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This post isn't suggesting that you should solo scuba dive. Scuba diving has risks and I don't know anything about you.
Part of why I always buy properties with my friends is so that we can take advantage of the things that are easy to do in each location but hard to do in other places I might be. Scuba diving is one of those things in Hawaii.
Before my very first scuba dive in recent years (I had been certified there 20 years prior), I bought my own equipment. It costs around $35 to rent, but I bought a full setup for $600, meaning that the investment would pay off after 18 dives, a number I've already exceeded after having the place for just over half a year.
For the first few dives I went with friends, and then I went to the main dive site on a tour with the local divemaster. After that I asked if he thought I could handle the dive solo, and he said yes. Since then at least half of my dives have been solo.
I love diving with the divemaster and/or friends, but I really love going by myself as well. Solo scuba diving is considered to be a huge taboo in the diving community, but I don't think it's always dangerous. There are plenty of dives I would never even consider doing by myself, but simple shore dives in well-known areas aren't among them.
Most mornings I'm in Hilo I load my scuba gear into our minivan, grab a tank of air at the dive shop, and drive 15 minutes to the scuba site. I assemble my gear, walk out onto the lava rocks, and slide into the ocean.
The dive goes to a maximum depth of 70 feet, which I think is about the deepest I feel comfortable diving solo, but it averages an easy 30 feet. There are sea turtles and tropical fish everywhere, but I've even seen octopi, eels, huge puffer fish, and schools of trumpet fish. Apparently there used to be dolphins.
I always start with the same little circuit. I go down to 30 feet, look at the turtles and big parrotfish, and then swim parallel to the reef until I find the lava arch. You can swim through it but it's a little bit of a tight fit and there's often a big turtle sitting there that I don't want to disturb, so I usually don't go through. From there I go straight down the slope to a big sandy patch that's at 70 feet. I like sitting at the bottom there by myself and looking at the massive reef. There are often some light-colored fish that are curious about me and will swim near me.
If I were with friends or on a tour I wouldn't just sit there. But when I go by myself I can just sit at the bottom of the ocean and think a little bit. It's extremely peaceful and relaxing.
From there I swim back parallel to the slope until I come across the other sand pit at 40 feet. One time I saw a massive ship anchor there and looked up to see a diving boat. I wanted to go close and look at the anchor but was worried it might shift or get pulled up, so I stayed away.
From there I swim back up the slope to thirty feet for my favorite part of the dive.
The first time I went down there with the divemaster he told me that he had trained some fish. He's pretty old now, so I wondered if maybe he was going senile and was imagining that he had some relationship with the fish. For the first half of the dive I thought that might be true, but sure enough some fish found him, waited for him to lift rocks for them to filter feed under, and then followed him around. The next time I went solo, they were there waiting for me.
Two of the fish are the same every time, and then there's a rotating cast of 4-5 more who aren't quite as brave but will hang around. The two main ones will swim inches from me, waiting for me to turn rocks over for them. I usually spend about a half hour lying on the ground playing with them. As I stay there more fish often come join us. Sometimes I have 5-6 fish all waiting for me to flip rocks for them.
One time there was a huge dive group in that area and there were no signs of any fish. When they left and the silt settled I swam back over and sure enough they came out of hiding after a few minutes.
I leave myself a little more air than I would on a tandem dive and I start heading back. These days I use so little air that I'm usually cold after an hour and I go back up with a ton of extra air. The exit requires a little bit of timing and swimming against a current so it's the only part of the dive that presents a small challenge. I like seeing the look of random passers-by on the shore when they see a guy come out of the ocean randomly.
Every time I get halfway through a dive I think that maybe I've seen everything down there, but then inevitably I see something new. I told the divemaster this and he said that even after thousands of dives he feels the same way.
In the years preceding getting a place in Hawaii I dived maybe once per year on average, but now I probably average 40-50 dives. I love spending time down there, especially by myself at a slow pace with no agenda.
