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Matt Ventre


10 Things I've Done That Everybody Thought Was "Crazy"

Sometimes, I want to do things because I think they're fun. Other times, I want to do things because I think I'll learn something. Hopefully, it's both.

10 Things I've Done That Everybody Thought Was "Crazy"

    1. Ran 3 Marathons in a Calendar Year

    I didn't plan it that way, I just decided I was sick of half marathons and wanted to do 'the real deal' then I did 3 "the real deals" back to back and blew out my knee. But, I found out I had some interesting physiology challenges and I found ways to strengthen my body to deal with those. I'm stronger than ever today. It took me over 8 years to get it right.

    2. Competed in Several Competitive Eating Events

    Yes, like Joey Chestnut and Sonya Thomas and Miki Sudo and Matt Stoney and all of those legends of the gustatory arts.

    Except, it's way harder than it looks. Most people think, "I get hungry. I can eat a lot. That's easy."


    You are consuming unnatural amounts of nutrients and substances and in a constant battle between your impulse to hurl and your ability to cram more food in your mouth.

    It's insane, really. I used to talk about the "pillars of competitive eating" because it's more than jamming a hot dog in your head.

    I did win a competition and I beat some of the pros at a qualifying event. You can look up my record sometime.

    3. Took a Summer Job as Fence Installer Over an Internship

    I made $9 hour busting my ass in the hot summer sun between college semesters installing fences in my hometown.

    I could have easily gotten a cushy internship in a nice air conditioned office.

    Most of the guys I worked with were utterly shocked when they found out I was in school. Most of them thought I was dumber than dumb.

    I learned more about handiwork, job safety, construction, and municipal zoning law than I ever would have burning my brain cells out in a corporate office.

    Those skills paid off handsomely later in life.

    Oh, and digging holes all summer means your arms are super built and you get a deep tan. It may be one of the reasons I met my wife that next semester...

    4. "Occupied" My Mentor's Studio Until He Hired Me

    I quit my job, moved to a new city (for love!) and then ran through the last $10,000 in my bank account.

    I had no choice but to get determined.

    I literally sat in my mentor's design studio for weeks on end learning as much as possible about design from the people in that studio and also independently through books and blogs until he had no choice but to offer me an interview.

    It was a job or get escorted out by the cops.

    5. Quit My Job and Moved to a New City With No Job and Little Savings

    Also signed a lease on a ridiculously expensive apartment in the nicest part of town.

    I did not hear the end of it from my family and friends.

    Was I nuts? No. I had a plan. Even if I didn't know what my plan was yet.

    6. Went Hiking for the First Time in What Amounts to Fancy Sandals

    More of a mistake than an effort to overcome some kind of odds. Years ago on my first hike, I was underprepared, underhydrated, and wearing the dumbest gear possible. It's a wonder I didn't collapse or worse.

    I had blisters for months.

    Still, I finished.

    7. Had a Really Small Non-Traditional Wedding

    In retrospect, it wasn't exactly out of the ordinary for people to have smaller weddings, it just went counter to every expectation I'd been given since birth.

    Big wedding. That's how it's done. Wasn't even a question.

    I decided no, that's not how it's done.

    At the time, it wasn't the most popular decision. I wouldn't have changed it for anything.

    8. Ziplined 500m Above a Canyon in Costa Rica

    I wasn't the only crazy person who was in on this adventure. There were at least 10 of us who rode horses up a volcano and then ziplined over the valley back down to the spa/resort.

    I'm certain there were fewer laws and safety procedures than there should have been.

    We went upside down on some of the runs! It was some of the most fun I've had before or since.

    9. Quit My Job and Started Working as an Independent Consultant

    Before 2020, if you wanted to strike out on your own, you were going to catch hell from all the other crabs in the bucket who didn't have the guts to trust themselves and break out of the corporate grind for good.

    At the time I made the decision, it wasn't even a question. I just said, "I've had it. Time to move on."

    Melt down or maker a change.

    8 years on, it was still the right decision.

    10. Started Weight Training in my Late 30s

    "Won't that hurt your back? What if you get too big? You'll have to stop when you get into your 40s."

    Tell that to the guy who deadlifted 450lbs last fall for a charity fundraiser.

    Just because someone else can't see themselves doing it, doesn't mean you can't see yourself doing it.

    Trust your gut. Take your chances.

    Do the "crazy" stuff.

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