Mood Follows Action

with Rich Roll

RICH ROLL A graduate of Stanford University and Cornell Law School, Rich is a 50-year old, accomplished vegan ultra-endurance athlete and former entertainment attorney turned full-time wellness & plant-based nutrition advocate, popular public speaker, husband, father of 4, and inspiration to people worldwide as a transformative example of courageous and healthy living. In 2012, Rich became a #1 bestselling author with the publication of his inspirational memoir Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself. Taking up where the book leaves off, in 2013 Rich launched the wildly popular Rich Roll Podcast, which persistently sits atop the iTunes top-10 lists. In 2014, Rich & his wife Julie Piatt published the bestselling cookbook and lifestyle primer, The Plantpower Way: Whole Food Plant-Based Recipes And Guidance For The Whole Family.

IN THIS EPISODE… Joe sits down in person with the inspirational wellness advocate, best-selling author, and podcast host Rich Roll. Rich tells Joe about his crippling addiction to alcohol and how he was able to finally admit he had a problem and seek help. He talks about his relapse 13 years into sobriety, which only lasted one day, and what he learned from that experience. Rich also explains how one scary moment going up the stairs at age 39 triggered his quest to find a healthier, plant-based lifestyle. They wrap up their in-depth conversation with a look at how Rich was able to start his podcast during a time with limited resources and technology and turn it into a top-ranking, healthy lifestyle in areas of fitness, mindset, and nutrition for his listeners.

Breakdown with Rich Roll:

Chapter 1 (0:00) Intro
Joe introduced Rich Roll

Chapter 2 (2:00) Pre-podcast journey
The catalyst that started the podcast was Rich’s life experiences which included his relationship with alcohol and how he was able to restart his life after a low point in his life.

Chapter 3 (7:26) Law trajectory
Rich did not extend his law license. He explains why he decided not to continue on the path of being a lawyer.

Chapter 4 (12:40) Seeing help
Suffering from alcoholism for a long time, Rich finally decided to get treatment. He explains addiction and how to try to identify when you or someone you love can identify the problem.

Chapter 5 (17:56) A moment of prayer
While going through the 12 steps of AA, Rich found himself on a beach having a moment where he could let go of his past, and hardships and start on a new path.

Chapter 6 (29:50) Health scare and a change
Rich found himself in a scary moment climbing the stairs and fighting for breath at the age of 39; although he kicked the alcohol addiction, he was not healthy, so clean living starts

Chapter 7 (40:04) Giving up dairy is tough
The hardest part of becoming vegan was giving up on cheese. Dairy is the biggest food most people say they can’t live without, but once Rich gave it up, it made the biggest difference

Chapter 8 (49:52) Endurance Running
Once Rich had given up on alcohol and had the moment of clarity he needed to make a change in his diet, he had a flow moment on a run and found his athletic stride

Chapter 9 (58:56) Finding ultra
Rich began starting to look for ultra runs to try to push himself to find his peak performance. He ended up finding a double ultra race and began laser focus on qualifying.

Chapter 10 (1:05:45) Magic in Hawaii
Finding a relationship with Hawaii Rich was able to tap into a sense of encouragement. You have to ask for permission from the island, you can feel the power.

Chapter 11 (1:20:34) Doing it without a net
Rich started his podcast with no intentions of money or where it would lead him, but in a pure way of wanting to learn and provide education to his audience.

Chapter 12 (1:38:02) Wrap Up
Joe wraps up the episode and shares his takeaways

Material Referenced in this interview:
https://www.richroll.com/
https://www.richroll.com/all-episodes/
https://www.richroll.com/books/

📞 Connecting with Rich Roll:
https://twitter.com/richroll
https://www.facebook.com/richrollfans
https://www.instagram.com/richroll/

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Rich Roll:
If you want to move your life forward, you need to get out of this mindset that we all have that we’ll do it when we feel like it. If we wait until we feel like doing something, chances are we are not going to do that thing, because we’re never going to feel like doing it, or when we kind of feel like doing it, we’re going to wait until we feel more like doing it. In truth, the mental state that you aspire to inhabit, a mental state that you seek, is a result of taking action first. Mood follows action. Behavior first, perceptions, feelings, and thoughts fall out.

Joe Chura:
Welcome back to another episode of the Not Almost There Podcast, and this is a special one because I have none other than Rich Roll in the house. And when I say in the house I mean in real life, we were next to one another and talking and had a great conversation, which you’re going to hear today, but not only did we do that, he spoke at GO this last weekend, which was a huge success. If you were there, thank you. If you weren’t, you have to show up next year, it was life changing for many, and I know it could be for you as well.

Joe Chura:
Getting back to the episode, I was extremely honored to be able to spend this time with Rich, to learn from him, to understand a little bit more about his story and to share that with you. And I’m telling you, I came away from the weekend with so many lessons from his wisdom, and everything that he’s been through in his life, from alcoholism to finding health in his forties, to running Ultraman and various other races that were just simply remarkable. Today’s conversation is none other than that, and I know you’re going to get a lot out of it.

Joe Chura:
If you don’t know Rich, you should. He has one of the top podcasts on the internet, over 150 million downloads, and he also is the author of Finding Ultra, Voicing Change, and a lot of other great books and material. I just know you’re going to get a ton of from the conversation so I’m not going to summarize it this time, I’m going to just jump right into it. So please, as usual, get those shoes on and get outside, do something while you listen to this conversation with the man himself, Rich Roll.

Joe Chura:
Welcome, Rich to the Not Almost There Podcast.

Rich Roll:
Thanks for having me, man, excited to talk to you.

