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Risk, Fear, and the Art of Chill

Lesson 1 of 1

Risk, Fear, and the Art of Chill with Jimmy Chin

 

Risk, Fear, and the Art of Chill

Lesson 1 of 1

Risk, Fear, and the Art of Chill with Jimmy Chin

 

Lesson Info

Risk, Fear, and the Art of Chill with Jimmy Chin

everybody. What's up? Good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening. Wherever you are on the planet, I'm chased. Your friend, your host, your guide and the founders that you have creative live here about to drop into the next episode of Chase Service Life here on Creativelive if you're new to the show, this is where I sit down with the world's top creators and entrepreneurs and do everything I can to bring you what's in their brain with the hope of helping you live your best life. And today we're going to go deep with someone who had of ah, long respected and admired. We've been in the same circle for about 15 plus years. He is a climber of photographer in a filmmaker, the Academy Award winning film maker of the film Free Solo, which you certainly have seen. It's no surprise that we're talking about Mr Jimmy Chin. He's also a National Geographic photographer and well known mounts birth at sports athlete known for his ability to capture extraordinary imagery while climbing skiing in the hi...

ghest risk environments in the world, began his professional career pre 2000 and his towns were quickly recognized by the top folks in the world. I remember very early on my photographic journey, seeing some of the climbing photographs that Jimmy had started to shoot. And, ah, been so impressed. We've been in the same circles for years, lots of mutual friends. And so that's gonna allow us to go extra deep today. And if you're tuning in right now from Facebook or YouTube might be a good chance to head over to creativelive dot com Last TV where I'm looking at, um, a live feed of comments coming in from all over the world. You can click the join live chat right there, and I will see your comments and questions, and we'll do everything I can to work them into my conversation with Jimmy. But without further ado, the men that you are here to see um, Mr Jimmy Chin in the house. Jimmy, welcome to the show. But hey, have you got a good Where you coming in live from today? My man? I'm coming in live from my home in Jackson, Wyoming, and and, Ah, before I confess, before we were alive, you were commenting about a ski. You just got Teoh ski a big line yesterday is that right? Can you give us Thea? What? It's what line you skied end or what it's like to be skiing right now and in covert when most people are locked in small apartments around the world. Yeah. I mean, we've been throughout this whole kind of corn. Dean, uh, you know, we've been doing yeah, getting out being in the back country, but obviously keeping it really mellow because we didn't want it. Stress the already stressed healthcare system. So, uh, but, you know, just pretty much in my backyard, he's just pointing out. It's like, right there in the park, but south of the park, uh, skiing up around, um, some of the southern tee times It's been really been very grateful, Um, that, you know, we're in a place where we have an opportunity to kind of stay outside and be outside and get some fresh air and exercise. And, um, I think, as they say in Wyoming, we've been residents of Wyoming, have been social distancing since the inception of the state. Well said, Yeah, for so many people who are again locked in small apartments all around the world, we've got folks coming in from London from South Africa. See, in Australia, I see an Oslo Copenhagen. Um, so that s O that we have people joining in from all of the world is not an overstatement. And I'm sure a lot of those folks who locked in small apartment somewhere. So thank you for living your best life in Wyoming, and we'll live vicariously through you. I also have a chance to be outside here. I'm on the Puget Sound. Um, going to go for a paddle here shortly. One of the few opportunities to ah to be outside in in a place for me. Ah, been in the family for about years. This little chunk of property. I'm trying to do the same thing, you know, work when I can and, ah, remotely. But your work is a entirely different than most people's work because your work is basically remote by nature and yet integrating Ah, a lot of equipment, a lot of other people making films and whatnot. But before we get into like more about what you're doing right now, I want to go back. For those folks who are new to your world, I'm guessing they'd have to be living under Iraq because, damn it, everybody I know in the whole planet has seen free solo. Um, but most people don't know your back story from in the world that we're talking to. Mostly creators and entrepreneurs tuning in today, so familiar with the profession that you set out up, but not the climbing part. They understand the photography and filmmaking. Um, so I'm looking to build a little bit of a narrative arc. Let's go back to, um, you know, early days. How do you do find this sort of the passion that you have right now for being outside? And how did you combine that with, um, with filmmaking to make a not just a life, but a living as well? Yeah, well, kind of Ironically, like I grew up in the Midwest in like, a small town called Mankato, Minnesota. And, like South Central Minnesota, which is basically one of the flats places in the United States. Uh, certainly not like a hotbed of, you know, climbers or high altitude alpinists or really, photographers or filmmakers. Uh, I think you know, my parents were from China Chinese immigrants, and they were librarians at the university there. And I guess you know, I've been asked this a bit, but I really think it's because I was fed a ton of books growing up, had a older sister who read voraciously. So I was always and she was six years older than me. So I was always kind of like picking up the books that she had been reading and, um, was reading pretty advanced levels, like at a young age. And I think that really kind of, um, expanded my imagination. Ah, and you know, I grew up doing a lot of different activities sports. I started playing value when I was 3.5 and swam competitively and studied the martial arts and was pretty competitive. Uh, my parents really stressed excellence and, you know, kind of traditional Chinese parents were, like all about academics and getting into the right schools and stuff. And so I have that kind of, like counted into me, um, kind of those that ethos of hard work and trying really hard and, you know, being in kind of competitive sports. Um, but I they weren't really my hangs, you know, they were kind of imposed on me and while like, I've been mawr and more appreciative as I've grown older for like what those activities gave me younger. I was like, I want to go. All I wanted to do is play outside, and, uh, I found skiing pretty early on, um and that became my thing. So I only got to do it if I was, you know, doing well in school and everything else. And it actually motivated me to do really well so that I could ski as much as possible. I'm just teeny hill behind my house. Um, and I guess for so long, I just wanted to, like, escape my little hometown in the Midwest and explore the world. And on I found climbing when I was in college, between climbing and skiing, all I wanted to do is be in mountains, and that's kind of the path that I chose is say, finish school. Uh, and I moved to Yosemite and just I went for it was like, This is what I want to do. This is what I love. And and that was actually really, really hard choice for me because, you know, I had a lot of pressure, certainly from my parents and my family. But I think also in society, you know, you're supposed to finish school, and then you're supposed to get your internship