Addiction, Reinvention, and Finding Ultra with Endurance Athlete Rich Roll
everybody. What's up? It's chase. Welcome to another episode of the show, Jarvis. Live show here on creative life and you know the show. This is where I sit down with amazing humans and I do everything I can't on fact their brains with the goal of helping you in your hobby career and or life. My guest today is many things on Ultra Marathoner, an endurance athlete, a number one New York Times bestseller and the host of one of the top podcasts out there in the world called the Rich Role Podcast. My guess is no longer a secret. It's ritual in the house. Welcome to the show. But I love you so good to be here, man. Thank you. You are like the O G in the space. Yes. I mean, I don't know when you started your stuff, but it was a long time ago, and I thin a subscriber to your newsletter and a watcher of your everything you put out for. Like I don't even remember when it didn't exist. So yes, you know, as somebody who now kind of travels, you know, in a similar yeah space that you dio I just wa...
nt to thank you. Oh, for being an inspiration and setting an example for, like, high quality content. Stop. So, no, I'm really happy to be here, and it's super cool to finally meet you. Thanks. And we were just talking for the camera starts rolling about. We're planning for the the exchange of ideas and, well, I will be on the ritual. Hot gases were scheming, um, the super treat to have you on the show. And I also have noticed your hard work from afar. Starting one of the first things I realizes when you ran five. Five, Iron Man's or you did because it's more than running, biking, swimming five in Was it five or seven days or something like that in Hawaii, on all the different islands? I did this thing. This is freakish thing. This is no is this It was a while ago. Well, was in 2010. So the story is my buddy Jason Laster, who's an incredible endurance athlete, an inspirational figure, a training partner of mine from many, uh, Ultraman competition. I would do these double ironman competitions. He came up with this hair brain scheme. This idea to try Teoh complete 500 man's on five Hawaiian islands in five days, literally an iron man a day travelling island island, Ill. People who don't know what an iron for those that don't know an iron man is a very long triathlon, widely considered the ultimate test of human endurance. Where in over the course of one day you swim 2.4 miles, you ride your bike 112 miles and then you celebrate that by running a marathon, all it wants super difficult and hard. And you wanted a stack flat face. It decided we should do five of those in a row and in between get on airplanes and try to show up our gear from Island Island Island. So we took a stab at it in 2010. On May 5th, I might add. So it was 55 today that we started it. We ran into all kinds of crazy logistical problems. It was quite the, you know, in certain respects at the Bacal, but also an amazing challenge and adventure. So it took us a little bit longer than five days, but we got it done. It was crazy. If he's making it sound like it was two years, but it was actually, like seven days. Er's was like 6.5 days. Yeah. I mean, we were like losing bike parts like we had some people, some some beautiful people who volunteered to help us. But we didn't have a whole crew situation dollar. We didn't know we were doing really private flake. Crazy thing Was that the logistics Were Justus challenging? It was almost a relief to just be out on your bike doing it because we knew we have to finish by this time because the last plane leaves the highlight and we have to get on that and we have to bring all our gear. And then we would get to the next island and have to get to our hotel. And by the time we like eight and like, took a shower, it was like the middle of the night, and we had to three hours of sleep. So the sleep deprivation started to catch up to us and where I mean, it was bananas, the whole thing. But I remember that being widely reported and like, yeah. Oh, my God! Who is gonna beat this? character, so and here we are. We're here every years later. Well, a thanks for starting off with kind words, uh, around content. You have been putting out a ton of high quality content as well. Um, the areas of focus that I want to talk about today that you know, it's my goal to assemble world class performers from a whole bunch of disciplines. Um, and you have both achieved amazing, amazing physical feats have also built a really interesting business, but mostly your ideas around, uh, what's possible to see this story? We just talked about a plant based diet, Something I'm fascinated by, Um, the the storytelling of your book on. I think you have two books, right? You have a cookbook that you did with your wife. Is that right? We've got I. I wrote a memoir called Finding Ultra. And then we have three cookbooks. Actually, three could not being on Onley plant based eater. I have not. My confession here for you is that I have not consumed the cookbooks, but finding ultras an amazing narrative of your life, it's not. It's not just about plant based diets about your life. And then um so I'd like to start. Let's go back in time. We can, um you're endurance athlete. What made you want to be that? What part of you this is a strange part of the human brain that clicks into saying I want to run, you know, a marathon plus 120 plus a marathon bike 100 20 miles and run swim 2.5. That's and you've been critical stuff, too, By the way, you have done a bunch of stuff. I mean, I I look at it all, you know, not to put too woo of a point on it, that for me it's like all the spiritual journey of personal growth. And these crazy endurance races are like a vehicle of for self discovery, in the same way that an artist might find that, you know, in a in a photograph or in pursuing a photograph or a painting or making a film. The medium for me is, is the outer limits of what my body is capable of, and I think it was originally, um, inspired by a couple things. First of all, it was a summer in college, so I had a background as an athlete. A swam at Stanford in the late 19 eighties. We want to NC two a championships. When I was there, I was a bench warmer. I was by no means, you know, a big point scorer or star on that team. But I competed as an athlete, a very high level. Um, drugs and alcohol destroyed that career, and it really, you know, cut the head off me, achieving my potential as an athlete. So I feel like later in life, I still had unfinished business that I wanted toe, you know, pursue to see what I would be capable of. And also, uh, you know, athletics aside when I hit, you know, around 40 I was having a little bit of existential crisis about what I was doing with my life. There's a longer story baked into that, but basically I've been pursuing this career in law. I was on the partnership track, a big prestigious law firm until, like, Cornell law Cornell Ah, you know, in the wake of problems with drugs and alcohol, I got sober 31 then spent the next nine years trying to repair all the wreckage that I created as a result of my drinking and using was successful in that regard and was very much blindly, you know, just looking at that traditional equation of success. Partnership, car, house, like, you know, brass ring, whole like, traditional notion of what it means to be a successful male in America and played that