Neil deGrasse Tyson is an astrophysicist with the American Museum of Natural History and Director of the Hayden Planetarium.  He is also the host of the hit radio and Emmy-nominated TV show StarTalk, and the New York Times best-selling author of Astrophysics for People in a Hurry and the author of a number of other notable books, the latest of which is titled Letters from an Astrophysicist.  He earned his BA in physics from Harvard and his PhD in astrophysics from Columbia.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • He knew he wanted to become an astrophysicist since the age of nine when he visited his first planetarium.
  • His passion for discovering the universe enabled him to push past the racism and all the societal pressures holding him back. He would not allow anything to interfere with his ambitions.
  • He finished middle of his class in high school because he was valuing the joy of learning while others were valuing high grades. He had lots of interests outside of school and was never driven by grades.
  • “When I wonder what I am capable of as a human being, I don’t look to relatives, I look to all human beings. The genius of Isaac Newton, the courage of Joan of Arc and Gandhi, the athletic feats of Michael Jordan, the oratorical skills of Sir Winston Churchill, the compassion of Mother Teresa. I look to the entire human race for inspiration for what I can be – because I am human. My life is what I make of it.”
  • It’s highly likely that there is extra-terrestrial life. The top four ingredients of life on earth are the top four chemically active ingredients in the universe. In addition, the speed at which life formed on Earth, the age of the universe, and the number of planets and galaxies all suggest that there are life forms outside of the Earth.
  • He does not believe in a God. If there were such a divine force, it would manifest.  If there is something we don’t understand and can’t explain, his first thought if not whether it might be divine but rather, how can he experiment on it further to better understand it.
  • He has 14 million Twitter followers. He views his role on social media as enlightening the public to what is objectively true so people can have informed opinions.
  • Physicists recently detected gravitational waves originally predicted by Einstein over a century ago. These waves were produced in a collision between two black holes 1.3 billion light years away.
  • “Excellence is whether you’ve done the best you can given whatever the talents available to you.”

Jerry Colonna is the founder and CEO of Reboot.IO, an executive coaching and leadership development firm whose coaches are committed to the notion that better humans make better leaders. Previously he was a successful venture capitalist with JPMorgan Partners and Flatiron Partners focused on technology startups. His new book is titled Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up.  He lives in Boulder, Colorado.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Growing up in a chaotic environment with an alcoholic father and mentally ill mother drove his associating money with safety.
  • There was a dissonance between the way he felt internally and the way he was perceived in the world which led to a deep depression.
  • You can’t be a better leader without being a better human and you can’t be a better human without going through radical self-inquiry.
  • Radical self-inquiry is the process by which self-deception becomes so skillfully and compassionately exposed that no mask can hide us anymore.
  • We all have psychological baggage – our inner demons – which hold us back as leaders and we must confront those demons in order to grow.
  • It is a fallacy to think that leadership is all about having all the answers and not having any fear or any doubt. Authentic leadership is about accepting your imperfections.
  • Learn about the important difference between grit and stubbornness.
  • “We have to be willing to accept life as it is, not as we wish it might become. To live in the reality of what is today, not what might be in the future.”

 

Links:

Book: Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up

Reboot Website: www.reboot.io

Jerry Colonna Bio: www.reboot.io/team/jerry-colonna

Albert-László Barabási is the Robert Gray Dodge Professor of Network Science at Northeastern University, where he directs the Center for Complex Network Research, and holds appointments in the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Central European University in Budapest.  He is the author of four books with his latest one entitled: The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success. 

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • The definition of success is the rewards we earn from the communities we belong to. While your performance is about you, your success is about us.  It’s what we as a community acknowledge and value.
  • The first law of success is that performance often drives success but when performance can’t be measured, networks drive success.
  • The second law of success is that performance is bounded but success is unbounded. Marginal differences in performance may lead to order of magnitude differences in success (fame, fortune, recognition, etc.).
  • The third law of success if that prior success will increase the odds of future success. It is the law behind why the rich get richer and the powerful stay that way.
  • The fourth law of success is that while team success requires diversity and balance, a single individual will inevitably receive credit for the group’s achievements.
  • For performance oriented teams, diversity and empathy are the most critical success factors while for innovation oriented teams, leadership is most important.
  • The fifth law of success is that with persistence, success can come at any time. Your ability to succeed neither declines nor improves with age.

Clint Harp and his wife Kelly own their own handmade furniture design business Harp Design in Waco Tx.  He was formerly a regularly recurring guest in the hit TV show Fixer Upper and currently stars in his own television series called Wood Work. His new book is called Handcrafted: A Woodworker’s Story

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

 

  • Sometimes we may hang on to a dream for too long. His original dream was to be a musician but eventually realized that he didn’t have the talent and had to accept that his life’s plan lay elsewhere.
  • He quit a lucrative job in medical sales without any safety net to pursue his passion of building furniture.
  • Only by being 100% honest with his wife and admitting that he was struggling with his new furniture design business was he able to earn her trust and respect which allowed their marriage to grow stronger as a result.
  • Learn how a fortuitous encounter at a gas station would change the trajectory of his career and his life.
  • He had a few lucky breaks along the way but everyone does. It’s what do you do with those lucky breaks that’s so critical to success.
  • Learn how he became known as the dumpster-diving, reclaimed wood-loving carpenter.
  • “Looking at a pile of wood on my shop floor might be one of my favorite things to do. What might appear to be a mess is really a beautiful creation just waiting to be put together.”
  • “What I am is a journeyman. A dreamer. A kid who once sat at the base of a tree and imagined what was possible. A guy who now stands at the foot of the mountain trying to claw my way to the top, knowing there’s another peak right around the corner.”

Scott Hamilton is a retired figure skater and Olympic gold medalist. He won four consecutive U.S. championships from 1981–84, four consecutive World Championships from 1981–84 and a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics.  Since that time he has been a TV commentator, a motivational speaker, the founder of a skating academy, a cancer survivor and the founder of a cancer research center.  He is a New York Times bestselling author and his latest book is called Finish First: Winning Changes Everything.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Finishing first doesn’t necessarily mean finishing first. Accomplishing whatever goal you set for yourself is a finish first moment.
  • “The only disability in life is a bad attitude.”
  • It was his mother’s passing that was the catalyst which woke him up and allowed him to take his skating to another level.
  • He gave away all his medals and trophies because he didn’t want to let them be an anchor to prevent him from moving forward.
  • All of the losing earlier in his career was actually great preparation for ultimately learning how to compete and win.
  • “Excellence is leveraging everything we have to live the best life we possibly can.”

Daniel Negreanua (aka “Kid Poker”) is a professional poker player who has won six World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets and two World Poker Tour (WPT) championship titles. The independent poker ranking service Global Poker Index (GPI) recognized Negreanu as the best poker player of the decade in 2014.  As of 2018, he is the 2nd biggest live tournament poker winner of all time, having accumulated over $39,500,000 in prize money. He is the only player in history to win WSOP Player of the Year twice.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • He was making more money than his teachers playing poker so he quit high school to pursue his passion full time.
  • He would keep a journal during his games where he would track his mood and observe how it affected his game play. This allowed him to better control his emotional states and be more steady and focused.
  • His advantage and edge is mental preparation and the ability to deal with adversity when it comes.
  • It’s important to get clear on what your intention is going into something. It’s about knowing what the steps are to accomplish whatever intention that you set.
  • “Whenever you think that you’ve mastered something in life, that’s the exact moment when someone’s about to surpass you.”
  • There’s a difference between being a victim to circumstance and standing completely responsible for your results.
  • Excellence is the pursuit of ultimate integrity which means doing exactly what you said you were going to do.

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.