Surf Survival, A Life Lesson

by Landon Hartstein


The thrill of catching a wave and rippin’ along down the line is addictive. Sometimes my addiction makes me do stupid things and risk more than I should.

I was living in New Zealand, on a 200 acre farm two kilometres down the Whanakai walkway from Sandy Bay--a beautiful, horseshoe shaped, sandy bay with an estuary leading to the sea. When the swell and winds aligned, the shifty sand bank produced an incredible wave.  

It had been storming for a few days and the surf was definitely “up”. Even though it was raining, it didn’t calm the winds. The water was choppy and the waves could easily be considered “over-head”. I paddled out alongside the protection of the cliff, using the rocks as a rip.

Once I was outside, I knew I was in trouble. A huge wave rose up right in front of me and I realized I didn’t get far enough out of the danger zone. I ducked my board under the wave. As I pushed through, I could feel the power of the wave pull me backwards and got a deeper sense of just how dangerous my situation was. 

Humbled, I decided I shouldn’t mess around out there and would try to get back to shore immediately but I was already outside and I’d have to attempt at least one wave to get back in. Well, that’s what I came out for, I thought. One wave. 

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Surviving Financial Disaster by Giving Something Away for Free

by Sara Morgan


Last year I had the great fortune to receive not one, but three major personal and financial blows in my life. “Fortune”, you say?  “Are you nuts?” Nah, I just finally realized that it is the biggest challenges in life that give us the biggest opportunities.

Admittedly things have been a little rough. Most of my friends think I have gone mad. No one understands why I will not just give up this dream of mine and go get a “real job”. Some days I see their point, but the bottom line is that all I have left is my integrity. I have sold almost everything else, but my integrity is priceless.

Two months ago, when I realized that no one was buying my book about escaping Corporate America and no one was hiring me for contract jobs due to the Recession, I decided to take a chance and do something I have always wanted to do. You see, I love to help people help themselves. Empowering other people empowers me.

So, I decided to use my skills as a professional technical writer and my 15 years of experience as a software developer and create a do-it-yourself web design guide. The guide would be written in a very conversational style and would only include the bare minimum of what someone needed to know to get a professional web site up and running. I used every minute and every brain cell to pound out what I think is a pretty exceptional guide. My best work yet.

Initially, I planned on selling the guide for $25 each. Certainly a 137 page guide that was this thorough would be worth that. But last weekend, I had a burst of inspiration and decided to go a different route. In the spirit of the Internet and that information should be made free; I am giving the guide away to anyone that signs-up on my web site at

That’s right. I am giving it away. Most people that have downloaded it so far are amazed that I am doing this, but it makes sense to me. I know this is the only way I can truly reach the most people possible and empower them to reach for their dreams. True, I get no money and I still have no way to pay next month’s mortgage, but I got that integrity. And, that is what life is all about – at least for me it is.

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