or get your first job and start your career path. Um, and I was, you know, living in the back my car or in a cave behind camp for really questioning if that was the right decision, You know, um but that's that's the path that I chose. What? At what point? So, you know, it sounds like you were you ran to climbing rather than ran to photography. And so what point did you start to put those two things together? Cause I want I definitely want to circle back. I have written extensively about this, and I think you and I have a shared value around understanding what society wants for you. And then there's the things that you actually have to do that you were put on this planet and finding out about it. I want to go back to that. But before, like, you just talked about climbing and where did the where did the ah, the art part of your living and life come into the picture? I mean, it followed pretty quickly after I started spending time in Yosemite. Um, maybe within that year that I moved there. Um, maybe two years after, I kind of really committed to climbing. I picked up a camera from a good friend of mine who was, uh, still a very close friend of mine. Brady Robinson. He's now the executive director of the Conservation Alliance. But, you know, he showed me how to use his camera and was like a manual Heckscher. He sent it to me. Um, grab it. Can you see it? Yeah. Nice check of analog. Yes, an old my con F two or F f f e three f e three air you go. Um, but he Ah, he showed me how to use it, and I took a photo with it. Um, one morning and hey was trying to sell his photos were shooting on slides, and, um, a company bought one photo from him. It was a photo that I took, and they paid $500 for this photo, which, you know, when you're living out of your car. And I was actually teaching at Knowles at the time as well. Just an odd jobs, waiting tables. I was doing whatever I could Teoh kind of feed the, um, the Passion. But I took that money and I bought a camera, and I just remember think that was, like, an outrageous amount of money for a photo. I was like, they paid that much money for a photo. And of course, you know, like, I joke about this, But at the time, I was like, Wow, I only need to take one photo a month and I'll be able to live like this for the rest of my life. And I'm like, living the dream. It's amazing that that that you share that story. I sold my photo for 500 bucks, but also it was bucks and a pair of heart skis. Remember those keys? Uh oh, yeah. Also minutes out. A company, I think. Yeah, 500. And I had the same exact thought. Like wait a minute. So 500 bucks I'll have to do is just do that again. And then again, and then I can just live here. And scare was living in Steamboat at the time, and I could just live here and do that over and over again. This is This is a good life, and so clearly that's that's changed for you. Um, so if that was the first, um, the first break, if you will Presumably others came. Um, but did you did you feel like, let's go back to that thing that I said we were going to go back to earlier this idea of you know, you were raised in a family where expectations were high, that you were gonna perform and check a lot of the culturally accepted boxes. Um, I think for so many people watching just as a reminder. Now we've got people tuned in Also from Monica from Dubai. Um, I only got a fellow Minnesotan in the house. India, Washington, D. C um, lots of folks. But I'm guessing a lot of those people, um, have been told stories from their parents and and career counselors and mentors and friends and spouses about what they ought to be and become either when they grow up or that they better get their act together. And my assumption is that coming from a family where high performance was well regarded in, academics were stressed that this put some stress on the relationship with your parents and the relationship will just say with the world. So since so many people have the same problem Ah, this challenge, Um, how did you deal with it? And, um, was it easy, Hard? Just give us a little bit of ah, blow by blow. Yeah. I mean, I think when I think of my story and this fit in in the beginning, like that choice in my early twenties to follow my heart And my passion was certainly the most pivotal decision I ever made in my life. Hands down and those kinds of decisions are never easy. Um, I think that there waas or is sometimes a misperception that I always knew what I wanted to do, and it was really clear, and I just did it, and, um, it kind of all following the place in which to a degree is true. But the thing that I think is, um, misunderstood is that that choice was filled with so much doubt. And it wasn't like feeling doubt and dread for a couple months. It was like, years of doubt, Um, and also feeling really guilty in a way like I'd let down my parents and that, you know, because I did have a lot of friends that did follow a fairly traditional career path have done really well are very happy. But it wasn't It didn't fit for me. And so whenever you feel like, oh, I'm not fitting in that that that that's hard. You know, Um and people often ask me, you know, what they what's the greatest risk you ever taken? And, you know, I think the assumption is like climbing this mountain or skiing that mountain, but easily it was kind of taking the lead and, um, and moving to, you know, you're 70 and living in a car, which, you know, my parents you point was like the ultimate failure in the sense like, you know, because I would like, I call my sister and check in with her and be like, Well, how are Mom and Dad doing? And kind of getting the low down for my sister, who, by the way, you know, went to Stanford, went to Oxford, was at Yale, you know? I mean, she checked alive. Yeah, for you. She's brilliant. Um, and she was always stupor encouraging. She was like, you know what you gotta do? What you you're doing right now? It's the right thing. But she'd say, And I got the house Mom doing and she'd say, Well, um keeps saying under breath under her breath that she's raised a homeless man, and that was kind of like the the effective, you know, they were like, he got lost along the way. We did everything we could for him. Um, and it was I was, I think was really hard on my parents, which was made it hard on me. And I can imagine now, like if my kids, you know, like I would call my parents, would be like, Well, I'm leaving for Pakistan and I'm climbing high altitude walls for the next three months and that, you know, we didn't have a SAT phone or anything, and it was like, I I'll send a postcard when I get to Islamabad and, you know, I'll see you in three months. Um, I mean, it would be hired, I think. Any parent for sure. Well, let's let's, um, less about your parents and more about you. What was the like? What was your headspace? Did you feel undeniably you were doing the right thing you talked about. It is the hardest thing you've ever done, did you? But when he talked about doubt, did you ever think about throwing in the towel or once you started on this path? Yeah, I did think I was going to throw in the towel because originally I had said, Hey, I'm going to do this for a year, Climb and ski full time and then I'm gonna follow career path. And after that year, I actually went to San Francisco. Was couch surfing at a friend's place, Um, trying to do interviews. And I did a bunch of interviews, Um, and for, you know, like, uh, environmental NGOs. I'd studied international relations, and, um, a big part of it was on international law and environmental studies. So I was kind of toying with this idea of doing and I did a bunch of interviews, and then, um then, actually, a friend of mine from Mammoth called me and was like, What are you doing? And I'm like, I have interviews. I have an interview to mind. You gotta come out demand. Now there's