Scott Jurek is widely regarded as one of the greatest runners of all time.  He has won most of ultrarunning’s elite events including the Hardrock 100, the Badwater 135, and the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, which he won a record seven straight times. His most recent accomplishment is his 2015 Appalachian Trail speed record, averaging nearly 50 miles a day over 46 days.  He is a New York Times-bestselling author and his latest book is called North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • He averaged nearly 50 miles a day for 46 days to set a new Appalachian Trail speed record.
  • Watching his mother suffer with multiple sclerosis at a young age gave him the fortitude later in life to fight through the pain and suffering during long runs.
  • Humans were built for extreme endurance. If you want it badly enough and are willing to endure the suffering, you can run an ultramarathon.
  • Being adaptable and being able to adjust his mental state on race day was a key ingredient of his willing so many ultra races.
  • He had lost the passion and drive to really push himself and test his boundaries. Running the Appalachian Trail gave him the spark he needed to rekindle that fire in his belly.
  • Learn how he fought through excruciating injuries in both legs to keep moving on his way to setting the record.
  • “Excellence is being the best that you can possibly be. There is no end point. It’s something we’re always striving for.”

 

Show Notes

Scott Jurek’s book: North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail https://www.amazon.com/North-Finding-While-Running-Appalachian/dp/0316433799/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528762039&sr=8-1&keywords=scott+jurek

Scott Jurek’s website: http://www.scottjurek.com/

 

Nicola is one of the most sought-after violinists of her generation.  She is one of the most influential classical artists in the world and has played with the finest orchestras and symphonies from around the globe. She was the BBC Young Musician of the Year at age 16, twice the Female Artist of the Year at the classical BRIT awards and has sold millions of records.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • As early as the age of 5, she was so emotionally moved by music that she would often be brought to tears while playing.
  • It’s important to focus early on in life. Once you learn to push through certain barriers, you can apply that discipline to other areas in which you choose to devote your life.
  • She never had any long term goals of becoming a world class violinist but rather, was always hyper focused on just improving one day at a time.
  • Beyond her technical mastery, she had a natural stage presence which enabled her to take her talent to the next level.
  • When she performs she enters the “flow state” whereby she becomes so engrossed in playing that she’s no longer thinking but rather, enters a period of emotional timelessness.
  • Learn how she was able to top not only the classical charts but the Top 30 Pop Album charts as well.
  • Excellence isn’t just about the discipline, dedication and relentless work ethic but also about being immensely curious about the larger philosophical questions outside of their areas of expertise.

Josh Blue is a comedian. He has cerebral palsy which forms the basis for much of his self-deprecating humor.  He won first place on NBC’s Last Comic Standing in its fourth season. He has appeared in a number of comedy specials on Comedy Central, Showtime, Bravo and Netflix and has been featured in several publications including People Magazine, The New York Times and NPR. His YouTube videos have been viewed millions of times. He was also a member of the US Paralympic Soccer Team.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Learn how he didn’t try to run or hide from his cerebral palsy but rather, made it an integral part of his comedy early on.
  • A turning point in his life was spending a year in Senegal and coming to appreciate how fortunate he was to just have food, clothing and shelter.
  • Hear about his crazy experiment living in the gorilla exhibit at the zoo for a day.
  • It takes most comedians years to refine their material to get a good 10 minute act but Josh had that “it factor” (i.e. stage presence and likeability) from day one.
  • “A joke is just a story with all the extra words taken out.”
  • He is so talented and spontaneous on stage that he never has to write down any of his material. He tests new material “on the fly” during live performances.
  • “Excellence is being so in tune with what you’re doing that nobody can touch it.”

 

 

Jeb is one of the world’s best known BASE-jumpers and wingsuit pilots. He has made more than 1,000 jumps including the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge and Angel falls to name a few.  He is featured in a documentary called Fearless: The Jeb Corliss Story.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Learn how he was diagnosed with counterphobia at an early age which made him want to confront his fears head on.
  • “The only limits on you are the ones you place upon yourself.”
  • Base-jumping saved him from a life of depression. It was the first time he truly felt happy.
  • Getting over fear is like building muscle. You have to slowly build up a tolerance for fear so you can eventually do terrifying things.
  • Hear about one of the most terrifying jumps he’s ever done.
  • Hear how he was able to survive an “unsurvivable” crash.
  • It took years of suffering following a near-death accident to one day allow him to derive more pleasure from the simple things in life than jumping off any mountain.

