Burn it Down

with Ben Mollin

Ben Mollin is an award-winning speaker, 2-time Ironman finisher, ultramarathon runner, an internationally recognized hairdresser, and an internationally recognized leader in personal development and peak performance strategies. He has been teaching entrepreneurs, educators, corporate leaders, and people from all walks of life how to create the life they desire. In 2007, Ben made his television debut on “Shear Genius,” Bravo TV’s reality competition for hairdressers, finishing second. Show judges Sally Hershberger and Vidal Sassoon commended Ben for his raw talent and his growth over the course of the competition. Ben is an international guest artist for hair cutting classes, personal appearances, and video projects, is on the hit TV show “The Look All-Stars” and in “50 Hairstylists,” a book featuring the fifty most influential hairdressers in the country.

→IN THIS EPISODE…Joe sits down with Ben Mollin, a friend he knew in high school and recently reconnected with over the last two years. What Joe remembered about Ben was how he appeared to have everything; charisma, confidence, and a born leader. BUT Ben was actually suffering from depression and had attempted suicide in front of his parents at the age of 14 due to what he thought was an insurmountable health setback. He was able to get help find music and then he started an incredible career, from his success on a Reality Show, Shear Genius, to starting the Ben Mollin Project, where he shares his story and empowers those around him. Ben’s story has an incredible arc; from depression to suicidal thoughts to burning it all down to start over and not being afraid of anything.

🔍 Breakdown with Ben Mollin:

Chapter 1 (0:00) Joe Introduces Ben
Joe sets up the episode and welcomes Ben Mollin to the show

Chapter 2 (2:00) 14 years old and attempting suicide
Ben found himself struggling after getting a medical diagnosis which made him wear a helmet to school at 14 when appearance is a big aspect of your identity.

Chapter 3 (11:58) Finding music as an outlet
Nirvana came out and Ben really started being influenced by the sound that was being created and help him find his own voice.

Chapter 4 (16:32) Getting started in the hair business
After graduating high school Ben went to beauty school. He worked at supercuts, and then a spa in Lansing. Soon after he bought his first salon.

Chapter 5 (20:22) How do you find joy
To Ben joy is constant. He realized early on that success to him is fun when there is consistency and stability.

Chapter 6 (24:08) Getting on a reality show
Finding himself 100K in debt, he was approached by someone from the bravo network to be a part of a new reality hairdresser competition and the prize amount was… exactly 100K.

Chapter 7 (36:40) Vidal Sassoon and lessons from Reality-TV
Vidal got Ben on his path to teaching. He shared some wisdom about what his career path should be that sent Ben in a pivotal direction.

Chapter 8 (40:54) Bad habits turned positive
Ben realized he was having a negative relationship with alcohol. It wasn’t affecting him professionally, but he realized he needed to lead by example.

Chapter 9 (44:32) Suicidal thoughts coming back
Ben was dealing with suicidal thoughts; reached out to a counselor for help. That counselor helped him identify what the real problem was, and suggested relief that changed everything.

Chapter 10 (51:30) Fatherhood and family
Having his son was an experience in itself. Ben’s son was born with a heart condition, so once again he was given a life lesson that he is forever grateful for.

Chapter 11 (1:00) Joe Wraps up the Episode
Joe concludes the episode with Ben praising him for being his authentic self, and celebrating his life’s journey.

DEALING WITH SUICIDAL THOUGHTS OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS
→National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish. Learn more
800-273-8255

Home


→Crisis Text Line
Text TALK to 741-741 to text with a trained crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free, 24/7
https://afsp.org/suicide-prevention-resources
→Veterans Crisis Line
Send a text to 838255

Material Referenced in this interview:
→Gummo – Drama/Indie film
→Haircuts in the Summer
→https://www.bravotv.com/shear-genius
→https://www.ironcowboy.com/

📞 Connect with Ben
→https://www.instagram.com/benmollin/
→https://www.facebook.com/ben.mollin
→https://twitter.com/FnMollin
→https://www.benmollinproject.com/

👊 To learn more about Not Almost There by visiting this link
→ Not Almost There http://notalmostthere.com/​

Connect with Joe on social here:
→Instagram https://www.instagram.com/joe_chura/​
→Facebook https://www.facebook.com/notalmostthere/​
→Twitter http://twitter.com/joechura

Connect with Joe on social here:

→Instagram https://www.instagram.com/joe_chura/

→Facebook https://www.facebook.com/notalmostthere/

→Twitter http://twitter.com/joechura

Ben Mollin:
It’s all internal. You could be the saddest motherfucker in the world, but you’re the only one that feels that way. Right? You’re having a bad day, or a bad year, or whatever, or you have doubt. You’re waking up in the middle of the night, you’re clenching your teeth or anything else like that. You’re the only one that has that. So how much of that is imagination? How much of that is just lack of creativity or sharing your emotions with somebody and just being completely honest and completely vulnerable? So I just flip the script.

Joe:
Ben Mollin thanks for being here today.

Ben Mollin:
Sure, what’s up man?

Joe:
I’ve known you for many years but, I got to be honest, when we went to high school together you’re a few years older than me, I’ve always saw you as this larger than life person. You were in rock bands and always doing something creative and cool. And then fast forward a few years past high school and even, I think past college, I don’t remember the exact timeframe, but I saw you on reality TV show. You were on the show Sheer Genius and I’m like, oh my God, I know him. Ben Mollin. And from that point, you created the Ben Mollin project and you’ve done all these amazing things in your life. But I know that, things have not been easy for you, you’ve had some crazy adversity.

Joe:
And when when I got to know your story a little more, the year 1989 really sticks out to me as a pivotal year in your life because you were suffering from depression. Can you take us back there to that moment before we get too far ahead of ourselves and talk about you completing in Ultra, man, and doing all these incredible things that you’ve done since. Because I think a lot of people can relate to being at a low point, and I believe that was yours, I’m sure there was other ones.

Ben Mollin:
When you’re low point possibly, so even I didn’t really know what depression was when I was that age. So I think when you’re eighth grade, freshman year, you’re still in that learning process, I knew that I was 100%. So I had a skateboard accident, I was never a good skateboarder but I just, fuck man, I always wanted to be a good skateboarder because it just looked cool. So I got the Christian Hosoi-

Joe:
Yeah I was a Tony Hawk.

Ben Mollin:
You were a Tony Hawk guy?

Joe:
Yeah.

Ben Mollin:
I had the Hosoi. I had the Santa Cruz Hosoi. And we were at [inaudible 00:02:51] school, and I fell off the skateboard, because again, I just wasn’t any good at it, and I developed a bruise that just wasn’t a normal bruise. So I fell on my hip and it ended up being this really big bruise. So I end up showing my mom and we went to the doctor to find out what is this? So it ended up being that I had … my platelets were all screwed up. So I got a blood test, I got results, and they didn’t necessarily know what was going on with it. So I was told that I was basically like a borderline hemophiliac, and the beginning of my freshman year they wanted me to wear a helmet when I went to school.