Joe Chura:
It’s incredible that you’re here next to me, I’ve been watching you for many years, and it’s also a little bit intimidating. I want to get into how you got into podcasting in the first place, but I think to tell that story we have to go back a bit and set it up for the listeners that don’t know, I know many do, but the story of how you even got to that place where you wanted to have a podcast and share your voice, and do all the things that you’ve done, you being an athletic swimmer, are going to college for swimming, but I think the pinnacle point of change was when you were swimming, but then you had your first beer.

Rich Roll:
Yeah, I had a decade plus journey through alcoholism that began around the time that I began college, I think it actually began during recruiting trips to college where I was exposed to college parties for the first time, and that was a journey that took me to some pretty dark places. Not immediately, I mean, I had a lot of fun with alcoholism, and I was a kid who was very awkward and socially insecure and lacked a lot of emotional tools, I think is fair to say, and alcohol helped unlock a lot of that for me, it made me a social creature, it taught me how to be in the world and look people in the eye and talk to them, and things like that.

Rich Roll:
But ultimately it ended up eroding everything aspirational in my life to the point where I was really a broken human being alienated from my friends and my family, unemployable, unable to show up when I said I would show up, unable to really tell the truth or hold myself accountable to anything. It really broke me. And ultimately I got sober at 31, began the process of repairing my life, and spent the next 10 years trying to fix everything that I broke, only to find that I had broken parts that still needed to be addressed in terms of how I was living my life, what I’m here to express, and what I wanted to be doing with myself outside of the social pressure to be a certain type of person.

Joe Chura:
So when you were going through college, I believe you were pre-law, and then you went to law school directly after.

Rich Roll:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joe Chura:
And one of the things that I found pretty shocking, because I looked online at when you got your law degree, and then when you stopped practicing law, and there was only like an eight year or so difference, in terms of when you received your law degree and when you stopped. And my mind immediately goes to all of the effort that you had to put into getting that JD, and all of the work you had to do working at law firms, and then to just stop practicing law. So I know that was a bit intertwined around the time that you were trying to recover from alcoholism, but can you unpack that a bit?

Rich Roll:
Sure.

Joe Chura:
How do you do all that work and then stop?

Rich Roll:
Yeah, I mean, it wasn’t quite like that. I mean, I graduated from law school in ’94, I was a lawyer in San Francisco at a firm for a couple of years, moved down to Los Angeles and worked at a firm in LA for a couple of years, got sober around that time, went back and worked for that firm a little bit, but realized pretty early into sobriety that I was really in the wrong place, I was trying to jam this square peg into a round hole like you can’t believe, and I needed to do something different, but all I knew was the law, and to your point, I had invested so much time and energy in this career path that even if I felt like it was wrong for me, I was still going to make it work for me somehow.

Rich Roll:
So you’re correct in that I ended up getting out of the big law firm version of what it meant to be a lawyer, I think I left in ’99, so I put in six, almost six years of the corporate law firm lifestyle. But I didn’t stop being a lawyer, I ended up spending a number of years after that, in fact I didn’t officially pull the plug on being a lawyer until my book was published in 2012. I had a couple of incarnations of practicing law as a solo practitioner, I had a small law firm with two friends at one point that went on for a while, then I had a different guy who was my partner, and I was doing entertainment transactional law, which was different than what I was doing before, which was litigation.

Rich Roll:
So I was trying to find a way to make law work for me, and helping filmmakers finance their projects. I did talent deals, I was production council on a bunch of independent movies. And that seemed like a fun, cool way to participate in the creation of something creative, artistic, while using my skills as a lawyer at the same time. And I enjoyed aspects of that, but most of my clients were starving artists, so it wasn’t paying the bills very well. As a business plan, it wasn’t the greatest, but I was able to figure out a way to continue being a lawyer in a way that was a little bit easier for me to digest than what I was doing before. But ultimately none of it was for me.

Joe Chura:
Yeah, that makes sense. And maybe what I had looked at was your solo practice, or some time period that was short.

Rich Roll:
Right.

Joe Chura:
But I know you put a lot of effort into that. Going back to the alcohol issue that you had, I know many folks drink for pleasure, and they drink for leisure, and there’s, I think, a fine line between partying and having a six pack of beer with your friends and drinking every night, to actually having it impede your life. And I was wondering, what were the signals that you saw, aside from getting in trouble with the law and some real obvious ones, that you were struggling with this and this was becoming an issue in your life?

Rich Roll:
Yeah, I mean, those signals were apparent very early on. I refused to acknowledge them, but they were there. So there is a big difference between a real alcoholic and then somebody who maybe has a little bit of an issue with drinking, but can maintain their lifestyle, and the person who can have a couple of beers with their friends and it ain’t no big deal. I’m talking about real alcoholism, which is what I suffer from. My relationship with alcohol from the very beginning was problematic. I have an allergy to that substance, and it speaks to something broken in my soul that creates a habitual relationship with it, that creates a situation where you feel like you can’t live without it. And from day one I was the kid who stayed too late at the party, who did the stupid thing and said the incorrect thing, who got into trouble, who was never ready to call it a night, always was looking for the after-party or what was going to follow, until there was no one left to do it with and I was all alone doing it by myself.

Joe Chura:
Yeah, I think a lot of people can relate to that, though, and how do you know, though, when you need help? What was the defining moment when you sought help?

Rich Roll:
I mean, things had to get really bleak before I actually would raise my hand and seek help. I mean, I got two DUIs in a two month period, and I blew point a 2.34, or something, I blew crazy numbers both times and was looking at jail time, I was looking at my license getting suspended for a very long time. It took that for me to even acknowledge that maybe I might have a problem.

