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TANNER
MANSELL

I can still remember the feeling of cold water creeping through my wetsuit as I would dive down to explore the ocean floor. I remember overcoming the challenge of holding my breath long enough as a seven year old kid who had just plucked his first ever abalone. Or the sounds of the waves crashing as I lay there on the beach, heart full and mind at peace. The ocean has helped shape my life and still to this day, when I look out onto the horizon, I am reminded of the ocean’s powerful ability to touch the soul.

I played college baseball, earned a physics degree, and was hired by a fortune 500 company after college. Competitive by nature, I think it would be easy to lead an ego driven life. It would be easy to get caught up in working up the corporate ladder and look back at my life one day to realize I am not fulfilled. I became fixated on the idea of doing what I love each and every single day of my life. At some point or another, I realized I wanted nothing more in life than true happiness, and I learned that happiness is one of the most complex things in the world to describe.

I began asking myself big questions. I began reading, a lot. I set a goal to read 100 books in a year. Spirituality, psychology, personal development, and anything I could read to help me understand who I am, and what I am doing here. Using my background in physics, I looked at my life with a whole new perspective, from the perspective of the universe. I realized I am of absolutely no significance. My lifetime is about 1/3,000 of humanity’s existence, and humanity’s existence is about 1/20,000 of Earth’s existence. In other words, I am here for a very, very short time. Also, I live here on Earth which is 1 in 100 billion planets in our galaxy, which is one of two trillion galaxies in our universe. I came to grips with the fact one day I will die, and in 150 years anybody who truly loves me will be dead too. But it doesn’t have to be depressing. It is actually quite beautiful, and I have decided the most important thing I can do with this tiny fraction of a second I have here, is to do what I can to make this a better place.  

My focus turned to reading and researching more about the environment and the condition it’s in. I am heartbroken as to the effect my species is accountable for. I have begun to piece together a picture of what we are doing to our natural world and I have never in my life felt such intense emotion, and motivation to do something about it.

The moment I realized I knew what I wanted to do forever was the best feeling of my life. I was in a state of complete flow, energized with focus, where time wasn’t of the essence. I was in the water with about 20 Galapagos sharks, and I completely surrendered myself to the environment. I have never felt so alive in my life, and I fell in love. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever experienced. Sitting on the edge of the boat after the dive, I felt the kid in me coming back to life, full of inspired energy. I knew I needed to protect the oceans and its creatures.

Special shoutout to Yvon Chouinard for providing invaluable information on business philosophy, and for serving as a major role model in my life. My biggest wave of motivation for this company came shortly after reading Yvon’s story. Thank you Yvon.