Fly Fishing and Zen in Business

I’m in San Francisco at the moment, spending some quality time with the rest of the Yammer crew and chatting about what we think might happen over the next year. It’s nice to be back. Thanks to Rav, we headed to Yosemite today to see the amazing sights and breathe in the crisp air out there. It was stunning and well worth the extra hours on the bus to make the journey.


On the bus, we had a guide who explained one story which really spoke to me. He talked about the Valley Cong, a group of six friends that essentially reinvented the sport of rock climbing in the 60’s and 70’s in Yosemite. The thing which struck me about this was that out of this group of six, two of the members have gone on to found the companies Patagonia and The North Face. I love the idea that these six people, through their love of good craft and rock climbing, reinvented how their sport worked.

The founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, has been especially fantastic to listen to since I got back and loaded up a couple of YouTube videos. I liked this short video below, where he speaks about the patience and zen approach required for Fly Fishing.

“What I love about fly fishing is it’s the zen way of fishing. You don’t focus on the end target, which is catching a fish. In fly fishing, you have to look at a river and learn to read it like a rock climber assesses a rock face.”

“It’s not about catching a fish, it about adapting yourself to where you’re worthy of catching a fish. It’s not about you catching the fish. It’s about the fish catching you, really.”

It’s great to apply those lessons he speaks about to the world of business, which is what he himself tries to practice with Patagonia.

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