Joe Chura:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Rich Roll:
And I think it’s important for people that are listening to this to understand that alcoholism is a self-diagnosed disease, I can’t explain to you what constitutes alcoholism and what doesn’t, but I feel strongly that if you think you have a problem, you probably do, because somebody who has a non-problematic relationship with alcohol or another substance doesn’t spend a lot of time thinking about whether they have a problem, because they know that they don’t.

Rich Roll:
And I think addiction is a spectrum. We tend to think of addiction as very binary, like the person who can’t pull the needle out of their arm, or the trunk that’s lying in the gutter. But in truth I think it’s something that on some level we all suffer from, whether you’re a full-blown alcoholic like myself, or perhaps you can’t put your phone down, or you keep finding yourself in unhealthy relationships, or you gamble too much in Vegas, or you buy too much shit online, whatever it is we all have compulsivity fees and behavior patterns that don’t serve us, and I think those are, if not full-blown addictions, they’re related to addiction. So if you’re struggling to understand what addiction is, think about things that you continually repeatedly do that are moving your life in the wrong direction, and yet you continue to do them. And perhaps you can develop a little bit more empathy for somebody who deals with a real serious addiction.

Rich Roll:
That being said, if you think your relationship with alcohol is somewhat problematic, it’s a good chance that might be true. And that doesn’t mean that you’re a full-blown alcoholic either. I think that there’s a lot of people who maybe drink a little bit too much, and when you get to a certain age you just can’t shake it off the next day, and it denigrates the quality of your life to some degree, and there’s benefits in abstinence.

Rich Roll:
So I had a guest on my podcast a couple of years ago called Andy Ramage. Andy Ramage, who was a commodities trader in London, had been a professional soccer player, and just got into the lifestyle where you got to party with your clients and do the deal. Was never an alcoholic, but really got stuck in that cycle until he was feeling like shit all the time and just didn’t have an enthusiastic relationship with life, and decided to quit drinking, which was not smiled upon in his business, and made it very difficult, but ultimately gave him this new lease on life. And he started this thing called One Year No Beer that became a phenomenon across Britain, and I’m sure a lot of people in America have done it as well. And the premise is that abstinence can be cool and fun and amazing, and you don’t have to be an alcoholic, or you don’t have to be ashamed of your relationship with alcohol to take a break and try something different.

Joe Chura:
Yeah, definitely, that makes sense. And I’ve heard of that and had subscribed to it as well, and I agree, you and I were talking off air about non alcoholic beer, and I think that’s really becoming popular because people do want alternatives and they’re seeing what alcohol does to your system, and I know for myself, I could check my resting heart rate before and after a night of consumption, it’s significant, especially with the WHOOP Strap.

Rich Roll:
Yeah, the sleep deregulation alone is so dramatic, if you wear a WHOOP or you got an Oura Ring and you just look at your sleep stats after you’ve been drinking a little bit, it’s shocking.

Joe Chura:
Yeah. You know what too, you know how the WHOOP asks you questions in the morning, like a little survey?

Rich Roll:
Uh-huh (affirmative).

Joe Chura:
And it’s like, have you had any alcohol? And there’s this feeling of guilt when I pressed yes. That’s another really interesting thing, just by someone asking you in the morning, and it feels so great when you could create a streak of saying no.

Rich Roll:
Right. It’s interesting that you feel that, though, I don’t know if they intended you to feel guilty about that, because they also say, did you fly on a plane? But you wouldn’t feel guilty if your sleep was messed up because you were on an airplane.

Joe Chura:
Well, I think you could curate your questions that it asks you.

Rich Roll:
Oh yeah, that’s true, I remember that when we set it up.

Joe Chura:
So maybe the ones I curated for myself were ones like, are you bloated? Well, I could look back and say, well, why did I eat that last night?

Rich Roll:
Right.

Joe Chura:
Yeah, it’s pretty fascinating, but I’ve written about that a bit and just watched that over time, your blood pressure and everything that happens with your biochemistry when you have alcohol and then you don’t.

Rich Roll:
Sure.

Joe Chura:
So I know you sought treatment, and in your book I remember you saying that one of the defining moments was you going on a beach and just praying, and at that point in your life you weren’t spiritual. Do you remember back then, what were you praying for?

Rich Roll:
Well, what was happening was I was being introduced to the steps, the 12 steps, the mysterious 12 steps that exist in the secret society.

Joe Chura:
In the big book.

Rich Roll:
Yeah, in the big book, exactly. I was still in treatment at the time, and my treatment center was in rural Oregon, and I’d been going through the steps as a part of my treatment protocol, and part of that is step four, which is performing an inventory. And personally I should say more broadly that I think these 12 steps, regardless of whether you have an addiction problem or not, are just incredibly powerful, helpful tools for identifying your blind spots, helping you understand your errant behaviors and why you do the things that you do and in my case has been nothing short of regulatory.

Rich Roll:
But in the process of doing this thing called an inventory, which is step four, you write out all of your resentments, you do a sexual inventory, and what happens in the process of doing that as patterns emerge and you realize, oh my God, I resent everybody for this one thing, or every time I’m in a relationship I do this, and it’s always the money thing that triggers my resentment towards this person. And you see all the things that make you afraid and you realize that fear underlies so many of those errant behavior patterns, and it’s really a remarkable thing.

Rich Roll:
But once you complete that, you do a step five where you are letting go of it, you have to make peace with this and ask for help to move forward, essentially. And to do that I wanted to create some ritual or ceremony around that, so I went to this beach on the coast of Oregon where I burned all of this and just asked for help and said, I’m turning it over to a power greater than myself to help me with. And that was a very powerful moment that created a sense of a shift in my life that I think I’m still living in the repercussions of today.