out to the point where I realized that there was some emptiness in that and had this confused state about what I was doing with myself, because I wasn't doing it out of a passion for the law earning of that. I was doing it to prove to myself and others that I could be a responsible, respectful person after being such a train wreck for so many years. And I think trying to process what that meant for myself created this sense of confusion. And I found myself back into fitness as a way of spending time alone to process all of this, to try to find a way, for there was never some conscious decision that I was going to become this competitive athlete in my forties and go back and revisit unfinished business. It was really an organic outgrowth out of trying to out of wrestling with and trying to answer these questions for myself about what I was gonna do with my life. Now, is there a relationship between your addiction to drugs and alcohol and your passion? Would you call it an addiction to exercise? Was trading one thing for a destructive thing for a healthy thing? Or was there a reconciliation process? Because, you know, I think trauma and we all have trauma in life. We all express it in different ways. And, um, I'm just curious how you you thought? Yeah, I think it's a little bit of both. Um, what you find in the ultra endurance community is a lot of people who are in recovery from some form of, you know, abuse or or substance addiction. Um, and I think it would be intellectually dishonest to say no. You know, I was addicted drugs and uncle, but my relationship with these doing these crazy things is completely healthy, you know, Of course, there's some compulsive aspect of that, but I found my healthier self through those pursuits. Like for me, Taking the drink was always the easy way out and getting up in the morning to put your running shoes on or staring down the barrel of some crazy difficult work out. That's a harder choice. You know, that requires a little bit of back bone and character. So for me, it's been a learning experience, and it's been a positive thing. But I do have to keep those tendencies in check. You know, I'm married. I've got four kids like let's left unchecked like I'll move into a hut and just train all day And just think about myself like I'm naturally, you know, a A selfish, self seeking person. And recovery for me is about, um, balancing that out against, uh, everything else in my life that's truly important. So the pendulum is always swinging, and I always have to kind of be doing an inventory about how I'm relating to the world and is that in a healthy, healthy way or isn't at in a very unhealthy or compulsively I love that you said unfinished business. I think that was It's a beautiful descriptor. And do you feel that you've, you know, been able to redeem some of that business that was was undone? Certainly. I mean, now I look back on it. And the idea that I needed toe redeem anything is sort of silly, you know? But certainly I have done that. I mean, I've been more successful and more, you know, lauded for things I've done athletically than I ever was. But I was truly at my athletic peak, so that's been fascinating and unexpected and completely bizarre. Like I got into these events like I said, as a sort of spiritual odyssey to learn more about what made me tech. Um, the fact that anybody else would care about that other than maybe my wife, you know, has been a strange journey on a story I'm happy to now tell, but one that was not intended and very much unexpected. Let's keep telling it. So you there's this desire to pursue some spiritual awakening forties. You could call it a midlife crisis. Why I wanna pulling this is it's not not a surprised here that a lot of people who have pursued a path often the path, whether it was law or medicine or, you know, doing what your what your father or mother did because it was easy. There's a lot of people were listening and watching right now who are playing the sound saying, Oh my gosh, this is me. I'm in the middle of my life and thinking, What have I done? I've been living the dream and somebody else, you know, had for me. I'm pursuing somebody else's script at the time I got to write my own. So sheriff's share with us. Your version. How do you How do you reconcile those things and get started with the next chapter? I wish I could give you the three bullet points. You know, Here's what you need to know. Kids. Uh, for me, it was a long, drawn out painful experience. Um, and like I said, you know, getting out on my bike or getting out on the trail to run or jumping in the pool or the ocean were almost ways of, of, of connecting with myself in the best way that I could like that, that that time alone, like I wasn't at the time an active meditator, and I wouldn't say that those training sessions were meditation proper, but they were an active meditation that allowed me to connect with myself in a deeper way in a way that I wasn't used Teoh. That allowed me the space and the time and the band with to really sit with my discontent and really ponder what a future might look like. And what I get to do now was not the result of some grand scheme that I concocted well out on the bike. It's really been an organic outgrowth of me making it a fundamental decision to just start doing what felt right to me to follow my instincts and my intuition, irrespective of whatever the peanut gallery had to say about it or what whether society was gonna, you know, launder me with social approval or not to just say, Look, you know, I don't I don't care like I like, I like what it feels like to jump in the pool. I like what it what it feels like to have the sun on my shoulder on a trail. Run it dawn, and I'm going to just keep doing that in a very childlike way, like it's like play, you know. And as we grow up, we're taught well, this is things we don't do any more mature, respectful adults or not respond Exactly. And I just decided that I was going to do it and I was gonna listen to that music. I was going to entertain it. Not because I thought that I would find some career path baked into this, but just because, you know, and I think by continuing to double down on that, ultimately you know, the path has sort of been laid forward in front of me brick by brick to figure out what to do next. But it's been very difficult, like, financially, incredibly insecure. We almost lost our house. I've had cars repossessed like it was not this, you know, upward trajectory. Teoh. You know, having this podcast and getting to sit and talk to you today like there were a lot of dark moments of the soul and a lot of questioning whether I was an insane person, because everyone around me was saying, What are you doing? Like you? You could be practicing what you be doing, all these things you could be making all this money. Like what? You're chasing this crazy fool's errand. You have kids, you're being a responsible. So it took a lot of faith and, um, and really conviction in order to kind of stay true to the path. Was that a muscle that you've always had? No. Or was let of muscle that you had to develop. And if you had to develop it, What was your process? Definitely not a muscle that I always had. I wouldn't consider myself an entrepreneur type personality. I was reared very much. Is the safety seeker like to get into the best school and, like, you know, take that path that well trodden path, You