The day I faced death & why NOT reaching the top of a mountain makes a man

My true story about: The day I faced death & why NOT reaching the top of a mountain makes a man.

I was frightened to death. My breathing was short, shallow and not allowing me to think clearly. My heartbeat rapid and my eyes wide open. I was standing on near top of one of the highest mountains in Finland, Saana, and I had just unleashed a massive snow avalanche.

The mountain doesn’t wait. That’s the adventure I was looking for.

The sun was shining so brightly that I needed to narrow my eyes to see anything. It was only about -5 degrees of Celsius and yet I was freezing. And I felt utterly stupid. I had travelled without purpose to the tiny village of Kilpisjärvi at the very tip of Northern Finland, about 300km north of Polar Circle. Then I saw the mountain. One of the highest peaks in Finland. And what the boy of age 19 is to do when his eyes are set to this magnificent rock, covered by meters of snow? Conquer it! That was my first and most customary thought. The ambition was set and it was urgent. The mountain doesn’t wait. That’s the adventure I was looking for.

There is no sensible way to the top of Saana. Especially when it is winter and avalanche time. I didn’t know this. There was maybe a path somewhere, but my eyes were set to the near vertical south face of the mountain. In my foolish bravado, I went in search to find place to rent skis to get to the plateau over the forest level. I was feeling excitement, happiness and joy at the same time. I ate good lunch made of potatoes and reindeer meet at the small local Sami restaurant. Packing food didn’t appear in my mind, as informing anyone about my plans didn’t either.

The white snow bathing in sun was so beautiful and when the avalanche started I was magnified by the white sea moving downwards. And after one or two seconds, I realized that I had made it happen. The small flake I had released had gained power to crush the tall pine trees below. The tall trees cracked and broke. My first clear thought was that this couldn’t be good. I was alone. There were no people near by. I hadn’t told anyone about my conquest. Heck, no-one even knew that I was away from Helsinki. I had just taken the train and followed the sun.

Luckily I had my large mobile phone with me. Good old Nokia. I took it up from my pocket, carefully, while trying not to cause another avalanche.  I cleaned the screen from moist and looked at the empty indicators. No connection. I had no experience from mountain climbing or avalanches. I came from hilly, but not mountainous region of Finland. What should I do?

I was a boy and then the thought came through me. I will die.

I could see a couple of people skiing on the icy lake. I decided to yell to see if they or anyone could hear me. No response. I yelled like I was in a dire danger. Which I only then realized I was. The top was only maybe 20 meters upwards, but covered in thick layer of snow, bathing in sun, making it softer and moister every minute. Ready to release another avalanche, following the first one if I climbed upwards. When I looked downwards again I realized that if I descended towards the tree level I had to face the same destiny of releasing flakes of snow and causing an avalanche.

I yelled yet again. This time in despair. I was starting to feel unable to think straight. My brain signaled extreme alarm, and yet I couldn’t do anything. I was frozen on a cliff, literally and physically. I couldn’t ascend or descent without risking my life.

Saana, North of Finland.

Saana, North of Finland.

I started to think that how long would it take that someone realized that I was gone. Probably by next late morning, by the check-out time. It was cold and I didn’t have clothes to stay immobile. In fact my clothes were made for casual walk in a park or forest. Not to have them on on bare mountain. Yet if I made a move, it was certain that I would release an avalanche.

I stopped for a while and thought of my life so far. My father, a solid self-made man. My loving mother. He would be worried to death to know where I was now. What a stupid thing to do. I can really die. I will most likely die if an avalanche catches me. Yet, I couldn’t stay. I collected my thoughts. The only way to survive, is to take the risk of going downwards, releasing avalanches and hoping that I didn’t roll along to the trees below.

I was a boy and then the thought came through me. I will die. Yet, I couldn’t remain passive. I took the first move downwards. That move, the decision to move, was shaking a shaking, poor, little move and I cannot remember anymore if I cried, because my fear of death. Most likely. But I moved. I was in a movie that was going to end badly.

I started to think that the violence of avalanches is just part of life. We live and then we die.

I took another step. And third. Fourth. The sun was shining. The skiing couple in the vast distance looked like they had it all. They had life and nothing to fear. I envied them so bad. I took the fifth step and snowflake took off. When avalanche starts off, it looks so harmless. A child’s play. Then the glittering white piece, grows to an awe-inspiring sea, forcing its tsunami violently towards ancient trees. I felt like I died. I was thinking my mother again. I was thinking of all the love and care she and my home village had given to me. And all for this!? To die alone on near top of a mountain. Not even had reached the top!

I was frozen to inaction. Then I shook my head and told myself, that this was not the day to die. I moved on. Yet another paralyzing avalanche. I started to think that the violence of avalanches is just part of life. We live and then we die.

Moving on. Soldiering on. Somehow I felt more certain about me by every avalanche. There was maybe four or five. I reached the tree level.

