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.”

Christian Picciolini is an Emmy Award-winning director and producer, a published author, a TEDx speaker, and a reformed extremist.  He is the co-founder of Life After Hate, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding long-term solutions that counter racism and violent extremism.  His latest book is titled White American Youth: My Descent into America’s Most Violent Hate Movement – and How I Got Out.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • “Hatred is born of ignorance. Fear is its father and isolation is its mother.”
  • Hear about the tactics hate groups use to recruit.
  • The birth of his children was the impetus he needed to reprioritize his values and walk away from his former life.
  • The first step in counseling others to leave the extremist movement is just listening.
  • The people who join the extremist movement aren’t generally swayed initially by their philosophy. Most are just searching for identity, community and purpose.
  • Learn how the African American who forgave him for the physical violence he once caused was the trigger that gave him the courage to tell his story to the world.
  • The way we can help is to show compassion to those who deserve it the least because those are the ones who need it the most.
  • “Excellence is being the best human being that you can be.”

 

Show Notes

Christian’s book: White American Youth: My Descent into America’s Most Violent Hate Movement – and How I Got Out  https://www.amazon.com/White-American-Youth-Americas-Movement/dp/0316522902/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1515354532&sr=8-1&keywords=christian+picciolini

Christian’s website: www.christianpicciolini.com

Christian’s one on one talk with Richard Spencer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0U5zCbwFizA

Nik Wallenda is an acrobat, daredevil, high wire artist and author.  He is known for his high-wire performances without a safety net.  He holds nine Guinness World Records for various acrobatic feats but is probably best known for walking a tightrope stretched over Niagara Falls.  He is the author of a book entitled: Balance: A Story of Faith, Family and Life on the Line.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • “Life is on the wire and everything else is just waiting.”
  • “Fear is a choice and it’s up to us to decide whether we’re going to allow that fear to enter our mind or not.”
  • “I’d rather live free doing what I love and what I have passion for than to live in a bubble.”
  • “I consider a negative thought like a weed growing in the garden. If you don’t pull the weed out, it will eventually take over the garden.”
  • “Whatever you’re facing in life, whether physical, mental or emotional, anything is possible.”
  • “Every negative experience has led me to where I am today.”
  • “Excellence is the way we treat the everyday person, whether we like them or not.”

Lonnie Johnson is a former Air Force and NASA engineer who invented the massively popular Super Soaker water gun. He currently oversees Johnson Research and Development, a company which commercializes technologies with a recent emphasis on alternative energy.  He studied at Tuskegee University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s in nuclear engineering.  He lives in the Atlanta area.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Learn how he created one of the world’s top 20 all-time best selling toys.
  • He made his own toys from a young age including a go-kart he built from junkyard scraps.
  • He was told by his high school counselor that he shouldn’t aspire beyond a career as a technician but he didn’t let that advice deter him from his goal of becoming an inventor.
  • “The only thing that really leads to success is perseverance.”
  • His original goal with licensing the super soaker was simply to generate enough income to allow himself to become a full time inventor.
  • His latest invention, the Johnson Thermoelectric Energy Converter, is a game changing technology that can dramatically improve the efficiency of alternative energy sources.
  • “Excellence is setting goals that are tough so you can wake up every day knowing that you’re doing something worthwhile.”

Scott Kelly is a retired NASA astronaut and a veteran of four space flights.  He is best known for spending nearly a year on the International Space Station and the second most time in space of any American.  He recently wrote a book now available about his space travels called Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • He struggled academically for many years until he read Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff which would finally give him the focus he needed to turn himself around and become a model student.
  • Despite the odds of success of becoming an astronaut being stacked against him, his attitude was if you don’t even try, then you know for certain that the odds are zero.
  • Learn how spending a year in space tests your psychological endurance as much as your physical endurance.
  • When you’re doing a very challenging task, try to focus only on the things you can control and then ignore the rest.
  • His mother’s passing a rigorous physical exam to become a police officer served as a role model for Scott overcoming his own challenges.
  • Excellence is the ability to focus 100% of your ability and attention on one thing.

Morten Andersen is a former professional football kicker who spent most of his career with the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons.  He played in a record 382 games during his 25 year career and is the all-time leading scorer in NFL history with 2,544 points.   In 2017, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  These days Morten is a motivational speaker and also oversees his family foundation.  He resides in Atlanta, GA.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • As an exchange student, he never intended to stay in the United States for more than a year but when he tried out for the high school football team on a whim, he made the team which led to a full scholarship at Michigan State which led to one of the greatest NFL careers in history.
  • The goal is to practice enough so you can get to a level of “unconscious competence”.
  • He had to swallow a “humility pill” after he hit a performance plateau and hire a team of experts to get him back to a high level and extend his career many years.
  • He kicked on 8’ goalposts during practice so come game time, he would have a much easier time executing with 18’6” goal posts.
  • As an athlete, all you can control is effort and attitude. Everything else is white noise.
  • If you focus more on the process than the results, the results will follow.
  • His sports psychologist introduced the idea of “goal windows” which altered his mindset about how to measure performance and hence, how to feel successful.
  • He had his best year statistically over his 25 year career in his final season at the age of 47.