Ben Mollin:
Man, 14, you’re just still trying to figure out why your armpits stink, use an oxetane on your face to try to not break out. Dousing yourself in [inaudible 00:03:45] and Polo sport, and you got other things that are going on. So that was the first time ever I thought that my life might be in danger. And when you look at things in an adolescent mindset, because imagine if you had to solve a really big problem and you were 14. And you can be silent, and you can be introverted, or you can be like a certain nerd about something or not afraid to talk to people, but depression, I don’t even know if that’s what it was. I thought that I was not going to live a normal life.

Ben Mollin:
When someone tells you something like, “Hey, for you to be normal, you have to wear a helmet. You can’t get hit in the head. You can’t play sports. You can’t do this and that because there’s a chance you might die.” You don’t know how to react to it. Sp-

Joe:
And you would die because you would-

Ben Mollin:
The trauma.

Joe:
… hit your head, the trauma-

Ben Mollin:
I could get brain bleeding, it could lead other severities. So you basically like, hey, let’s just put bubble wrap on it and pray for the best. I didn’t know how to deal with it and not going into the psychology behind it because, again, you’re so incredibly young, I opted to take my own life, and I failed and I was 14. So I woke up in the NICU unit of Children’s Memorial Hospital in a, it was infants coming out of brain surgery because they didn’t have a bed big enough for me, I was always the taller guy, I was always tall for no reason. I think I was six feet when I was a freshman in high school. And they ended up finding out that I had a blood disorder called ITP.

Ben Mollin:
So my red platelets, I believe, were taking from my white, and I ended up having to get my spleen removed, so my body actually grew a secondary spleen and was messing with my platelets. So I had it removed when I was 14 after an attempted suicide.

Joe:
When you had attempted suicide, I know the story that your parents were near you.

Ben Mollin:
I did it in front of my parents.

Joe:
And was it’s just you didn’t want to … you were just too embarrassed to go to school with this helmet on, you thought that was the only choice, is that … Or was there anything leading up to that point? Or was that just the icing on the cake that you’re like, I can’t deal with life anymore?

Ben Mollin:
I’d rather die than be an outcast at that age. You already are having hard times fitting in and I never really felt like, and I think a lot of people can relate to that, never really feel like you were the cool kid. You’re always around it, you kind of have your own lunch table, I was always at the lunch table of all the the outcasts. Like the Renegades and the kids that were just good enough to basically go second string when it came to all the sports. And I am an over reactor, especially when I was younger, and for me that was just basically the option that I had. And you think about that decision making like that as an adult and obviously you would do things differently, but when your mind is underdeveloped, as it would be in any form of adolescence, that was a viable option, it was a quick decision, and in that specific moment, that’s what I did.

Joe:
You know what’s crazy is that, I look at you as the cool kid, I looked at you as like the trendsetter and the leader of being creative and, like I have alluded to earlier, the rock star and you just had that prowess about you that I would have never known that history. So, I guess, going back to now you’re 14, 15 years old, this happened to you, you find out you have this blood disorder, how do you manage to get through that part of your life?

Ben Mollin:
You don’t have a choice. The option that I outed for didn’t work. So basically the only thing I did is I took the training wheels off of any form of safety. And, the best analogy that I have with anybody that has a mindset of somebody that would attempt something like their own life is that, most people when they’re driving in a two lane highway, they’re not able to take the steering wheel and turn left and go into oncoming traffic. It’s almost like an innate safety mechanism that most people have.

Joe:
It’s kind of like you’re on top of a high peak, or a mountain, and you’re looking over. Most people when you get closer, your body starts to feel this rush of like, don’t go closer to the cliff because you’re going to fall off.

Ben Mollin:
Correct.

Joe:
Is it that the same feeling?

Ben Mollin:
Correct. I don’t have that fear. So, I overcame that fear a long time ago and it never ever goes away, it’s constant. Even at the high point of what would be happiness or serenity, and everything that you have that’s worth of value, once you cross that line, it’s always something that’s in the back of your mind. And from what I’ve been told, I’ve never been a hard drug guy, or anything else, but it’s very similar to people that have done really hard drugs and then gotten sober. It’s basically you’re always in recovery. It’s always something that stays like in the back of your mind. So anything I’ve ever done through my whole entire life, any success that I might have gathered through any of that, any admiration that I might have from somebody like yourself feeling like I always thought that you were the rock star and this larger than life kind of guy, absolutely.

Ben Mollin:
But, I think what makes it more interesting is what fuels that fire. Why? Why do people do what they do? What is it about someone that’s able to get to that point where other people might have a different opinion of that person than that person has of themselves?

Joe:
Was there a sense that you’re like, hey, if I’m going to be an outcast, I’m going to be the coolest outcast I’m going to zig where other people zag? Meaning like, you may not have followed mainstream sports, you may not have been in football or basketball, I know the high school we went to it was, I try to explain to people how it’s like-

Ben Mollin:
What TF North was like.

Joe:
Yeah. To be a cool kid you weren’t necessarily in sports or other schools, you were, right? And it’s hard to explain and that’s probably another podcast in itself but, it seemed like you took that weakness and you turned it into a power. And you were like, if I’m going to be, again, if I’m going to be the outcast, I’m going to go all out and I’m going to do my thing. And then what happens is people start to look up to that and start following that. Did you feel that sense there, that you were becoming a leader?

Ben Mollin:
When you get used to navigating in the dark you develop almost like a sixth sense. It’s like the fucking force man. You kind of turn into a Jedi. So I never looked for a way out of anything, I just got comfortable with the fact that I was a dark guy, and I lived in it. And I made the best of it. And the minute I was able to take all that aggression, and all that fear and anxiety, and I found another outlet for it besides self loathing, that’s when I realized I had this hidden power in me and like a potential thing. Because at the end of the day, yeah, I might have been a suicide survivor from my youth, but I’m also really creative. So how do I take the unknown fear, all these negative emotions instead of taking that on myself, how can I create with that?

Ben Mollin:
Because anytime you have to work harder, it’s more energy. When you’re happy, or complacent, and everything’s going great, you don’t work hard. So, if you never truly look at yourself is happy and complacent, you’re constantly working, for whatever it is that you want to do. So what I have noticed is that the imagination can be so incredibly powerful if you’re able to tap into it. And if I don’t have a fear of dying, I don’t have a fear of trying, it’s that simple.

Joe:
I like that. It’s it is true because you’ve kind of already were at, again, I don’t want to say the darkest point, but very dark point, and from now you’re like I’m navigating in the dark, like I’m not afraid.