know, that that is laid out for men, you know, respectable men of your pedigree. Like I grew up upper middle class, I went to really nice schools. I have parents that took care of all of my needs that are still together. I wanted for nothing. And this is kind of the trajectory that all of my peers were on. It never occurred to me to veer off of that until I was really, like, almost soul sick and felt like I had no other choice but to do that. So for me, it was very unfamiliar. It was almost like I had to shed a skin and grow a new one. And my process was hardly methodical, but I would say that my wife really was my greatest teacher through this process. Like she just had my back, even when things just looked crazy. She was like and I was like, I got to go make some money, like the way that I know how to She'd say no, like you need to keep doing what you're doing. We will figure this out. But the path forward and the way through all of these difficulties is not to retreat and trace your steps backwards, but to continue to blaze forward. And I think without that support in the home, I don't know that I would have been able to keep going. So, you know, do you think it is she important for you as the person that she is? Or is it important that when people are trying to go on the same journey that you've been through, that there are people that are in their corner? Is that mentors? Is it a partners? That buddy is of course, Ideally, it's your spouse because it sounds like she's She was a very powerful force for you, but I'm thinking to everyone that doesn't What's your wife name? Julie. Okay, to everybody who doesn't have a Julie at home. Yeah, can you give it? I think I think it's supercritical on important to find like minded souls who who support your vision for yourself and hold that space for your best self and believe in you. I think you need to balance that with other people who can give you the hard feedback about when you're going off track or being a crazy person who can give you the hard truth cause cheerleaders alone are not going to get you there. You need you need both. You know, you need the tension between the aspiration and the grounded reality in order to find yourself. And I think if you I think we all need, I think the word mentor I find to be problematic because there's a formality to it and everyone chases the fancy name people. I want you to be my mentor. I think everybody has people in their community who, who, you know, can be a source of of truth and education. Don't you got people right? You should find you seek them out there all around you, you know? And if you can't find them in your neighborhood, you can find them online, and you can have a virtual relationship with somebody. But I think it's super important to have a board of directors. You know, I have people in my life, as I'm sure you do, too, that I call and rely upon for every facet of this morning. You know, marriage or parenting or profession. You know all of these things. I think it's important to surround yourself with people who, um, who are living the life that you aspire tohave in certain categories and have and are further down the path in you. You found both the tough love and the cheerleader in Julie. Yeah, like, um, tell me, what are some of the things that you heard from her that were surprising? You just shared one which is like, it's now is not the time to retreat. Now is the time to go through, right? What were some other? Was there some themes or some commonalities that you were like? Okay, she's got my back. This is what she said this to me for five times now, and I know filling the We were just getting crushed financially. I mean, it was looking back on it now, it's almost comical, like it's only comical because you back on exactly because we're on the other side of it. But like I said, like, cars repossessed and and you know, we had our trash bins taken away. I mean, really like embarrassing, demoralizing stuff. And what, Julie, What Julie taught me through this whole process was how to maintain your equanimity. Like she would say, Your job is to be completely neutral, like, can you? Because that is like the jet I path right? That is like true power to be a warrior in the eye of a storm like that when everything's coming at you and you feel like life is out of control. If you could be neutral and maintain your integrity, your peace of mind and your equanimity, that's like a superpower. So that was something that I observed in her that I tried to hone within myself. I mean, I remember when the Repo guy came to take my truck away and she came out and greeted him in the driveway and she said, Oh, hey, I'm Julie like, would you like some tea? Do you want to come in like she was super nice and he was so confused. He's like, Wait a minute. Yeah, I know. So they're going to murder me if I go right with these people. Who are these crazies? The other thing is to understand that if you're being visited with these kinds of dick difficulties in your life, um, to detach from the notion that this is failure or a referendum on who you are as a person, but rather to look upon it as an opportunity, this is your divine moment. We're here on Earth to grow, to expand and these air lessons for us. So our job is to pay attention and to find the nugget of wisdom within that and to grab onto that and figure out the path forward. Wow. Yeah. So I can't overstate the the thread throughout. You know, the hundreds of interviews that I've personally done with you and folks like you and others that I've listened to on your show and others that that having community if you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with, have you looked around, looked at who you're spending time with? That is it's such a common thread. I also will jump on the same bandwagon like the whole mentor thing. I get people asking me to be their mentor all the time, and it's just like, Sorry, I don't even know you. But here's a community and creating a community in a community atmosphere where you can learn, You know, the fact that we're in a world where this information is available for free To me, I think that's just I wanna restate that. I think you said it much more eloquently than I did. But it's really, really powerful tohave not necessarily a person, but just a set of people that you are inspired by that you respond to that you want to emulate. And the question I have out of all this is if you were around these people, they're all have. They'll have their own identities and you're learning from you know, this person online or this person in your life. How did you find the part of you in all of that? How did you How did you not just become a reflection of Julie? If she was your rock? And this time, how did you find you? Wow, that's a. That's a great question. That's a hard question. It's my job. I mean, I think I e um I think I'm still trying to find that I don't know that I have arrived in that place. I don't know if anybody truly arrives in that place. Like if I had to say chase, you know, who are you defined yourself. You're such a great to have the show if you lip it on you. Um, let me try and answer it. Actually, no, I want you to go first now. I will. I will follow. But you should try and answer. Don't deflect. Go. Do you smell that? Yeah. There's like we're bakery or someone just kicked on the pancakes or the cinnamon bun. I'm like, if you're at home listening and