storms lined up from sure project at the California coast. What are you doing? You're an idiot. And I was like, No. Okay, I can't go to Mammoth. And then the next day, I packed up my car and drove to manage her look back. And it was like the winner of 97 or something. I mean, it was 3 95 and closed down, and it was it just nuke. It was an El Nino year. It just nude all day, every day for, like, three months, straight or four months. Straighten. I just keep Pau and lived in my friends. My friend was caretaking a house, and there was a boiler room in the basement, and I was sleeping on us, leaving bad in a boiler room in his base and just skiing every day. But yeah, No, I I still struggle that, but the joy I was feeling yeah at, and I mean, they were It was it was such a deep, profound experience that I still seek and live for every day. And it's that feeling of being in the mountains and that self reliance and that ex exploration and adventure and the friendships, you know, was that yeah, ultimately, how did you reconcile this with your parents? Because again, I think doing the thing that you're compelled to do is you know, we can understand why we would do that. And and yet there's still this moment where, um, most people that I know who have taken a nontraditional path there If it's not a moment, then it's, ah, lifetime of small moments of reconcile ing with the people who, when you struck out on your own, didn't understand. Yeah, and I remember for me my parents it's, you know, finally, when it was like, Oh, uh, yeah, do you wanna where I was able to fly them around like, Oh, you want to come? You know, we're wrapping up in Switzerland. You wanna come join us at the end of the shoot when they start to understand that, Okay, because you tell him $500 in a pair of skis and they think it's cute and presumably itself. You know, it's so neat. That's great. But presumably it's someone willing. Yeah, you have to have a conversation with them. And is this Was this one moment, or was it 1000 tiny moments? Because the people were listening again from from all over the world. Right now, most of these people haven't yet had the conversations with people in their lives that they love. And so I'm looking for you to help us understand this a little bit. Yeah. No, I would say it was really hard, hard enough for a couple years where my communication with them really dropped off, like, probably two years. Um and but I was also really focused. In some ways, it was really meaningful and motivating because I was like, I had a lot to prove all of a sudden, too. Yeah. You know, um, and sometimes that's healthy. Sometimes that's not healthy. Um, I don't really see a therapist, so I don't know, but, you know, that's part of the struggle. You know where, um, you're also questioning. Okay. Well, what are my motivations? Where they coming from? What are my intentions? I mean, those air really important questions to ask yourself all the time. Right on those are the questions. I was asking myself a lot of existential questions. You know, what is my purpose on this planet? Those kind of things. But I found the relief in the active climbing and in the act of being in the mountains and then in the active shooting and photographing and starting to tell stories. And and I got really, really focused on, you know, doing things every single day that I felt like were like moving me forward in some way, um, towards kind of not totally clear goal. But I just It was about bettering myself all the time and everything that I did. And I did understand that, like, I wanted to be the best version of myself in everything that I could that I was doing, um and so that that kept me really motivated. And so I started. Finally, I started publishing pretty early on. Um and I think that you know what my parents started seeing I was publishing. That was one thing they didn't love, the idea that I was going on these, like, massive expeditions to very remote places that seemed, you know, they used to say to me like, Well, of course, we're really, really worried because there's not even a word in Chinese for what you dio 1000 year old written history, and there isn't even a work for what you do in Chinese. So we need something to tell our friends. Well, and also like you have to like, you know, give us a little a break here cause it's just, like, so far out of my realm of reality. Um and and and you know that I took that into account, But when I started publishing and then I think ultimately, when there was in uh, 2000 and three when I got published in National Geographic and we were at the headquarters and there was the whole lobby was dedicated to this expedition had done with Conrad Anker recruit Julian Galen Rowell to Tibet. And we were giving a talk at the, um, groaner auditorium and and I remember walking in with the lobby with my mom and her looking around. Um, and I think that that was a big moment. That was a big moment. And then I you know, I gave a talk to a packed auditorium with Con and Rick, and, uh and then we all went out for dinner afterwards, and I think that was that was a moment, you know? Is it fair to say then that you just had Teoh um cultivate what would be traditionally seen a success in orderto get the haters or the people who were unsure are unclear. And I'm expanding it beyond your parents here because I'm sure your parents aren't haters. But for, like, you know, um, external validation is that one of the things that you felt have helped tip that? And so folks would stop asking questions. I mean, that was never the focus of, like getting that external validation outside of like in some ways, that kind of written off my parents for a while, You know, you're in your early twenties. That's what you who doesn't write off their parents in their early twenties like they have no clue what's going on. And I am just going to do this thing, and it was that total commitment. And I'm sure you've heard this many times from the people you've had on your show and friends. But I was committed completely to, um, the craft of each of the things that I was doing. Whether that was climbing a big part of it was also just like putting together expeditions. That's a craft, you know. You have like a vision you have to have an idea. You have to be, like, hugely motivated to go do something that doesn't really pay you any money, and I mean, some of its for the glory. But some of it's really just about being like, really inspired when you see some mountain that is in this remote range and it's never been climbed and you see a beautiful lion on it and I don't know why, but that can be like hugely motivating. Um, and so there was that kind of just deep commitment and doing what I was doing. And, um, actually not looking for external validation and climbing is kind of an interesting, especially when I like in the late nineties like there's an eat those surrounded. Everybody's trying to be understated and you're just trying to be, You know, you're trying to push yourself and push it to the edge and see what you can achieve. And I was really surrounded by a lot of people like that, um, in your sanity, And that's why I, you know, I always think of like the climbing tribe is still the closest community to my heart because those were the people that I I fell in with and that, you know, just they're so motivated. And at the time, you know, Climb has become much more mainstream now. But it was a lot of misfits, just like but extraordinary people, Um that I felt, like, just had, like, a lot of human spirit, and we're always kind of chasing the human potential, and that's kind of like very much a theme in the work that I've done. There's I love this, um, the way that you articulated ah, focusing on the craft and keep your head down and largely ignoring those voices whether you're from your parents and I think