Photo is from a guided dive a few weeks ago with my friend Todd. I'm going on guided dives of that area until I know it well enough that both I and the divemaster think I can do it solo.
One of my worries in blogging is that people will get the impression that I am always at 100%, ready to be my absolute best and live up to the principles I write about. I think I'm there a lot of the time, but I have my slow and unmotivated days just like everyone else.
Sometimes I wake up and read reddit for an hour before I even look at anything productive. Sometimes I take a look at my todo list and just can't muster the energy to do any of it. Sometimes I gut through it even though I really don't feel like it.
One big thing I've learned through this process is that you can't always start with your most important task of the day. On a good day it's easy and the optimal way to run, but on a bad day the mere presence of a big important task can be enough to make one want to take the day off.
A much better strategy I've found is to just work my way up the ladder.
When I was first learning about marketing (I never got very far with it), one of the things I remember reading was how important studies are. If you can share a study that supports your point, it becomes immediately more compelling. The same is true of writing books. When I wrote my habit book, several people told me that I should dig through studies, find some that supported my points, and then include them.
I don't find studies compelling at all, and generally disregard them when it comes to making decisions. There are three main reasons why I do this.
First, it is a lot easier to prove correlation than causation. For example, a study could probably show that people who buy Rolls Royces live longer than those that don't. The argument could be put forth that riding in such a fine automobile is so good for the soul that the owner gets to live longer, but it is probably just the case that if you have the money for a Rolls Royce, you also have the money for good health care. The "one glass of wine a day" argument could also fall into the category. Could it be that regular wine drinkers who don't overindulge are just people with reasonable restraint and better financial means than average? Probably.
People who write studies are actually usually pretty careful to note correlation vs. causation, but media outlets show no such restraint. That's why you see all sorts of magazine articles that say things like, "Could eating broccoli once a week make you live for an extra year?".
I often start habits or routines with a lot of fanfare, but then never follow up on them. Sometimes when people meet me they ask about them, so I figured I'd just think of all of them that I can come up with and catch you up.
Being married has been really great! People always ask me about it as if it's some enormous deal, but it still doesn't feel like a huge deal to me. I attribute that mostly to having a great wife who is very easy to talk to and work with, and with whom I share many values. By far the biggest change between dating and being married is that we think about things across a longer time horizon. We both really like doing that independently, so it's a good upgrade.
Many years ago I gave up breakfast because I was told by my trainer friend that I should be intermittent fasting. At first it felt like a big imposition, but after a few days I didn't feel hungry at breakfast time any more.
Even better, it allowed me to get to work earlier and to do so while drinking tea. I'm not sure I noticed any benefits from intermittent fasting, but I really appreciated the convenience.
Last year a friend of mine who had discovered a new enthusiasm for health and getting in shape began to talk about how much he liked fasting. He would do it for 24 hours once each week. I decided to give it a try and found that it was another level-up in convenience from skipping only breakfast.
After a bunch of research I determined that doing it regularly wouldn't just not kill me, but it could actually be good for health and longevity. I started doing it every day I was in Vegas. At first it seemed like my body fat went down a little bit, but it plateaued quickly and I don't feel that it has significantly changed how I look.
I'm not sure any of us know exactly what has made us who we are, but it's an interesting topic to think about, and one I consider often as I want to share those things which have brought me success with my readers. Often the narratives are a little bit too convenient to believe that they represent the whole truth, so I'll share my own with the caveat that it's impossible for me to remove my subjective opinion.
I generally assume that the overwhelming majority of my success has nothing to do with things that I have done. I was born into a great country with a lot of opportunity and no war or famine. That's about as out of my control as it gets, but may be the greatest factor in any success I've had. How well would I have done if I was born into poverty in the middle of a war somewhere?
My parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles have had a huge impact on my life. This one is a little bit harder to quantify, but having food or shelter was never something I had to think about, nor was having clothes or the ability to do activities with my friends. My family gives me a tremendous amount of love and encouragement, and every parenting book I've ever read has underlined how important that is.
