Ed Stafford is a British explorer.  He holds the Guinness World Record for being the first person to walk the length of the Amazon River. He has been one of the National Geographic Adventurers of the Year and was also the European Adventurer of the Year.  He has written multiple books on his quests and now hosts an adventure reality show on the Discovery Channel called Ed Stafford: First Man Out.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • His insecurity as an adopted child drove his ambition. He had to adapt his behavior in order to make people like him and prove his worth.
  • He set the Guinness record for being the first person to hike the length of the Amazon. It took him 2 years, 4 months, and 8 days to complete the 4,345 mile trek.
  • “Imagine the thickest of bramble bushes, knotted with razor-sharp vines and spiky palms. Then imagine sinking the whole thing in a swimming pool full of muddy water and having to make your way through that swimming pool using just your 18 inch machete.”
  • “I would start the day positive and upbeat and as each negative experience cropped up, I would set myself the challenge of laughing at it and not allowing it to bring me down. Each time I succeeded, I would give myself a pat on the back and it boosted my morale further to think I was gaining control over the way I reacted to external influences.”
  • “I find myself in the pleasant position of being calmer and happier with the world about me. My confidence now comes from within rather than from the opinions of others. I now know who I am and what I am capable of.”
  • “Excellence is always trying to become the best version of yourself.”

 

Links

TV Show: Ed Stafford: First Man Out

Books:

Walking the Amazon

Naked and Marooned

Ed Stafford’s Ultimate Adventure Guide

Personal Site: Ed Stafford

Francis Collins is the Director of the National Institutes of Health, the largest supporter of biomedical research in the world.  Francis is a physician-geneticist noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the international Human Genome Project.  Francis is an elected member of both the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Science. In 2020, he was elected as a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (UK) and was also named the 50th winner of the Templeton Prize, which celebrates scientific and spiritual curiosity.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • He was able to act in his family’s community theater as a child which served as an important foundation for his exemplary ability to communicate.
  • He was an atheist early in life but a patient asking about his beliefs sent him down a path of exploration and meaning and he ended up becoming a devout Christian.
  • He developed a technique known as positional cloning for identifying genes. With this technique, he discovered the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s Disease.
  • He led the Human Genome Project, the global consortium which sequenced the entire human genome, one of the biggest most monumental scientific breakthroughs ever.
  • “Science can produce knowledge but the way you apply that knowledge is where ethics and morality kick in.”
  • The next frontier in science will be decoding the brain, the most complex part of the human body.
  • “Excellence is not just about being able to bring your best, your creative approach, your work ethic, and your dedication but also being in the service of something that matters.”

Robert Lefkowitz is a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who is best known for showing how adrenaline works via stimulation of specific receptors.  He was trained at Columbia, NIH, and Harvard before joining the faculty at Duke University and becoming an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  In addition to being a researcher, Bob is a cardiologist as well as a cardiac patient.  His book is titled: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Stockholm: The Adrenaline-Fueled Adventures of an Accidental Scientist. 

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • He started out as a physician but he preferred the creativity and experimentation needed in research over the disciplined approach of following standard operating procedures needed to succeed in medicine. He was much more motivated by trying to figure something out that had never been done before.
  • He won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for his discovery on G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Many basic physiological processes depend on GPCRs and around half of all medications act through those receptors such as beta blockers and antihistamines. This has allowed the treatment of hypertension and coronary disease among many other conditions.
  • It was never his intention to cure a disease or create a drug but rather he was driven by raw curiosity to understand a particular biological phenomenon.
  • He had two deep-seated feelings in his 20s that he would die young and accomplish something of significance. These premonitions would motivate and propel him throughout his career.
  • Because of his passion, social nature and upbeat personality, the press in Stockholm gave him the moniker “The Happiest Laureate”.
  • Even for the most successful scientists, their experiments only work about 2% of the time. So you need to learn to live with failure and find a way to stay motivated.
  • “Excellence is marshalling whatever your powers are to the fullest extent to do things that are of some inherent value.”

 

Show Notes

Bio

Books:

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Stockholm

Other links mentioned:

THE POZCAST by Adam Posner

NHP Talent Group

BJ Fogg is the founder and director of the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University.  In addition to his research, BJ teaches industry innovators how human behavior really works. He created the Tiny Habits academy to help people around the world. His book is called Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • The Fogg Behavior Model suggests that a behavior is driven by three things: motivation, ability, and a prompt. Motivation is the desire to perform the behavior. Ability is your capacity to do so.  A prompt is a cue to perform the behavior.
  • If you’re trying to create a new habit, you should adopt a “golden behavior” which is a behavior which is effective, one that you’ve motivated to do, and one that you have the ability to do.
  • The next step is to make the habit tiny. Find the smallest, easiest way to start the new habit. The momentum will lead to bigger behaviors over time.
  • You have to use a prompt which is a reminder to do a behavior. The best kind of prompt is an anchor. An anchor is an existing behavior already ingrained in your life which serves as a reminder to do the new behavior.
  • You need to “celebrate” each time you perform a new desired behavior which causes a positive emotion inside yourself. It’s a mechanism to self-reinforce the positive behavior.
  • To set yourself up for the day ahead, when you wake up first thing in the morning, plant both feet on the floor and say out loud “It’s going to be a great day”.
  • The key to lasting change is to help people do what they already want to do and help people feel successful at it.
  • “Excellence is doing the very best job you can and helping others in ways that really moves the needle for them.”