I felt next to a broken tree out of exhaustion. I was weak and yet joyous. I couldn’t believe that I was alive. Yet, while sitting there, looking the gorgeous sunset, I knew something was dead in me. The first descending move away the mountaintop made me a man. I took the risk of death and moved on. And left the boy behind. I had taken the first steps towards manhood.

The boy in me had set me to conquer the mountain. The man in me had saved me. I was set to live man’s life.

My name is Max Noble. I am an Adventurer, Connoisseur and Connector, and I commit acts of nobleness around the world. This was my story about the day a became a man.

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Why people with class never reject kind words

How to avoid making the most common mistake in replying to compliment?

In the realm of life you must learn to accept others respect and admiration. The problem in being unease with success is that rather than humbly accept, people often choose to reject or dilute the compliment. It is tempting to say something like: “Thank you, but I felt that my presentation was slow” or ask for additional reassurance: “Oh, but what do you think of my voice, - was it breaking?”

Now imagine for a moment to be that person who has seen you perform well and simply wants to express his admiration and you choose to appear prudent by saying “Oh, that was nothing.”, what would his thoughts be about your reply? Confusion and less respect.

Understand this: Respect and admiration, especially when expressed in public forum are like bonfire. It will spread, reinforce itself and make everybody more content. That is why you need to learn to say the following two words every time when you receive a compliment. “Thank you!” No rejection of kind words. No showing of insecurity or changing the subject. It only undermines the compliment and possibly insults the giver. And most likely it stops the compliments from being made by that person again.

Your duty is to say the magic words: Thank you. The most accomplished people have learned this, and it is very easy implement. Just put your inner thoughts aside for a moment and make the moment pleasant for both of you.

Good manners & style go never out of fashion. -Max Noble

Good manners & style go never out of fashion. -Max Noble

When aiming for a class, add a final touch by sharing the credit whenever appropriate. Share your positive feelings about others. That is one of most subtle ways of gaining friends. It will aslo add a new dimension of kindness and makes the conversation flow.

My name is Max Noble. I am an Adventurer, Connoisseur and Connector, and I commit acts of nobleness around the world. This was my today's note about good manners

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The Barons: Do Not Be a Bore

It is a ragtag, yet the most refined group of men on earth. That’s the simple truth about The Barons. But as you can feel it, it is not quite enough to leave it there. Who are these people acting by way of they were the kings of the world, giving themselves grand titles like, The Baron of Monaco and The Baroness of Quito? Isn’t that just some out of proportions game they are playing? No. It is not. These gentlemen and ladies have much more depth than just their exotic and very visual style suggests. They have values. Good values. They have depth, and most of them yearn to make the world a better place.

From the right: The Barons of Copenhagen (Max Noble) & of Baham (Defustel Ndjoko), The Baroness of Quito (Maríe José Incisa-di Camerana) and the Barons of Brussels (Clyde Baron) and Marolles (Kamal Eddine Regbi). 

From the right: The Barons of Copenhagen (Max Noble) & of Baham (Defustel Ndjoko), The Baroness of Quito (Maríe José Incisa-di Camerana) and the Barons of Brussels (Clyde Baron) and Marolles (Kamal Eddine Regbi). 

But let’s get back for a moment to their most noticeable trait. Peacocking. What is that? It is an act when a group of (mainly) men gather together to make an impact with their clothes and manners. It is not for faint hearted. It is a visual fiesta like no other and requires major “cohones” from the participants. Peacocking can be planned, but most often it is an improvised meeting, nearing a grand show on public place. I participated several shows last week at Pitti Uomo, one of the most respected fashion shows. And how was the response? The first day we couldn’t (or wanted) to get inside the show as we were photographed and interviewed for straight 6 hours and that’s while we had the time of our lives.

Enjoying your time is one of the most visible traits of when participating Barons life. There are no dulls or bores among us. It is expected to live like we were meant to live: only once. It is about being present, being there for others and making most out of the moment. Just for it’s own sake. It is an explosion of creativity and good manners where the women are ladies and men gentlemen. The other aspect of being a Baron is about respecting the women and treating them well. As many modern men have not grown with this trait, each Baron needs to find his own path. Some are most comfortable with Gary Grant mannerism, some lean towards Victorian era style and some 1920’s laissez-fair.  One thing is certain though; bad mannerism is a taboo, like the casual dressing is not tolerated.

Being a Baron is much to do about respect. Respect for yourself and others. In that order. You cannot just copy their style. That would make you a dandy. Barons go deeper than that and one major element about becoming granted the title of Baron, is not to be a bore. It is about enjoying the life. Being present and showing to others how to do it with style.

To be continued...

My name is Max Noble. I am an Adventurer, Connoisseur and Globetrotter, and I commit acts of nobleness around the world. This was my second part of the article serie: The Barons. Click here for the first one.

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