Joe Chura:
And from that point was it, you just knew that that was the point? I know one of the things that the 12 steps, and we’re going to get into how to achieve things, and that’s incrementality, it’s taking one day at a time, one moment at a time, but at that point did you know, I’m not going back, after you burnt those things?

Rich Roll:
Well, the symbolic nature of burning it kind of cements it, neurologically like, okay, that was my past, and now this is my future. And I wouldn’t say, oh, now I’m never doing that again, I have too much life experience and I fucked up too many things to think, okay, that’s never happening again, because I knew myself too well and I couldn’t trust my own default settings. So it wasn’t that as much as it was a recognition that I was discovering a new way, and the most powerful thing about it was that that new way had nothing to do with my self-will.

Rich Roll:
And what I mean by that is prior to that experience I would tell you that everything good that I had achieved in my life, whether it was getting into Stanford, or making my way to getting a world ranking and swimming, or getting good grades, or getting into law school, or getting this job or that job, any of that stuff was all a function of my self will, my ability to suffer my ability to work hard, my desire to get the thing. It was all me, me, me, me, me, I’m the one who made it happen.

Rich Roll:
What I was coming to realize and recognize is that my self will is not only more limited than I realized, it’s also an opposing force, it’s also a bit of an enemy that has led me astray, that sense that I am in control, because when I applied my self will to this alcohol problem, I couldn’t solve it. And that was the most mystifying thing of all. Every other problem in my life, if I just focus on fixing it, I can figure it out, but the more I tried to do that with my alcoholism, the worse it got. And the epiphany that I had was that the solution and the healing would only come when I let go of all of that and allowed other people to help me, and when I recognize that there was a power outside of myself, a power greater than myself, that if invited in, could be part and parcel of that healing process.

Rich Roll:
So in some sense I think it’s fair to call it a spiritual awakening, and it was something palpable that really changed how I see myself in the world, and how I navigate the world. Even today, before we did the keynote, my simple prayer that I say to myself before I give any kind of talks, podcasts, keynote, is I just asked for help and I just say, “Just let me be a vessel, let me be of service.” It’s not about my ego, I’m not here to prove that I know anything, I’m not here to show you what I’m capable of, I’m here to merely be a vessel, hopefully a helpful one to other people. And the more I’m able to get in that space and get out of the way, as opposed to be in this energy of forcing or compelling, the better things seem to go.

Joe Chura:
Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. And I know from that point, from the sobriety, it’s been 23 years.

Rich Roll:
Yeah.

Joe Chura:
Congratulations on that, Rich.

Rich Roll:
Imperfect, though, and at 13 years of sobriety I had a relapse, a one day relapse.

Joe Chura:
I didn’t know that.

Rich Roll:
Yeah.

Joe Chura:
So what happened that?

Rich Roll:
So I had to reset the clock.

Joe Chura:
I can’t pass it over.

Rich Roll:
Yeah, I mean, it’s a longer story, and I did a whole episode on my podcast about it. Basically I had been training for Ultraman 2011, 2009 was the year that I crashed, and I wanted to go back because I felt like I still had a better performance in me, and I spent the year just training. I was on a razor’s edge. I was so fit it was insane, and I was like, I’m going to win this race. What I had done, though, is made endurance sports my higher power. I never questioned whether or not I was an alcoholic, and I never stopped going to AA meetings or being connected to my community, but it stopped being my number one priority and it fell down the chain of things that were important to me.

Rich Roll:
And I rationalized it as temporary given that I needed to focus on my training for this race, but what I learned is that when you take your foot off the gas and you’re not diligent, and I’m just talking about me, this is in my case, if I’m not diligent about my recovery and my step work and staying on top of keeping that addiction beast at bay, it’s going to find a way to express itself. And maybe that happens initially through just some weird character defects, but eventually the train that leads to the relapse has already pulled out of the station and you’re creating momentum around that event eventually happening.

Rich Roll:
And so while I was checked out from my recovery and making endurance sports my priority, I go to Hawaii, I do this race, and I DNF. I start coughing up blood during the first day and the early part of the second day, and I just didn’t have, something was wrong with me and I had to pull out of the race.a= And it was devastating to me because I’d literally put an entire year of work into making this happen and it didn’t go my way. And I didn’t realize the emotional toll that that was playing on me until a couple days later when I was at the beach with my family, and they were down the way, and I found myself in front of a beach side bar in front of a resort, and without even a thought I was just like, “I’ll have a beer.” And there was a beer in front of me, and I just drank it, and then I said, “Another one,” and within 10 minutes I had four or five beers in me.

Rich Roll:
And then my youngest daughter, not my youngest, my second youngest daughter walks up, she’s like, “Dad, what are you doing?” She knew immediately, even though she was like eight or something at the time, she knew something was wrong. And Julie knew, she was like, “What is it going on?” And I was at an AA meeting that night. So on some level it was the worlds lameness relapse, I had like five beers and then I was at an AA meeting, but what I learned from that experience is just how cunning, baffling, and powerful alcoholism is in that after thousands and thousands of hours invested in my recovery-

Rich Roll:
After thousands and thousands of hours invested in my recovery, and a billion AA meetings, and however many conversations, and treatment, and all the wreckage, and all of that, that in that moment that I would choose to have a beer, it’s so baffling and makes no logical sense. And I think that’s why people have a hard time wrapping their heads around addiction because they can’t understand why somebody would make that choice in that moment. And that is the point. It is cunning, baffling, and powerful. It doesn’t make sense that I would make that choice and toss out everything and risk everything that I had built for a momentary head buzz.

Rich Roll:
But the miracle of sobriety, people say they get freaked out when somebody relapses and goes out and drinks and they lose sight of the truth, which is that it’s actually a miracle that anybody stays sober for even a day at all, that’s the way this whole thing works.