 

Show Notes

BJ Fogg personal website

Stanford Behavior Design Lab

Books:

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything

Persuasive Technology

Other links mentioned:

THE POZCAST by Adam Posner

NHP Talent Group

John Mackey is the co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market and co-founder of the nonprofit Conscious Capitalism. He is a co-author of the book Conscious Capitalism as well as his latest book called Conscious Leadership: Elevating Humanity Through Business.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • He had a food consciousness awakening when he moved into a vegetarian coop in his 20s. He learned that food could affect the way you feel, your health, vitality, and overall intelligence.
  • Early on, the conventional supermarkets didn’t take Whole Foods and the natural foods sector seriously since it was a relatively small industry. By the time they got to scale and supermarkets started to pay attention, Whole Foods was a formidable competitor.
  • John came close to being fired by the Board at Whole Foods. That’s when he turned inward and learned to be a more conscious, more emotionally intelligent, more spiritually awake leader.
  • There’s no better time to learn and grow than during challenging times. “Crisis is a tremendous opportunity to accelerate your own life growth, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, and intellectually.”
  • The higher purpose of Whole Foods is to nourish people and the planet. As you scale an organization, you can’t take purpose for granted. If you want the purpose to stay alive, you have to put purpose first which means embodying it and teaching it.
  • Leading with integrity entails integrating one’s shadow which is the part of our being which we aren’t conscious of. Generally the things that we don’t like about ourselves are easier to repress from our consciousness and keep in the shadow.
  • “Excellence is doing something with all your attention and all your heart as best that you can do it.”

Show Notes

Whole Foods Market

Books:

Conscious Leadership

Conscious Capitalism

Jimmy Wales is the founder of the online non-profit encyclopedia Wikipedia and co-founder of the privately owned Wikia, Inc. including its entertainment media brand Fandom.  Wales serves on the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit charitable organization he established to operate Wikipedia. In 2019, Jimmy launched WT Social – a news focused social network. In 2006 Jimmy was named in Time magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People in the World’ for his role in creating Wikipedia.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Jimmy was an avid reader as a child and used to devour the World Book Encyclopedia.
  • He took a cautious and conservative approach to entrepreneurship, taking manageable risks, learning to fail fast, and always spending less money than what he took in.
  • “I like to get up and do the most interesting thing I can think of to do and I try to live my life like that every day.”
  • The core value of Wikipedia, which is to present high quality, neutral, factual information, is what allows the organization to maintain its integrity and consistency.
  • He set a very aspirational mission for Wikipedia which is to give every person on the planet free access to the sum of all human knowledge.
  • The success of Wikipedia is staggering. It’s now a top 5 website globally with over 54 million articles in 300 languages and 1.5 billion visitors each month and growing.
  • To be a successful leader, you have to have clear and consistent values that people can buy into.
  • “Excellence is about doing something interesting and having fun. It’s got to be interesting because otherwise what’s the point?”

Al Roker is a weatherman and coanchor of NBC’s Today show, an Emmy-award winning journalist, a television producer, and a New York Times bestselling author.  He has spent over four decades on television and received 14 Emmy Awards. He has written a number of best-selling books, the latest book is titled: You Look So Much Better in Person: True Stories of Absurdity and Success.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • His father advised him that “you’re going to have to work twice as hard and be twice as good to get half as far as the white kid next to you”.
  • “If you want something badly, keep at it until it’s yours or it’s no longer an option. Don’t stop because you think you’ve tried hard enough and you believe it’s not going to happen. Stop when you receive a flat out no.”
  • He got some sage advice early in his career to just be yourself. He was too busy trying to be someone else to stand out and not allowing his true personality to surface.
  • “If you don’t learn at least one new thing every day, you’re not looking.”
  • If you can learn to roll with the flow, you’ll be much better off than creating a rigid life plan.
  • Al has always woken up at 3:45 a.m.. “Time is the one commodity that you can’t manufacture more of so the only way to make more of it is to start early.”
  • “Excellence is doing your level best every day.”

 

Show Notes:

Al Roker book: You Look So Much Better in Person: True Stories of Absurdity and Success

Al Roker Entertainment

Al Roker Today Show Bio

Jim McCloskey is the founder of Centurion Ministries, an organization devoted to exonerating wrongfully convicted prisoners who are serving life or death sentences.  To date, the organization has freed 64 innocent people. His new book is titled: When Truth Is All You Have: A Memoir of Faith, Justice, and Freedom for The Wrongly Convicted.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Today there are dozens of innocence organizations but Centurion Ministries was the first one. Jim was the father of the entire innocence movement.
  • He learned first-hand early on the unreliability of eyewitness testimony.
  • He was able to leverage his consulting background piecing together market research to figure out how to solve these wrongful convictions.
  • Building a relationship and rapport with key witnesses was just as vital to proving these cases and Jim had a natural ability in that regard.
  • Not every case would work out. He sometimes had false positives – clients he was trying to help who he later learned were actually guilty.  When that happens, it’s important to just admit the mistake and move on.
  • “This is a story of how I learned what a cruel, mindless, mean machine the justice system can be. How, in trying to combat evil in the world, the system can become just as evil – more so, because it is evil done in the name of all of us.”
  • To date, Centurion Ministries has freed 64 innocent men and women who collectively had spent 1,350 years behind bars.
  • “Excellence is doing what you feel is right for you given your personality and makeup.”

Links

Book: When Truth Is All You Have: A Memoir of Faith, Justice, and Freedom for the Wrongly Convicted

Organization: Centurion Ministries