“By attempting what might seem impossible in our lives…by taking risks…by pushing and reaching out for the edge, we free ourselves from our own boundaries. We each have one trip on this planet – and making it count – feeling like we have celebrated and gotten as much out of life as we can – that’s what challenging ourselves is about. We are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. Impossible is nothing more than a state of mind. Go out at test it.”
– Ray Zahab Founder of impossible2Possible
I have some really big news.
Today is a big day in the history of Live Your Legend and our quest to change the world. Not only did Live Off Your Passion pre-launch yesterday (people are loving it btw! Thanks for your support guys), but also today I am announcing that Live Your Legend has officially partnered with the youth adventure charity impossible2Possible (i2P).
5% of every sale of Live Off Your Passion, and any other product sold on Live Your Legend, will be donated towards the revolution Ray Zahab and his team of 30 or so epic folks are leading at impossible2Possible to empower kids to do the things that most say could never be done.
In all the emotions of the past months of building this product and going through the launch, I’m pretty sure that finding Ray and i2P has been the most rewarding part. I’ve been on the lookout for a charity to get behind for years. But I knew it had to be one whose values and beliefs aligned perfectly with both my own and that of Live Your Legend and this community.
Up until three weeks ago I had nothing.
It wasn’t until one of my readers and friends, Jason Billows, sat me down to a fine vegan brunch at The Plant off Chestnut St. in San Francisco and proceeded to tell me about this crazy organization dedicated to getting kids to do seemingly impossible physical and mental adventures.
It was love at first sight.
Let me start with a story…
How one man does the impossible
Back in the 1990’s there was a pretty average man, Ray Zahab, in his early thirties. He was a smoker (1-2 packs a day), heavy drinker, sedentary and massively unhealthy. He had always talked of turning things around, but never quite took the first step (you ever felt that way??).
Then in 1998, he decided something had to change. There was a bigger way he could impact the world and he knew he had to find it. Something had to give. So he began a kick to get his health back.
Then on New Years Eve of 1999 he made a resolution: To quit smoking cold turkey.
As 2000 passed, the cravings got less and less intense. He also became more and more inspired to be a little more fit (as a massive diet or habit change usually does). His brother being a pretty avid runner, started to take him out a bit. They did some jogs here and there and he actually started to feel pretty good.
Then one day he found himself reading through a magazine that talked about ultra-marathon running. His draw dropped as he noticed the people of every shape and size who were crossing these finish lines. Many of them even appeared to be significantly less fit than his newly healthy self. He thought to himself “If those people can cross that tape, why couldn’t I?”
That simple question changed his life.
Ray didn’t know it at the time, but this was his ‘Harajuku Moment’ as Tim Ferriss of The 4-Hour Body likes to call it: the moment when we decide to make a dramatic shift with our lives to improve our health, diet, fitness goals and mental stability.
So he decided to enter his first 100-mile ultra-marathon. For you runners out there, you know how big of a decision that is.
You know what happened? He not only finished, but he won.
So he decided to enter a few more. He began winning more and more of these 100+ mile races around the world.
Then he thought to himself again, “If I can do pretty well in these races, I wonder what other types of crazy things I’m capable of doing?”
A couple years later, that very question led him to Senegel, the furtherest western portion of the Sahara Desert. He decided he wanted to try to run the full length of the Desert, all the way across Africa. A total of 4,500 miles. No, that’s not a typo. He somehow found two buddies to join him and set out running. National Geographic even tagged along with a few cameras.
Sand storms, food poisoning, freezing nights and blistering shade-less days – they got it all.
You know what else they got? They set foot in the Red Sea, 111 days later and 4,500 miles from their starting point. At over 40 miles a day straight, the three men finished. And they finished together. It was a new world record.
The experience has since been turned into a documentary narrated by Matt Damon entitled Running the Sahara. Very worth watching.
This got him thinking, “I can’t believe what I just did…what I just learned. And I’m almost 40. If I just did what literally the whole world thought couldn’t be done, what might others be capable of? What about kids? What if young people could realize this potential without having to spend decades accepting what’s average? What would a world like that look like?”
We were about to find out.
That’s when, in 2008, impossible2Possible (i2P) was born, an organization that aims to inspire and educate youth through adventure learning, and inclusion and participation in world-class expeditions.
A few times a year i2P organizes serious youth expeditions all over the world. They choose a handfull of Youth Ambassadors via a rigorous application process, to represent students from around the world as they set out on their adventure. They are sponsored and supported by some of the most savvy educators and technologists in the world.
These trips are not only to push physical limits but also to get students immersed in an ‘experiential learning’ environment. Educators create a custom curriculum of hands-on lessons for each day of the adventure (for instance if you’re running across the desert, think subjects like climate control, boiling properties of water or the challenges of finding fresh drinking water, etc).
The Youth Ambassadors then hop on a live streaming satellite video chat each day and broadcast their experience and lessons with as many as 15-20,000 students from around the world.
impossible2Possible is teaching kids that they can indeed change the world. And once they get to the other side of these expeditions, these kids literally do. Be it by starting charities, building businesses, inspring others or just operating on an entirely new personal level.
And these are not just your average physical feats. A recent youth expedition involved running 201 kilometers across the Bolivian salt flats…
What would you be doing today if you ran 201k when you were a teenager? Take a second to really think about that.
Ray’s story begs the question for all of us…
What are we actually capable of?
What if we were powerful beyond belief? As it turns out, most people are.
Live Off Your Passion has an entire module dedicated towards doing the impossible and the implications it can have on your work and life. Last week Ray was kind enough to offer up an Expert Video Interview on that very subject, which has been included in the course.
I could not think of a better partner.
Watch the i2P intro video
Here’s an incredibly good (and inspiring) video about the way that i2P is changing the world. It’s only like 8 minutes long. Take the time to watch it right now. If you’re in email or can’t see the video, then click here to watch.
As you watch this, keep in mind that 11 years ago Ray could hardly make it up a flight of stairs without getting winded and needing to light up a smoke.
As it turns out, most things are possible if we have the proper psychology…
Revolutions don’t happen alone.
Every revolution starts with an idea. With one person who has a vision for things being different. But a revolution cannot exist without the support of those first followers and those who build the momentum from there.
A revolution is something much bigger than any one person. It’s a belief. A reason for being that trumps everything else.
Finding impossible2Possible is such a huge step for me and for Live Your Legend because it allows us to further support and built upon that revolution. That dream. That belief that we are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for.
Once we realize that and believe it to our core, each of us can change the world. That’s what Ray is doing for teenagers around the world and it’s what we’re doing here at Live Your Legend. Same vision, slightly different tactics.
When you meet a guy like Ray and a group like impossible2Possible, it reminds me how important it is that we all live our own legends. Nothing is more fundamental.
The exciting part is this is still just the beginning…
Welcome Ray and the impossible2Possible team. It’s an honor to be a part of what you’re building.
You can learn more about impossible2Possible by checking out their website and the epic stories, adventures and videos they’ve put together (similar to the one above).
I can feel the momentum. It’s freakin awesome. I hope you can too.