FROM FAILURE TO SUCCESS - Most Incredible Story - Rich Roll

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[Music] most people to echo the words of henry david thoreau are leading lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them and I find that tragic and so if there's anything that my work is about it's about helping people become cognizant of that and to take action so that they don't become that person leading a life of quiet desperation which I think a lot of People are and and I found that heartbreaking you know what's your major malfunction right now what's the thing that keeps you up at night who do you resent the most what are you afraid of what do you want to achieve what's an what's an what do you think is in your way I'm not here to tell you what to do or how to live your life but I believe in your greatest expression and I'm gonna hold space for you I was a daily drinker I was drinking vodka Tonics in the shower in the morning and hiding drinks throughout the day and you know ending up in blackouts and and I burned every Bridge that I had I was virtually unemployable at the end I was sleeping on a bare mattress and a crappy apartment with no furniture in it my options were had been eliminated my life was eviscerated my family didn't want anything to do with me I'd lost my friendships I had no way forward and I just continued to dig that hole deeper And deeper and deeper when I was 39 years old on the cusp of turning 40 I was 50 pounds overweight I had been an athlete in college but that was very much in my rearview mirror to junk food addicts it's not taking care of myself physically mentally or emotionally and I had a health scare shortly before my 40th birthday I decided to change didn't happen over on the one hand I love pain I love trying to push the Outer edges of the envelope of what the pain experience is in a physical sense and it's also been my greatest teacher in terms of things that I've accomplished but also my errant ways as well pain is truly the only thing that's ever gotten me to change so it's been my growth accelerator as well as my reminder of when I've gone astray I mean I was a very awkward insecure kid who had a lot of difficulty making friends and and figuring out what the rules for Her life were and I was also somebody who is not athletically inclined at all I was the kid with the eye patch and the headgear picked last for kickball and all of that but the one thing that I was actually fairly okay at was swimming and when you're good at something when you're a kid and you're having difficulty in other areas that's what you're going to gravitate towards and and that's what I did and I learned quickly that I was not The most talented swimmer but in my early teens I realized that if I was willing to put in the work and do certain things that other people weren't willing to do that I could bridge that talent gap and pick up a lot of white space and that meant getting comfortable with pain to bring it back to your question so throughout my teens I would I would routinely throw down crazy sets in the pool that no one was willing to do and I was doing it because I knew I Wasn't the most talented and if I wanted to compete at the highest level that's what would be required how did you go in school you're being bullied at one point you see this opportunity to get better what do you start telling yourself or doing to be able to make Payne your friend to push past it so that you could begin to you know beat other people at something it's almost like a deep meditative state and it's a very one You know one-to-one relationship between the pain that you're willing to suffer and the progress that you're going to make and I saw swimming as my way forward in my way out and so what that meant was the more that I was willing to suffer and the more likely it would be that I was going to create a positive trajectory out of this painful scenario that I found myself in I would have a vision board where I'd literally write those times out in very large block Letters with a magic marker and put them above my bed or on my mirror in my bathroom and constantly reminding myself and reinforcing myself about why I was doing what I was doing so I don't know that I would have called it a vision board at that time it was more of a practice of engaging in in in aspiration like I had pictures of all my heroes and all of that and I think intuitively I was looking towards a better life for myself I was somebody who who by the Time I was 18 years old was an individual had a lot of promise and there was a lot of people very invested in my future I was graduating I graduated top of my class in high school I got into all the colleges I applied to all the Ivy League's I was a top-ranked swimmer competing at the very highest level world rank the whole deal and so my future looked very bright and then alcohol got introduced to my life and it was a very progressive decline in my Aspirations and at the very end I was a daily drinker I was drinking vodka tonics in the shower in the morning and hiding drinks throughout the day and you know ending up in blackouts and more than you know my fair share of incomprehensible you know demoralizing situations and I burned every Bridge that I had I was virtually unemployable at the end I was sleeping on a bare mattress and a crappy apartment with no furniture in it my options were I had Been eliminated my life was eviscerated my family didn't want anything to do with me I've lost my friendships I had no way forward and I just continued to dig that hole deeper and deeper and deeper until one day I had that moment that you hear with people who are in recovery that that moment of clarity where I realized I just couldn't live this way any longer my elevator had you know gone down to the bottom floor and and the and and I Met my pain threshold you know back to the this thesis around pain like I had reached a point where I could no longer tolerate the pain of my current situation and the fear the pain associated with the fear of change was eclipsed by the pain that I was feeling in that moment and that's what motivated me to change I went to a treatment center where I lived for a hundred days which is pretty long time to be in a rehab center and I did that because I Knew if I didn't get this right that my life was done you know and so I took that opportunity seriously I recognized that despite the fact that I think I'm a smart guy my best thinking had me literally institutionalized and that if I couldn't get a grasp on how to live and develop some new skills and and a new toolbox for how to approach my life that that I was going to end up in jail or I was gonna kill somebody else or