you attributed to being in your twenties. But I think that's a great piece of take away for anyone who's listening that you are gonna have to ignore people and often these people that are arguably some of the closest people that you have in the world who don't understand your vision. But this idea of an an ethos, I think, is a great word allegiance to yourself and to your tribe of misfits, Um, that you've fallen in love with around whatever it is that you want to do, and it's to understand that that culture doesn't largely welcome those folks, and whether it's external validation that ultimately helps them capitulate and start paying attention to you or or something else. I love that there's this a focus on the thing rather than on the things that our focus on the thing in the craft rather than on what would arguably be distractions. So if you just now joining us, doing in live from all over the world, I'm Chase and sit here with my long time friend Jimmy Chin. Not only is he one of the top climbers in the world, but he's also a an Oscar winner. Now with the free solo man, Huge. That was just that rocked our community in the best way. Um, when you won that thing. And so for those watching, we are taking questions. I see questions coming in from the world. I will ask a few of those in do time here. So if you haven't put him in the comments, and I will see them and for them to Jimmy, Um, but I do want to shift gears. You mean that was a great, you know, sort of re, um, unpacking if you will of, um, how you got from what I say how you went from having a dream to living it. Now let's talk about going from 1 to 10 if 10 is winning an Oscar and, um, one is just getting started. Talked to us about five. When you're like points 45 and six in the middle and you're just grinding because I think that's a dark tunnel for a lot of people. That's where a lot of people shift and give in, and and, um, we'll celebrate at the end here. We'll talk about it, talk about the Oscar and the asking parties, but, uh, talk to us about the grind for a little bit. And when it takes to achieve the success that you've created for yourself in filmmaking and climbing, Yeah, I think it goes back to what we were talking about, Um, really kind of shutting out the noise and staying really focused and committed to the craft. And for me, it wasn't just photography is also climbing and skiing. And, um, like I was saying, like putting expedition together and, um, but, you know, I think between I would say that grind is like 10 years long, you know, from 26 to 36 or whatever. I mean, I mean, I'm still trying being these days. It's like a lot of, um and you gotta love the grind. I mean, you got a nice first of all, um, but it's interesting because I feel like expedition climbing. There were so many takeaways and maybe, you know, it's a nature versus nurture thing. I don't know, but like, maybe I was built to do that, but, um, hard expeditions, Ah, heart. They you have to character and resilience and overcoming fear and stress. And yeah, is and and the lessons I feel like I learned from doing expeditions were really applicability to the work and the career. Because if you can think of, you know, as as a climber, and you can take the parallels from this if you want, but especially professional climber, you're looking to do things that nobody has ever done before. And oftentimes the objectives you're going for are seemingly impossible. And maybe a lot of people have tried them and failed, and, you know, it's it's is way off out here. Um, and what you discover when you start doing a lot of expeditions is that occasionally when everything lines up and you put your head down and you, um, put one foot in front of the other and you know every obstacle you can imagine drops in front of you along your path towards this objective and you just take it all in and you chip away at its it's literally one step at a time. Occasionally you achieve it, and it's kind of unbelievable. And when when that has been reinforced over time in which it was for me that, like these impossible objectives, were actually possible just through. You know, it's not a big secret's called hard work, you know, um, and and being committed, Um, but also being smart, uh, knowing when to cut your losses also to when to turn around. Um, but he discovered that you can achieve these kind of extraordinary things. Um, not by doing one extraordinary thing, but by like, doing a lot of little things to get there. And that's basically the mentality I took to my work as a photographer and as a filmmaker. Um, I think you have tohave that objective in mind, and it has to be there, and you have to be inspired by motivated by, um It can also become really overwhelming if that's all you're looking towards. So it's a balance of like staying focused on what's in front of you the next three feet and then occasionally checking in with yourself like, Is this still where I want to go? You know, because that's also important. Ah, that's great. What role? So Molly Benda or Molly Bond asks. I know you're close with Conrad, and he's scaled back some of his ah efforts recently or at some point, and And, um, I'm gonna take it out of just like your relationship with Conrad and put it into the role of community. Like, what role did community play in your motivation, inspiration and your growth and development, climbing community or yeah, I'll just talk about the kind of the climbing community. And then there's all these concentric circles to, because then there's a photography community is the filmmaking community. There's writers that I've worked with, you know, there's a lot of different communities and start to overlap. Um, what I really appreciated about my work that I'm most grateful for? Um have been the people that I've been able to work with can climb with and collaborate with, Uh, I think the most important part of being in these communities for me that was really pivotal, where the people that kind of came out of those communities who kind of took me under their wing and recognized kind of my work ethic. Um and you know, really gave me a big opportunities, um, which I took. I think it's important. Part of the conversation when it comes to mentorship, though, is that I always say that you don't necessarily find your mentors that you find you. And if that's become much more clear to me now because being a mentor is a huge investment and you want to invest in people that you feel like are, um committed and have paid their dues in a certain way, um have showed kind of their commitment to what they're doing and their love and passion for it, and that their intentions are all in the right place, but with those a really important things. Um, but the community for me has played a huge role in my career, for sure. Um, not to jump ahead that I do. You know that the overwhelming feeling I had at the Oscars and I don't know why. Well, I do know why. Because it's is what it is that like it was. It's like my life flash in front of my eyes. And it was all of the people that helped me along the way to get me there because you don't get to a place like that by yourself. Like I've had so many incredible mentors and people in my life out of, um, really, you know, helped guide me and push me along or that I aspired to, you know, And, uh so I hope that is the question. And no, no, no. I think it's, um I don't I believe that the most misunderstood thing and culture is largely community. We're social animals, first of all. So we whether we are introverts or extroverts or we like spending, you know, time alone, or we see ourselves as a solo pron or whatever, like you're not going to get there without, you know, help from so many people. Even if it's, um, if it's not clear where that helps coming from or you know you mentioned Mentor ship, and, um, I just think it's