Ben Mollin:
I can do this shit with my eyes closed.

Joe:
So then let’s progress a little bit. You’re, in high school I know you turned to music as a big outlet back then for your creative side, especially, can you take us through that? How did that become such an important part of your life?

Ben Mollin:
Fugazi 13 songs, that record. Number one, Waiting Room, Combat Boots, Shaved Head, Gorilla Biscuits, Angry Samoans, started playing guitar, started playing bass. I mean other kids, other outcasts and misfits, and people that like to stay out late and go shopping at Hegewisch Records and spend their money-

Joe:
Yeah I miss that place.

Ben Mollin:
Oh it was awesome. And wearing band T-shirts and I just started playing music. And Nirvana came out, my head exploded, the Nevermind record came out and I just started really being influenced at the sounds that people were making that were non mainstream. And that’s when I truly found my identity, and like the voice. And I’m like, man it’s not me, there are so many other people that feel the way I do, that think the way I do, but fuck their music is just beautiful. So Nirvana, Nevermind, Fugazi 13 songs, and then I got into NWA when that came out and Eazy-E-

Joe:
Straight out of Compton.

Ben Mollin:
Totally. And I just started listening to gangster rap, punk rock, and alternative music was a huge influence in me and that was it. I was proud of something I used to be ashamed about, and I wanted to fly that flag as opposed to burn it and not fly it at its highest of thing. So now, in my life right now at 40 however old I am, at 46, I’m so proud of everything that I’ve accomplished and everything that I’ve overcome, because Joe, everything I’ve overcome it’s all internal. It’s all internal. You could be the saddest motherfucker in the world, but you’re the only one that feels that way. Right? You’re having a bad day, or a bad year, or whatever, or you have doubt. You’re waking up in the middle of the night, you’re clenching your teeth or anything else like that, you’re the only one that has that.

Ben Mollin:
So how much of that is imagination? How much of that is just lack of creativity or sharing your emotions with somebody and just being completely honest and completely vulnerable? So I just flip the script. Anytime I didn’t know how to say it out loud, I knew how to create a sound about it. And there’s just something about playing a bass guitar and a guitar, and just screaming your fucking head off, and watching kids dance to it. And, I was able to experience things like that early on, and you want to talk about being hooked on a feeling man, that was it. That was it.

Joe:
Was there a moment you remember from your first bands playing? Because I saw you at the Metro in Chicago, which those of you who don’t know, it’s a smaller venue, but it’s a fairly popular venue it’s not like any band can go play there. Just even get to play there is pretty awesome. And the band was Walcott back in the day-

Ben Mollin:
Walcott was awesome.

Joe:
You remember? Was there a time when you’re on stage and you just reflected like, how did they get here? Or, what was that first feeling like when you’re on stage performing?

Ben Mollin:
Smells Like Teen Spirit, TF North, senior year, stage show man [crosstalk 00:15:54]. That was it. I had a pink Peavey Tracer guitar, me and this dude named Paul Johnson and this dude on bass named Ruska Seca. I went up there and I did Smells Like Teen Spirit man, and I felt like a fucking rock star. And that was it. Right in that auditorium. Right in that auditorium and that was it. I graduated high school and moved out of my parents house like pretty much sooner than later. And I lived at a buddy of mine’s house, he was still in high school, but his parents had … His name is Quint, Quint Cleaver, and his parents lived in Mokena and they converted his garage into a bedroom.

Ben Mollin:
So I just lived there for a while and I was playing guitar and he was a singer, and we kind of had a really weird, psychedelic, hardcore band that we were playing in called Quint, ironically enough. I got a job at a Supercuts right after I went to beauty school, and-

Joe:
What made you want to go to beauty school?

Ben Mollin:
It seemed like it was going to be something cool to do with my hands and I was always fascinated with doing hair just in general. And where we grew up Joe in Cal City, there used to be a place called Haircrafters, and there was a woman named Beverly that used to do my mom and grandpa’s hair, and we’d walk over there because it was right behind Tram, and I just liked being there. I’d sit under the blow dryer, I’d skim through Better Homes and Garden to magazines, and the fucking highlights and stuff. And one day I got my hair cut like Terminator II when that came out and that was it.

Joe:
I was getting my Val Kilmer, Top Gun haircut with the spikes, fantastic Sam and-

Ben Mollin:
Hell yeah. And then you would style it and spray it and go to school, for sure. I learned how to French braid when I was back in high school. I had a girl teach me how once in an earth science class with Mr. Butler, ironically enough, and that was it. So I went to beauty school right after high school, it was either going to do that or I was going to go be an HVAC guy, I was going to learn heating and air.

Joe:
So, how did you go from then working at Supercuts to open up your own business?

Ben Mollin:
From Supercuts I bounced around and I ended up at a place called Armando Vasquez which was in Lansing, Illinois, and it would be just like a day spa, like a nicer place. I ended up moving to Homewood, Illinois for a while. And while walking down the street to go to the Ridgewood Tap to buy a six pack of Hornsbys when I was first getting into ciders, this gentleman by the name of Joe Petora came out and said, “Hey, you’re the fellow that works at Armando’s, me and my wife are selling our salon, we’d love for you to come take a look at it.” So I went out with Joe and Joe is still one of my best friend’s, I call him my salon dad. And for $16,000 he sold me a small little space called CC Express with a full clientele, employees and the whole nine yards.

Ben Mollin:
So I took eight grand on a high interest credit card and borrowed the other eight grand from my grandma, God rest her soul, and I was an entrepreneur. That was it.

Joe:
Was there any nervousness to that or were you just like, screw it, let’s go and do this?

Ben Mollin:
I’m not afraid of anything. So again, what’s the worst that’s going to happen? I’ll lose money? All right, I got nothing really going on right now. I’m living a cool kind of life, I live by a train station, it’s Wednesday, and I’m drinking Hornsbys and just kind of hanging out. So I figured why not, it was worth a shot. And I had that place for about two years, and it made pretty good money, especially for me at that point. Was able to save a bunch of cash, bought a house in Cal City and the journey just began man. And, I’ve basically lived the same life since I left to go live in Quint’s bedroom in his garage, even a 46 right now, I’ve been doing the same stuff my whole entire life. It never … that’s it.

Ben Mollin:
I haven’t had a boss since I was 21, I’ve always played music, I’ve always been an artist, and that’s my whole entire life. And just as much as somebody would look at that and kind of be envious, I’m envious of people that are like, “I have a retirement.” And like, “Hey, I got health insurance.” I’m like, whoa, what’s that like? Holy shit, you’re on a salary, that’s amazing. So that’s just been my whole entire life, it’s just been based around hair, music, art, and like minded individuals. So I’m possibly one of the luckiest people you’ll ever meet, man.

