In this interview Yali Sharon, founder of Live Unbound, tells us his personal story, talks about the purpose of Live Unbound…
I used to wake up in the middle of the night imagining the incredible life I could be living if only I could stop putting off doing the things that are most important to me. Those things were exploring and creating. I wasn’t traveling much, saying no to adventures all the time figuring there’ll be plenty of time for that in the future and I certainly wasn’t striving to do my best work.
Are you YOU yet?
I forget where I heard that question but I vividly remember the impact that it had on me. My natural instinct was to answer no, not even close. I’m this other guy who is struggling to fit into a mold, chasing a secure future and hiding from my true calling. A lifestyle that diminished my passion, crippled my abilities and kept me far away from my most authentic self. This realization set me on a path to answer another important question.
I found that I was filled with self-imposed limitations – false beliefs causing paralyzing doubts, irrational fears and an inability to take action. In studying this concept I came across this powerful analogy.
To keep an elephant in place, handlers use small ropes tied to the ground with tiny sticks. The strange thing is that an elephant can easily break away from the rope but it chooses not to. That’s because when the elephant was younger and smaller the same size rope was used to tie them and at that age it’s enough to hold them. They tried to escape for a while and eventually gave up. When they are older and stronger they still obey the limitation, even though it no longer exists.
The more I thought about this the harder it was to abide by the boundaries that I always believed were impenetrable. Instead of holding onto the notion that I’m tied down, I started tugging on the rope a little. I often found that my limitations were not real, just a baby-elephant-like conditioning. Live Unbound was born out of a desire to inspire others to do the same.
Follow your fears » Commit to the frightening work of exploring your capabilities.
I know I’m not the only person who knows what being bound feels like. There are lots of athletes stuck behind a desk, writers who don’t write, adventurers who don’t travel or photographers who only take pictures on their phones. Most of us are familiar with that voice in our heads that says “stop!” whenever we’re about to embark on a pursuit that has meaning, value and of course risk. Live Unbound is an antidote to this resistance. A reminder to shine a light on what makes you unique and treat life like the great adventure that it is.
That’s exactly what I strive to do everyday and I’m so grateful to have the support of the LU family – a community of explorers all riding together on parallel paths; encouraging, energizing and inspiring each other to reach new heights.
…about people and stories of life..
Once in awhile I’ll get an email that seems to communicate something incommunicable. Pierce Hunsaker emailed me this and it had a big impact on me. Here is what he wrote:
” For the past two years I have had no address, and the only four walls I owned were made of nylon. People called me a homeless man. They equate a home with a house, with microwave ovens and plumbing and television. But I never felt more at home than I did when I ended the eight years I spent in the city, living paycheck to paycheck, building a little security. Always desperate and not even knowing it. It took all those years of treading water to realize it and just one tiny step outside to break it. There was so much fear, paralyzing amounts of it, leading up to that first step. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done but only in looking from the other side of it can I see now how simple it really was. I took my rent deposit, sold my things and fell off the map. I was terrified and alone and colder and wetter than I’d planned, but still happier than I’d ever been.
Real home is the world and the only way to own the world is to be truly and fully in it. I climbed thousands of pitches of trad, bathed in mountain creeks, built bonfires and highlines and found the most fantastical, radiant friendships; as if discovering human beings for the first time.
Then everything changed.
I fell rock climbing and decked from 40 feet, shattering my spine. That day I happened to be wearing a Live Unbound shirt, one of three shirts I had to my name. I remember the irony of it clearly as EMTs cut it to shreds off my body. Sometimes the things that bind us don’t just come from the inside. Sometimes it seems like the world reaches out and tries to steal what little freedom we manage to carve for ourselves. There is a Mexican proverb I read over and over again – “Quisieron enterrarnos, pero se les olvidó que somos semillas.” – They tried to bury us but they forgot we were seeds.
I spent the following week in and out of consciousness, in and out of surgery, unable to eat or drink or even sit up. I am very lucky. By the thickness of a dime I wasn’t paralyzed and doctors say I’ll walk again. I have lived the majority of the months since flat on my back and all of it indoors. But despite the ceiling I’ve stared at every day and the bed and food and television, I have never felt more homeless.
I am going to find a way back home. “
..and about the future.
I believe in pushing yourself to be greater through what you love and doing whatever it takes to overcome mental and physical constraints. Once in a while I come across a real life story that embodies this message. A story of falling madly in love with your dream. Then using that passion to overcome the obstacles that appear in the journey of realizing it.
I first came across Dan Brodsky-Chenfeld’s story through a Live Unbound fan who told me about his book “Above All Else”. I felt greatly connected to his story and believed in it’s power so contacted Dan immediately and asked if I could make a short film based on the first 2 chapters. It was recently released and featured on dozens of media outlets including The Atlantic. You can watch the video online on Vimeo.
Right now we’re searching for more compelling stories to create documentaries about and encourage people to reach out to us if they know anyone.
We have also asked Yali some suggestions he would give to people who feel the need to find their way, who don’t feel happy in their current life. How can we push ourselves to take a challenge and start a new life?
I suggest to lean into the “resistance” – the voice inside your head that says “stop!” whenever you’re about to do something challenging and important. The resistance is indecision, procrastination, paralyzing doubt. In other words an impenetrable wall. When we’re standing face to face with the wall it’s easy to come up with a long list of excuses as to why we should walk in the other direction. But when we choose to walk away we quickly encounter another wall. Until one day we find ourselves in a confined, hopeless place; far away from the freedom we were capable of creating.
So how do you break through an impenetrable wall? By understanding that the wall is a figment of your fear and doubt; it does not exist. You created it by listening to that voice inside your head that said “don’t do this!”. But that voice is often a sign that you MUST do it. The resistance is a green light disguised as a stop sign. When you feel doubt, fear or vulnerability it often means that what you’re thinking about doing holds meaning and must be explored. So instead of fighting the resistance, you should seek it. If you never feel it then maybe you’re living too safe and consequently below your potential. Maybe you’ve found contentment in mediocrity and staying within the boundaries of your comfort zone has become acceptable. The problem with living this way is that if you abide by the walls, they’ll slowly start closing in. Living too safe is dangerous.
To live a life that is truly unbound, we must commit to the frightening act of exploring our capabilities and shining a light on what makes us unique.
If you know that you need the energy to break through that impenetrable wall, if you want to change something in your life and start living, if you need innovation, change, rurality or spirituality, find your inspiration and be inspired by an encounter that will change your way of seeing things..or maybe will give you the proof that living unbound is possible and you can do it right now.
Starting from this Christmas. You can donate a Human Destination to your loved ones or give this gift to yourself. We will send you a personalized gift card that can be used in the Human Destinations around Italy. This Christmas, give yourself a Human Destination, you deserve it.