it's really helpful to hear from someone like yourself who has achieved it, and specifically through the lens of the Oscars, like it's, you know, best director. You like that the the the Dock of the year. Like these air, these are things that are people perceive as this solo journey with a backpack walking into the woods. But I think you'd be the first to say that it's anything but. So to hear from your own mouth that that at the Hoster's that was the thing you were reflecting on the most. Um, how me ask another follow up question there. So how you know what some advice that you would give to people who now that you've, you know, laid bare this truth that you only get there on the shoulders of so many other people that peers and friends and mentors and collaborators. Um, you know, do you have some advice on how to show up? I mean, it's hard. Sometimes. I'm like my advice is that seems really harsh, you know, this is what we see. This is no. Make it harsh. I've been thinking about this a lot, because just with social media and with where the world is at right now, um, and culturally, you know, I and maybe people have been saying this for generations probably. Um, but I've I've had a lot of conversations with up and coming filmmakers and photographers, and they all come from it with different views and intentions. Um, you know, But it's sometimes I feel like the people are thinking about it a little bit backwards. It's like they want to get to this point for recognition or for more followers, or for more like we talked about earlier. Like more external validation reasons of external validation, which, if is, is natural. I think, uh, but I don't know if that's the right paradigm to follow because of what we talked about earlier, because it has to be about the work it's gotta be above. It's not like you're doing it to get to here. It's it's you're doing it to be here present now, and doing the thing that, like is is inspiring to you that you're obsessed with and motivated by and that you're creating, Um, because only if you can do that, are you truly, ever gonna be able to get to there and said t not me Foot that around and think about it in that way because, um and this actually leads back to mentorship is that when I see people who are working in that way that I was just talking about because a huge part of what I do in storytelling and in the filmmaking I do you're like, really examining people's intentions, right? And what are their motivations? And that's important. Those are questions that you shash ask yourself. Um, and so it went and and I think that that's that's why I had really incredible mentors because I think that they saw that I was just obsessed with, you know, this thing that I was doing and making and creating and the last thing I was really thinking about was, you know, trying to be famous or Trent. Well, we didn't have some from you in the late nineties. Bet um, it was just what I was creating was like, the most important thing in people I was with and how we're collaborating and making things was like, hugely, you know, um, interesting. And to me, um and So that's a long way of saying and I know find your passion and ah, but it's so There's so much wisdom in there because again, this external part is that's the part that people see at the end of the journey. And again we're social animals are being patted on the back. It's not. It's not a surprise that people want to be out of the back. It's just the way you get back. Pats. It's not actually from just showing up on the summit. It's, you know, I mean, if you just if you could took a helicopter to the summit, it's not about being in the summit, right? It's about the journey that it took you to get there, and the people and your peers in your community is sort of along for the ride. And so anyway, so I think that's it's insane advice, and it's it's It's not said frequently enough, so thanks for being willing to say it. Um, Now, let's talk about some of that success, because clearly, um, you've seen a lot of it, especially recently. Do you have Ah. Um, is there um have you reconciled that yet? Is it like has it sunk in. I know you got you Have the tree have the trophies on this shelf there. But, uh, yeah, um, I would say, Well, it was first of all, like releasing a film and then and then going into an Oscar campaign. I don't know if people really know, but it's It's it's insane. Um, and I'm not even doing like a $200 million feature film press tour like doing a small doc press tour. But you're you're in a whirlwind for a year and you're traveling a lot and you're doing a lot of events and you're meeting a lot of people. And it took me a little bit to get my head wrapped around it because you're doing all these events because you're trying to get people to watch your film or get people to vote for your film. Um, which is kind of antithetical to like what we were just talking about, You know, it's kind of like I'm out here on the road, um, publicizing the work and not doing the work and trying to win something but not doing the work. Um, but I was interesting because I just basically took the ethos of, like, doing work while I was like, Well, this is what I'm doing now. So I'm just gonna do the best that I can in on this part of the journey for what it is. Um, and that's kind of what we locked into were like, Okay, what we're gonna do what we do with our work to campaigning for the theatrical release and the Oscars and so that that is how I got through it. Um but and this is probably easier to say if you want it one in hospital. But, you know, it really reinforced for me exactly what we were talking about earlier, which is the, you know, like, because I made the decision they made to do the things that I love. Like those air. Still truly what at the heart of the matter are the most important things to me. My family, my friends, Um, the simple act of walking up a mountain, paddling out in, you know, in swell and serve skiing like those things that were there for me in the beginning. That inspired me. It's like it. It's that whole experience reinvigorated my motivation to the things that have then always true to me because I realized, like, those are, like, the only real true things that I have. And so, um, that's kind of have reconciled it. Uh, occasionally, I definitely still think like a Did that really happen through this? Free like that is, like, the most absurd that. And I'll pat myself on the back for a moment. But I'm like, Wow, that was pretty cool. But in general, it's kind of like you're still the same person you were before you won the Oscar, And, um, keeping your feet on the ground and doing these things is still, um, like, the greatest joy of my life. My kids, you know? Yeah. You mentioned this a couple times. I want to focus on two things. You talk about motivation and what makes you do the things you do. And, um, you mentioned family a bunch. Um, I want to talk about two things. We'll talk about family first on their ship gears, talk about something else. So, um, U co directed the film with your wife, said there's family there, and I know, um, you have ah, couple kids. And what role does the role of your family play in your your outlook on life in your career. And how is it to work as closely I share this with? I worked very close with my wife for whatever 15 or 20 years, and we have a lot of mutual friends and and you know that I'm curious what your take is I'm working closely with Chae who, um, also incredibly visionary. And her craft, um can talk about you know, the role of family, your kids, the way that you work closely with Giant and, um, how that's impacted your your career. Yeah. Um well, first of all, it's funny a zip through this anecdote and there people ask about what? The hardest part of off filming free solo Waas. And so when we started production on free