Luxury without limits
So what do you get the man or woman who has everything?
If you have all the stuff you’ve ever wanted, chances are you’re a pretty high-performing kind of individual. The big challenges might not be hitting the spot any more (or at the very least without their original potency). The art market, high-performance sports, finance and technology might not be really stretching your limits. For these Alpha boys and girls, a parallel experience economy has developed and you need to be 'in the know’ to know.
In recent years we have seen a well documented growth in the experience economy, and it’s an area most luxury brands are promoting. At the apex of this movement, a stealth industry has been developed that is designed to challenge the most capable of spenders’ limits and beyond, whether physical, medical, intellectual, psychological or emotional. If you have everything your heart desires, your focus shifts from accumulating the best stuff to building your best self.
No surprise this explosion in extreme challenges is happening now. Advances in technology and medicine combined with generational attitudes mean we are compelled to ‘speed up’. Rather than feeling overwhelmed by this imperative, empowered individuals are re-defining their own limits. The new mantra of this type of luxury is the concept of living life at the bleeding edge of your personal capabilities.
Think about the conversations you’re having with your most impressive friends, the CEOs, UHNWs and entrepreneurs setting the new-era agenda. I’m sure this subject has come up one way or another. The 'Fat Cats’ are no longer fat!. Self knowledge, self improvement, wellbeing and optimising performance and perspective are the new currency, and as a result of this shift the appeal of experiences challenges and services enabling this process are growing at an extraordinary rate. In the old days (that's how I now describe the 1980s) the boldest would tackle Paris Dakar, or if they had been very naughty a short break with the French Foreign Legion! This was extreme stuff as likely to be life breaking as life making. Fast forward 20 years and elite personal trainers and extreme marathons were the challenger CEOs weekend break of choice. While testing, these activities were one dimensional and their beneficial impact I suspect was offset by a life of dodgy knees and a competitive streak, which would set all the psychopath test alarm bells ringing!
Where things started to get really interesting was the advent of intellectual challenges, the arrival of Singularity University, the Ted Summits and their hedonistic cousin, the Burning Man festival. Demonstrating a desire for more than a physical test, the desire to stretch the grey matter too – and in most cases to bring a new perspective to a high-performing professional life – investing time in creating a competitive advantage.
More recently we have seen further innovation, if you want to test yourself physically you will be practicing cryotherapy between marathons, precision hydrating, anti-gravity and hypoxic training, this is the secret of those 50 years olds you meet who look better than they did when they were 30.
The ultimate innovation however, is the convergence of the physical and the cerebral, extreme experiences designed to challenge physically, emotionally and intellectually. Experiences tailor-made to test you to your limits, disciplines designed to result in better focus, preparation and ability to deliver optimum performance under extreme stress. We have recently spent months exploring this extraordinary world for one of our clients, a business founded by members of the Israeli intelligence communities and elite special forces. Their approach is built on their advanced knowledge and first-hand experience of espionage, survival, anti-terrorism, hostage negotiation, combat and psychological warfare methods. The Founders have over 55 years of joint experience and rumour has it that the Netflix show Fauda was based on them and their unit
(I could not possibly confirm or deny this of course!).
There is a seriously long waiting list for their tailor-made experiences, because nothing else comes close to this in terms of what it can provide in optimisation and challenge. Discussing the experience with one UHNW client I was struck by the 360 impact, he reported exhilaration, fear and a resulting sharpness of focus never experienced before. Perhaps most interesting is the client profile, not all are men, a significant percentage are women and more and more youngsters, the sons and daughters of the UHNW, a group notoriously at risk from a lack of focus and purpose. The personalisation of the experience, the total control, safety and secrecy of the team give clients the opportunity to really test themselves, while in a safe and discrete environment. What happens here, stays here, you are only left with the positive benefits. Their name tells the story of this new era of performance, ‘Parabellum’, from the Latin, meaning ‘if you want peace, prepare for war’. Pray your business competitor hasn’t made it to the top of the waiting list, if he or she has, I’m afraid it’s game over for you!