Friday, March 16, 2012

Inspiration: Yvon Chouinard, a pioneer in every way.


"Some people approach Zen Buddhism by meditating. 
I kind of approach it through action, and 
I've applied it through all of my sports and applied it in business."
-Yvon Chouinard

In NPR's From Scratch, Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia) shares his life experiences and how he began his business based on what he loved to do. When he first started climbing, for example, he was passionate about falconry — in order to be around the birds, he had to learn how to scale cliffs to get to their nests. And, in studying them in complete stillness for hours upon end, he personally experienced the ideals in Zen Buddhism philosophy and touches upon the idea that the purpose of climbing is for spiritual or physical growth. 

From there, he realized that climbing in Converse shoes wasn't cutting it, so he helped develop quality gear for himself and friends to use, which eventually helped spearhead the sport of traditional and ice climbing in the U.S. "I'm focused on the process," he says, "and if you focus on the process of business, the profits come."

Having read articles interviewing him before or hearing his philosophies on life, he's very much a person who lives what he believes, especially exemplifying the idea of social and environmental responsibility. Raised with the philosophies of American naturists like John MuirHenry Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, he became a proponent of the idea of "leave no trace behind" in nature and infused this idea in all the products he created so that we can simultaneously respect and appreciate the elements around us.

I love hearing about individuals who simply took one step at a time in the direction of their dreams and continue to trust their own ideas about what works for them even if society says otherwise. Chouinard shares that he's not an inventor, but an innovator and by being true to himself, he built Patagonia to where it is now. 

Let's all take one step today in what's right for us, and see where we go from there!


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