solo Chai Waas Um, six months pregnant and we had a two year old daughter, Marina, and my son James was born a couple months into production. So we had a 2.5 year old and the new born on location in Yosemite during the production of Free solo. It was in sane, trying to do like managing like our crew high angle team doing a 15 hour day and coming back and, like changing diapers and watching dailies and like, juggling. But, um, my kids grew up with, you know, uncle Alex and, um, my whole crew, you know, barely climbing cinematographers. And now look at that time, You know, um, and a lot of thinking about it, but, uh, yeah, it's all mixed up, right, Because, you know, this child's like the mother of my Children. She's, you know, my cohort in this film producer director, and, um and that could be really challenging, as I'm sure you have experienced. Especially when you have two directors in the house like who gets decided what, you're gonna eat your breakfast. It is a very kind of like, strong minded and opinionated, um, and have our ideas of how things are supposed to be done. But we very, very quickly realized on our first collaboration on Maru that that two very different worlds colliding, which was me climbing bum dirtbag, ski bomb adventure photographer guy, and then very, very highly intelligent, sharp, um, woman that's, you know, growing up in Manhattan and has, you know, never ever even thought about climbing. Um, but also like an incredible filmmaker, and her story about her filmmaking career is actually probably worth doing a show on, too, because her career is extraordinary. She made her first film when she was 22 Um, first feature Doc at and she was breezing through Princeton. She was so bored she decided to make a film her senior year. And she, she, uh, got accepted into Tribeca Film Festival her first feature, Dhaka 22. And then it won best documentary Try Back Up. You know, when she's like 22 or 23. Pretty unheard of, I think. Still probably the youngest person to ever win it. Best feature docket. Tribeca. Um, anyway, so way we kind of came together And it was that, um, cross pollination, things that happened where a sensibility and a way of thinking meshed together with where I was coming from. And I think it birth something that was different than, um, either of us could have achieved on her own. And we recognize that like, and that's the kind of work that we look for, were like, what are the projects that are really interesting to me and really interesting to her like if it doesn't interest, both of us were kind of setting them side. We're working on projects that, like we both are like, Whoa, I really love him for this reasons And she really loves it for this reason, Yeah, she's got it. But, uh, it's inspiring and motivating and reinforces the point about collaboration and community. Whether that community is your wife or partner or, um, you know, one of your other co conspirators, it's just it's really inspirational how you've connected this yin and yang, and I think that's that's, you know, it's a really common trade among people I've had on the show and and for creators. So against so many people Think of this. It's a solo journey and to be able to join forces with people who are, you know, as are more talented than you. And as we're more experienced and in different areas or areas where your strengths and weaknesses are are well matched, I think it's just it sounds like it's been a really key piece of your journey with mentors and with partners and, um ah, the other side, the less pretty side of a similar coin. Um file it under motivation or focus or inspiration? Um, you and I have both been caught in really about avalanches, and for me, was it really was a huge turning point because it made me change a lens that I had on on this one precious life that we have. And I know yours is was was chronicled, um, in, you know, in lots of different places. But I haven't heard you talk about it specifically as, ah, motivator. A deterrent. Or, you know what? What lens did that have on your, you know, this? That you could file it all under just, um, curveballs were things that are hard. Like, How did that help shape you as the person you are? Yeah, Well, I'm sure if through your experience, you had probably very similar, um, experience like he said it. It's a very heavy kind of check in, right. A lot of the hard questions we avoid asking ourselves or questions that you don't even think about asking yourselves are answered in a way without you wanting them necessarily be answered or like I mean, I guess we're all searching for purpose and meaning in life. But, um, but It was a pretty significant deep check in, Um, when I and it was pretty profound, it there was a moment, probably within half an hour of it happening to me, like surviving it being like it is a We have these amorphous kind of priorities floating around there kind of shifting, you know, sometimes they go here and sometimes you hear, um and I kind of remember it being like, uh, watching a screen and seeing things a scope, you know, like sliding in the other places and as a wow, um, you know, like family friends, um, importance of of what you want to achieve in your life and what where you wanna be, where you want to go and how you want to feel how you want it, the things you want to see and experience, you know, it it really made me check in about those things and what I got out of it at the time. What is that? I felt like in some ways it reinforced what I've been doing because it wasn't like I survived the avalanche of that. I should be doing something totally different. You know, I should have become a lawyer, and I'm going to go to law school. Or I should become a doctor. And, you know, it's not like, Hey, in some ways, a reinforced like, Okay, you did pick the right path, even though, you know, it took me several months to even think about going back in the mountains. But, um, I did feel reinvigorated after I kind of got over the initial, you know, PPS to hear whatever. You know, it was like I was in shock for a little bit. Um and, uh, but I did. And during that time, I was questioning what I was doing. I was like, Well, is, is this the right thing? And I came out of it being like, Yeah, this is the right thing. And actually that that was the spring before I went back to Maru, the second time in 2011. And, you know, obviously we we climb issued the sharks fan, and then I made the film that next year, So yeah, I think it is it, like, focus, Was it? It's like, Yeah, yeah, yeah. It kind of shed some of the things that weren't that Lee, you know, like when you when you do that kind of deep dive, check in with yourself the priorities lineup. But it's also I'm sure you can host of anybody. It's what you start to say no to. Yeah, yeah, it's the Shedding as well. It's it's It's, I think it's hard for a lot of people to understand that level of focus that what it was required to get to the level that you, Jimmy have have reached, um, anything. Any regrets on the way for the focus that you've had and the the you know, it's to say that it's 10,000 hours would be about a 30,000. Our understatement Get to get to where your adder or ah, similar Um, any regrets along the way? I think you know, I'm I'm obsessed with this idea of the number. One regret of the dying is that they didn't live their life and according to their own values, that they were, you know, go back to this is like a full circle moment Here. Go back to how we open the show, which is like all these cultural pressures, what we should be do and become, and you should pre please your parents in your career, counselor. On your teachers and your grandma. Um, but, you know, you've debunked that. And so now I'm kind of checking any any any regrets along the way, Or, you know, if so, what? I It's im. I would say that right