31 Days

Day 18

Find Your Misogi

Man at the peak of a tall mountain illustration

Do you ever feel like life’s becoming a bit too routine? Like you're stuck in a loop of the same old, same old? Or no matter how much you want to change or evolve, it's hard to find the time or break out of your rut. Then it's time to shake things up a bit and discover your own personal misogi.

You might've heard this term getting kicked around lately. If five years ago, we were all talking about the warm, relaxing Scandinavian concept of “hygge,” then these days, guys are more interested in the ancient Japanese challenge known as misogi. It's actually a Shinto practice of ritual purification. Worshippers often make a pilgrimage to a waterfall and brave the cold temperatures, standing under the rush of water as a way to purify one's soul. The water is often frigid, crashing down from frosty heights—it's not easy, but that's the point. Enduring the experience symbolizes intense purification and provides a reset for the rest of the year.

Man at the peak of a tall mountain illustration

The Westernized interpretation of misogi has evolved into the notion of challenging yourself to something truly difficult. Jesse Itzler put it this way, “The notion around the misogi is, you do something so hard one time a year, that has an impact on the other 364 days of the year.”

Michael Easter also covered the concept in his book, The Comfort Crisis. “Over the course of human evolution, it was essential for our survival to do hard things—to be challenged,” he says. “We didn't choose these challenges—they were part of life and didn't come with safety nets.” Anytime we'd take on such a challenge, we'd inevitably go beyond the edges of what we thought we were capable of, whether we succeeded or not. But by surfing those edges, we'd find that we're capable of more than we realized.


Of course, these days, it's amazing how easy it is to survive without being challenged. So Easter proposes a yearly misogi. The modern version is fairly straightforward: Once a year, go out and do something really hard. Easter suggests doing it out in nature, but that's not necessary for everyone. What's important is the difficulty level. How does he define “really hard?” You should have a 50/50 shot at finishing whatever task you take on. “This is important because when we take on challenges today, we usually know we're going to complete them.”

Man explored with backpack illustration
Man explored with backpack illustration

Life is meant to be an adventure, right? Even though being an adult means taking on responsibilities that often result in a weekly routine. That's okay. But reconnecting with yourself and breaking away from the ordinary is important now and then. Which is why a yearly misogi mission can serve as your personal call to adventure. Embracing discomfort is the gateway to unveiling your untapped potential. And just think, if you do this every year, you'll have dozens of epic adventures under you belt.

And like life, your misogi isn't a linear path to success. You'll encounter setbacks, and that's perfectly okay. Embrace the adversity, learn from it, and use it as a catalyst for growth. Each stumble serves as a lesson, and every challenge you face is an opportunity to refine your character. Whether you accomplish your goal or not, you'll be able to reflect on experiences and celebrate victories both big and small, all while recalibrating your outlook on life and realizing just how strong you really are. Your misogi awaits. Are you ready to get uncomfortable?

Choose Your
Own Adventure

Man hang gliding animation

A misogi is a personal challenge, so it’s hard to suggest ideas, but a few that we’ve heard about are:

Climbing a Remote Mountain

Biking Through California’s Wine Region

Performing at an Open Mic

Learning to Hang Glide

Traveling to a New Country Solo

Building Something Out of Wood