Bertrand Piccard is a psychiatrist and explorer and made history by accomplishing two aeronautical firsts – flying around the world non-stop in a balloon, and more recently in a solar-powered airplane without fuel. As Chairman of the Solar Impulse Foundation, he has succeeded in his mission to select 1000 profitable solutions to protect the environment and support clean growth.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Meeting the astronauts as a kid opened his eyes that anyone with a passion who wanted to achieve their dreams could do it.
  • When reflecting on his decision to become an explorer, he knew there had to be new frontiers yet to be discovered. “It’s like a compass showing the unknown, showing what has never been done.”
  • The writer Paulo Coelho once said: “If you believe that adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is deadly.”
  • He would perform self-hypnosis to relax when stressed and stay awake and vigilant while flying through the night.
  • “Our life depends on the way we think. Once we’re aware of that, we’re free to think in every direction.”
  • Failing so quickly and in such a public way on his first around the world balloon attempt liberated him, as he learned to no longer care what others thought.
  • Why did they succeed in the around the world balloon flight when so many others failed? They never failed twice for the same reason.
  • It took 13 years to complete the around the world solar flight starting with the initial announcement. While there were moments of doubt, that doubt allowed them to continue to refine their approach, adjust course, and surmount obstacles along the way.

Gary White is the cofounder and CEO of Water.org and WaterEquity. In 1991 he launched WaterPartners International, the nonprofit that would later become Water.org. Today the organizations he leads are creating market driven solutions to the global water crisis, driving innovations in the way the world funds water and sanitation projects.  His new book that he co-authored with Matt Damon is titled: The Worth of Water: Our Story of Chasing Solutions to the World’s Greatest Challenge.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • In many parts of the world, families are paying upwards of 25% of their income to procure water and sanitation.
  • This is a problem that disproportionally impacts women and girls.
  • Microloans are a much more scalable solution to solving the water crisis than grants.
  • 99% of all microloans Water.org provides get paid back in full and on time.
  • To solve the global water crisis, 750 million people will need access to water and 1.7 billion will need access to sanitation.
  • Matt Damon taught Gary how to be a more effective storyteller.
  • “Excellence is doing the very best that you’re capable of doing and always striving to do better with what you have.”

 

Show Notes

Book: The Worth of Water: Our Story of Chasing Solutions to the World’s Greatest Challenge

Organizations: Water.org  WaterEquity

Where to Donate: Water.org donations

Chef Andre Rush is a retired decorated combat Veteran known worldwide as the White House chef with the 24-inch biceps and for his advocacy for military service, as well as suicide prevention, which is why he does 2,222 push-ups a day: to bring awareness to the ongoing epidemic of mental health and suicidal ideation.  His new book is titled: Call me Chef, Dammit!: A Veteran’s Journey from the Rural South to the White House.

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • “I don’t care what I have done. It’s what I’m doing right now and what I’m going to continue to do.”
  • “You don’t decide your destiny. Your destiny decides you.”
  • “Cooking is like art. You eat with your eyes. And when you see art, it draws you to it.”
  • He was very determined and found a way to feed off the negativity and use it as fuel.
  • He uses cooking as a coping mechanism for his PTSD.
  • At one point he gave away all his money to help bring Ethiopian refugees to the United States.
  • “Excellence is doing everything you need to do at your very best.”

Show Notes

Book: Call Me Chef, Dammit!: A Veteran’s Journey from the Rural South to the White House

Meal Delivery Service: CHOW

Website: Chef Rush

Maya Gabeira is a Brazilian big wave surfer. She is most known for having surfed a 73.5 ft high wave in Nazaré, Portugal in February 2020, recorded by Guinness World Records as the biggest wave ever surfed by a female.  It was also the biggest wave surfed by anyone that year.  She has received numerous accolades including the ESPY award for Best Female Action Sports Athlete and is considered one of the best female surfers in the world as well as one of the most influential female surfers of all time.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Both parents were well known in Brazil so she felt the need to leave the country at a young age to do something on her own terms and to find something that would be true to herself.
  • She suffered severe asthma as a child which made her feel weak and vulnerable but as she grew older, she learned how to turn that weakness into a strength.
  • “Surfing picks you up and also beats you down. It gives you everything but also takes everything out of you.”
  • You have to train on strengthening your lungs so you’re able to hold your breath for extended periods. Maya is able to hold her breadth for up to 4 minutes.
  • While there were plenty of women competing in small wave surfing, Maya was one of the first women to break into the dangerous sport of big wave surfing.
  • She barely survived a near-fatal accident while surfing at Nazare when a 160 ton wave collapsed on her and she lost consciousness in the water.
  • She had to endure years of intense pain and rehab following three spine surgeries along with dealing with debilitating anxiety disorder to be in a position to surf again. She ended up setting two Guinness world records for big wave surfing.
  • “Excellence is not about perfection. Perfection doesn’t exist. Excellence is the greatest you can be.”

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

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

Jim McKelvey is a serial entrepreneur, inventor, philanthropist, and artist.  He cofounded the mobile payments company Square and sits on the Board.  He also founded Invisibly, a digital content company, LaunchCode, a nonprofit that teaches technology literacy, and a glass art studio. His book is called The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • He has never had a life plan and because of that, he’s become very comfortable with uncertainty.
  • He was a state debate champion and owed much of his success to the ability to read the judges and adjust his strategy accordingly.
  • “If you want to be successful and make some money, copy what works. But if you want to have a phenomenally successful company, you have to do something original.”
  • The big insight was rather than going after an existing market of merchants already using credit cards, Square decided to go after a market that didn’t even exist – the tiny mom and pop merchants without access to the credit card payment networks.
  • They designed a small card reader that looked really cool and got your attention but was flimsy and difficult to use. But the novelty of it turned every Square sale into a Square advertisement. This allowed the product to go viral without needing to spend one dollar on advertising.
  • What allowed Square to survive a competitive attack by Amazon and thrive as a standalone company was their innovation stack. An innovation stack is a series of innovations needed to provide a new product or service and that collectively work together to provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
  • Training as an artist was a big help in mentally preparing to be an entrepreneur.
  • “Excellence is something that’s above and beyond normal good. It’s something that’s surprisingly wonderful.”

 

Show Notes

Book: The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time

Non-profit: LaunchCode

New startup: Invisibly