Joe:
Yeah I love that. You and I went for a run before this podcast and we were chatting a bunch and what really kind of stuck out to me is that, you don’t work, or you work to live, you don’t live to work.

Ben Mollin:
No.

Joe:
You’re truly a minimalist in the sense of like, what do I need to be … and happy is a strong word like you and I talked about, it’s not this definitive thing but, what do I need to have joy in my life?

Ben Mollin:
I think it’s consistency. So, over the last 12 years when I ended up on TV and started working for these major, major product companies and making way above what I needed to live, if you don’t spend a lot of money, you can make a lot of money. So the less you spend, congratulations, you just gave yourself a raise. So number one, why are you working? Number two, what are you working for? And I realized early on from having some failed businesses, and everything that I had at one point was successful. But when it’s not fun anymore, or it’s not enjoyable anymore, I’m over it. Plain and simple. So my whole thing Joe is like, it’s a line for me, right?

Ben Mollin:
I try to keep this consistent line. Decline freaks me out because it takes so hard to get back up to that line again, so I’m not looking for constant growth, I’m looking for stability. And you talk to anybody that’s been an artist for as long as I have, like a full timer, stability is huge. You get a couple key people in your life that find value in you, and those are the ones that you work with the most. But beyond that, it’s just remaining constant, the whole entire time.

Joe:
So I know you did some cool stuff with the business too and you morphed it into a record store and a salon, and a lot of other really interesting things, and just made you an extension of your personality. But, I want to fast forward to the place where I talked about in the beginning of this podcast, where I saw you on a reality TV show. And how that even ended up happening.

Ben Mollin:
Man, I was like, I think with Bossa Nova, Bossa Nova was the record store you were just talking about, and then just like credit card debt from businesses that didn’t fail, and just me being like, screw this, I’m out, I’m going to go to Amsterdam for two weeks with my buddy Alan. I probably required just about $100,000 worth of debt. Now, when you take away your source of income like your business, I was doing hair out of my house in Cal City, and playing in bands. So my monthly payment was more than my mortgage. So I had to pay $1,000 a month back in 2006, maybe 2005, to be at zero. So-

Joe:
And that didn’t stress you out?

Ben Mollin:
Oh yeah it stressed me out. Man I’m surprised I can sit down and have this conversation without yelling. Yeah I was beyond stretched out brother. So, it was-

Joe:
Or stressed out, like you didn’t internalize that. Some people would look at $100,000 and probably go back to the same place you were when you were in high school, like-

Ben Mollin:
Well what-

Joe:
… state of depression, how did you get through that?

Ben Mollin:
I said, well, there’s only one more thing to do here. Let me just create more debt and try to get myself out of this. I’ve got myself into this mess, and again, like when we had the record store, when 9/11 hit and Napster came out that was gone. It was just like this quick thing. Everything just got digitized really quick. And I was, remember LimeWire?

Joe:
Oh, yeah.

Ben Mollin:
Hell yeah, probably still got some hard drives or some mp3s or some. So we ended up getting rid of all that, and I was at a point where I was cutting hair out of my house in Cal City, and then I put myself on Craigslist for somebody that would work on TV, film and media, because they used to have a section called TV, film and media that you would be able to sign up for. So I ended up getting some freelance gigs in the city. And there was a woman by the name of Lee Jones that hired me to work on this movie called 5-25-77, which was a movie about the day Star Wars came out.

Joe:
And when you say work on a movie you were doing hair?

Ben Mollin:
I was the hairstyles for it, yeah. And one of the wardrobe people that I worked with prior on a Juicy Fruit ad for teen people, I think is what it was, random stuff. All this random stuff. I ended up getting a phone call from this woman named Lee because Bravo was looking for a straight tattooed guy that had a uniqueness for about them and kind of that accent. And she’s like, “Have I got the guy for you.” So she’s the one that put me in contact with Bravo. So Bravo calls me on the phone one day-

Joe:
And this is what year Ben?

Ben Mollin:
2006. Summer of 2006.

Joe:
Okay.

Ben Mollin:
I think. 2006, 2007 Joe. So he said, “Hey, we’re going to film this reality show about hairdressing, it’s kind of like a Top Chef,” and at the time I was a Bravoholic, I would watch Top Chef and Project Runway and all these things. “Are you interested?” And I said, well ironically enough, yeah, I’m like one second away from filing bankruptcy and actually doing a show myself. So where I was going, before I got on the TV show, what I was going to do is I was going to just … I was like, fuck it. If I don’t pay this back I’m just going to file bankruptcy. I had a buddy that was living in Vegas, I’m just going to go out there get a job at a Hoity Toity salon and audition for Blue Man Group. When in doubt show, you’re carny. Just hit the road, just say fuck it, just go.

Ben Mollin:
Because again, what are my … I’m not afraid of anything, especially in that regards, right? I’m like [crosstalk 00:26:24]

Joe:
… were you single?

Ben Mollin:
Yeah.

Joe:
No kids?

Ben Mollin:
No, no.

Joe:
Okay.

Ben Mollin:
My wife and I started having kids when we were 40. So no, I had really … I had parents that were handicapped that were close by and which is why I always lived really close to that area to take care of them and just kind of be there for them if they needed it. But I was going to borrow money on a credit card, I was going to get an RV, which at the time, I still think I had the Walcott RV, I’m not 100% sure, but I was going to do a documentary mocumentary on hair and fashion and I was going to call it Hair to the Throne. And I was going to dress like Cedric the Entertainer with a fucking Derby and like a red flower in like an Easter suit, and I was going to go all over these rural salons and just interview the stylists and see how they lived.

Ben Mollin:
I’ve always been fascinated at movies and documentary stuff, and one of my favorite movies is this movie called Gummo, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it.

Joe:
Oh yeah.

Ben Mollin:
Okay.

Joe:
Freaky.

Ben Mollin:
Love it.

Joe:
Demented.

Ben Mollin:
Absolutely. So I wanted to do like a hairdresser version of the movie Gummo.

Joe:
My god, I do not recommend that movie, but-

Ben Mollin:
It’s dark. So that was my … so I’m telling Bravo all this, well this was my backup plan, I’m trying to get out of debt. And they said, “Well if you win this contest, you’ll win $100,000.” And that’s what I owed. And I was like, fucking can you imagine, if all of a sudden out of nowhere, I’m at this financial crunch point of my life, all of a sudden out of nowhere, I go on TV to compete with hairdressing. Which is just so ironic, and that I win all that money back and then I get a fresh start. It would have been the Cinderella story, you know what I mean? The whole, the small town guy, would have been like the movie, what’s that movie where he’s shooting basket Hoosiers?

Joe:
Hoosiers, yeah.

Ben Mollin:
Okay, totally. Gene Hackman, right?

Joe:
Yeah.