Rich Roll:
So what it did was it right-sized my ego because I think at 13 years and taking my pedal off my recovery, I started to think like, “I got this covered. It’s cool. I’m not going to drink, I don’t need to go to an AA meeting.” And when I show up at a meeting, I kind of peacock about like, “I’ve been around, I got the answers. You want to know what’s up, you come talk to me.” And that’s really fucking dangerous. And I figured out just how dangerous. So I got my kicked, I got right-sized, put my ego where it needed to be, and it completely reframed my relationship with sobriety so I approach it now with such a greater degree of respect and humility than I would have otherwise.

Joe Chura:
That’s a great story. Thanks for sharing that. To fast forward a bit, I know you became sober, but that really didn’t transform necessarily your health and wellness. And I think there is a misconception sometimes, if you just stop drinking, all of a sudden you’ll become healthy, but there’s a huge other component to that, and that is diet, and that’s exercise. I know there is a moment when you were on the stairs, and you were walking up the stairs, and you had an issue, and that really was the catalyst for you to think about change, from what I understand about you. Can you take us to that point in time?

Rich Roll:
Sure. So got sober at 31, got out of treatment very intent on repairing all the wreckage that I created as a result of my drinking and basically invested most of my energy outside of my attention to recovery into my career, such that by the time I was 40, or on the precipice of turning 40, had become successful. I had become a productive member of society, I was on the partnership track to being everything that I ever had convinced myself that I thought that I wanted in the traditional rubric of what we think about when we think about being successful, the fancy car, the nice house, building a family, met my wife, all this stuff. But over the course of that nine year period, first nine years of my sobriety, I really overlooked my health and wellbeing. I only had the bandwidth to do what I was doing at the time and kind of coasted on fitness, nutrition, and the like, ended up transferring a lot of that addict energy onto my relationship with food.

Rich Roll:
I remember being in AA meetings in early sobriety and people talking about emotional eating, and I was like, “What is that? What do you even mean? I don’t understand.” I just thought that was ridiculous, the idea that you would eat a certain food to mute a certain emotion. And it wasn’t until years later that I realized that I had been doing that all along unconsciously. Whenever I felt some level of low grade discomfort, knowing I can’t drink, I’m reaching for a cheeseburger, or a bowl of ice cream, or you name it, french fries, whatever it is, to just dull that sensation and take me out of experiencing the moment.

Rich Roll:
Food is very powerful in that regard and I was certainly doing that workaholism food addiction, fast forward to that staircase, walking up a simple flight of stairs to my bedroom after a long day of work and having to pause, having to pause, out of breath, tightness in my chest, sweat on my brow, buckled over slightly, and thinking, “I’m 39 years old, I have to take a break up a simple flight of stairs? I used to swim the 200 butterfly as well as anybody and now I can’t even do this? What is happening?”

Joe Chura:
How much weight were you then?

Rich Roll:
I was 215, probably, which, for me, my fighting weight is 165 so I was 50 pounds over my ideal weight, but I wasn’t super obese or anything like that, I was just kind of putting on the heft, riding the elevator, being a lawyer, that kind of thing. But that kind of sluggish, I’m 40 and I just kind of wake up and don’t feel all that great, that kind of guy, that was who I was. And it scared me, that moment.

Rich Roll:
Heart disease runs in my family, my grandfather had been captain of the University of Michigan swim team in the late 1920s, he was an Olympic hopeful, he held an American record, and died of a heart attack at age 54 long before I was born, and I was never able to meet him, and yet I’m named after him, and I have these old photos of him where you can see the resemblance. So it was a weird kind of connection, spiritual connection that I have to him as well.

Rich Roll:
But the fact that he died at… I’m 54 right now so I think about my mortality quite a bit, the fact that he died of heart disease at that age, and it scared me on the staircase and I realized that I needed to make some pretty drastic changes to how I was living. And my anchor was reflecting back upon the day that I decided to go to a treatment and get sober, and a recognition of how powerful these moments are when they arise to grab them because they contain a lot of potential energy. But if you allow them to pass, or you don’t give them the attention they deserve, they dissipate quickly. And I was able to realize like, “I need to do this now because if I wait until tomorrow, I’ll probably feel different.” And that change needs to be immediate, it needs to be drastic, it needs to put the hurt to me a little bit, and I need to do it immediately otherwise I’m just going to keep doing the shit that I’m doing.

Rich Roll:
And really, that’s what I did. I started implementing some lifestyle changes pretty immediately, I held myself to a pretty strict standard. I kind of created my own rehab for lifestyle at home. I really leveraged that experience of what it was like to be in treatment to try to recreate that for some of the habits that I knew in my heart of hearts were going to kill me if I didn’t get on top of them.

Joe Chura:
What was the first step that you did?

Rich Roll:
The first thing I did was a juice cleanse for a week. Not because I thought I’ve got all these toxins that I need to remove. Honestly, it was a function of thinking, “That sounds hard. That sounds hard and painful, and that’s what I need right now. I want to endure an experience of what it’s like to show up at a rehab and have to detox your body off heroin, or off alcohol, whatever it is.” And a juice cleanses the best way to do that. I’d never gone a single day without eating solid food. I knew it was going to be difficult.

Rich Roll:
And it was. In the first, a couple of days of that I was on the couch, sweating, feeling like I was getting off drugs, it was exactly the same feeling, lethargy, brain fog, no energy, all that stuff. But the power of that experience was that the clouds began to part, and by the time it was concluded, seven days later, I felt amazing, like amazing in a way that I hadn’t felt since I was in probably my early 20s. And it dawned on me that feeling good was possible, that was the first thing.

