I am no bookworm. I dedicate a lot of my time to fitness and nutrition, but rarely sit down and read a book.
However, when a book like this comes along (at the risk of sounding too dramatic), you HAVE to read it. I say this because I consider this book a “gold nugget.” The information in this book has been exponentially helpful and useful to me in my journey in becoming my healthiest and fittest self.
I could rave about this book all day long–but instead, I will share some tidbits, quotes, stories, and ideas from this book that might help and/or inspire you as well.
The author of this book, “Force of Nature: Mind, Body, Soul (and, of course, Surfing)” is professional surfer, fitness & nutrition genius, innovative waterman (he has been given credit for being the pioneer of tow-in surfing), family man (married to professional volleyball player Gabrielle Reece), Laird Hamilton.
His knowledge and wisdom are expansive, motivating, and captivating.
Laird’s interviews are on YouTube and are excellent pieces of inspiration for me. The man is a machine.
Here are a few exerpts from this book that I found particularly outstanding:
-On the key to happiness:
“I think that the key to happiness is maximizing each day. So, if you’re unhappy, here’s a simple prescription: Live harder.”
-On pursuing dreams:
“…When I was a kid growing up in Kauai, a teacher asked me what I wanted to do with my life. Obviously, she didn’t like my answer (to surf) because I also remember her shaking her head and telling me, ‘You can’t eat your surfboard.’ Well, I’ve been doing that for a while now, and at this point it tastes pretty good. Maybe she was waiting for me to say, ‘Oh, you’re right. I’ll be a lawyer.’ That would have been a very long wait. The point is, your path is yours alone. And if it’s the path less traveled, that’s absolutely fine. The world doesn’t need more conformists. The world needs more people who create and question and search. If you don’t fit in, celebrate that, and then get ready to stand your ground.”
-On treasuring the world around us:
“What we’ve been given here is precious: majestic in its smallest details and its grandest spectacles. Anytime you feel in danger of forgetting that, I recommend you take a good look at a 50 foot wave. Anyone who can be around something that powerful and not feel humbled has some serious analyzing to do.”
-On having a routine:
“I don’t have a set routine. To my mind, thats the quickest route to burnout (and it’s deeply unimaginative besides). To be healthy, to sleep well, to eat well. These things are essential every day…My activities vary daily, weekly, seasonally, geographically, psychologically, depending on who’s in town–you name it. The best way to maximize what a day has to offer is to look outside your window that morning, and then look inside yourself.”
-On enjoying fitness:
“Fitness doesn’t have to be a duty. It doesn’t have to mean charts and graphs and heart rate printouts. It should be a pleasurable part of your life, and it should include things that you do purely because you enjoy them. Fun is an ingredient that people often forget in their fitness program.”
-On enjoying the ride:
“The idea is to become an old wizard; to live a long and fruitful life and have family and be healthy and enjoy the ride. And speaking of the ride, why not let it rip, at least a little bit? Everyone I know who’s really stoked about getting out of bed in the morning does that to some extent.”
-On picturing what you want:
“Whatever you want to achieve, imagine it in every detail. When Michelangelo worked, he said he could see the sculpture in the rock before he began to carve and that his job was merely to remove the excess stone. That’s vision. Don’t be afraid to really use your imagination. Let it run wild. It’s one of the most powerful tools you’ve got.”
-On breaking the mold:
“Conventional wisdom about fitness is an oxymoron. Let’s break the mold instead.”
-On enjoying life:
“Instead of trying to enjoy our lives more, or pursuing the idea of getting into the position someday of being able to enjoy our lives more—maybe we should just start enjoying! Right this moment.”
-On finding passion:
“To find your passion, you have to look inward. If you look outward, all you see is what other people are doing. You are not other people.
“Have you ever really looked at the labels on processed food? The list of ingredients is surreal. Here’s one: perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Sounds like something you’d find in battery acid, not food. But it’s in microwave popcorn, added to make the bag less flammable. If PFOA sounds like a toxic chemical, that’s because it is; in fact, it’s been designated a likely carcinogen. And there are countless examples like this. Some chemicals are put into food to make the stuff last for months; some are added for cosmetic reasons–for coloring, flavoring, sweetening, texture, smell, you name it. Most of these additives haven’t been around that long, and their long-term effects on humans are unknown. Which means if you eat them, you’re the guinea pig.”
“Yes, it’s more expensive to buy organic food… But here’s the thing: When you put something into your mouth, you might enjoy it for 5 seconds, but your system will be dealing with its repercussions for a long time. Often people eat what their taste buds want and not what their bodies need. You know that Taco Bell isn’t the best dietary choice, but you go there because it’s easy and you like the taste. When you’re young you might be able to do this and still have a lot of energy. In the end, though, it’ll catch up with you. Potato chips in = potato chips out. That’s the rule.”
“As a culture, we rush through our meals because we think we’ve got far more important things to do. All too often, we take our food for granted. I’m always reminding myself to eat more consciously; to chew slowly and savor what I’m eating. (You can’t bolt down your dinner while watching CSI and then wonder why you have digestive problems).”
This book is available online at lairdhamilton.com or gabbyandlaird.com. It is a great investment, and if you decide to buy it, enjoy! 🙂
Work Cited: Hamilton, Laird. Force of Nature: Mind, Body, Soul, (and, of course, Surfing). Rodale: New York, NY. USA. 2008.