, I have to make sure the education I give my kids, and the example I give them, helps them understand that there is satisfaction to be found in effort, and occasional discomfort. But how do I teach my kids not to be lazy. How do I teach them resilience? How did my parents do? Since I find so much reward combatting my own laziness, with the feeling that I am back in control of my own fate, I need to give this to my kids as well. Leading by example, that’s the way, so I have to be tough on myself. Embracing discomfort…
I better stop or I would start to be too philosophical about this whole idea…. To conclude this blog post, let’s read a few quotes from much smarter and experience people than me…:
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
“Discomfort is very much part of my master plan” — Jonathan Lethem
“I feel like every five to seven years I really need to put myself in this position of discomfort and exploration, just to survive. Otherwise I feel like I’m falling asleep, like I’ll go crazy if I don’t do it” — Karen O
“Comfort zones are most often expanded through discomfort” — Peter McWilliams
“Buddhist practices offer a way of saying, ‘Hey, come back over here, reconnect.’ The only way that you’ll actually wake up and have some freedom is if you have the capacity and courage to stay with the vulnerability and the discomfort” — Tara Brach
“Sometimes, discomfort is very uncomfortable. Anybody can get occasionally tired of it, and then it can change fast, where it’s comfort that disturbs you” — Jim Harrison
So happy and humble to have participated in this podcast, featuring my ocean row from California to Hawaii, among other things.
Listen to Episode 20: Cyril Derreumaux, a Guiness World Record holder, endurance paddler, motivator, and overall wild man! from Orange Mud Adventure Channel in Podcasts.
Google play: https://play.google.com/music/listen?u=0#/ps/Iamxcdhixiadqrcdoehpnmbclpi
On the Orange Mud website: https://www.orangemud.com/pages/episode-20-cyril-derreumaux-a-guiness-world-record-holder-endurance-paddler-motivator-and-overall-wild-man
The man who believes and proves there are no limits!
In this episode we dig into the passion and focus of Cyril Derreumaux, a Guiness World Record holder for endurance paddling. Last year he and his team set the record for the shortest time to paddle from California to Hawaii. They paddled in teams of 2 for 1 1/2 hours on, 1 1/2 hours off, for over 40 days. It's an amazing accomplishment and his energy is simply infectious!
“You don’t need to be a rower to row an ocean. It’s all about mental strength”, so they said.
After having rowed from California to Hawaii, I guess I must have it, that thing called “mental strength”. But what’s funny is that I would not call it “Strength”. I would call it many other words: Mental flexibility, mental malleability, mental adaptability, mental understanding, mental “trick-eability”, mental “discipline”, etc.
I feel like “mental” isn’t that much about “strength”, which would call for a muscle and physical solution to issues encountered. I think “mental” calls for more of an “intelligent” solution, originating from our brain. I feel like reaching Hawaii was more about winning 1,000 small mental battles. It was more about control, patience, consistency, perseverance, resilience, which are more “cerebral” qualities.
Here are a few tricks that will make you mentally “performant” when you need it:
All this being said… It’s not because you know all these tricks that it’s not gonna be hard. You are going to hurt. Everyone hurts. You are going to be miserable. You’re going to face challenges. Because it’s the nature of being human and life itself. When you do, use those tools above. Over and over again. And you’ll be just fine.Continue reading
One amazing trait of us humans is that we are probably the only animal on earth that takes endeavors that have no “real” useful purpose. We run marathons, we climb mountains, we swim across lakes, we bike continents, we cross oceans.
I happen to have done the later, this last summer of 2016. For a grueling 39 days, 9 hours and 56 minutes, I rowed in an ocean boat, in a team of 4 men, each from a different nationality, from Monterey, California, to Honolulu, Hawaii, as part of the Great Pacific Race.
Why would anyone want to do this? Why would you risk your life when you have no reasons to do so? Why would you spend so much money and time for this adventure that will not bring you anything tangible? Why would you risk your life when you have the responsibility to care for a family, kids, and loved ones? When you have a good job and a comfortable house and a cozy life?
Why would you row for up to 12 hours a day, on 90-minute shifts, 24 hours a day, all day, all night, day-in and day-out, for a month and a half, in the heat of the sun and the cold of the night, forcing yourself to ingest up to 8,000 calories a day but still losing 20 pounds when you get there, risking storms and hurricanes, avoiding at all cost collisions with the numerous container ships, eating cold rehydrated freeze dried foods that become tasteless, drinking bland desalinized water from a machine that could break down at any time, sleeping in a damp sleeping bag in a tiny cabin where you can only sit down, overcoming seasickness and fighting fevers, pooping in a bucket and using only baby-wipes to wash yourself, hurting every muscle and joint and nerve of your body, making your mind go crazy and hallucinate out of sleep deprivation and effort, when…. You can just fly there in a mere 5-hour flight?
As human, we like to search for answers, to measure ourselves to nature, to push our own limits, to challenge our routines and look for something “better”. Of course, not everyone is made for those extreme endeavors, I didn’t think I was a few years back, but each one of us, at our own level I believe, has an inner call for this kind of life experience that could be judge by some to be “senseless”, “irrational”, or “unreasonable”.
We seem to do it just for the sake of it. For the experience. For the thrill of it. For feeling alive. For reasons we might not even know ourselves.
I can’t start to enumerate to you what I have learned from my ocean rowing experience, and how I felt when I finally made it to shore in Hawaii, welcomed by my loved ones, with a Guinness World record to hang at the wall. What I can tell you is that now I am different in a way that I can’t really describe. Better? I don’t know. I do enjoy the simple pleasures of life such as a soft pillow, a warm shower, a hot dish or a cold ice cream, a fresh fruit, a soft kiss or a loving hug from tiny arms.
Did I really need to be so unreasonable to learn all this? Maybe not. Maybe I did. Maybe you don’t, maybe you do?
My advice to you, should you wish to take it, is that no matter what type of endeavor you decide to pursue, one thing remains true which is that we just have one life, and I believe it is worth living to the fullest, even if it at times, it means being a little bit….. unreasonable.
So happy and humble to have participated in this podcast, featuring my passion for paddling and my ocean row from California to Hawaii, among other things. Great conversation with the fabulous Greggy of Cali Paddler.
Listen to this one and subscribe to all their other podcasts by following these links below:
Show notes & MP3: http://thepaddlerspulse.libsyn.com/tpp-007-interview-with-c…
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