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

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

Alain Robert is the world’s leading free climber and is known all over the world as the “French Spiderman” for free climbing skyscrapers. He has climbed 163 buildings in 70 different countries. He has a documentary on Amazon Prime titled My Next Challenge and is the author of a book With Bare Hands: The True Story of Alain Robert, the Real-Life Spiderman.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • His insecurity as a child was the early motivation to try something to build confidence and to stand out.
  • He didn’t start climbing because he wasn’t afraid of heights. He climbed in spite of his fear of heights.
  • Alain used to do free solo rock climbing and was considered by many to be the best in the world.
  • As climbing gained in popularity, he lost interest. “Climbing wasn’t about racing or competing but about freedom and self-expression.”
  • Most people aren’t really enjoying their lives. They do what they need to do to make a living but are bored with their work and just live for the weekends.  They are wasting most of their lives away.
  • “It takes a certain amount of energy to climb a building. If you have the energy, you’ll make it to the top.  If you don’t, you’ll die.”
  • “What scares me the most is a boring life.”
  • “Most people are dreaming their life but I was on the other side living my dream.”

Ben Lecomte is an ultra-endurance swimmer and the first person to complete a cross-Atlantic ocean swim without a kickboard.  He has also swum through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to raise awareness for sustainability and the impact of plastic pollution.  He was named one of the World’s 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Swimmers in 2019 by the World Open Water Swimming Association.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • He swam over 3,500 miles from Massachusetts to Quiberon, France. The journey took him 73 days, swimming upwards of 10 hours a day, and fighting off sharks and battling 20 foot swells.
  • Swimming 3,500 miles across the Atlantic was about mind over matter. Swimming hours upon hours a day with limited stimuli, your mind has to be even stronger than your body.
  • As a coping mechanism, he had to learn to disassociate his mind from his body so while his physical body was suffering, his mind could be in an entirely different world.
  • He swam across the Atlantic in honor of his father and to raise awareness for cancer. His father’s passing was the kick in the butt he needed to pursue his dreams and not live life with any regrets.
  • Swimming the Pacific (until he had to abort the trip) was actually easier than his Atlantic crossing 20 years earlier since the older you get, the more you learn to control the mind and mentally deal with the obstacles along the way.
  • He swam 400 miles through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the highest concentration of human made discarded plastic in the world. It was like looking at the sky at night during a snowstorm. You are surrounded by millions of little particles of plastic.
  • He cut open fish in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and found pieces of plastic.
  • “You cannot really know your limit until you challenge your limit.”
  • “Excellence is like beauty… it’s in the eyes of the beholder.”

Dan Buettner is an explorer, National Geographic Fellow, award-winning journalist and producer, and a New York Times bestselling author. He discovered the five places in the world—dubbed Blue Zones—where people live the longest, healthiest lives.  He is the founder of Blue Zones , a company that puts the world’s best practices in longevity and well-being to work in people’s lives. He has written a number of NY Times best-selling books with his latest one titled: “The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100”.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Setting world records on a bike was a vehicle to fund his addiction to fascinations. The work needed to set these world records provided the tools needed for future scientific exploration – you have to develop a lot of patience, you have to be strategically prepared, and you have to know how to network with experts across various fields.
  • He has discovered and studied hot spots of longevity around the world where people are statistically the longest lived. He coined these regions Blue Zones.  Blue Zones must meet at least one of three criteria: high middle aged mortality (chances of reaching the age of 90), low chronic disease, or high centenarian rate.
  • Health behaviors are known to be measurably contagious.
  • Going to the gym a few times a week isn’t enough to offset the damage from a sedentary lifestyle. It’s important to move around naturally throughout the day.
  • People who know their sense of purpose live around 8 years longer than people who are rudderless.
  • Other important practices found in Blue Zones include sacred everyday rituals to relieve the stresses of everyday life; a diet composed primarily of plant based whole foods; a couple glasses of wine a day; breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper; putting family first; belonging to a faith; strong social support systems.
  • Loneliness is as harmful for your health as a bad smoking habit.
  • What produces health is not a function of behavioral modification but rather a function of the environment in which we live.
  • “Excellence is having a very clear idea of what your personal passions are, what you’re good at, and having an outlet to do it every day for most of your life.”

Jon Dorenbos is a former professional football player and magician.  He played for 14 seasons in the NFL as a long snapper with the Tennessee Titans and Philadelphia Eagles.  He had a parallel career as a magician and was a finalist on America’s Got Talent, placing third overall amongst tens of thousands of competitors. He is a regular guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and his new book is called “Life is Magic: My Inspiring Journey from Tragedy to Self-Discovery.”

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • Don’t listen to that negative inner voice which is constantly doubting yourself. Rather, you should talk to yourself out loud and say where you plan to go in life. The narrative you tell yourself is going to ultimately become your own reality.
  • Magic was more that tricks. It was a form of meditation that helped him heal his emotional wounds.  Magic allowed him to quiet all the negativity and just be lost in the moment.
  • On his path to becoming an NFL star, he had to first get picked up by a division I school and to do so, he doctored up some long snapping footage of other players to look like it was his own. He knew in his heart he was really good enough and was willing to do whatever it took to give himself a chance.
  • Being a long snapper requires extreme mental toughness. You might only play 10 plays the entire game so you have to be able to have closure quickly, you have to be able to forgive, and you have to be able to move on.
  • Things are easy or difficult based on how we perceive them in our mind. If you think it’s easy, it is, and vice versa.
  • The key ingredients to success for both magic and football are discipline, hard work, passion, and a drive to want to be great and change the world.
  • You need to decide which story you choose to hold onto. Focusing on the negative or positive stories in your life will dictate the kind of life you’re going to live.
  • “Excellence is about showing up. Showing up every day, showing up on time, and showing up ready to work.”