myself I think for me it's really Anchored in awareness and presence you know on that staircase I was able to really understand that I was having an important moment in my life and the reason I was able to recognize that was because I had that moment so many years prior when I decided to get sober it was a very specific moment in time where I made a decision and that decision set in motion a series of events that changed my life so completely that I couldn't imagine my life had I not made that Decision and I was able to see and understand and recognize that once again I was being visited by just such an opportunity it was something that I could feel inside of me and and I think it's because I'd learned to be present to be aware of myself and my environment and one thing I always talk about is the fact that you know I'm not anything special with this I think we're all visited with moments like this in our life that if we can develop that the Wherewithal to have the awareness around the circumstances surrounding whatever event it is that you can leverage that crack you know in the door to make some significant changes and I'm somebody who and I've heard you talk about this before I'm somebody who when I make a decision like that's it you know I can I can step over that line or walk through that door and not look back like I can be determined focused enough and diligence enough and Dedicated enough to leverage those moments when I make that decision to really make significant changes that that's stick and stand the test of time I mean for me I try to keep it as simple as possible it's about making a decision when I make a decision that decision is done I've done it with diet I've done it with Fitness I've done it with my profession and the more simple I can make it then the easier it is to adhere you know we're so conditioned tom to Avoid pain every message that we see every billboard we see every advertisement that we're exposed to is telling us that happiness can be can be purchased through comfort through luxury through ease and that's sort of implicit in that is that that's how we find happiness and I can tell you that I'm happiest and most alive when I'm butting up against the outer edges of my pain threshold and I'm not afraid of it and so when I start to feel that sensation Rather than shirk away from it I realize that's an opportunity to experience a heightened sense of myself and my environment to to really be in a position where everything else falls away and it's just you and your ability to take one step forward there's a purity to that that again is another great teacher and so in terms of techniques I've just learned through experience that just like David Goggin says when the signals that you're Receiving are telling you to stop that you don't necessarily have to pay attention to that that that you are capable of so much more if you can develop the acuity the presence of mind and the wherewithal to then take that next step and when you're on the other side of it to realize you're still okay and you can take another step and a whole your horizon extends and you realize that there's a whole world of potential and possibility available to You that you weren't previously aware of no it definitely didn't have a corporate lawyer for many years I was the corporate lawyer during a period of time that I wrote that book and the book was successful and yet in the wake of that book being published and doing well the phone didn't ring and I had let my bar bar membership lapse and here I was you know ready and available to speak to the world and and be of service and the Opportunities just weren't flowing it was a very difficult time and it it tested me to my core I mean we almost lost our house I had cars repossessed we could their bills it was very emasculating but I think the the alchemy of going through that has been something that now allows me to speak from a place of greater truth and so I'm grateful for the experience the part that really hit me was when you said that you guys can't even pay for Your trash taken away and they could that's when I realized okay wait this wasn't like Oh things were tight this was like we can't pay $60 for our garbage to be picked up it was the worst he's so embarrassing mosz so incredibly emasculating yeah we went through periods where we literally barely had enough money to put food on the table and we couldn't take a harsh we couldn't pay to have our our trash removed and they did they came and they took the Bins and then we were compelled to then put our trash in the back of our crappy beat-up minivan and find an empty dumpster to do to dump the to dump the garbage it was it was not easy so I for kids and it's something that was very challenging as a parent and again I keep using the word emasculating as somebody who who you know is supposed to be the head of household and and take care of these sorts of things to be unable to do that was incredibly difficult I worked My ass off and exploited every opportunity that presented itself I did a ton of speaking gigs for free I did anything that was asked of me anyone who would want to talk to me but it was really just a function of showing up working my ass off saying yes and having a strong core belief that I was on the right path I was somebody who who for as long as I could remember was pursuing the traditional notion of the American Dream get into the best college study Hard get into the best grad school get the best job show up early stay late partnership track all of that right but that I'd never really stopped to think what is important to me like Who am I am like what am I here to express and they didn't have answers for those questions all I knew was that I felt like I was living someone else's life and so my exploration in sobriety and ultimately then in ultra endurance sports was really my personal Method of trying to resolve these issues for myself to try to learn Who I am you know one thing you talk about all the time is goals setting goals and being very clear about what those goals are I think that that most people set the wrong goals for themselves and it's because they're disconnected from who they are they are living someone else's life or they're living a life that's so disconnected from who they are it becomes very difficult to set the right Goal so I think in order to reconcile that you have to look inward you know and that can be different for everybody that can mean a consistent meditation practice that can mean therapy that can mean you know starting to do yoga it can mean many many things but I think there's no end run around the very difficult long process of really trying to be honest with yourself about who