We have an idea in our culture about what a guy is supposed to be: Tough, driven, unrelenting, capable and strong. But that tradition hasn’t always worked out so well for actual, real-life men, who have discovered that there is more to life than outward measures of success.
If you ask people who report that they are truly happy what it is that helped them get to their place of contentment, they will often cite the fact that they’ve found balance. A balance between work and family, between toughness and sensitivity, between introspection and outward goal-setting.
When I think about a person who embodies this balance, Ted McDonald comes to mind. He’s a yoga instructor who defies your expectations of an incense-burning, soft-speaking, little-bit-too-mellow guy. That’s probably because Ted is also an endurance athlete (ultramarathons, anyone?) and overall lover of speed. He is a road cyclist, trail-runner, snowboarder and mountain biker on top of being a mellow yoga dude in his studio, 5 Point Yoga. He also spends a lot of time every year dedicated to philanthropic and hands-on work helping others.
I got the chance to get to know Ted McDonald a little better when Chevrolet asked me to interview him for the awesome new Chevy Culture website. Ted had just returned from helping Team Rubicon in their efforts to assist the Superstorm Sandy clean-up where Ted and his crew shoveled sand out of a woman’s home. He told me he simply had never seen anything like the devastation to his home state of New York; with whole blocks wiped out, cars that had been pushed right into people’s homes and the suffering that comes along with such massive loss.
Ted insists that the key to success, at least for him, has been finding balance. From his meditation practices, he has learned to appreciate the present, and to stay in the moment. Interestingly, this can be applied to speed sports, too. For instance, if you’re coming down a mountain on your mountain bike, you can’t be thinking of anything else but the exact moment you’re in—where you’re going to place your tire to dodge that rock, how you’re going to shift your weight as you go around that next curve, the way you’ll have to lift up a bit to jump that little stream coming up… It all becomes reflexive, but requires the ability to be present in the moment.
Ted’s an interesting guy, and it’s very cool that Chevy thinks he embodies the “Malibu State of Mind“.