My First MANCATION – Ice Baths and Knowledge Bombs

mancation ideas and destination
Written by Charles Ngo
Written by Charles Ngo

Friend: What’s the feeling you want everyone to walk away from this event with?
Me: Sexual exhaustion.
Group: *Laughs*
Me: I want everyone walking away from this event with new friendships, and knowing that you’re not alone in this journey to crush life.
The idea of the mancation came from a trip that my friend Thanh and I took to Colombia last year.

We went for a vacation but ended up with so many great ideas from going back and forth with each other. How much more amazing would this trip be if we invited more people?
I know a TON of people, but I don’t have many people I’d consider close friends. I’ve moved around a lot, I tend to have my guard up when I meet people, and the whole “I don’t have a ton of time” excuse.
When you’re chasing success, some things will be put on the backburner. Maybe you won’t have time for a relationship, or you won’t have time to dedicate to your health.
Me? I’ve neglected the quality of my friendships the past few years.
There was a study done where people were interviewed on their deathbeds.
What do you think the biggest regrets were for people that were dying?

  1. They wish they didn’t work so much.
  2. They wish they spent more time with their friendships/relationships/and family.

Most of my friends are spread out around the world. We’ll grab food together if we’re in the same city, or we’ll send each other memes to let each other know we’re alive.
But I realized if you want something to happen, you have to take the initiative.
The idea of this trip wasn’t to network or to talk business; it was to deepen friendships with people I’d already know.
How many people do you know that you’d feel comfortable having dinner with if they came to town? A ton right? Well, how many of those people would you invite to stay at your place for a few days? Or to share some of your biggest vulnerabilities with?
We brainstormed a bit and settled on doing it on Thanh’s 30th weekend birthday.
I would invite three people, and he would ask 3 people.
Here are a few things we wanted from the guests:

#1. We wanted diversity.

Most of my circle are internet marketers, and everyone on this trip came from different backgrounds. It led to some exciting discussions rather than group-think.
One guy created SAAS products; another was a venture capitalist, one had an e-commerce brand, I’m the internet marketer, etc.
It meant when there was a discussion on growing a business, you had a diverse pool of answers. We learned from each other.
If everyone in the room was an internet marketer? You need a better funnel.”

#2. We wanted people who owned a company.

A lot of the discussions we had were based on the problems of owning a business so it made sense that everyone was in the same position.

#3. We wanted people really into self-improvement.

Even though we all came from different backgrounds and industry, we all had the same “spirit.”
Everyone was into fitness, entrepreneurship, reading, etc. It made everyone “click” and connect so much easier.
I was surprised that everyone I invited to this event immediately said yes. I figured everyone would be too busy with their companies or their lives to spend a weekend “bro’ing” out.
At the event it made me realize how horribly everyone needed a break from the grind.

The Details Of the Mancation

Day 1

We all flew in at different times and got situated.
One big mistake we made is that there were eight people, but only seven beds. And the beds/rooms weren’t equal. There was a master bedroom with a king-sized bed, and there were several rooms with kids sized beds.
Thanh and I ended up sharing a bed in one room. (No, we did not cuddle).
You want to make sure that the guests come first whenever you’re hosting an event. Even though it was Me and Thanh’s retreat, it wouldn’t feel right for us to have the best bedrooms.
We hired a private chef to cook lunch and dinner for us each night we were there.
I think having a private chef for lunch was a great idea, but not for dinner. By having lunch and dinner at home, it started giving us cabin fever and we wanted to get out.
After dinner on the first night was done, it was time for formal introductions because most of the people didn’t know each other.
What surprised me is how open and vulnerable everyone was. Someone shared that they suffered from some financial difficulties last year, and another person shared their struggles with dating over the years.
There’s so much pressure for the modern man to be “alpha” and “masculine.” And if you’re in the CEO position, you have to show a position of strength.
But by having everyone be so open during the first night, we could all bond well over the next few days.
There was also an age difference in the group. One half was in their early 30’s, and the other half were in the late 30’s. It was amazing hearing the “OG’s” discuss their philosophies on marriage, kids, and dating.
Afterwards, we played Cards against Humanity.
Here’s a rant: I suck at Cards against Humanity.
I spend all this effort creating these cards that are funny and make sense…and I get beat by immature fucking cards like
“Big black cock”
“60,000 volts to the nipples”
“Kids with ass cancer”
I hate this game.

Day 2

We didn’t have anything planned before 12 pm each day. We left that time for people to do some work or gym.
So imagine my surprise when I woke up at 5 am… And didn’t see anyone else wake up until 10am.
We wanted to have some presentations for the event so we could learn from each other.
It was voluntary and informal. There weren’t any powerpoint slides.
The format was roughly a 20-minute presentation by someone, and then group discussion or questions on the topic.
I led a discussion on my biggest hiring / managing mistakes the past few years.
Next presentation was on business financials.
The final presentation was on the power of vulnerability.
Great idea
We did a $20 buy-in, with one buy in.
It was me who ended up winning and walking away with $180 🙂
I haven’t played poker in years but I’m a notoriously tight player. I don’t play unless I have a good hand, and I don’t go all in unless it’s a sure thing.
But people kept thinking I was bluffing for some reason and they paid the price for it lol.

Day 3

Inviting a Wim Hof Instructor

Wim Hof is known as The Iceman. He does marathons through snowy mountains in freezing temperatures in just shorts…
Thanh had been to an event before where they brought in a Wim Hof instructor so we thought it sounded like a fun thing to try.
Here’s us laying on the ground learning the Wim Hof breathing technique. I was able to hold my breath for 2 minutes and 30 seconds after half an hour of training. 