watching, I'm so bummed You can't smell how good it smells in this, uh, this beautiful spot that we're here. There was a defining moment for me in this whole journey, and it was after I had done, um, the five Iron Man thing, and I was noticing that the media was taking an interest in what I was doing, which, as I mentioned earlier, was kind of a bizarre thing cause I was just doing this for myself. Um, CNN's Sanjay Gupta came to my house, did like a piece on me and and they asked the people CNN asked me to write a guest block post for CNN dot com, which I did, and it's a little like Here's my story and that got published. And it was tracking so well that they put it on the CNN home page and it became, like, the most emailed story for 48 hours or 72 hours. Some like that, like it just hit a nerve and it like track really well. And I just got shellacked with e mails all of a sudden. I mean, this was really like, I had never been like a public person in any regard, and some of these emails that came in we're just so touching and unbelievable, like I told my story in a vulnerable way, and it gave people permission to then tell me their story, and I got these long, multi paragraph emails like, This is what happened to me, and this is what I went through. And here's my struggles and my pain, and I was just so touched at the feeling of trust that these people had. And I think it was very emotional for me to, like, read all these emails. And it made me realize that the path forward for me and where I can really serve is to be a cipher for these people on the path to transformation. If I could be, like a home base or a safe place for them to come to to confide in or toe look to for inspiration and guidance for what the next step for them might be that perhaps I had something to say in that regard. And so building upon that has really been, um, you know what? I don't Ever since that moment, it's interesting that there is There is a true north inside of you. You you access that through vulnerability, right? You wrote your story out, people responded to it, and that gave you a feeling. And it was the feeling that you looked at like, Wait a minute. This is a sign. Yeah, that I'm doing the thing you talked earlier about intuition. Um, is that the same feeling your this awareness that you had once you put your hand to take the first step, obviously right? CNN says You want to write this, you say not. Then you might not have captured it, but you did. And then there was that response, and the response was just like Oh my God, I am not alone be I like this feeling probably right. Maybe it sounds like that's one of the things that clued you off, too, Like I could be a home, but maybe I could be a home base. Well, I was very aware that the vulnerability was the thing that people were connecting with. And when I got the opportunity to write a book, I understood that that had to be like the key, sort of through lines were out the entire narrative because, let's face it, like I'm not I'm not like it's not like I want some World Championship like I've never won a race like I've done some crazy things and ultra endurance, But there's plenty of athletes out there. There are a lot better than me. They're more talented than me that are more that are more accomplished than me. So why am I giving it up? Why about why am I being given an opportunity to write a book like It's weird, right? It doesn't on paper, it didn't really seem to make sense. And so I was very aware that the only reason that people would would connect with my story was going to be directly related to the extent to which I was willing to be vulnerable and talk about things, that you aren't so comfortable and that I'm not that proud of So the process of writing it really was one of just getting into the mindset of of private journaling like I had to I had to make it like a diary that no one was going to read. And then I would have these moments where have killed weight is gonna be a book like and I would freak out and be paralyzed for, you know, several days. But in retrospect, looking back like, I know that that's why the book has been successful because it's the humanity, because everybody confined some aspect of their own journey in, You know, my pain points or my struggles and, you know, my story isn't that remarkable. The things that I've gone through, many people have gone through our worst, then what I've had to endure to get to this place. But I think there's there's an integrity in that honesty, and I think people respond to that. They know when it's really Do you think that that true, north of that beacon, that thing that's inside of in this case, we're talking about you that was inside of you? Is that inside of everybody? Or is that something you have to find? Is it natively there? Do you have to create it? How do people understand their their true North? I don't know that there's only one true North. Maybe there's many for people, but I think the process of trying to unlock that or discover that within oneself is a journey of self discovery that requires rigorous self honesty and rigorous Um uh, adherence to one's personal truth. And I think a lot of people are walking around not understanding what that is for themselves. Like, What do you mean? My personal truth? Like I'm just going to work, man, I'm trying to like, you know, but exactly, uh, so, in order to really connect with that, I think it's an inside job like you can go out and ride your bike all day or or, you know, do jiu jitsu or lose a bunch of weight. But ultimately it's about your relationship with you and that will be revealed to you Onley in the in the moments in which you are allowing yourself to get quiet enough where you can shut off the thinking brain, where you can become an observer of your own thoughts and connect with your own consciousness and in that relationship as it develops through meditation or mindfulness practice or whatever strategy you employ, Uh, I think that your higher conscious will tell you who it is and what it wants to be, and then your job then becomes piecing that together slowly over a very long period of time for you Was that that sound to two. That's not only is that not obtuse, poetic, it was beautiful, kind of just like wedding it land there. So for you was that the trail was that that moment of quiet time, The reflection was that the trail and the ocean and the path it was all of those things and it was meditation, and it was connecting with my body for the first time in a really long time. Again, it was about learning how to connect with my instincts and then trust them. And these are all things that that I originally started to learn about as a result of getting sober and being in 12 step and understanding that, you know, we're spiritual beings. Having a human experience like these were all crazy foreign concepts to me. I had a decade, you know, spent in church basements and, you know, with fellow alcoholics and drug addicts toe acquaint me with some of these concepts that I then started to dealt, dealt deeper into. And you know, the physical, you know, aspect of these things that I've done are just one avenue of exploration for that. But I think there's many and, you know, it's different for everybody. Talked about meditation, mindfulness exercise, a church basement, Any others come to mind. It could be your faith based community. It could be your relationship with your