Ben Mollin:
So I fly out, I do the show and they ask me … actually prior to that, they said, “We need you to make an audition video.” And when I went out to meet with the production people, it was instant. We fell in love. They’re like, “You’re perfect for the show but we got to go through the protocol, can you make a video?” So at the time I was working with this DJ guy named DK, we call them freaky DK. And he did the beats and I did the guitar part, and I made a song called Haircuts in the Summer. And, because at the time I was working out of my house, and Joe I had a lot of debt, man was I having fun. We had a steady supply of ganja and recording equipment, and creative people, and my house was a very safe place.

Ben Mollin:
So I sent them a music video of me rapping and cutting hair. My buddy Nick, I begged to come out from Detroit. I said, dude, I have no money, but this is the opportunity that I have, will you come out here? I need us to stay up for two days and make this video. And Joe I made the video, I sent it in, and I did it. I got it.

Joe:
And that is Haircuts in the Summer.

Ben Mollin:
Haircuts in the Summer, man, you can find it on YouTube on Nick’s page. I don’t even have the video for it. It was just something that we just threw together-

Joe:
Well, yeah, I’ll play some of it if you’re watching this on YouTube. And if you’re not, I’ll link to it in the audio version in the show notes because it’s an awesome song. We listened to it this morning.

Ben Mollin:
Oh, good, good, you guys were jamming it out?

Joe:
Yeah that’s right.

Ben Mollin:
Yeah, pumping it, doing some cool side jams. So, that was it. I ended up going on the show and Jacqueline Smith was the host. And again, you got to think about the Cinderella story. So imagine if I was to get flown out to LA for making a hip hop video, like you know that hip hop changed my life? Dude, for sure. I got on television and started this whole new life for me from a hip hop video. And the irony in that is just fucking, what the hell? What am I Eminem? So, Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, totally. I’m dropping f bombs, I’m smoking weed, was doing Bikram yoga, it was just the weirdest thing I could have ever thought of. So I went out, got second place. So I ended up being on television for seven years in 44 countries.

Joe:
Wait you skipped over a lot there. So-

Ben Mollin:
There’s so much.

Joe:
Yeah.

Ben Mollin:
There’s so much.

Joe:
Let’s stay here for a second though. What was it like then you show up in LA, you’re with a whole new cast of character-

Ben Mollin:
Dude I showed up at the airport. I got picked up in a white fucking work truck, no back windows, it was like I was about to get sold into like sex trafficking man.

Joe:
When you say no back windows, were there cameras back there?

Ben Mollin:
No, no, no. I got picked up in like a white utility van.

Joe:
Okay.

Ben Mollin:
And somebody driving it like a PA, it came to picked me up at the airport, and I just jumped right in. I’m like where we going? “We’re going to a hotel.” So I had to go to a hotel, I had to do a little bit of a test, I had to fill out a psychological evaluation card. So imagine if I would have flown out there and not passed a psychological evaluation [crosstalk 00:31:21]

Joe:
… test for passing and failing?

Ben Mollin:
I don’t know, I didn’t fail. So I just … apparently I am … because you got to figure they’re putting you in a reality real world type situation, and there’s forks and knives and they just don’t want to make sure like-

Joe:
So it was one of those like, you don’t want to harm anyone type …

Ben Mollin:
I guess.

Joe:
… questionnaires?

Ben Mollin:
I guess. Yeah, it had to have been. And then we started [crosstalk 00:31:44]

Joe:
… something like, have you ever thought about taking your own life? And you’re like, yes. And they’re like, okay, cool, you’re great for the show. How did-

Ben Mollin:
No, no, it wasn’t anything like that. By any chance when you were 14 have you ever tried … No, it wasn’t, no hell no, there wasn’t any of that, but they run you through the wringer man. You talk to a psychiatrist and all these other things and-

Joe:
[inaudible 00:32:04] make sure they don’t get too far into the show and you’re a liability and-

Ben Mollin:
I’m killing people. Severing people like a serial killer. Yeah.

Joe:
Yeah I could see that.

Ben Mollin:
No totally. So we ended up filming and it took like a month to film. And then they started … first thing that they do when you make a television show like that is they make all the commercials for it. And you sign this $1 million liability contract that you won’t talk about the show. And they’re pretty like, “Okay, here’s the deal, you cannot disclose any of this otherwise it’s going to be tough to breathe,” is basically how they sell it to you. So, ad started coming out. And then the next thing I know, I’m like, oh you’re on Bravo. Like you see my head pop up, and I’m yelling, and I got scissors in my hands. I was in like an ad in People Magazine.

Ben Mollin:
I was on the side of a bus climbing hair like in New York, I was getting played on American airline films, you know like when you’re flying in a plane. And then people just started calling me. They’re like, “Dude, are you going to be on a TV show?” I’m like, if I talk about it I’m going to have to pay like $1 million, I don’t know how this works. And then the show started airing, made some friends with it, did really well on it, ended up buddying up with Vidal Sassoon there and met a bunch of just freaking legends, and then I came back home. And-

Joe:
What was something that surprised you the most from being on that reality TV show? Like the actual set itself, and the people on the competition side of it.

Ben Mollin:
It wasn’t anything to be honest with you, it just felt like I was making a television show. I didn’t really feel-

Joe:
Did it feel real?

Ben Mollin:
It was, that was my life for like a month but, I didn’t care if I lost or … it wasn’t-

Joe:
They didn’t try to force you into a character did they? Or-

Ben Mollin:
I’m [crosstalk 00:33:53] out of the box brother, I’m like an action figure. I’m like a GI Joe guy, I already am my own character. So it was, I got along with everybody, any altercation that I might have had I would always talk to off camera. I’m like, look man, I don’t want to look like an asshole on TV. Plain and simple, I don’t care what it is, but I’m here to win money man. So let me see if I can just win this thing and let’s just kind of-

Joe:
I would just always think they would try and create some controversy behind the scenes to get [crosstalk 00:34:19]

Ben Mollin:
… Dude, somebody, you sign a contract when you make these shows, that if somebody dies in your immediate family, you don’t have to be notified until after production. They can work you for 16 hours and not feed you to create irritability. So there’s a system behind it to make you lash out, it’s already there.

Joe:
Right. Got it.

Ben Mollin:
So and I’m just not the kind of guy that you would ask to like, can you make it seem more emotional? It’s like, fuck you, no. No, it’s not going to happen. But there was none of that though. It was a very easy, fun experience for me, and I didn’t really think about it too much. But when that show started to run though, oh my God, man, everybody knew who I was. It was crazy. Even when I would go to that bank on Burnham Avenue by the pawn shop, I’d walk in and people be like, “Hey, Baba, how’s it? What’s [inaudible 00:35:08] like? Oh my God, [inaudible 00:35:10].” It was crazy. I went to Australia and got recognized at a freaking rugby game from the girl that was selling the Teams-shirts.