I think that my success (and maybe your own), could be attributed 80-100% to factors completely out of my control. So while I think that it's important to be proud of one's achievments and success, it's disingenuous to not spread that credit around pretty widely.
I'm about as anti-school as anyone can get. I dropped out of college and can't begin to convey the joy and relief I felt when I knew that I'd never go to school again. The costs of school have risen to such absurd heights that it now represents a poor value for more people than ever.
I think that it's important, though, to not look at things as either black or white. School isn't bad, it's just not always worth the time and/or money invested in it. Just like everything, it has its pros and its cons, the weights of which could be valued differently for anyone.
So in the spirit of seeing the other side of the coin and evaluating things on their entirety, I thought I'd share some of the things about school that I think are very positive and how I would use them if I were going to school.
The best thing about school, to me at least, is the social group. It's the easiest possible time to make friends because most people don't have fully formed social groups, you're around a bunch of people with some commonalities, and you're in an environment that lends itself to being social. If I were in school I would dedicate a huge amount of time and effort to making the best possible social group. I'm not good friends with too many people I met in my three semesters of college, but I did meet one of my best friends, Todd, there.
If you were the guy sitting in 29F yesterday, I really hope you're reading this.
I'm generally unflappable and not easily annoyed by people, but that goes out the window when I'm traveling by airplane. I imagine the frustration to be the same as Gordon Ramsay might feel if I was his sous chef. I travel many many days per year and am very good at it, which is obviously not normal.
You may not travel as much, so let me share some suggestions from someone who's way at the end of that bell curve to help make the experience better for you and everyone else in the plane.
1. Know in advance how to go through security and prepare for it before getting in the line. Do you need to take off your jacket or shoes? Do you need to take things out of your bag? Do you still have liquids in there that you will insist you don't have until the TSA agent shows them to you? The x-ray machine is for minimal staging. Be ready in advance. If there is an empty space ahead of you on the conveyer belt, you messed up. The checkers are slower than anyone unloading should be. If I see an empty space I cut the line, drop my single bag, and go through security.
Two friends and I went out scuba diving against the recommendation of the local divemaster. This was a very stupid idea and I knew it going in, but was frustrated that the conditions weren't good and really wanted my friends to get to scuba before they left. So we went out.
The main issue was the waves crashing against the lava rocks on the shore. We noticed, though, that they came in sets and figured we could get in safely if we just waited for a lull. Once we got out there it would be fine. No one really thought much about getting back in.
I went first, as I had been to this site several times. I timed the waves well and got in quite easily. I swam out a few dozen feet away from the rocks and waited for my friends. They dropped in with no problems as well and we went under. The turbulence of the 6-10 foot high waves had churned the bottom up so much that visibility was next to nothing. We were only a few feet away from each other at the surface, but couldn't find each other underwater at first. I found one friend and had him wait so that I could find the other friend. Once reunited we swam around a little bit, but the dive was pointless. Other than a turtle or two you couldn't see anything.
We decided to scrap the dive and went back to the surface. We bobbed up and down in the waves and realized two things very quickly. The first was that we weren't exactly sure where we were supposed to swim towards to get out. We knew the general area, but couldn't see the narrow passageway that led to the small cove where it was easy to climb in and out. At any given time there was a tall wave obscuring our view. The second thing we realized is that there was a rip tide pushing us away from the area to which we needed to swim. At maximum kicking speed we barely made progress against the ocean floor.
Superhuman 3 is coming in October to Las Vegas!
I sent an email out to the Superhuman Vegas mailing list last week, but still have some spots available, so I'm announcing the event over the blog. For those of you who aren't familiar with Superhuman events in Vegas, the general idea is that we all meet for a weekend and you leave with connections and friendships with other amazing people as well as direct actionable advice from me. Here are a few testimonials from the last group: