Mathias Ekornås - Adventurer, Self Discipline lecturer
In his first letter to his friend Lucilius, the great roman stoic Seneca wrote, "Hold every hour in your grasp. Lay hold of today’s task, and you will not need to depend so much on tomorrow’s. While we are postponing, life speeds by". While it is easy to agree with Seneca, pulling it off demands a good portion of that elusive stuff called self-discipline. So it was one of those days when life was speeding by we encountered a guy who not only knows his stoics but also live by their teachings. Say hi to full-time adventurer and self discipline lecturer Mathias Ekornås.
Given the opportunity, Mathias would spend most of his time outside, preferably trekking, climbing, and just getting soaked in mother natures finest. Not a hermit by any standard, he just loves the serenity of being outdoors. Indeed, it’s what many of us day-dream of, and too often are postponing. Mathias does not do postponing very well, which made him a perfect test mule for stress-testing our prototypes. In a few months our boots travelled from the highest peaks in Norway to the desert in Jordan, and barely rested a day. Being a bit surprised and rather intrigued by his seemingly unstoppable energy but also his eerie projection of calmness, we invited ourselves to join his morning routines to get to know the man. Little did we know that this would be the beginning of an adventure on the other side of the globe, but more on that later.
Mathias was born in the small Norwegian town of Sykkulven, and describes his childhood as "pretty rough". As a teenager he earned a reputation for hitting first, and hitting hard. The grim mechanics of fear were displayed at an early age, but his talent for fighting eventually got him into organised boxing which culminated with a year long stint in the USA with former super middleweight world champion Allan Green. Hard training and and self-discipline gave confidence, but gradually his determination to be world champion waned as he watched the one-dimensional life of his trainer and fellow boxers. The looming question of "Is this it?" was answered with the realisation that there has got to be more to life than boxing. Back in Norway he started a career as a professional soldier, reaching the grade of Lieutenant.
Being a young and ambitious officer seemed like the perfect consignment until the occurrence of an incident Mathias only describes as "the turning". – "During this incident I was sure I was going to die. This certainty was absolute, and I accepted death. Obviously I did not die, but in my mind it was like a dam bursting. All my inner fears, the turmoil of my childhood, and my repressed anger flooded from my subconsciousness and threw me over. When I got back on my feet I knew I had to reconsider who I really was and what I wanted to do with my life."
So he did.
Remodelling your life from a clean slate is a torturous, but ultimately very rewarding task. Defining your own strengths and weaknesses demands courage and the ability to be honest: destructive self-manipulation comes free of charge and is readily available 24/7. Mathias´ most important tool in this process was what he learned from his boxing and soldiering years: self-discipline. Constantly asking questions and daring to answer them truthfully release your mind from the surrounding aspic and makes every day more vibrant and meaningful. Gathering up the courage to do what you know is right is infinitely more difficult than dodging the topic altogether.
Mathias soon discovered that the mountain did not come to him, so he decided to go there himself. Literally. We often postpone our goals and dreams with the reasoning the if we just make X amount of money we can do what we want. Instead the money making prospects stops us from doing what we really want. Following that logic, Mathias started doing what he really wanted: Climbing mountains, sleeping outside in the woods, catching a trout at sunrise. Being alive first and foremost, and earn a living of doing what he loves.
Luckily for us at Dundas Footwear, Mathias` adventurous lifestyle makes him the perfect person for really putting our boots to the test: extreme environments, prolonged exposure to warm, cold, wet, dry or muddy conditions and general abuse. A few days after we joined him one early and rather chilly morning to follow his morning routine, we got told he was heading for Chile to walk through the mountains of Patagonia. Armoured with a brand new pair of ten-holed Dundas Type 01 in heavy duty Mustard suede, he was suddenly gone. A new mountain had to be conquered, a different sunrise had to be enjoyed, a new perspective had to be added to this human experience.
No one holds all the answers, but some of us have learned to ask the right questions. That, and the ability to walk the living daylight out of our boots, makes us proud to have Mathias Ekornås as our ambassador. We are looking forward to your next adventure.
If Seneca`s advice is to hold every hour in your grasp, Mathias starts his day by wringing the day by its neck. In his own words: I get up earlier than I have to to get a head start on the day as opposed to get up late and then having to adjust to what life throws at you. The morning routine starts by planning before I go to bed. Making decisions when you are tired always ends with the easy way out, i.e staying in bed for another hour. When the alarm goes off I get up and make the bed. It is something I hate to do, but it is the first victory of the day. Then I immediately sit down with pen and paper and jot down whatever is in my head. Free writing clears your head and give some interesting clues of what goes on in your subconsciousness. Forgotten ideas or brand new ones, desires and gratefulness manifest themselves in a very powerful manner. Then I make an intention for the rest of the day. It is not a "To Do" list but a wish-list of what I want to accomplish, what I want to be in relation to other people and myself that day.
After writing I dance for about 10-15 minutes. I used to do yoga, but dancing really helps me challenge my insecurities and gets me in a great mood. Move your ass and your mind will follow! Then I get a smoothie breakfast with blueberries, banana, lemon and cottage cheese. With something in my stomach I start training. For the most part boxing or general exercise for 40 minutes. This is very important for my self-discipline.
I take a bath in the ocean at least once a week during autumn and winter. There are many health benefits with cold baths but I do it mostly for the mental training. Jumping into ice cold water is a situation where you have to take control over you mind and body - there is a natural resistance to it that is wonderful to overcome. It really gets you awake and ready to meet whatever comes your way.