This article was translated using AI technologies from our Spanish edition. Errors can occur as a result of this process.
The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.
The cold began to run through the extremities of Wim Hof's body before it took its own life. The deep depression that his partner Olaya suffered and the voices he heard left the man paralyzed with every step he took. Wim had four young children and his existence was not at all easy. He and the children Olaya spent a long time in Spain trying to find a permanent job that would give him the financial stability he so desperately needed. However, this did not happen and the father of the family was forced to get a temporary job as a postman or tour guide to try to support his family.
Added to the economic difficulties was the mental illness of Olaya, who gradually seemed to lose the struggle to lose itself in itself. In July 1995, the woman jumped from an eighth floor in the city of Pamplona to kill herself and tattoo an entire family with the indelible ink of sadness.
Olaya's suicide was like condemnation.
Confused and devastated by the loss, Wim Hof set out to find meaning in his own existence.
The young man and the secret hidden in the ice
The first time Wim Hof felt the cold call was long before his suicide. At the time, he was only 17 years old and did not understand what low temperatures could do for his body, mind, or spirit. His instinctive reaction when strolling in front of one of the icy canals in Amsterdam's Beatrix Park in the dead of winter was to undress to go swimming.
The icy bath made him feel strangely alive.
The young court was a lover of yoga and meditation and was fascinated by the reaction of his body and soul to the extreme cold. Obsessed with the idea of repeating what he'd felt, he began to experiment with the temperature to which he could expose his body. Like a mad scientist, Hof began walking barefoot in the dead of winter, doing gymnastics in the snow without clothes and diving into ice tubs to carefully record and study every reaction. He also began to develop a breathing technique that made him feel strong, alert, and alive. In the eyes of others, Wim was an eccentric, a confused man who was just trying to get attention. Nobody understood what he was doing, nobody understood what he was looking for. Not even Olaya, who did not consent to experimenting with the little ones.
But back then, the cold was just a hobby. Wim Hof had to deal with the harsh reality of his wife's schizophrenia, with unemployment and the difficult task of not falling apart, of not failing his wife, of being there for his children.
The power of redemption
After Olaya's death, Wim looked for answers. I wanted to understand what had happened; Answer any questions you have been asked. Eliminate the sadness that was nestling in his throat, chest, voice, and eyes. The only place their existence seemed to make sense was in the cold. There man experimented, learned and observed. He went into a kind of trance that filled him with calm. He inhaled and exhaled in various ways, then held the air in his lungs for as long as possible. Surprisingly, that was enough to somehow alleviate the deep and sharp pain.
Little by little, Wim Hof was convinced that breathing exercises in combination with extreme cold had an unsurpassed power of redemption. The cold allowed him to come into contact with a part of his mind that had rested from the comfort and passivity of modern life. The cold woke the reptilian brain that doesn't think, that just feels, but that can serve as a strange passage to come into deep contact with bodily reactions that might appear instinctual (such as the secretion of adrenaline). The man began to believe that if Olaya had been exposed to the cold and his breathing exercises, Olaya could have overcome the disease that inhabited his body.
Excited by his theory, Wim Hof began to convey his practices to his closest and to spread the benefits of his peculiar method. First for his children and friends, then for strangers who were fascinated by the accomplishments that made him look like a true superhuman.
For Hof, the cause of the illnesses in his wife's body and mind (and in all of us) was a lack of contact with his own body and with nature. By combining extreme cold with adequate breathing, man promised to activate and control physical reactions that, due to our comfortable and sedentary lifestyle, are in constant lethargy and have a profound impact on our mood and immune system. In addition to mental control that would help us be much stronger (maybe invincible?) In the face of adversity.
The birth of the prophet of the cold
In search of notoriety, Hof began acts that led the media to see him. On March 16, 2000, he swam 57.5 meters under the layer of a frozen lake in Finland, even though his corneas had frozen during a test dive the day before. On January 26, 2007, he ran a snow marathon completely barefoot in two hours and 16 minutes. In 2009, it was submerged in an ice-filled pond for an hour, 42 minutes and 22 seconds. In 2010 and 2013 he broke his own records for more than ten minutes. In 2007, wearing shorts and boots, he rose to 7,200 meters above sea level to climb Everest (he failed to reach the top due to a recurring foot injury). In 2009 he conquered Kilimanjaro in shorts and barefoot. In the same year he ran a full marathon in Namibia at over 40 degrees Celsius.
In total, Hof managed to set 26 Guinness records, and almost without realizing it, the madman who swam naked on the ice became something of a rock star and a trademark that confused the doctors who thought he was a charlatan , studying her case and marveling at the inexplicable reactions of his body. Calling himself The Ice-Man, he began to swear to the whole world that with the right training, anyone could do the same as him.
That oath would become the cornerstone of his endeavors.
It was his son Enham who came up with the idea of building a business based on his father's vision and developing the Wim Hof Method, a full educational platform with tutorials, full courses and even the option of an expedition to an icy place to plan. Obtain instructions from Ice-Man himself. In his own mission to tame pain and suffering, Wim Hof managed to create a business that seems to be in line with the values of today's world and with our desire to get in touch in some way with what is inside is hidden. Ourselves.
The cold in your career
In addition to the health benefits that Wim Hof's theory can offer us, the story of this unique entrepreneur also forces us to think about the status of our professional activity. Most likely, as with our bodies, our own careers have fallen into deep lethargy over the years. In the search for safety and comfort, we basically do the same thing at the end of every working day.
Week after week we follow the same routine: the Monday morning meeting, the call to follow up on upcoming problems with a customer, meals always in the same places, coffee at five in the afternoon. One or the other is different, but in the end our working days are part of an eternal cycle that will repeat itself over and over again year after year. We work in safe areas that might be like the comfort of watching a thriller on TV from an armchair with the remote in hand. We take few risks, we bet on the truth. We hardly move and, like our bodies, our professional career has gradually withered.
Wim Hof's method is based on exposing our body to extreme conditions in order to wake it up. There is a sense of security hidden behind suffering from frostbite that will delight those who have tried. Those who have tried swear they feel more alive than ever. What if we brought the same principles into the workplace? What if, believing in the strength of our own mind, we took greater risks? What if one day we did things differently? Or what if we dared once and for all to bring this product out on the market, record this song, or publish the novel that we put in a drawer? What if we dared to face the fear of climbing step by step the slope of our own prejudices?
Perhaps what happened to Wim Hof would happen to us: We would find that we are really alive despite the pain, suffering and cold.