· By Case Kenny
The Misogi Mindset
It’s a Japanese word that literally translates to water cleansing and it describes a tradition where one literally cleanses their body with ice cold waterfall water. In traditional Japanese culture it’s accompanied by several other steps - a pilgrimage, prayers and fasting with the purpose of helping one become unified with their spirit within and misogi is the cleansing step.
Enter a 'misogi challenge' in 2022... a big scary task that is personal and extremely challenging that one does for the purpose of cleansing oneself of doubt.
The 'misogi challenge' was popularized by Jesse Izler and Kyle Corver and it's a bit of a departure from the ritualized purification of the original Japanese term but it retains some of the elements - it's designed to challenge you to uncover what you’re capable of.
It’s a reminder that you’re stronger than you think and in the sense of doing it yearly it’s designed to be so challenging that once you complete it, it aligns you spiritually for the next 364 days.
I’ve seen people do all kinds of crazy physical feats for it - from running three marathons in a day to moving a rock underwater for 5 km to climbing a rock wall for 24 hours.
I’m drawn to this idea of misogi because it’s closely related to the concept of mindfulness and self awareness.
The purpose of the misogi is as much internal as it is external. Its purpose is self belief and I love the idea of living with a misogi mindset even more than just once a year. That’s a 24/7 mindset that says: urgency…
We’re always thinking in the long term - 20 years from now, retirement, etc. It's great to think big and to think long term. But we need to act, appreciate and be in the short term.
Urgency. Today. Presence.
That’s the short term of finding ways to shake yourself out of your comfort zone. A 24/7 misogi mindset is something I can certainly get behind - intentionally putting yourself in situations that challenge you.
The more you embrace the things you're wired to have aversions to - radical honesty, awkwardness, rejection embarrassment, first steps, starting over - the more you come to harness the power of those things.
This mindset can be used to inspire action NOW - to embrace the challenge, to redefine what is possible for you again and again and again.
- When you’re in the moment and afraid that being honest with someone might make you look crazy or too much. Misogi.
- When you’re in a sales pitch and nervous about failing. Embrace it. Misogi.
- When you’re looking for a new job, interview, pitching your music or art. Misogi. Redefine what’s possible for yourself.
I love the concept of going all out once a year in the hardest way possible… BUT I like this idea even more for living it more frequently.
A misogi mindset. Today. And tomorrow. And the next day.
A mindset that says YOU can redefine what’s possible for you each time you step forward and embrace the challenge.
That’s a mindset that says if it scares you, you have to try it. I know that’s cliche but I truly think that’s the way to get what you want in life.
The things that scare you are rewarding.
There's no way around it. The things that make you feel nervous and unsure are the most rewarding - from starting a business to shooting your shot, to asking for a raise, to standing up for yourself to creating something personal.
Those things are always always always accompanied by fear and uncertainty.
How could they not be?
The good things, the life changing things, the things you deserve… they'll always be accompanied by something you need to overcome. Those things will always redefine what you previously thought was possible.
We have to find a way to always be redefining our expectations for ourselves.
Misogi says the more challenging it is and the more it scares me... then I must do it.
This mindset gives you urgency and willingness in the present. When you identify that thing that you need to do - whether it’s daily, weekly or yearly - there's power in that decision because inherently it’s personal.
It’s for you. It’s about you. It’s not about anyone else. It’s no longer about fitting in. It’s no longer about appearing a certain way to someone else. It’s about you.
And regardless of the outcome that will always be a superpower.
The ability to separate what is expected of you from what you want... that is a superpower.
Misogi says: "This is for me. Other people might not understand it, other people might judge and ridicule it… but it’s for me."
That is the real power of this idea - the ability to separate what you’ve been told from what you want. To separate being realistic from being true to yourself. To separate their expectations and their timeline from the ones that make the most sense to you.
That is what misogi represents.