kids that can be sitting in a cave. It could be of a possible retreat. It could be, you know, like I just said, learning jiu jitsu. It could be it could be going out in nature and taking taking photographs. It could be what you dio. I think it's about finding what lights your own spark and then trusting your instincts enough to pull on that thread and continue to follow it with the understanding that that more will be revealed to you in time. So it was It was a Rumi quote. Remember, we're gonna botch this, but fair to say I'm gonna try and summarise what someone else is Quote. But you don't have to see the whole staircase. You just have to find the first stare. I think that's super profound. I think so many people, especially in this kind of self help rubric or universe that that were kind of part of everybody, wants to know all the steps before they begins. Then they're going to decide there is a yeah, we've has to get hard and I have toe sweat and cry right and bleed for this. I'm not sure I want it. So can you show me what looks like around the corner? And most people right already good. They're like sorry there, Right? That's just got to take the first. You got to take the first step. I mean, use use running as an example like Well, like what? Watched I need what she's do. I need what I need my training plan. Is that the right training plan or should I do this training plan? Which race should I sign up for? Its analysis? Paralysis that keeps people stuck forever because they want to understand the entire journey from beginning to add and what they're failing to realize or understand or embrace is that is that the beauty of the whole experience is in the unknowing. That's where the faith comes in. You take that first step and it's just fog in front of you. You don't know and you have to trust. And you have to be willing to take that leap of faith into the unknown and believe that you will be caught, that you will be cradled somehow. And that's scary, frightening. You know, it was frightening for May, um, but that's the magic man, you know, and I don't want toe deprive somebody of that experience because that's where all the beauty and the self understanding and the faith and the sense of self comes from. You have four kids. How are you? How? What are you doing To imprint some of this just gold into their lives there? I thought this is parenting advice, or it's just your comment or sort of trying to understand humanity. But are you? Well, the chance of them listen to this low. Trust me, they're not gonna listen. They couldn't be less interested in anything that I'm doing. Um, but what other ages? So you're so that s so I've got two boys that are my step sons that I've lived with since they were three and four. But they're now 22 23 they've moved out of the house there, musicians in a band with my nephew, their cousin on their working on their first album. So they're pursuing their dream. And they're incredibly telling that I have no doubt that they'll be successful. They're kind of embedded into the music scene of East Los Angeles, and it's super cool to see them fully engaged in what they want to be doing with their lives. Then I've got two daughters that air 15 and 15 year old daughter. It's a tricky That's a That's a tricky universe. Um, and She's a visual artist and she goes Teoh Arts High School in downtown Los Angeles. That's required our family toe kind of reconfigure how we live because it's very far from our other house. So my wife and I are now splitting time, staying in an apartment that we rented. That's approximate to the school so that we can be in full support of her dream. So putting our money where our mouth is, Aziz, we were saying, like before the started, Like that movie I was telling you was telling chase how how I've spent half the week in downtown L. A. Which is where we're recording this right now to be in support of our daughter. And I can't be somebody who who is a public facing individual, telling people to pursue what's in their heart if I'm not actively engaged in supporting my own daughter and doing that. So that's made our lives a little bit complicated right now, but it's been cool, and then our other daughters and she goes to school back your other house. So life is, you know, not simple, but it's also beautiful, and I can't say that I have all the parenting answers. I think if there's one piece of parenting advice that I would give that has been helpful and has worked for us, it's that we have chosen to, um, treat our kids like conscious, sentient individuals from a very young age rather than talk down to them like little kids. Teoh give them a sense of sovereignty and respect at an early age in an effort. Teoh Um ah, I urge them or prompt them to develop their own personal sense of self and and, um, and self esteem at an early age. And I think that that has worked out quite well so far. Agency Agency Correct. That's the word I was looking for. Yeah, it's just it's it's weird that that's not a It's not a product that is widely taught right? You know, the school system. If you look at the traditional and I was quite the opposite, I was raising middle, lower middle class family. I didn't also want for much, but I also had, like Nikes that upside down Nike swooshes, and I didn't really understand the difference until I did one day and I was like, How come my Nikes Europe side of my Adidas have more stripes, but as far as the basics that I have them. But the concept of age and not my parent prints are amazing loving. They're still together. I was an only child, so obviously had the attention of my parents. But it wasn't like I was. Hey, man, this is a thing of agency. You can do whatever every practical. They're very supportive until then when I wanted to do. But it's weird to me that we don't have culturally embedded the idea of agency and choice and autonomy and sovereignty of some of the words that you used right there. What? What are we doing wrong? We're doing so many things wrong. I mean, our whole education system needs to be upended. It was founded on these, uh, you know, era of industrialization ideas about how to create ah, healthy worker for the system. And now we're all carrying supercomputers around in our pockets That can tell us the answer to any question that we have. And yet we have an educational system that's founded upon memorization and, like wrote skills that I think the relevancy have now been called into question and What we need to do is teach Children agency, teach them how to think for themselves, teach them how to be creative and their problem solving skills, how to be key members and team leaders. Like all of these things that I think are essential to being successful in our modern life are just not even part of the conversation when it comes to education. And I find that disheartening. It puts more pressure on the parents to instill those things, and the kids and kids that have, you know, solid parents are gonna get that. But I think it should be the responsibility of our educational system to be teaching life skills that I never learned when I was growing up. That's part of the reason that Creativelive exists because I didn't see that in the world, right? Can you imagine being like 12 or 13 years old and being able to open up a laptop and, like learn about the world with all this free content of amazing wise people teaching you whatever it is that you want to learn