Rich Roll:
The second thing was understanding how resilient the human body is. Like I’d realized on some level, bouncing back from addiction, the body is incredibly adaptable, and here I was a week into this hard thing, feeling in a way that I didn’t think was possible so the resiliency of the human body. And it also encouraged me to then go on this exploration of trying to find a way of eating that would allow me to feel like that all the time. So it was profound in that regard.

Joe Chura:
But then after that you looked into more of a plant-based diet, but not solely vegan at that time, and you didn’t see a lot of drastic results like you were hoping for. What went wrong there?

Rich Roll:
Yeah. I was like, “Oh, maybe I’ll try this diet. Maybe I’ll try that diet. I’ll try a vegetarian diet.” And then I was like, “Well, if I’m vegetarian, I can still go to Pizza Hut, just don’t put the pepperoni on there.” I played so many tricks on my mind to convince myself that I was being healthier than I was before. And that’s similar to the denial of any addict, and I had to kind of play that out for myself.

Rich Roll:
Ultimately I found my way to a plant-based diet. Not because it sounded appealing, it didn’t, it was the last thing on my checklist to try, but I had known some people who had done it…

Joe Chura:
Was your wife plant-based then?

Rich Roll:
No. I mean, my wife has always been healthier than me, she was what you would call a clean eater. She would eat fish once in a while. But ultimately, she was an example of somebody who knew how to take care of themselves, I was not. If you were to open up our fridge at the time, it’s like she’s got kale, and kombucha, and turmeric, and I’ve got marshmallows, and ice cream, and potato chips-

Joe Chura:
Hamburger patties.

Rich Roll:
… And, yeah, hamburger… Or whatever, and it’s like, “Oh, well, that’s nice that you’re like that, but this is what I need.” But this plant-based diet thing, I knew… This friend of mine, Rip Esselstyn who had been an all American swimmer at Texas and a professional Ironman, had tried it, we were connected on Facebook, he was about to come out with this book called The Engine 2 diet, it’s a longer story.

Joe Chura:
Yeah, he’s the fireman [crosstalk 00:37:11].

Rich Roll:
Yeah. The fireman, right? And we’re the same age, we swam against each other. I didn’t really know him, but we knew of each other, and we were connected on Facebook. And I came across his posts about this book coming out, and the fact that he was plant-based, and I was like, “Wait, wow. Tell me about that.” And he was my first kind of mentor or source of inspiration, and he gave me the confidence to give it a try.

Rich Roll:
And honestly, I didn’t want it to work because it just sounded like a life sentence to misery, quite frankly. But within seven days of eating nothing but plants, nothing with a mother, nothing with a face, whole food, plant-based, no processed foods, that was the one thing that I tried of all the other stuff that I tried that very quickly gave me that energy vitality boost that I experienced on that last day of the juice cleanse, and I realized that there was something going on here. And I’ve just been doing it ever since and learning how to do it better and educating myself. And it’s been almost 15 years, and it’s worked really well for me.

Joe Chura:
And have you ever ate meat over that 15 years [crosstalk 00:38:24]?

Rich Roll:
I mean, there’s been instances where I’m at a restaurant, and I order like the… And then they bring the wrong thing, and I take a bite of it and it’s wrong, or whatever. I mean, there’s been plenty of that kind of stuff. I haven’t consciously-

Joe Chura:
Ordered [crosstalk 00:38:37]-

Rich Roll:
… Gone to McDonald’s and…

Joe Chura:
… Fish or anything.

Rich Roll:
Yeah, or anything like that. Yeah.

Joe Chura:
Got it.

Rich Roll:
And also, whole food, plant-based means no, you really are avoiding a lot of processed foods, but the struggle now is that now they figured out all these processed vegan alternative foods that actually taste good, they used to be terrible, but now there’s a bunch of them that are actually pretty good. So the denial as the alcoholic, I’ll be like, “Well, I can eat this coconut ice cream.” Or, “I can eat these…”

Joe Chura:
The Beyond sausage.

Rich Roll:
… All the Beyond stuff, and it tastes good, and be like, “But I’m vegan, and it’s healthy, and it’s good.” You can easily delude yourself. So I definitely plead guilty to doing that kind of thing from time to time, but haven’t gone back to eating sirloins or anything like that.

Joe Chura:
So I remember you saying, I don’t remember where I heard this, but you were talking about dairy and what an impact that made. Can you expand on that at all?

Rich Roll:
Yeah, sure. Actually giving up meat wasn’t that hard. It wasn’t until after I gave it up that I realized I’d been eating it my whole life and never really thought about it, and I was like, “Does chicken even tastes good?” I’d just been eating it my whole life, and then it was no problem at all to stop eating it and I realized I didn’t miss it at all. I mean, I love cheeseburgers so that was a little bit harder. But dairy-

Joe Chura:
Pizza.

Rich Roll:
… Dairy was tough, man, cheeses on everything. And there’s something about cheese that makes it really addictive. It’s so hard to quit it. And this is a common thing because I talk about this a lot with people, they’re like, “Well, I could do that, but I could never give up cheese.” There’s something about the case of morphines in cheese that activate these neuro receptors in our brain and create a sort of addictive relationship with them.

Rich Roll:
So it was really hard for me to kick it, I definitely had withdrawals for two weeks, but it also made the biggest impact in how I felt. When I stopped eating meat, I didn’t really feel that much different, but when I really kicked dairy, suddenly I felt way better. My inflammation in my body went down, I was able to recover much more quickly from my training sessions. I just felt lighter and more energized. And you know how you wake up some days and your eyes are puffy and you just feel like… I realized that in my case, at least, dairy was a big piece of that, and when I got rid of it, I’ve just felt better.