now. Um, especially during the quarantine. Uh, I have been very grateful on a number of levels because I am in a situation where I can work from home. I am in a situation where I can get out and get my wilderness therapy that I needed to be. But one of the things I'm most grateful for is the time that I've been standing with my my family. And I've talked to a lot of parents, very successful. The entrepreneur CEOs, actors after you know, all kinds of people who are parents. Um, and the number of times I've had them tell me there cause I'll ask the same question, like if you have any requests, you know, that's what you want to know right there. Like I regret not spending more time with my kids. And I've been on, like, particularly the last few years. But since my daughter was born, um, you know, I've been a pretty insane We're travel schedule. This last two months is the most consecutive days I spent with my kids, ever. By quite a bit, actually. Yeah, like I get 3 to days at a time here and there. But like, you know, January February this year, I didn't see them. I didn't seem for two months, I was in Antarctica. We're not a bunch of speaking gigs. And then onto another shooting Patagonia. I literally didn't see my kids for 60 days. Um, next four and 6 60 days is a lot to change a lot in that time. So, um, I don't I'd say I don't want to have that regret of not spending that time of my Children. And this is this time with them has definitely really shown me how important it is for me to be with them day in and day out, even if I'm working during the day. But I see an evening like that connection and what happens and how much it takes to kind of be a good parent like those daily little steps that are getting them, you know, further want progress, progress as little many humans. Eso um I'm aware of that regret and then something I don't want to have. But in terms of like the rest of my life, I feel like I'm I'm happy with the choices I made. No, that's just amazing perspective. And I think that that's ah, like the visual that you painted, sort of in Poth post escaping death avalanche of just the priority Snapping into order is like, That's that is beautiful. And to see you now sort of fulfilling that in this time and being reminded of I don't think, Do you believe in balance? Ah, you know, having a balanced life or is it more, uh, harmonious? Like, what's the given that you have to, you know, you're probably not the last time you're going to go 60 days without seeing your kids. Or maybe it is like, How do you How do you How do you get it? Balance. I mean, it's kind of like skiing you're never really quite about. You're always kind of recovery, always just a little. That's what I call it harmony and not balance, cause I'm like there's not one time or unbalanced. You're constantly recovery. It's right. XYZ not about error avoidance. It's error recovery. Yeah, it's, um but no, I feel like as I'm getting older. Yeah, I have. It said, was not very balanced just two months ago, you know, like and but I've lived like that for 20 years, so it's kind of like you just always rolling with it. You know, any freelancer is like that where you're like, OK, now it's time to really he jam hard. Um, and there's still so much I love to do out there. So it is often like a question I have is a You know, I should you give up all of these things in order to spend more time with the kids. Um or, you know. But then you think about what do you want your kids to aspire to from You like being a dad? Um, it's kind of a lens, I said, because I'm like, Well, I want them to do what made them happy, And that's what makes them feel whole. And, um and you also you know, that's how you're the best version of yourself, like that's what you get to bring back to the kids. So it's It's a juggling act. Um, for sure. Harmony, not balance. Yeah. Um, last question, my man. I appreciate all the time today I want to give a shout out to the global community to Larry and Albert and Ford and Ferguson, Sam Rast and furs A and, um, within 100 other people currently commenting. Um, where do you go from here? You basically rang the bell, right? You you change. Did the thing that so many people want to do is a filmmaker. You did it as a photographer, first and foremost, transition into a filmmaker. Made a couple films, rang the bell on you know, on your first major DACA like it's maybe 2nd 1 But where we're now, in some ways, it takes a lot of pressure off in the sense of they're still aton of stories. We want to tell films we want to make mountains, I wanna climb lines. And when a ski breaks, I wanna surf like and the list keeps getting longer. So there's kind of no shortage for me of things that I still want to do. Um, but like the effect that, like you said, I kind of ring the bell when we talk about that external validation thing like it's kind of taking the pressure off. It's like, now, like, even more than before, I could just focus on the work, you know? And I could just do the things that, um this one of the nice things that you do get out of it is you have a little bit more, um uh, control over choosing the things that you do you really want to do. And so, you know, I don't take that for granted. And so we're working on a couple films right now, and there's, um yeah, pretty much I want to keep doing now that's that's beautiful. And ah, welcome the opportunity that talk with shy in front of in front of the global community. It listens to this show. Um, you guys are an amazing pair. Was so fun to see you, Um, Teoh watching and and ah, communicating with some friends with c j was there with you, and it was just really, really fun. Couldn't be more happy for you, man. It's just incredible. And, um, thanks for for helping put it on display. The you know, the this idea of choosing to go live in your car and, you know, having not just everything turned out OK, but, you know, creating a magical life that inspires so many. So shout out to you. Um, and I know I'm representing, you know, hundreds, if not more, of people who are commenting right now about the quality of the work you put out there. The quality of, um, the values that you, um, live by and share is just really inspirational. And, um, so many folks want to give you a high five right now, so I'm doing it in their place. Um, What's the best? Yeah, high five back. And, of course, if you're you haven't seen if you're one of, like, eight people on the planet that hasn't seen free solo, um, you must any other place you want to direct people for more of your work. Um I mean, I guess my instagram at Jimmy Chin, um, and then my web said jimmy chin dot com. But, uh, probably the thing that I would shout out most is some of the organizations that I work with, Um, National Outdoor Leadership School. Incredible Organization, Conservation Alliance. Amazing. The access fund. Um and, uh, American Alpine Club. I mean, there's a lot of organizations that have actually also been there from throughout my career and want to support them. Awesome. All right, folks. Signing off. Ah, yours truly with the one and only Mr Jimmy Chin in the house. Thanks for coming at us. Live from Jackson Hole, folks around the world. Thanks for tuning in If it's your first time here. Creative live TV Welcome. We broadcast live shows here every single day from the homes and living rooms and kitchen counters. Ah, of the world's top creators and entrepreneurs. Of course, we have more than 3000 classes that creativelive. But you can see conversations like this and other impromptu things here during the covered time at creativelive dot com slash tv. Jimmy. Thanks for being on the show, but appreciate you and we'll catch up half offline. We got a little bit more time. It is good to see you healthy and happy. And, um, I'll fall with consumer man. That's good things, everybody. You know. Yeah,

