In his early 20s, the special operations officer had already served two tours of duty in a bloody war. Back then, people didn’t admit or even know anything about post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), so he was left to himself to deal with the emotional serpents that snaked through his consciousness. At one moment he was killing the enemy by the dozens; the next moment after many more had surrendered, he could only look down upon them with pity and empathy. He wriggled emotionally in pain and confusion.
Here are the five things I do each morning, and the neuroscience behind why I do them. Start your morning off right, don't be addicted to the dopamine fix of getting right to your phone. You have a small window each morning when your brain and body are completely clean slates - a proper morning routine will set you up for success, curiosity, happiness, courageousness and great leadership throughout your day.
St Patrick was a slave around 400 AD who used fear as fuel to power a daring escape from slavery and eventually to change the world. There are some things about his courage, bravery and intelligence you might not know, and at least one thing about St Patrick's day you can use to win a pint at your local this march 17th!
There are two very intense and potential terrifying roles in baseball - the batter who can tie the game in the bottom of the 9th and the closing pitcher. David Aardsma was a 14 year MLB veteran who now leaders pitcher development for the Toronto Blue Jays. In this short video, he lets you into the mind of a closing pitcher and how he delt with the fear. His take might surprise you!
I sat down with the world's bravest man, 89 year old Colonel Joe Kittenger (USAF RET) in Orlando, Florida to talk about what fear means to him, and what it was like to jump out of a hot air balloon at 100,000 feet; 52 years ago when cars were about as relaible as a toaster, and technology meant rotary dials and ringing bells.
Teenage terror and anxiety ended up being the hot topic last week in Hollywood when I was at Real Screen, an annual conference for reality shows. When I told people about my recent TEDx talk, “The Surprising Power of Fear", and how I often help executives make friends with fear – the confessions poured out. Stories about kids surprised me the most. If you have teenagers, maybe you can relate to some of these or have your own stories:
As I sprinted through the airport, I could feel a demoralizing trickle of sweat cascading down my spine. I had just lost the battle to look composed. Now my armpits, and likely chest, were already tinted a much darker shade of blue than Ermeneglido Zegna had originally wanted my shirt to be. So if I actually ended up being on time, when I gave my presentation, I’d look like a nervous wreck. I was a nine hour flight from home and about to change my life.
There are many levels of anxiety, fear and terror - learning the science behind what is happening physiologically is critical to making the most of the incredible energy fear can generate. The first step is to adopt the B.A.S.E. method when you feel your body or mind getting scared - increased heart rate, faster breathing, sweaty palms, dry mouth - all are signs your body is changing for a fight, flight or to freeze. Having a reliable tool to channel that force is the key to greatness and heroism.
Betty Boop wanted to take me someplace I'd never been before - so we went to the birthplace of Brazil - Portugal. It was a fun-filled weeknd of surfing, drinking, and lots of food...and a workout from Shape magazine for middle aged moms that kicked my ass after the flight!
2017 is a new year, and it's time to make a new you. Screw resolutions! Follow my lessons in this video and other resources on our adventure blog to create real lasting change - based on lessons from the latest neuroscience, Olympic and Pro athletes, top CEOs and world leaders.
My face hurt and I was speechless. I looked up; sweat dripping off the end of my nose, and felt my breaths rasping in with short pulls. The granite pillars that materialized in front of me as I crested the hill had a dusting of pink tinted snow from the autumn sunset. I stopped pedaling and let my toes grind into the muddy trail. I dove into the moment, floating in the beauty of everything around me, this was a familiar mountain biker's high. After a couple of minutes, I realized my cheeks were sore from smiling.
I had two thoughts: “I’m the luckiest guy in the world. I wish everyone could feel like this.”
The most succulent, and texture rich red wine you could imagine can be bought a block from our place in Chamonix. In fact there are choices that would make the most fastidious sommelier happy for days on end. The big problem is, there isn’t a decent beer for 1,000 miles. Thank all that is hoppy and holy that I get to the USA monthly to get a decent cold one.
You don't have to travel to the Alps or Alaska to find adventure; everyplace on Earth has something fun and exciting to challenge yourself, your friends, and your family. Here's a great example as I tackle a new challenge over the next 50 weeks: 50 summits. Maximize your adventure time with these tips.
What a great mountain bike adventure. @OutsideMagazine picked up anohter one of our productions about the Leadville 100 mountain bike race. This video is a great adventure story about one man's loss of more than 35 pounds finiding the adventurer within!