Joe Chura:
That’s fascinating. So would you recommend if someone’s looking to improve their diet, that’s one of the first things they should try and eliminate?

Rich Roll:
I recommend that everybody should experiment. I’m very reluctant to sit behind a microphone and pontificate from a judgmental perspective about how people should live their lives. The plant-based lifestyle for me has had a revolutionary impact on every aspect of how I live. But it’s not for me to tell you what choice you should make for yourself, that’s on you. I’m happy to share my experience, but one of the things you learned in sobriety is you don’t give advice, you share your experience. This is my experience.

Rich Roll:
So all I can tell you or the listeners is to take your health and your nutrition seriously and to try different things, try a plant-based diet for 30 days, see how it goes. I’d be willing to bet after 30 days, you’re going to feel better. But if you don’t, I’ll refund you that and you can go back to eating McDonald’s or whatever it is. Try a paleo diet, try whatever. But I will say, get off the processed foods. I really don’t think dairy is a health food, might be better off without it, check it out, do your own research on yourself, pay attention to how you feel, just be more conscious with your daily choices. And that applies not just to food, but where you’re spending your money. And most importantly, how are you spending your time? Time is our most valuable resource and we’re the least protective of it. So maybe begin there.

Joe Chura:
Do you think the plant-based diet is hard for people to wrap their minds around? On one end it’s simple, it’s fruits and vegetables, but on another end, it’s completely different than what folks are used to in terms of making meals. And I know you have the Plant Power Meal Planner that you created to make that easier for folks, but have you found that to be a challenge and what are some tips that someone could go into a grocery store and actually make a meal out of this produce?

Rich Roll:
Right. Well, actually, it opens up an entire world of possibilities because when you think about it… Look, well first let me say this, when I first started it, yes, I agreed, I was like, “What am I going to do? Crawl around in my yard and chew grass?” I was like, “This sounds terrible. What’s left to eat?” But what you realize is you’ve actually been only eating a few things most of the time, pizza, burgers, fries, it’s like our diets are already incredibly limited, when you go plant-based you realize, first of all, most of the things that we eat are plant-based anyway, and now it just opens up this world of possibility of creativity, of expansiveness to explore different tastes, different traditions of cuisine.

Rich Roll:
There’s this idea that it’s going to be really time consuming and that you got to do all this meal prep, and you got to be very conscious about what… Making sure that you’re meeting your protein needs. And I have found all of this to be utter nonsense. Essentially it’s popper food, it’s rice, it’s beans, it’s whole grains, it’s dark, leafy vegetables, it’s tons of fruits, it’s nuts and seeds. It’s very, very basic. You asked me what I had for dinner last night, I go to Chipotle, I had a burrito with rice, and beans, and guacamole, and lettuce, and like, I’m happy, that’s good. That’s plant-based, I’m not missing out on anything. Travel all over the world, it’s never been a problem.

Rich Roll:
So I think it’s about setting aside some idea of what you think it’s going to be and treating it like a fun adventure as opposed to some kind of restrictive, burdensome life sentence. And there’s a lot of misconceptions out there, the idea that you could be an athlete on a plant-based diet, when I started, not very many people were doing it, and I’ve done things with my body that most people can’t even wrap their heads around. I’ve never had a problem meeting my protein needs, or having enough energy to complete a workout, or putting on lean muscle mass and progressing week in, week out to be stronger, fitter, faster, and more enduring. I just haven’t had that experience, and I promised myself when I began this not to be overly dogmatic, and that if it stopped working that I wasn’t going to get caught up in some kind of ideology or tribalism that would prevent me from making the healthy choice that would be appropriate for me. But it’s just worked well for me.

Joe Chura:
And the proof’s in the pudding because you shed all that weight fairly quickly.

Rich Roll:
Yeah, I mean, that weight came off pretty quick. I had all this energy that I didn’t use to have, and I translated that into getting out there and getting fit. And the big thing is, look, I don’t want to overstate the case. It’s not like, “Oh, I went plant-based and that made me a better athlete.” I think that that’s reductive and not true. I think that when done right, the benefit of a plant-based lifestyle is you’re getting off all these shitty foods that are terrible for you, you’re focusing on foods that are very nutrient dense, and also, basically high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory.

Rich Roll:
So when you’re an athlete, as you know, Joe, the holy grail is recovery, the faster you can recover, the harder you can train, the longer you can go, and protracted over time, that’s going to translate into huge gains. If you can shrink that recovery time and wake up the next day feeling good rather than beat up, that means that you can have more consistency in the rigor of your training. And that’s what I experienced. So that’s, I think, a big reason why I was able to go from basically sedentary to doing these ultra races. And it still took two and a half years of training to get there, but it probably should have taken more like four or five years if I was eating in another way.

Joe Chura:
And that led to… Well prior to the ultra race, you had a run, and when you talked about this run in your book it was hard to fathom that you were just out running and then all of a sudden you look at your watch, at your [inaudible 00:47:36], and you’re like 24 miles.

Rich Roll:
Well, it wasn’t quite… Yeah, it wasn’t like, “Oh, I didn’t…” I mean, I knew I was having kind of a flow state experience.

Joe Chura:
Yeah, you just kept going.

Rich Roll:
I was like, “I feel unbelievable. I’m just going to keep going, how long can I feel this good? I feel I could just run forever.” And time just disappeared, and so I just went with it. But it was also a hot day in the desert, and I didn’t bring any water with me, and I was running in the middle of nowhere so I ended up turning around at 12 miles, and ended up running 24 miles. Which, at the time, I hadn’t run more than five or six miles at most.