Ben Mollin:
She was like, “Hey, I don’t mean to bother you but I’m watching a lot of American television, is your name Ben?” The first two years I would have to have a body guard when I would go to hair shows. A body guard.

Joe:
That’s incredible.

Ben Mollin:
It was nuts.

Joe:
So during that show you met Vidal Sassoon, how important was that relationship, or what did you learn from him?

Ben Mollin:
He told me to get into education. And I believed him. So he was the one that put me on my path with teaching. You know what I’m saying?

Joe:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ben Mollin:
So you’re a basketball player, if you became friends with Michael Jordan and he told you that you should probably be a high school coach, guess what you’d be doing? Coaching high school basketball. So I think sometimes that your destiny or your fate might lie in the people that you idolize and respect. So that was the pivotal point with me that said, okay, wow, I’ve obtained enough knowledge and experience, that now it’s my turn to teach.

Joe:
And when you … I know it was down to you and I think Tabitha-

Ben Mollin:
No, Anthony, his name was Anthony. Tabitha got fan favorite and then her own show and eventually turned into a question on [inaudible 00:36:30], she’s a celebrity. She’s awesome too, she’s one of my better friends. It was me and this dude named Anthony Morris, man. And came down to the wire and he won. And I got second place and that was it. Flew back home and had some product companies call me, I had one company specifically, a product company named Joico that said, “Hey, you should come work for our company.” And the time Tabitha was working for them. And then they asked me if I wanted to fly out to New York and do Roger Waters hair from Pink Floyd and I said, yeah, that sounds amazing. And then on a handshake I worked with them for 12 years and traveled the world.

Joe:
That’s incredible. Throughout the whole show that I can recall, you were authentically yourself. Was there anything that you feel like the show did to change you, or to change your personality in any way that you didn’t like and then you had to get back?

Ben Mollin:
No. I became public instead of private. I think that’s the biggest thing when you’re in a situation like that, it’s so extraordinary, you are now a public person, end of story. There’s no private, there’s no walking into a place, and it’s completely different now. This is like fuck, what? 14 years ago? Looks good on a resume, it’s like you kind of got street cred. I got like the Fonzie and like Fonz, Henry Winkler from Happy Days.

Joe:
Well it was like the first hair show.

Ben Mollin:
It was the first competitive televised hair anything. And it was huge, it played all over the world. So public person as opposed to private person. So then I had to learn what that was all about. And I’ve had, I’d be lying if I wouldn’t say that the conversations that I’ve had with myself in the mirror, hey, are you up for this? You’re on. People are going to start really listening to what you tell them. And that was the difference. It’s like, someone’s going to be like, hey, somebody might look up to me now, somebody might come to me for advice and they’re really going to listen to what I have to say. Do I want that responsibility? And am I ready for it? And that took a while. A hard while.

Joe:
So, I know now you are in the last few years, you changed your life a ton from a health and wellness standpoint. So at the time you’re doing this show, again, this is more than or this was about a decade ago, or over a decade ago, were you finding yourself in a lifestyle, because you were traveling and doing all this stuff that you were playing defense a bit more in terms of healthy eating, and you were drinking too much. What was the catalyst for you to realize that you needed to do something with regards to your health?

Ben Mollin:
Alcohol has always been the devil man, I’ll be completely honest. It’s always been the devil. I’ve never had a relationship with it that I lost anything, as far as like a tangible type of item. Didn’t lose my home, didn’t lose Ang, my wife, but it was just one of those things that was just the devil man. I couldn’t break the chain of addiction with that, at all. So, yeah, when you travel it’s a party, you go out for drinks and you do this and do that. But Joe I was in bed every night at 10:00. I had a curfew that I would set for myself, and the reason why I was able to get such longevity out of this industry that’s given me, hair industry has given me so much man, and I’ve given it my heart and soul, is because at the end of the day I’m a fucking professional man.

Ben Mollin:
So I don’t mix anything, when I’m there to work, I’m there to work. And it’s that conversation that you have with yourself in the mirror, I am going to lead by example. End of story. So, I never really had any major, major down points with stuff, I mean granted the flying would definitely be a lot of things, and there was definitely times where I was just so exhausted because I had businesses and everything else, and there’d be definitely triggers that would throw me into a very, very, very dark place. But this time around that was different from when I was younger is that, when I got in the dark place I would grab a piece of paper and a pencil, and I would start writing song lyrics.

Ben Mollin:
So it got to the point where, if I wasn’t producing, I would just focus on the darkness again, and tap into that brilliance and kind of go back with it and forward with it. So I learned a ton about myself, about hairdressing, but more importantly about being a mentor and people that need to look out for. So I got really into leading by example. It’s like, you can talk the talk, but motherfucker are you walking the walk? Because if you’re not, you’re a fucking salesman. And I hate people like that. Especially people of power that are able to influence other people. Okay I’m going to give you some advice, but I’m not going to practice what I preach. Not me.

Ben Mollin:
Everything that I say, this is what I feel like you need to do, I’m doing it because I’m living that. So when I give you experience and you ask me a question, I’m doing it for my own personal life, as opposed to just being a quick witted thinker and using common sense as a weapon.

Joe:
So you went from this period of traveling, speaking, teaching to completing in Ironman.

Ben Mollin:
Absolutely.

Joe:
How did that even transpire?

Ben Mollin:
I quit working. So my mom and dad passed away within a period of time of like 16 months. And-

Joe:
This was what year?

Ben Mollin:
2017 and 2018, I think. Might have been … yeah 2017, 2018. And I went back to the same place that I did mentally when I was 14. I didn’t see value and beauty in the world anymore. I felt like I was up against something. And I went to, probably, quite possibly the darkest place that I’ve ever gone to as a human being. And in order for me to get out of it, I had to be incredibly open and honest with my wife and my friends, and I ended up getting counseling for suicide. And the woman’s name that I went to, I’ll just kind of keep undisclosed, I don’t know if there’s privacy regulations or anything else, we’ll just call her Miss M. And with four weeks of going through therapy, she was the one, the first time ever of somebody that said, “She’s like, honey, I don’t think that you’re sad or suicidal.” She’s like, “I think you’re a genius.”

Ben Mollin:
And she actually said the word genius to me. And I looked at it as an opportunity to prove my worth. And she said, “You just need something to do with that energy, have you ever thought about running?” Rest is history. I started Googling it and my wife Angie said, “Hey, you need to watch this movie called The Iron Cowboy.” I watched it and that was my first inkling about Iron Man. And then a couple days go by, I’m watching YouTube and then the Paralympics came on. And I watched the Paralympics, Joe, and I cried, and I cried, and I cried. And literally, my soul left my body, man. It’s the only way to explain it. And I said I am not shit. I’m weak, I’m a fucking puss, it drives me crazy. I want to be … if these guys can do it, so could i.

