Running The Longevity Gauntlet

Running The Longevity Gauntlet


Us humans are running the longevity gauntlet, we always have been, and we always will be. The gauntlet that we are running today looks different from the one we were running a hundred years ago, and much more different than the one of a thousand or a hundred thousand years back. And the gauntlet will look much different in the next couple decades as well. The gauntlet is always changing due to breakthroughs in medical science as well as personal lifestyle choices.

Each of us is running the same gauntlet, but because of personal choices each of us makes in the way we live our lives, this gauntlet looks a lot different for each of us. For some the gauntlet feels like an endless set of obstacles, while for others it seems almost non-existent.

Most people living in the Western world address the gauntlet via medical treatments, prescription drugs, or questionable supplements, each of which is designed specifically to help us clear the current hurdle we face in the gauntlet. If we are lucky, and most are, we clear the hurdle, take a breath and then find ourselves facing the next one, which modern medicine has been working diligently on a treatment for. We undergo that treatment and if we are lucky enough, we survive and get to face the next hurdle. This is the gauntlet.

Micro-Adventure Primer

A Quick Intro to Micro-Adventures


"Adventure is a state of mind, a spirit of trying something new and leaving your comfort zone. It's about enthusiasm, ambition, open-mindedness, and curiosity." - Alastair Humphreys

A Quick Escape From The 9-5

Micro-adventures are close to home, easy to plan, and maximize the core ideas of what an adventure is all about.

We don't need to travel far and away to experience an adventure. There are so many opportunities for adventure within an hour drive from home. Living the adventure life is as much about quantity as it is about quality. Find the right balance and we are on our way.

Don't get so caught up in the planning stage (i.e. getting permits and campsites and all the logistics), gear acquisition, and all the other stuff, that it becomes so overwhelming that we end up pushing back the date so often that we eventually cancel the adventure. Or if we do go through with it, we are more than happy to postpone the next adventure for a date further down the road to allow for more planning. Eventually, we trade the adventure life for something that is a lot less of a hassle.

Try new things as much as possible. It will expand our overall skill set and learning something new is an adventure in and of itself. 

Find a fun and exciting destination, like a waterfall, water slide, or a cave, then make the adventure just getting there (and getting back). 

And remember, an integral part of any adventure is the unknown (eg the possibility of getting a little lost). So don't over plan!

5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Add Years to Your Life

5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Add Years to Your Life
and Life to Your Years


“And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years.”

There are quite a few things we can do to add quality years to our lives, unfortunately there is a lot of clutter that we have to wade through to find out just what we need to do to live longer. Some are extreme, some are completely mundane, and some involve plain luck (like the guy who lives to 105 while smoking and drinking daily). It’s not enough to just follow someone else's lead. We need to take the best science we can find and figure out how to apply it best to our lives. And then we need a little luck.

Cut The Sugar

Not only is obesity a major culprit in many of the diseases Americans are suffering from today, but it also accelerates the aging process itself, even more than smoking, according to the largest ever study of the telomeres (our “chromosomal timeclock”) in human cells.

When lifestyle factors were taken into account, however, dramatic differences emerged. The difference between being obese and being lean corresponds to 8.8 years of extra ageing. From New Scientist.

The consumption of sugar is the single-most contributor to weight-gain and eventual obesity in humans. Not only will cutting your sugar intake help with attaining and maintaining a healthy weight and body composition, but your skin will benefit as well.

80 Percent of All Deaths Are Lifestyle Related

80 Percent of All Deaths Are Lifestyle Related

This is the statistic that gets me up and going in the morning. Simply stated, we have a say in determining whether or not we are going to get one of the aforementioned diseases. All we have to do is live a healthier lifestyle than we have been living. And even a little bit helps. Just adding a regular walk to your daily routine will add several years (healthier years) to your life. Cut a little sugar, do a few push ups, it all adds up.

These are the major lifestyle factors that take healthy years off our lives:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity and Sedentarism
  • Drinking Heavily
  • Chronic Stress

The key is to make as many small changes as we can to get the greatest effect. Swapping marathons for couch time would be a definite improvement, but if we are still doing the other bad things, we really won’t get the results we are hoping for. In fact, being a chain-smoking ultra-marathoner might actually take years off our lives.

Self-Actualization

 Self-Actualization


Abraham Maslow places our need to be self-actualizing at the top of our hierarchy of needs, but instead of developing his theory of what this need consisted of, he took the reverse engineering approach. Maslow studied people that he had observed to be living self-fulfilling lives, and determined that they all had common characteristics. He concluded that self-actualizing people were:
  • Experiencing life fully, vividly, and selflessly.
  • Making life choices that led to progression not regression (growth over fear).
  • Listening to their inner voice and letting the self emerge.
  • Taking responsibility for themselves.
  • Having peak experiences.
  • Self-examining, finding their defenses and then giving them up.

Basically, a self-actualizing person is someone who is growing into the best person they can be.

Happiness and Flow

Happiness And Flow

Flow - “a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”

Happiness - a temporary feeling of enjoyment that not only comes from doing something exciting, but usually involves learning something, accomplishing something, or overcoming some kind of challenge. Otherwise, the feeling of “happiness” you are experiencing is really just the feeling of having fun. Fun is great, even awesome, but it is not happiness.

A State of Flow

According to Flow author, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the key to happiness consists in how we invest our psychic energy. When we focus our attention on a consciously chosen goal, our psychic energy literally “flows” in the direction of that goal, resulting in a reordering and harmony within consciousness.

Man's Search For Meaning - Jim's Notes

Jim's Notes - Man's Search For Meaning

By Viktor Frankl


Viktor Frankl was a German psychiatrist imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camps during World War 2. He writes about the suffering that he and his fellow inmates endured, the cruelty of the guards, and the even greater cruelty from the inmates appointed to a level of authority over the rest.

Frankl learned that suffering is an inevitable part of life, and without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.

Everything can be taken from man but one thing; the last of the human freedoms - to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

Frankl came to realize that if a prisoner could keep his faith in the future, he had a chance to survive, but if he lost his faith he lost his spiritual hold leading to mental and physical decay.

There are two types of people, the decent man and the indecent man.