Anything is Possible, for Better or for Worse

I didn’t know Scott Dinsmore, though I met him once in passing in 2011. But from 148 Facebook friends of mine who did know him, I heard nothing but incredible things. Of them, the words of my buddy Jacob Sokol, whose every sentence I take as gospel, spoke more highly of him than anyone else.

Scott was the founder of Live Your Legend, a popular site that inspired thousands (but only the tip of the iceberg of work he did). I learned through Jacob that Scott had passed away suddenly while adventuring to Mount Kilimanjaro. He was 32.

When Jacob and I were traveling and working together in Hawaii in 2013, Scott was a guy who Jacob would always be talking about. When the two of us would powwow over entrepreneurial ideas, projects, and explore what it meant to really serve people, Jacob would always cite Scott.

And quote Scott.

And reference what Scott had taught him.

I felt like I knew this guy though my friend Jacob, who revered Scott and spoke of him so dearly.

I never knew Scott, but learning of his sudden passing struck a chord in me. A mortal chill woke me up from the comfortable daze of a Sunday night in September, and pushed me to my balcony, and to my journal, and to a blank page.

I wrote, and I reflected: Anything is possible, for better or for worse.

Everyone dies. Everything is change.

This Universe is one of death and rebirth, destruction and creation — two sides to the same coin, inextricably bound, interlaced, left and and right, embracing to form a whole. I know all that. I think about death more than I might care to admit, but I really believe remembering mortality is the surest way to live fully — not by denying fear, but defying it, and welcoming more and more of it.

That keeps you really, truly living.

But when a guy like Scott — almost superhuman in stature and presence, with an untold legacy left in his wake — passes unexpectedly, on an adventure, out somewhere in the world, I get scared. And it makes me just want to hide.

Because “anything is possible” goes both ways.

Ecstasy, or agony. Victory, or defeat. Great adventure, joy, bliss — or tragedy.

I try not to be just another guy in a online landscape of lifestyle design, where self-employed, globe-trotter entrepreneur types extol “anything is possible” as if possibility is a promise of any reward.

It’s why my philosophy for writing, for storytelling, for yoga and all else revolves around making the journey the greatest reward — because outcomes are never promised.

We can only choose the journey we take.

And I always tend to think of the upside — the potential, the promise, what’s yet untapped — but there’s always the other side of the equation. Take an adventure, and things could go terribly wrong.

But if I may speak for someone like Scott — how I knew him through friends and how he seemed to embody his values until the end… even in tragedy, the same lesson remains:

Anything is possible, for better or for worse.

And for that reason alone, some feel called to go.

To do.

To journey.

To adventure, not for success or failure.

To serve, not to become a leader.

To give, and experience, and try to fly…

Not to risk it all “just because.”

Not to defy a norm.

Or to erase what’s called home.

Or for the sake of escape.

But “because it’s there.”

That’s how George Mallory, 20th century English mountaineer, described his reason for scaling Mount Everest.

Neither the risk of it, nor the adventure. Not the accomplishment, nor possibility of defeat.

“Because it’s there,” he said.

And, by God, perhaps there’s no better motivation.

We live in a time of “endless possibility” that’s more endlessly possible than most could imagine in history — far from perfect, far from ideal, but never quite so possible. It’s an age where magic happens — digital sorcery, inconceivable feats, space travel, making life with our own hands — and we take it for granted.

For all the reasons to “do not” — for what could go wrong — there are so many reasons to “do.” Atop the list, for me at least, is because it’s there.

It’s rationale that needs no defense: independent of the outcomes, whether success or failure.

To go because you can. To see what lies beyond. To remain astoundingly curious.

Because to question, to journey, to be curious… will never tell you, no.

I hope that I have a lot of life left to live.

But no such thing is ever promised — whether we are journeyer, adventurer, mountain-climber, or not.

Abroad, in the sky, on the sea, or on the couch.

Six years after I left my job, fourteen years after 9/11, honestly, the longer I go the less I remember why I made the big decisions that I made in my life and that make up the story of what I’m doing in the world.

I wanted to write books, I wanted my words to matter, I wanted to live my life without anyone else’s permission. I wanted to do good, to serve, to lead in my own way — to love how I could, to just do my part, but perhaps most of all not to miss a second of life before it was too late.

From now on, maybe, I’ll just borrow the words of George Mallory.

“Because it’s there.”

For better or for worse.

For success or for failure.

For we’re all promised the same fate in the end.

And what matters most is the journey you take until you get there.

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