Ben Mollin:
So I went to Kohl’s because, obviously, any good decision starts with the trip to Kohl’s, you’re going to need new underwear if you’re going to be a badass. So I bought a jogging suit like Run DMC, and some-

Joe:
It’s probably because you got one of those big postcards in the mail-

Ben Mollin:
Fucking [crosstalk 00:44:33] you can pay me with Kohl’s cash, you don’t even need to bring cash. Cash money or Kohl’s cash. And I bought a pair of running shoes and within three months after never running, I ended up losing just about 60 pounds and I was able to run 13 miles. So I told my buddy Keith, and he’s like, you should sign up for an Ironman. So I signed up for Mont Tremblant in Quebec, which I guess is one of the most difficult terrains in North America. I had 17 hours to complete it and I did it in 16. So I became an Iron Man. And, again, you do something like that then you look around and you’re just kind of like, wow, this is a whole other world.

Ben Mollin:
There are other people that are not Iron Man, so I wasn’t just … I didn’t base myself around my occupation anymore. Because I think you can identify what you do professionally all the time, but when I started watching different videos and listening to podcasts, and people talk, I got myself out of the hair industry and that mindset because, social media came around and Instagram, and there was this huge shift in what I do professionally. Like Instagram and technology came along and there was just this whole new generation of people that were going to replace people like me.

Ben Mollin:
So I could either compete with that and create more time, more stress, more work, more anxiety, more depression, more triggers that might involve with it or, instead of killing myself, I can just destroy every fucking thing around me and burn it down to the ashes. So I don’t even have a chance of repairing it whatsoever. So you’ve heard don’t burn the bridge?

Joe:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ben Mollin:
I blew that motherfucker up. I got rid of the product company, I got rid of the salon, everything. For the simple fact that I needed to start fresh. So it wasn’t me anymore that I wanted to take it out on, it was everything else around me. And that was the switch. I’m not going to put the gun on myself, I’m going to walk in there motherfucker, like, I’ll say hello to my little friend, and I’m just going to get rid of everything that’s all around me. I’m going to bury it, I’m going to set it on fire, and I’m just going to focus on what’s in front of me. And it was hard. Oh man, it was hard.

Ben Mollin:
Because you identify who you are from your successes. I don’t care who you are, I don’t care how rich you are, how big or anything, you are your successes, that’s your world. So even if it’s broken, that’s still your world. So when I got rid of all of that, and Angela, my wife is the greatest human being in the planet, she’s the one that said, “Just quit.” And I did. And for that year when I was going through the grieving of losing a mom and dad, now I lost a business, I lost employees, I also lost a product company that I spent 12 years with traveling the world with. So I also lost financial backing. So I made it so I had to become successful. There’s no other way.

Ben Mollin:
I took the training wheels and right off the motherfucker and threw them against the wall. And that was it. And anytime I couldn’t think, anytime I couldn’t trigger any kind of emotion whatsoever, I said let me change the way I look. Maybe if I change the way I look, it’ll change the way I feel. Sure shit man, it worked.

Joe:
So you intentionally created adversity, intentionally burned the bridges so you would be forced to start over to, rebuild your life in a place where you identified with?

Ben Mollin:
I had to build it, there was no rebuilding. I destroyed it. I’m not rebuilding anything, it’s down to the foundation. It’s rubble. It’s I’ve already put the cranes in, I’ve removed everything else and I’ve dug up the dirt man, nothing left. And I said, okay, only place I can go right now is up because I have nothing. Still got my house, I still got my wit about me and all these other things, but this is all I’m going to do.

Joe:
And one of the things that we talked about earlier is weight, and you like to feel light you said.

Ben Mollin:
I like to feel weightless. Yeah, I travel light man.

Joe:
And I think that goes back to what you were saying about being on, I would even say it’s like it’s like a waterline. You want to be surfing, you want to be on the waterline, you necessarily don’t want to be flying too high above it. You want to be under it, you just want to be stable. But you created a point of instability so you can dig yourself out of it. Or, I should say, playing on that analogy, diving down a bet to get back up. Have you felt that lightness translate into more joy?

Ben Mollin:
I’m never stressed out. It’s crazy. So I don’t know if it’s joy, but I live a very joyful existence. The things that bring me joy are other people. And those two people would be my wife and my son. So to see them smile, and to see them feel fulfilled, that’s the main reason why I do what I do, and the only reason why I do what I do.

Joe:
So how has fatherhood changed things for you?

Ben Mollin:
His birth was nuts. So when, first of all, I was told I couldn’t necessarily have children, and that’s a funny story, man. I don’t think we got time for me to exactly go in the embarrassment of what I had to go through man. So I ended up going to a urologist, right? So of course they got to take a sample, you got to get a specimen, they got to analyze it and stuff. So the guy that I took the doctor with, he told me to drop it off and it wasn’t the hospital, it was across the street from the hospital. So he told me it was this office. So I go home, do what I need to do, take my baby battery, throw it in some cargo dad shorts and hop on a moped, which even makes it more ridiculous. And I had the beard and wore a slayer T-shirt, it was like something out of a freaking Rob Zombie movie.

Ben Mollin:
I walk into the office, it was the wrong office. So I walked into a pediatric office and they walked and they said, “Sir, can I help you?” I said yes, I’m here to drop off my semen. They said, “Excuse me?” Joe humiliating. You can’t even imagine what that … it was just the worst. 30 minutes I had to drop this stuff back off, took me 37 minutes. So when the doctor called he didn’t really know if I was able to have a child or not. So Angela and I we focused on businesses. So, long story short, Marco comes, but Marco came in with a bang. So when Angela was pregnant, we went in for a sound test where they monitor the baby’s heart rate. So Marco’s heart stop beating inside of Ang. And then it picked up again. Every time Ang would have a contraction, Marco couldn’t breathe.

Ben Mollin:
So at that point, that whole entire joy of being a parent, was hardcore interrupted. So then we had to wait for three hours of just, and I’d sit there with the doctor and you’d see the heartbeat, then all of a sudden, it would flat line. Then it would go back up. So they pulled him out, was kicking and screaming, but we didn’t know how it was going to work. Didn’t know if he was going to be brain dead, or anything else like that. So, we get them back, and we have our baby with us. And nurse comes in and says, “I don’t like his color.” So they did more tests on them, and they ended up putting him in the NICU unit. And the nurse comes over and says, “I don’t know how to tell you this but, we can’t necessarily locate the heart.” So what do you mean, it’s beating. He’s alive.

Ben Mollin:
And they said, “Well, it just seems like it’s turned around.” So we had to wait the first two or three days for a cardiac, pediatric cardiologist to come in and examine him. So for those two or three days when he was born, we were in the NICU unit by a, basically like a helicopter pod, because if for some reason my son would have went into cardiac arrest, they weren’t able to facilitate at that hospital. And I think everyone’s got that moment where God, or prayer, it was fear like I’ve never experienced. But I think it was the universe telling me that, if I’m going to be a father, I need to love more. So I looked at it as like a teaching and like a blessing.