I could feel the hand reach inside my stomach and start fingering a piano concerto, digits going up and down a mile a minute. I sat at the starting line of the US Olympic trials in the single scull (one man rowing) and recognized that familiar feeling. I had long ago learned to turn the butterflies in my stomach into a fuel more potent than an entire case of Red Bull. I closed my eyes to channel adrenaline, excitement and fear response onto the handles of my oars.
Malcolm Gladwell popularized the 10,000 hour rule, and others claim natural ability and genetics trumps training. The truth is both are wrong according to the latest research. K. Anders Ericsson and Robert Poolhave researched masters in many fields from Chess to Athletics and they found it's got nothing to do with talent. Watch the video then share it with a friend!
I'm deep in the Mount Blanc massif - dozens of deaths a year tragically occur here and it reminds me of a great lesson that can change your life. You need to learn it without nearly dying so take three minutes and find out this secret to being happier than you ever have been.
From the middle of the Italy Divide 500 mile self-supported bike race between Rome and the Swiss-Italian border I get a deep thought. Sleep deprivation forces me to take a few minutes to get it out, but it's a good one especially in times like that!
Show my wife a picture of a clown and she’s running for the hills. Fear of failure, fear of spiders, fear of public speaking, fear of flying – you name it - there are thousands of known fears and everyone is susceptible to some of them. Fear keeps most of us from living an amazing life. I know, I was the biggest sissy in the world until I almost died, then everything changed.
The lesson I learned is that the way we deal with fear is what shapes our lives, our happiness and our success. I want to hep you create a new relationship with fear.
A week in my life, typical travel scene for once a month I go from Geneva to Portland, Maine, to Boston to Miami to New York City. I do some personal development, rock climbing, hanging out with Howie Mandel and finally speaking to a corporate retreat about using fear to gain strength. A pretty typical Sweeney week.
Europe's highest peak is next on our team's list. It's extra special becase my 11 year old son has been training all summer to join us. Here's our update from "training camp." Let me know what you think!
There is one quality that we can instill in our children that can helps ensure that they will be less likely to lie and cheat, that will help them avoid depression and is a primary trait of successful people everywhere. In this short video I show how triathlons can help you do that! Please SHARE IT and let me know what you think!
Here's some killer insight from my Olympic training days, using plyometrics to be powerful during your biking competition. Plyos are great for road cycling or mountain biking, especially in short burst and to raise your average wattage. What ever biking you do; please let me know how these work for you and please share with your cycling friends.
When I picked up my 13 year old daughter from acting camp she wanted to go for a 5k run. Why? To unlock an egg in Pokémon GO. It’s a new augmented reality game that is like geocaching using the GPS on your phone. It made me realize that Pokémon might be one solution to a problem my cousin told me about a few weeks back.
The woman spoke no English, but smiled unceasingly while she violated my personal space, nudging the steaming mug at me. I could only wonder about the void where her two front teeth once hung. As transfixed on the smile as I was, I soon snapped out of the trance and felt the hot mug burning my hand. As I looked down at the cup I could see oil droplets separating on top from the rest of the concoction. The shiny circles appeared to be dancing on the top of the hot liquid. Mostly out of politeness, and an unwillingness to offend my toothless hostess, I took a sip. Surprisingly, it wasn’t bad. Sweet and salty, and more floral tasting than I expected. I sipped a bit more. It was five o’clock in the morning and I was just north of Tengboche Nepal, on my way to Everest Base Camp. Through gesticulation and grunting mostly, I deciphered that I was drinking some sort of tea with the butter or cheese, or worse, from a Yak mixed in.
My partner in this summit was seven time world-champion professional mountain biker Rebecca Rusch also known as the Queen of Pain. She said this was the toughest ride she's ever done. Watch the video and find out why!
Sprinting for the finish line, driving up over a hill and resuming a torrid pace, or bouncing back from a hard dyno at 14,000 feet all require a great maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 Max). Knowing a killer workout that can have a quick and lasting impact on how much air you suck in and devour is a godsend. I've got one for you.
Thankfully nearly every great book has been converted to an audible format so you can do a 24 hour race and not get the same damn Miley Cyrus tune stuck in your head, gnawing away at your sanity like a carpenter ant furrowing into a fresh cut hunk of mahogany. You can listen to books, or download several to your Kindle for that 17 hour flight to Khatmandu, or just throw a paperback into your day pack and read on a warm Virginia piece of granite overlooking the Shenandoah River. No matter how you do it, reading is great for the mind and soul. Here is my list of all time favorites that you will enjoy at just about any age.
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