Ep. 168 – Tony Hawk: Don’t Stand Still

I was getting good at saying, “no thank you” to certain thoughts.

Sometimes it was just conversations I didn’t want to have. Like this one I’m writing. If I were sitting with you, I doubt I’d say any of what I’m about to.

I guess that’s why I ask questions.

Because maybe you know something I don’t.

Maybe I can learn from you.

And I do. I always do.

There’s a formula for loneliness and a formula for connection.

No matter the gravity of your sinking, we are all just inches above the ocean.

When I ask questions, I watch people discover answers they didn’t know they had. I feel them light up.

That’s why I’m taking photos of strangers for my Instagram.

They connect with themselves. But I pretend it’s me.

I asked Tony Hawk about his career.

We talked about falling a lot.

But I’m avoiding the metaphor about “falling” and getting back up.

Because then you’ll think I’m transitioning from falling to failing. And there’s already enough dirty, failure porn out there.

So maybe, here’s something new…. 3 questions I asked Tony Hawk:

A) HOW ARE YOU NOT DEAD?

I avoid physical injury.

So does Tony Hawk.

But it’s different. I avoid physical activity altogether.

Has Tony Hawk ever had his heart broken? Probably. But that’s not what I was interested in.

I wanted to know how to defy gravity. How to do what you love repeatedly with no repercussions.

Because I’m afraid of a good thing running out.

“You start to get a sixth sense of where you are in the air,” he said.

How do you get a sixth sense?

“It comes with experience.”

He’s alive because he skated everyday.

He didn’t stay still.

B) SO WHAT HAPPENED?

“The first time I ever went to the skatepark and saw these grown — well I thought they were grown men. They were 17, 18. — flying out of swimming pools, I thought ‘That’s what I want to do.’ And I never thought it might be a reality.”

Years later, he felt the wheels go past the edge. He was mid-air.

“I remember thinking, ‘You better hold on to this.”

“So what happened?”

Between fight or flight, he chose both.

“I had to make it. I had no choice,” he said.

C) WHAT HAPPENS THE FIRST TIME YOU FALL?

There’s a right way to fall in skateboarding. It’s part of the sixth sense. You learn where you are in the air. You drop your knees. Lessen the impact. And slide down.

No metaphor here.

OK. You could think about how to damage yourself less. Or how to be risk-averse. But Tony isn’t focussed on risk.

He’s skating. He’s doing what he loves. And it comes naturally. That’s what happens when you ingest what’s natural to you.

Beyond food.

Your organs know what feels good.

“I like the feeling of it. I liked the artistry of it. I liked that it was active and it was on my own terms, but there was definitely a creativity that I hadn’t seen anywhere else or embraced in any other sport.”

Your blood knows.

And it circulates through your body and carries the message hidden beneath your thoughts.

The one asking you to choose yourself.


I don’t know how many questions are in this podcast. These three are from the first 5 minutes.

If you listen, share what you learned. Maybe this time, my question will be for you.

 

Resources and Links:

 

  • KarenOh

    Throwing a hundred bowls can feel like that, too.

  • T.Wayne

    James, I just want to KISS you. That’s some excellent listening. Thank you.

  • alexrodz83

    Getting an e-mail from you is like getting an e-mail from a friend. Even if I don’t opt in, I really enjoy opening them and reading them. Thanks for all your good work.

  • Thomas

    Awesome, added this to podcastrank as well https://podcastrank.co/episodes/307

  • Michael Lerario

    Great interview, it’s obvious you did some research before sitting down with Tony. His is a great story anyway, but I learned a whole lot I didn’t know about him and his business acumen.