It’s funny how the guys are breaking my balls as soon as I get to the tub.
But then they saw my face get ghost white and I couldn’t talk. I was in a ton of pain.
Then they immediately switched gears to giving me words of encouragement.
Between me and you, that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. I wanted to get out of the tub at the 1-minute mark.
I could feel frostbite forming on my hands and feet. My brain was telling me that I was going to die.
Why didn’t I get out of that tub? Because everyone before me stayed in the tub. I felt as if I would let the team down if I was the only one who couldn’t do it.
Also, I knew that I was being filmed. I wanted you guys to see me conquer a fear of mine.
If you’re interested in hiring a Wim Hof Instructor, I recommend Benjamin who’s based out of Miami.

Why do an Ice Bath?

The reason why your average person never attains success isn’t because of “motivation” or “their lack of work ethic.” A lot of times it’s because of their limiting beliefs.
You wanted to be an astronaut when you were a kid. Your family tells you to be more “realistic.” You wanna achieve a goal and maybe your friends tell you to stop dreaming.
I don’t think these people were trying to be harmful. Maybe they tried to achieve some goals of their own and fell short, and their advice was to save you from pain.
But only you know what your own limitations are.
That’s why I started doing public speaking several years ago. That’s why I enter Brazilian Jiujitsu competitions.
I want to test for myself what my own limitations are.
So before this event, my goal was to be in that ice tub for 30 seconds. The instructor said we had to be there for a minimum of 2 minutes.
I immediately started brainstorming ways to get out of the event.

  • Could I say I have diarrhea?
  • Could I say I had a pre-existing heart condition that makes it unsafe for me to go?

These were real thoughts going through my head. But then I told myself fuck it, I’ve done harder things.
I did it and now I’m questioning… What other things can I achieve in life that I’m holding myself back from?
Yes, it’s just two minutes in a tub full of ice, but to me, it was a questioning of our own human limitations.
The instructor we did it with is Benjamin Pelton and I recommend you guys seek him out.


Here are a couple of the presentations to give you an idea of what we talked about/
The Important of Building a Personal Brand
The guy who gave this presentation always thought personal branding was a waste of time. He liked being “behind the scenes” and making money, not having his face plastered everywhere. But then he wrote a book that ended up becoming a best seller. Now because of that book he has so many opportunities that doors that never opened. “Businesses come and go, but your brand is always with you”

The Gut

This guest has had several health issues throughout the years, and he realized all of it was caused by his diet and gut health.
Your gut health affects so many parts of your life and you don’t even realize it.  Here are a few of the tips he gave us to make sure we are doing everything we can to protect ourselves from bad gut health:
– Eat probiotic foods like kimchi, Greek yogurt, or sauerkraut
– Manage your stress levels
– Avoid all sugar
I’ve already ordered a kit to test my gut health, here’s the one I’m looking at.
Going out to Dinner
Man, being out in Miami made me realize how much I miss the city. The weather is awesome, the cost of living is cheap compared to NYC, and the girls are 😉
We went to a club later that night. No comment.

Logistical Details of the Mancation

Here are some background details if you’re interested in hosting your own Mancation.
This event did take a lot of time and research to organize. We were able to do it because we each had an assistant handling most of the logistics.
But future events should be easy breezy now that we know what’s involved and can make a standard operating procedure out of it.
The cost was $1,000 per person – We weren’t looking to make any money off this event (I swear).
Off the top of my head

  • Ubers: $300
  • Airbnb: $2700
  • Bday Dinner: $400
  • Random Shet: $500
  • Groceries / Instacart: $400
  • Wim Hof Instructor: $1000
  • Private Chef for 5 meals: $2500

Everything ended up being exactly $8,000. I’m proud that we stayed within budget.

Why Pompano Beach / Miami?

mancation destination
The original plan was to do St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. Everything was booked and planned, but Hurricane Irma destroyed the place.
We did Miami instead since it was in the same part of the world.
Pompano Beach is an hour car ride away from Miami. I wouldn’t do a major city because it’d be too distracting. I think the right formula is somewhere an hour away from a major city.
When you’re picking an event, try to choose a location that’s convenient for everyone. I’d love to do one in Brazil, but it’s a pain in the ass to get to.
The location doesn’t matter. It’s all about the people. And I’d rather choose an easier location to ensure I get the people I want to come.

Random Thoughts:

1. Make sure the place is stocked with healthy snacks. Water, wine, chips, FRUIT, and coffee.
2. Thursday night to Sunday morning was the perfect length of time.
3. Eight people was perfect and having two “hosts” was great. If it was just me + 7 people then eventually it’ll turn into an affiliate marketing mastermind.
4. Don’t do anything before 12pm. Most people will wake up late, want to do some work, or they want to be able to go to the gym.

The Future

This is going to be a yearly tradition between me and Thanh.
We decided before that every event would be a different group of people to make us step up our networking game.
I have the idea of doing another one in six months that’s more industry-specific. This one was generic, but I’d love to do one just for affiliate marketers.
Does the idea of hosting your own mancation sound like a good idea in the future? Awesome! But don’t think you have to put on an event as “epic” as this.
You can set up a lunch or dinner in your city.
You can set up a one-day event in your city.

  1. Lunch
  2. Meet at your place for presentations/networking
  3. Dinner
  4. A group activity like room escape game, sports game, or going out.

We all fall into the trap of thinking something’s not worth doing if it’s not epic.

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                The posts published by Charles are prepared and analyzed, including the author’s own experience…

The posts published by Charles are prepared and analyzed, including the author’s own experience…

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