 

 

Cat Hoke is the founder and CEO of Defy Ventures, a non-profit which creates personal and economic opportunities for people with criminal histories. She’s been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and a number of other publications.  Her new book is called A Second Chance: For You, For Me, and For the Rest of Us.   

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Learn how she converts hardened criminals into entrepreneurial, hard-working, law-abiding citizens upon their release from prison.
  • Ask yourself this question: “If I died today, why would my life matter?”
  • Most people are unhappy with their work because they prioritize self-preservation over fulfillment.
  • Hear how a former kingpin drug dealer became a very successful entrepreneur running a hugely popular fitness program called ConBody.
  • Forgiveness is critical. If you want a better life for yourself in the future, you have to be willing to forgive yourself for the past.
  • Many of us who have never lived in a physical prison are still trapped in our own personal prisons.
  • “We feel most alive when we are investing sacrificially in the lives of other people.”

 

Show Notes

Defy Ventures website: https://www.defyventures.org

Cat’s book: A Second Chance: For You, For Me, and For the Rest of Us: https://www.amazon.com/Second-Chance-You-Me-Rest/dp/0999669508/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1518990788&sr=8-1&keywords=a+second+chance

Tedx Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4J1pgxYTww

 

Christopher Beck served for 20 years as a Navy SEAL.  He deployed 13 times over two decades, including stints in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He received the Bronze Star award for valor and the Purple Heart for wounds suffered in combat.  In 2013, after retiring from the Navy, he came out publicly as a transgender with the new name Kristin.  A documentary was produced about her life called Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story. 

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Hear a glimpse of what daily life is like during the Navy SEAL BUD/S training.
  • Becoming a Navy seal is as much mental as it is physical.
  • Hear about his nerve-racking brush with death during combat.
  • Learn the trigger that pushed her to finally come out publicly as a transgender.
  • Gender and sexual orientation are really two different things.
  • Learn about the many challenges she has faced in being accepted as a transgender.
  • “Excellence is about being the best you that you can be.”

Daniel Pink is the author of several New York Times bestselling books about business, work and behavior including A Whole New Mind, Drive and To Sell is Human.  His articles have appeared in The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, Wired and a number of other publications.  His TED talk on the science of motivation is one of the 10 most watched TED talks of all time.  His latest book is titled WHEN: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Curiosity is more important than planning. If you simply follow your curiosity, that in itself is a pretty good plan.
  • Learn about our chronotype and how it has a massive effect on our performance.
  • To optimize your day, you should do analytic work during the peak, the administrative work during the trough, and the creative work during the recovery.
  • Napping has been shown to improve reaction time, increase alertness and boost memory.
  • Having coffee first thing in the morning can actually be counterproductive.
  • Learn when it’s advantageous to go first when you’re competing for business and when you’re better off going last.
  • There’s really no such thing as a midlife “crisis”. But most of us do hit a natural slump in our lives that we eventually overcome.

 

Show Notes:

Daniel Pink’s Book: WHEN: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing https://www.amazon.com/When-Scientific-Secrets-Perfect-Timing/dp/0735210624/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1517698858&sr=8-1&keywords=when+the+scientific+secrets+of+perfect+timing%2C+daniel+pink

 Daniel Pink’s TED Talk: The Puzzle of Motivation  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrkrvAUbU9Y

Daniel Pink’s Website: www.danpink.com

Bill Browder is the founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital, which was the largest investor in Russia for a number of years.  More recently he has been spearheading a campaign to expose Russia’s corruption and human rights abuses. His efforts led to the passing of the Magnitsky Act in 2012.  He is the author of Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Learn how he became the largest investor in Russia and one of the top performing investment funds in the world.
  • If you follow your passion before there’s any real business opportunity, the profits will eventually follow.
  • He had an epiphany one day that if his grandfather was once the biggest communist in America, Bill would become the biggest capitalist in Eastern Europe.
  • Hear about the trade of the century that would help propel his fund from $100 million to over $4 billion.
  • Learn how the Russian police stole his corporation and then committed the biggest tax refund fraud in the history of Russia.
  • Learn how he sought justice for his friend Segey Magnitsky, who was tortured and murdered by the Russians, through the passage of the Magnitsky Act.
  • “Excellence is about rolling up your sleeves, putting in the time and constantly working at getting better in yourself at every step of the way.”