Things in my life that I owe to Kirk Hensler:
- Ability to do yoga without being embarrassed
- Appreciation for RX Bars
- Knowing how to do actual real workouts
- Habit of gritting my teeth when speaking adoringly to children and animals
And that's just the beginning. I definitely wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for Kirk Hensler.
Kirk is like a San Diego version of the Most Interesting Man in the World, which is sort of ironic because he doesn't drink (which consequently makes him more interesting). He once opened a kickboxing and yoga studio. He has a pseudonym. He meditates. He dabbles with equestrianism. He spent a year taking ballet classes at a community college.
Kirk is a bit enigmatic. He’s cerebral; you know that there’s always something running through his mind -- an idea, a criticism, an observation. You know this because he has stacks -- literally dozens -- of notebooks full of handwritten notes on his bookshelf, the product of a religious devotion to writing. May God have mercy on anyone who reads the full volume of his journals someday, which he insists not be published until he dies (a characteristically brilliant move on his part).
I admire Kirk because he’s a workhorse; he produces high quality content as efficiently as anyone I know. Part of why I'm doing this project is to train myself to be as productive as he is. But I also appreciate Kirk because he’s a no-bullshit kind of friend -- he has always given me honest, thoughtful, meaningful criticism and advice. (I have a great anecdote about this that I typed out and then deleted).
Everyone should have someone like that in their life.
If you participate in one of his 500 Words a Day writing challenges, and you don’t post one day because you’re “too busy,” he’ll challenge you to pull out your agenda and describe how you spent every minute of your day -- just to prove that you’re making excuses (which you already knew you were).
But the reason why I love and appreciate Kirk most is because he is the type of friend that makes you better just by being in your life. For me, it's as simple as the example that he sets by the way he chooses to live his life. He's the first person I met and that didn't believe in settling or compromising with their lives; I honestly don't think I thought that was possible until I met Kirk. He knows exactly the kind of life he wants to live and he just does it, no excuses. And he continues to do it every day. The way he eats, and works out, and meditates, and creates, and writes, and follows through on every single commitment. Almost nobody does that because almost nobody has the discipline, even though it means a significantly higher quality of life.
Two of the three quotes I used in my first post, about what motivated me to commit to this project, I wouldn't even know about if it wasn't for Kirk. That's not an accident.
He recommended On Writing and he gave me one of his copies of The War of Art. Here's a passage from the latter that reminds me of Kirk:
“When I lived in the back of my Chevy van, I had to dig my typewriter out from beneath layers of tire tools, dirty laundry, and moldering paperbacks. My truck was a nest, a hive, a hellhole on wheels whose sleeping surface I had to clear each night just to carve out a foxhole to snooze in.
The professional cannot live like that. He is on a mission. He will not tolerate disorder. He eliminates chaos from his world in order to banish it from his mind. He wants the carpet vacuumed and the threshold swept, so the Muse may enter and not soil her gown.” -- Steven Pressfield
Kirk is a professional, and that’s why he wins.
Happy birthday, Kirk.