like that was not available to me? And what is the impact of that on culture and society? and a young person's mind is college relevant anymore. For certain people it is. But I think for a lot of people, it isn't. There are so many new and innovative ways to learn. And I think we're becoming more and more skill based at a freelance based economy. And that's very different from the traditional programming of the typical university or collegiate structure. And yet those institutions have yet Teoh, you know, kind of, um, mature. So what's actually happening right now for sure, they're actually Disincentivize. They have billions of dollars with a real estate. They need you to physically come and stand there and there's sure this benefits for in person, of course, viral. You know about it, but not everything. About all the time you're speaking my language for sure. You're saying these things that you know that systems based on the factory, which was a Prussian system that was invented in the 18 hundreds for moving people effectively through a right line and training whether they're soldiers or the industrial revolution. You want a factory. It's aim with produced widgets that all look the same at the same and go do a wrote job 99% of those which are don't exist anymore, right? All that all that is so true. You said something interesting. It's like job of, you know, you know, a job of parents to teach their kids these things. And I think there's a lot of people just clicked for me while you were talking that it's not just the parents and the kids, because the people who are listening to this, most of them are the adults. And there's the same mentality is present in you. It was 41 right? And so if if you're listening in many this is resonating with you. Um, it's not just about your 13 year old daughter. This is could be about you as well, you know? And I know you weigh happily skirted my personal story, but I'm gonna bring it back years as I did all of the same stuff you're talking about the you know, that the same track that culturally approved go to college. I also was an athlete soccer scholarship, all the right things. Checked the boxes one you know, got up high fives from the right people. And yet, at you know, early twenties felt so lost so confused. And it was actually the deep shame that I felt by letting down all of the people in my life that had basically been telling a lie to for years. And I didn't have a rough or a sad. I mean, you know, it was fine, but I was definitely not doing my training. I was doing somebody else's thing. And it was the shame and the guilt and the ultimate or coming of those things that as soon as I had said, Hey, you know what the soul like Dr Thing. I could give two shits about being, don't you? In fact, it sounds terrible. Remember all those volunteer hours that I had to do to get into medical school? Uh, they do those for a reason because you need to really love it, and I hated it every second, every second I was at the hospital, I hated it. And the moment that you decide to trust yourself and follow your gut and your instinct, you're overwhelmed with guilt that you're letting other people down for sure that you're not entitled to be able to do that for yourself. And I did a lot of extra school outside of it. I went to graduate school and did a lot of things that were dancing around. The thing that I knew was my truth. And I was basically juggling and hopping on one leg and being a monkey for the other people in my life who are lovely people, beautiful, supportive. I mean, it's not like they're known was holding a gun to my head, known as saying. But it was just like culture. And I'll also say, It's right. I'm born white born male, Yeah, born in America just straight US acknowledged the privilege, radical privilege. And so if I'm sitting here but boo hooing poor me how hard this was to just finally realize that was living someone else's lie and tell the people that member that money spent for me in graduate school or whatever, like that's all wasted because I never wanted to do it from Day one, and I had to do it to figure it out, probably. But like that, for every one of those aspects of me, there's more guilt and shame around. And you know what I imagine if I didn't have my parents or if I was you know, actually poor and came from a You know, I wasn't, uh, white and male, and you know, all these advantages, like so I had all kinds of guilt and stuff piled on to that, And I will. What I'll confess here is that it was in playing through that just actually. Okay, I just told my parents I'm not gonna do that. And I'm looking at my my student loan debt, and it's a $67, and you sit in that for a little bit like you. I can actually be okay with this. It wasn't like that on is I don't want to go play this because it was a lot of pain, but I want to know a little bit about yours. That was mine. How we did. Did you have to sit? You mentioned 10 years in church in church basements? Was that the sitting with the fact that disappointed all those things that helped you find your true north? You talked about it being on the trail. You talked about not knowing everything, but knowing one thing. Can you tell me what was like to Yeah, It's been kind of up and down like this. I mean, you know, I grew up, um, in a very education focused household, was definitely a top priority on, and I struggled academically for a long time and then finally figured it out when I was in high school. And what was it? The figured out? I figured out that although I wasn't academically gifted, I realized that I had a capacity toe to be a workhorse on. That's something that I used as well in the pool and in sports that, you know, I'm not the smartest. I'm not the most gifted athletically, but I know how to fucking work. And I know how to suffer and I'll get it done. You know, I cannot work the guy next to me and that that served me in the classroom, served me in swimming pool and all these other areas of life, and I was able to kind of stake my claim on that character trait. So by the time I was graduating high school's top student, my class I got into, Like every college, I applied to all the fancy schools and was also a top swimming recruit. So I had my pic and I went to Stanford, which was like number one. School number one swimming program, like the world was my oyster like it was just this clear skies ahead upward upwardly mobile trajectory for May and, uh, and then enter drugs and alcohol. And that's just, you know, completely screwed me up. Sent me down, you know, a dark path for many, many years until I met my maker with that and was forced to get sober. But along the way had really destroyed a lot of relationships and trust with a lot of people had decimated my career. Basically, there was a lot of wreckage in my path. So I went from this guy who's like this guy's gonna be a Senator Teoh toe Dirt status and then had to inch my way back to regain that trust. So even so when I got sober and I'm being introduced to these spiritual concepts and I'm being forced to confront the truth of my actions, and I'm trying to connect with myself for the very first time when you medicate throughout your entire adolescence and twenties, you're creating a barrier between you and your consciousness the entire time when you finally remove that you're this bundle of nerves, you don't know who you are. It's very confusing and disorienting. And