Ben Mollin:
Long story short, a year later when we took him home and we knew that he had, it looked like a little hole that he had in his heart, so it’s called dextrocardia, he’s fine. Nothing’s wrong. He’s going to have a normal life for the rest of his life. But it took a year for us to clear that. So the first year of being a parent-

Joe:
but he was out of the hospital in a few days, right?

Ben Mollin:
It took about a week.

Joe:
A week, okay.

Ben Mollin:
So, basically what’s dextrocardia is, is that the hardest is reversed, we just didn’t know if it was properly wired to the point where it needs to be. So after a year, we took them to this Dr. [Sunthar 00:54:34] was the guy’s name, real tall Japanese guy, and super nice man. And we brought him back after a year, he gave him another EKG and he looks at us and says, “I never need to see him ever again.” So when he was one, I think that’s when the parenting really started to happen because we just loved him so much, because he had already been through so incredibly much as a little guy, that we brought him back home, and then we started our family.

Ben Mollin:
And my mom and dad, luckily, were able to be grandparents until he was about two, two and a half and three. And the joy that I got from my mom and dad, watching them pick up the baby and be called grandma, and grandpa, and everything else, was by far the proudest moment of my life. And then when I quit work, been a stay at home dad since he was three and a half. I mean, how lucky am I to do that? So being a parent, it’s the greatest thing I’ve ever done. And my wife and I are … she’s an amazing mother and I have a family. I had a wife, I had mom and dad, but obviously they’re gone, they’re in heaven, now I have my own family. And to watch him grow, and to do anything, like I’m doing this podcast, because of Marco.

Ben Mollin:
I make videos, I do shows, I cross finish lines, I get medals, I do it for my son. To let him know that anything’s possible. And I’m glad he doesn’t see the version of me that was all stressed out, he sees the version of me that knows that anything’s impossible if you fight through the pain and walk through the darkness. My goals have changed. My goals have changed. To always set an example for our son, and most of all too for Ang too. I want to ask you to look at me as a rock, a strength. I don’t want to bring anybody down, man. So the lighter you are, the easier you are to pick back up, man.

Joe:
Yeah, I love … First off, I’m so glad Marco’s okay that’s-

Ben Mollin:
He’s fine.

Joe:
… that’s-

Ben Mollin:
I’m telling you man, it was like the universe.

Joe:
Well it’s just made you really understand the power of being a father and having a child, and everything that can go wrong, and some miracle that humans can procreate and we have children-

Ben Mollin:
Insane.

Joe:
It’s just yeah, it-

Ben Mollin:
Women are freaking so strong. If men had babies there’d only be like three of us. Literally.

Joe:
And I love what you said about leading by example. And I think when I, I know, hearing your story from at least my perspective, it’s almost like the catalyst of what happened to you gave you the chance to be authentically yourself from the beginning. Because you were in the darkest of days at 14 years old, and you were like, screw it. But it’s that authentic character that I’ve seen you over the last few decades now that we’ve been friends and have known each other, that you never wavered from. It’s always authentically Ben, if that’s a video I turn on, or you speaking, and life is so much more fulfilling with people like you that are creative, that are unique, that aren’t followers, that are leaders. I just wanted to say that to you.

Joe:
Because, even the stuff that you’re doing now and taking all of your lessons and putting that into things like the Iron Man, and things like being a father, and being a light, and really focusing on what’s important in life and that is what I would summarize being present in the moment.

Ben Mollin:
Yeah I don’t live in the past man. I never think about it. I’m a present, future type guy. The past is only good for credibility. Like, well, why the fuck should I listen to you? Well, this is my past, this is what I’ve done. Oh, wow. Okay, cool now you got my attention. But if you carry the past with you though, you never evolve. You never evolve. Present and future, unless the past was so detrimental, whether it’s your health, losing a limb, or anything else like that, it really doesn’t really affect your current status of today. And it definitely has nothing to do with tomorrow.

Ben Mollin:
But if you hold on to the past, though, I’m telling you man, it’s too much weight. You’re not going to be able to carry, you’re not going to be a strong … you can’t lift that. Eventually you’re going to get sore, things are going to break.

Joe:
I love the quote, you can’t sail on yesterday’s wind. That’s what often when you have success in life, and I think success is not a defining word, that’s why [inaudible 00:59:34] was created. I want to-

Ben Mollin:
True.

Joe:
… go back to that story, I’ve said it enough on this podcast but it’s truly that. You think you’re going to hit something and then all of a sudden, you’re going to wear this success badge, but it’s something you have to prove every day. And to me, it’s just having a win, putting a W on the board every day and that just means you’re playing offense, you’re not letting someone else dictate exactly your life and every day isn’t perfect by any means but I think, you’ve clearly done that. So I think as we wrap up, I want to know, what’s next for Ben?

Ben Mollin:
Driving home. I mean literally, man. I know that we had the Spartan thing on the books for Tahoe in a couple weeks, and unfortunately I tore some tendons in my thumb while training, I train all year long, an injury is just part of any type of preparation for anything. So I will not-

Joe:
… miss you dude.

Ben Mollin:
I wanted to lead. I wanted to lead man, I wanted to run with you guys like wolves through the mountains of that. And thanks for getting me to get a chin up bar and some hand strength and stuff. I ended up being a little bit stronger than I thought I was. So I was all ready for the event and, I got to push back until, I think, March next year, I might go out to Southern California and just knock out the beast real quick and go home just to do it.

Joe:
We’ll see how this goes, maybe I’ll do it.

Ben Mollin:
Perfect, perfect.

Joe:
With you or maybe I’ll run away.

Ben Mollin:
So I think what’s … Yeah, let’s go, let’s drive, I got the RV. I think what’s next for me on physical is that, I want to run 100 miles so bad. I want to do 100 mile race really, really, really bad. I just want to do it. But beyond that, I think what’s next for me is tomorrow, man. I really try not to go too much farther than that. Something I’ve learned in the last 18 months is that, expect the unexpected. So I don’t even really make plans anymore, to be honest with you, and I’ve created this really nice, solitude private life, and that’s success for me, man. So I’m just pretty much going to stay there and just see what the universe has to offer, and just trust the process.

Joe:
Well, it’s been a pleasure getting to know you more over the last few years man, we’re reconnecting, it’s awesome. And you’re a kindred spirit and a great human being.

Ben Mollin:
So are you man. Congratulations on all your success too, I brag about you all the time.

Joe:
Well, thanks man. Thanks for being here today, appreciate you my friend.

Ben Mollin:
Anytime, brother.

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