you are what's important to you what you care about and then beginning to breathe Life into those things as frivolous as they may seem to bring expression to the things that that you do care about that that that get you excited in the morning and that doesn't mean you quit your job tomorrow but the more you can foster something that has personal importance to you I think that's the first step in trying to move past whatever it is that's holding you back whether it's professionally or personally to being a more integrated Authentic version of yourself we're all spiritual beings having a human experience and I don't mean that in any specific dogmatic sense certainly not in any specific religious sense but I do what I do mean by that is that there's more to this experience of being human than meets the eye there's more to it than we can possibly comprehend and I think there are energies available to us if we open our perspective and become more curious about the world then I think we're programmed to be so for me that doesn't I don't define that by any particular specific spiritual approach other than that it provides my experience as a human being with a little bit more awe and wonder than I used to have you know as somebody who as I explained earlier as a young person I did the math and I realized if I outwork everybody in the pool I can be as good as anyone else if I outwork everyone in the classroom I can Graduate at the top of my class and get into Stanford and Harvard and so my worldview was informed through the prism of those experiences which taught me self-reliance is everything don't don't expect anybody to do anything for you I'm the only one who can get it done and if you just buckle down and go the extra mile you will solve the problem and you will make your way in the world every success that I had had in my life was a result of myself well why won't my self Well solve this problem and that hole got deeper and deeper and deeper until I was a completely broken human being and I had to raise my hand and ask for help for the first time and that forced me to start to think about letting go and surrender in a new way and I've come to believe and understand that surrender is a very powerful courageous thing to do it's okay to say you don't know it's okay to ask for help I had to let go of this operating system and step into a Sense that perhaps there's a better way a greater way that involves me saying I can't control this which was terrifying for me but it is in that process that I allowed people to help me that I became open to a new way of approaching my life that has made me stronger more powerful more capable and more successful than I ever thought that I ever would be it goes back to what I was saying before about people picking the wrong goals for Themselves because they're not integrated they don't know what their values are they're not clear on what's important to them they're not really in contact with their internal muse you know one of the examples I always give is this idea that we all have some unique song here to sing on planet earth like I believe that and that doesn't mean that everybody can be liberal and James or that you have some insane talent but I believe that there is a Unique blueprint to every individual and our job here you know in our short time on this planet is to discover what that is and to work towards expressing that to the best of your ability you know we all have a unique song and I think most people to echo the words of Henry David Thoreau are leading lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them and I find that tragic and so if there's anything that that that my work is about it's about Helping people become cognizant of that and to take action so that they don't become that person leading a life of quiet desperation which I think I don't know I wouldn't want to say most people but a lot of people are and and I found out heartbreaking if you're if you're eating garbage food if you're eating fast food and you're not sleeping and you're you know drinking five cups of coffee a day or whatever it is you're doing and you're stressed out about your Job and you're just living moment to moment to get through the day do you think that you're gonna be in touch with whatever is really important to you you're just trying to like you know hit the pillow at night and pay the bills and that's most people and if you give people a minute to pause and reflect and you can clear all of that out and feed them healthy food and a good night's rest and ask them questions that most people aren't asking Them and they're certainly not asking them themselves I think that's the process that begins our sets in motion the the gears in the mind and in the emotional body to begin to bring all of that to the surface you know what's your major malfunction right now what's the thing that keeps you up at night who do you resent the most what are you afraid of what do you want to achieve what's in what's in what do you think is in your way you know I think just by asking People questions and and and and then holding a vision for that better life for them to say I believe in you I'm not here to tell you what to do or how to live your life but I believe in your greatest expression and I'm going to hold space for you to give people permission to be honest to be vulnerable we're so afraid of being vulnerable we're terrified of being honest we're so used to being judged and being held to a standard that society sets for us that We don't give ourselves permission to even ask these questions let alone answer them I would like to move the needle in a substantial and long-lasting way for as many people as possible with respect to not only how they think about and practice habits around food and fitness and lifestyle but to really catalyze people to understand that like I said earlier all of us every single one of us is capable of so much more than we allow ourselves to believe and I Know that's a theme on your show David Goggins talked about it James Lawrence talked about it these are friends of mine who have touched the outer realms of endurance and ultra endurance teaches you that it's easy to say I'm an outlier but I'm not I really am NOT anything special I had the courage and the audacity to pursue these things and in so doing I have realized that human potential is malleable we're all sitting in top massive reservoirs of untapped Potential and ability and my dream and my goal and everything that I do is oriented around getting people to not only understand that but connect with that and begin to practice that to manifest that in their own specific way

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