it took many years of me trying to figure out, like who I my what makes me tick? And during that process, uh, I still was very attached to this idea of the American dream, not because I had some passion for it, but it was really an external pressure of like, I need to prove that I can that I'm not this dirtbag, that I can be this respectful person that that that person, that I was in high school that, you know, I can show my parents and everybody else that that that's truly who I am. But that was all bullshit, that law school, right? And it took me a decade. I understand that for myself. And to let go of that, which is terrifying, you know, like, let go of this idea that you promised your entire life on for as far back as you can remember is a sense of free fall. I'm sure it's what you experienced, and, uh, and when you're a safety seeker like I waas, there's always you always know what the next thing is gonna be like, you're kind of going from here, and then this is what you do. And then this is what happens to let go of that and have no true north or no, no sense of what that next step is gonna be. Is was scarier than going to rehab. It was scarier than any of the entrance races that I've done. It's a sense of disorientation that is really hard to describe. Thanks for being so vulnerable are sharing that. That's I don't know if I answered your question, you'd never that Oh, man, like in spades that I love the journey of moving from there into you know, you're the physical fitness and in finding ultra your remember where let's talk about the plant based diet. I think that's a huge part of what I understand externally, as something you write by with, um can you give me Is it a personal philosophy? Is that, uh, is it a health based philosophies that all those things some none give me the land cause I'm like, rich role plant based everything and you've got, you know, great merchandise and right? Well, you know, I I would sit like, rather than slap a label on it and say, This is how identify It's probably better to just tell a story Great. And you know that story is very wedded toe. You know, the story that I've been telling you, which is, you know, throughout my thirties, sober, trying to repair my life and establish myself is this respectful person. I had taken a lot of those addictive alcoholic tendencies and place them not on fitness, but on work. I was very much a workaholic, and, um, so much so that by the time I was 39 I was £50 overweight. It was never like a big moment, morbidly obese guy. But I was like a hefty heavy guy who was essentially a couch potato like I hadn't despite the fact that I had been this athlete in college. I was not taking care of myself physically. I was just working and, you know, subsisting on fast food and, you know, shitty lifestyle habits. And like so by the time I was you know, I was kind of like a wreck physically, and that's when I was having this existential crisis. So I'm confused about what I'm doing with my life and that this this kind of perfect storm percolated that in which this existential crisis that I was having collided with a health scare where I was walking up a simple flight of stairs to go to bed after a long day at work one evening and had to pause. You don't wanna be overly dramatic about it, but, like I tightness in my chest and and you know somebody who thought of himself as an athlete tohave to Blake, take a break. Walking up a flight of stairs because you're out of breath was like, This isn't like 30. I'm not bad old, you know, you know, sweat on my brow and kind of buckled over. And it was a symbolic moment in which I realized that the way I was living my life was just untenable, like I needed. It was another bottom for May was similar to the day that I decided to get sober. I had this palpable, strong sense that once again, I was having one of those moments that, um if I had the awareness in the presence of mind to really feel in that moment could be a catalyst for another major lifestyle change. Like, I was very aware of that in that moment, and I didn't know what that meant. All I knew is that I needed to jump on it and take advantage of it right away. Or it would pass like that day that I went to rehab. If I decided Well, maybe tomorrow, you know, who knows? You know what would have happened? Like I I knew that there was an urgency to it, and that urgency required some specific actions that needed to be undertaken. And for me, that translated into, like, I went immediately into, like, this seven day juice fast cleanse thing. Not because, like, I felt like I needed that I had toxins. That what? Like I just need to do something hard. Yeah, I was like this. I've never gone a day without eating food. I was like thistles. Like going to rehab for food and lifestyle. And it was hard. It was very difficult. But at the end of that seven day period of basically just subsisting on juice, fruit juice and vegetable juice, I had this resurgence and vitality that was kind of amazing. Like I couldn't believe that after a week of not eating, I suddenly felt better than I'd felt and as long as I could remember And that triggered me into this journey to try to find a way of eating that would allow me to feel that way all the time. And that was a messy experience of many months of trying lots of different things but ultimately settling into eating a plant Onley diet. That was the one thing that I tried that actually allowed me to feel vital throughout the day in a very balanced manner In a in a way that surprised me. I wasn't expecting that. So my adoption e I wasn't like, No, I'm gonna be this vegan now. Like I was just trying to find a way to feel good. Yeah, it was very much a selfish, health oriented goal. Um, eating plants worked, and so I've just been doing that ever since. You know, when you find something that works for Yeah, and so it's important to me that that people understand that I'm not coming from this super dogmatic place. I've been doing it now for 12 years, and it still works great for me. And I promised myself that if at any point I came to a crossroads where I wasn't feeling good or it felt like something was awry or a missed that I would be intellectually honest about that and address it. And that meant that I needed to go and eat other types of foods that I had toe entertain that possibility mean that day hasn't come yet. I still feel great. 