Class Description

There's a common misconception that artists have a monopoly on creativity...But the very act of making waves - no matter the career - is a creative one. The Chase Jarvis Live Show is an exploration of creativity, self-discovery, entrepreneurship, hard-earned lessons, and so much more. Chase sits down with the world's top creators, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders and unpacks actionable, valuable insights to help you live your dreams in career, hobby, and life.

ABOUT THIS EPISODE:

It’s not often that Jimmy Chin spends time in once place, so catching him for this sit-down conversation has been a long time in the making.

Jimmy is an Academy Award Winning Filmmaker, National Geographic photographer and mountain sports athlete known for his ability to capture extraordinary imagery and stories while climbing and skiing in extremely high-risk environments and expeditions. His work has graced the covers of many magazines and articles including National Geographic, and the New York Times. His 2015 film Meru won the coveted Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival and was on the 2016 Oscar shortlist for Best Documentary. Jimmy’s latest documentary Free Solo won a BAFTA, 7 Emmy’s and an Academy Award for best Documentary Feature in 2019.

In this conversation, Jimmy takes us on a tour of his career and gives us almost a step-by-step breakdown of how he came up from a kid sleeping in his car at the crag and shooting whatever he could to working with some of the top mountain athletes in the world. Some topics we get into:

  • * how to navigate pursuing what you love, even if it’s initially misunderstood by your family or loved ones.
  • * winning recognition from your peers in any field
  • * how mentorship and community play a role in developing artist and a career
  • * eye-opening moments that makes us re-think and re-evaluate what is most important to us
  • * and so much more...

Enjoy!

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