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(UPDATE: Just a day after I posted this, EJ posted a link on facebook to a 2007 Outside Magazine article about him and his family. It paints a much rougher, less idealistic picture…but knowing the lengths he was willing to go to in order to claim his destiny is all the more impressive to me.)

This is a great piece on Jackson Kayak designer and CEO EJ and his superstar family.

From a Volvo marketing perspective, it’s evidently brilliant, as I’m a single dude with zero plans to have a family, and I’m still blogging about it…I can only imagine what their demographic must think watching it.

I’ve had a chance to see them at various events across the US the past decade though, and while I’ve never used their products, I have admired the life they lead and the passion with which they do it.

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 1.18.01 PMYes, they’re all World Champions, and that means something in terms of motivation.

But it’s a senseless hypothetical to debate whether or not they’d still be as passionate about kayaking and the outdoors if they weren’t – because part of the reason they win, is because of their passion for it and dedication to constantly push their potential.

One of the things EJ says though is, for my American ball-sport winning-is-everything mentality, a thought-provoking concept.

He talks about how kayaking is an individual sport, and how he and his son and son in law all compete against each other (and indirectly, his daughter, as she competes in the women’s category), and yet at the end of the day they’re happy as long as one of them wins. Because there’s still the feeling that they are a team.

It’s one thing to say that (but then live with an undercurrent of jealousy and resentment etc). It’s another thing to truly live it. But it’s powerfully freeing and also leads to much happier relationships when one can do so.

Maybe because I’m getting older and have a lot more thoughts about life in hindsight, this video made an impact on me, but if I were doing things over and planned to have a family, or if you’re young and planning on it, this is a great example to observe.

Maybe they don’t have a mansion and a Bentley (though given the popularity of Jackson they probably could afford it), but they’ve invested in life experiences and in each other, and that’s the true richness of living.