52. I'm still able to go out. Kill it. And what this journey has taught me has, um this journey has taught me so much like now my interest in this lifestyle and way of eating has expanded beyond the parameters of just, you know, my waistline and my personal sense of vitality to our collective responsibility to care for the well being of our planet and all of these sentient animals that I think we can all agree we don't treat so great, particularly in a factory farming context, and to help people kind of better understand that and create a connection between the foods that were eating and where they come from because the whole system is erected to prevent us from really being emotionally and intellectually connected to that process. I think that's a that arc is really cool and natural. It's not like everyone comes into a problem for their own, uh, reasons. And on their own path yours that moment walking up the stairs. Eso It's such a focused moment. What about those of us? I'll put myself in this category? Knock on wood. Known health scares Feel good. How do you tap into a thing that you don't even know you're missing? Yeah. I mean, that's like, that's the secret sauce right there. Um, and again, I wish I had a pithy answer for that, Cause for me, pains really been feel like when I'm in enough pain like then I can move the needle and I can make the changes right. And the big changes that I've made in my life have been a result of being in a tremendous amount of pain. But let's square that with the understanding and the realization that those changes and those choices are always available to us, we need not suffer in orderto avail ourselves of what they have to offer. So how can we make the choice without the suffering, right? Yeah. Proactiv. It's like I don't know. That's hard. Yeah, like who does that? You know what I mean. Tim Ferriss, right? Yeah, I guess certain certain alien humans are able to do that, but I think it's about, um, it's about it goes back to that mind body soul connection. It's about being present with who you are. And I think meditation is really the superpower skill that can create a sense of awareness to be in a situation to make that choice because I think we're all visited with, like, whether it's the moment I decided to go to rehab or that line in the sand moment of like, I'm changing my like, who would have thought that a staircase episode and a decision to like change my diet would deliver me toe sitting next to you to do this? It's like it's insane, right? You can't imagine or predict these things, but I think that we're all visited with these moments. And if you're paying attention if you're present with yourself, you're more likely to be aware when they are when they descend upon you as opposed to blindly reacting to your environment and just bumping up against what was happening, you know, and then missing the gift and allowing it to pass. Yeah, that awareness, self awareness, mindfulness meditation. That whole space has been transformational for me. Personally, I think it's you said earlier. I think you described. It is a vehicle or a path or a, um, grounding Ellen to bail that be attuned stuff. Well, I think a better. Yeah, agreed. And I think maybe a more concrete way of putting it is if you're on the wrong path for yourself, the universe is going to let you know I was gonna knock softly at first. And if you're not listening and it's gonna start to knock louder and louder and louder and if you continue to not pay attention to not have the wherewithal or the mindfulness toe course correct, then you're gonna end up in a car crash. You know, something a metaphorical like there's gonna be some, you know, situation that arises or cataclysm that is going to force you to finally confront this thing that you're, you know, refusing to look at. So the question becomes like, Can you course correct when the knock is gentle and again. It goes back to being aware or where you are. The more present, the more mindful you are of your surroundings in yourself, the more likely you're you're going to be to be able to take notice. Can I ask a couple more questions about the plant based? I sure, But what blood type stuff that, you know, is that shaky science or just I'm not a doctor. I'm not a nutritionist. I'm not a scientist. And I don't play one on the Internet. But I will tell you that I'm type O which, Yeah, from what I understand is that is the type that they supposed to eat. Me? Yeah. I had never heard this. I find myself craving protein on when I have protein. Animal based protein. I feel better. And again, this would be a psychology. I have not. I've done some plant based only for some time, or haven't done like the master cleanse or anything that right small, small versions of it. I'm intrigued by the footprint on the planet. I'm intrigued by, um, just balance and doing what's right. But also I can't get out of the cycle of like, yeah, craving hardcore dosage protein cravings are are unreliable narrators, though at times I mean there is undoubtedly a connection between the quality of your microbiome and the signals that are being sent to your brain that get translated into cravings. So sometimes that craving Israel. It's because your body really does need something. And sometimes it's because your microbiome is saying this is what we like. Or it is just some, you know, habit that gets triggered where you're uncomfortable, not saving it in that way. And I think to really understand the difference, you have to, um, whether those cravings for a period of time, whether it's 30 days or something like that, to see how legitimate they really are. And you know only, you know and everybody is different on the first person to say, like, Look, I can only speak from my own experience, you know? I'm sharing from a place of, you know, personal experience, working for me. Yeah, right. So, tell me a little bit about cookbooks. I want people to be able to find, find them on the Internet s. So, uh, in the wake of writing finding ultra in telling my story, it seemed natural that the next book ought to be about food, because food plays such a big role in my own personal evolution and what I've been able to do athletically, and people were interested in how that works. So we wrote a cookbook called The Plant Power Way, which is very family friendly introductory primer to eating a plant based diet with recipes that are super traditional, like potato salad and lasagna. Like it's there's this sense that if you're eating a plant based diet, you're gonna be crawling around in your yard like chewing grass on you know, like are just eating salad and celery. And that's certainly not the way that I eat. Like I'm Hardy. I push my body like I'm very physically active and I have a huge appetite. I need a lot of food, and I want to feel like those what I'm putting in my in my mouth is going to stick to my ribs. Eso This book is sort of intended to serve that, and my wife is incredible cook. They're all her recipes and and we wrote another cookbook called The Plant Fairway Italia. We do these retreats in the Italian countryside every year, we take groups of 30 to 40 people through a seven day experience that involves meditation and trail running and mindfulness, and a lot of, you know, intense workshops. But of course, also food, and collaborating with the chefs of that region produced this amazing cookbook that is a plant based spin on your favorite Italian being recipes Best place for people to find and track you down on the Internet. Easy to find just you can Google. My name is rich world dot com is my website where everything goes on the podcast. It's just the ritual podcast wherever you listen to find podcasts and they're available on YouTube as well. Amazing. So as this. Thank you so much for being a guest on my podcast. Think speaking podcast on. I'm looking forward to being in your body. Agreed. It's happening. Cool. Thank you so much for sharing your story Incites the vision. Thank you. Incredibly inspiring On, uh, I got work to do, I But I can tell you it is an honor toe to meet you and be on your show. A so long time fan of everything that you dio and put out into the world with the highest degree of integrity. It's been a pleasure. Thank you so much and forever. Another listening Check out Richard stuff everywhere on the Internet and thank you for tuning in. Hopefully see you hear from you, you'll see me or whatever on the Internet tomorrow.