Rich Roll:
So it was definitely a powerful kind of watershed moment of realizing that, A, “I guess this plant-based diet is working for me because I just did something I didn’t think that I could do.” B, how crazy resilient is the human body because I’ve abused it for so long with drugs, and alcohol, and terrible lifestyle habits and now it’s performing at a level I never thought I would be able to realize. And thirdly, like, “Okay, so what am I going to do with this? Where can I take this? What does this mean? What does this mean in a greater context of my life?” It was cool that it happened, but I spent a lot of time reflecting upon that.

Rich Roll:
And that’s really kind of what catalyzed this exploration of ultra endurance, not as a means of calling myself a competitive athlete, but really as a spiritual exploration to learn more about what makes me tick and what I’m here to do.

Joe Chura:
Was endurance the perfect sport for you because of the extreme nature of it? You seem like you’re into extremes, if that’s bingeing eating, when you were drinking alcohol, now it’s bingeing miles and running.

Rich Roll:
100%. If you go to any ultra race, you’ve never seen more tattoos and more accumulated sobriety in your life, it’s like a… Like those… What are those flickering lights that attract bugs at night?

Joe Chura:
Oh yeah.

Rich Roll:
It’s like that for addicts, or recovering addicts because there’s something about addiction that’s very akin to spiritual seeking. Addicts are trying to solve a problem. They have a hole in their soul. They have something that can’t be sated, and they’re in search of finding comfort, of finding answers for that, “What is causing me this level of discontent, and what is the solution? What is the greater consciousness that will solve this for me?” And I think ultra endurance is similar in that regard, you’re going to go out there and it doesn’t matter how many people are competing, the race is between you and you. You’re not racing against anybody else in any of these races, it’s an inner war where you’re compelled to confront yourself and all the ugliness inside of you.

Rich Roll:
And it’s a wrestling match with the soul that confronts you with who you truly are, the person that you can’t hide from. And it forces you to engage with yourself in a really profound way. And that’s been my experience, and that’s really the beauty of it. I don’t know of any other sports that is that because when you’re that exhausted, you’re stripped away of all your costuming and all your artifice, and it reveals the inner person within. And in my case, over time, it’s helped provide me with insights about what makes me tick, and helped guide me towards a path of greater fulfillment, and purpose, and service.

Rich Roll:
So sorry to interrupt you, but really your question was, isn’t this just alcoholism in another form? And my answer to that, I don’t want to duck the question because I think, yes, had I not been this person who’s attracted to extremes, I might not have gone into that arena. And I think it’s important to acknowledge [inaudible 00:51:51] say, “Oh, you just traded one addiction for another.” There’s truth to that. Yes. And my job now is to really be conscious of when… I’ve learned to really just embrace… Rather than shame myself, embrace the…

Rich Roll:
Just embrace… Rather than shame myself, embrace the fact that I’m attracted to these extremes. And there’s a lot of growth opportunity in exploring that as long as you calibrate it and balance it against the other things in your life that are important. And that’s kind of like the inner monologue that I have with myself.

Joe Chura:
Yeah, I think the context of the question, you answered it, but what I was going to add is that if you do you have an issue with a substance or whatever it is, binge eating, you can replace that with something that is much more positive.

Rich Roll:
Yes and no. Yes, that’s true. But if you’re doing that, you’re still distracting yourself. The substance or the behavior is not the problem. It’s the symptom of the problem. There’s something beneath that that’s compelling you to make that choice. And you can live the rest of your life distracting yourself from that thing, but addiction provides you with the opportunity to get honest with yourself and to really deconstruct what it is that’s compelling you to make that decision. And if you can heal that wound, then you can level up in your life and all kinds of things become possible and available to you. But if you just say, “Well, I’m going to quit drinking and I’m going to start running,” you’re still putting blinders on. That’s the point I wanted to make sure.

Joe Chura:
Right, yeah, so surface the issue first, make it a priority, like you said. When you had the relapse, it fell down your priority list. So make that your continuous number one priority. But then if you need to do something to find your deep spiritual side, or deeper meaning of your why, challenging yourself in that way seems like a more productive thing than not.

Rich Roll:
Sure. Well, it’s better than just like getting blotto. You know what I mean? But I think you have to be careful. Anything can be in addiction. Endurance sports can be in addiction. And if you lose yourself in that and start thinking that… Your average watts on the bike and your run volume is more important than your relationship with your partner or your kids, your life is going to dovetail into a disaster pretty quickly. So it’s about having conscious awareness of why you’re making the decisions that you’re making, being aware of the triggers, and when you’re… And catching yourself when you’re making mistakes, because this is not about perfection. Just being honest with yourself so that you can heal whatever wounds exist within you.

Rich Roll:
And I remember when I got sober, it was like… All let’s talk about healing. Do I need to be healed? What’s broken. What is this healing that we… We’re all walking around with some form of trauma or behavior patterns that don’t serve us, or we’re looping negative thoughts. And most of us live out lives in that situation because the problems never become acute enough for us to address. If you’re a heroin addict, it’s a ticking clock. Eventually you’re going to have to deal with this and you’re going to die or you’re going to get sober. And on some level that’s a gift because ultimately you’re going to have to confront this. But most addictions are at such a low grade that you can just perpetuate them for the rest of your life and nobody’s the wiser and you never have to deal with it. So it’s about understanding that beneath all of those behaviors is a little nugget for you to mine, that if healed or solved, can improve your life.

Joe Chura:
That’s great advice and wisdom. Not really advice, but yeah, it’s good knowledge and education. you had alluded to the race that you had done. Can you describe what that was and how you got into that? From starting to train, working towards that…

Rich Roll:
The Ultraman Race?

Joe Chura:
Yeah, the Ultraman. Was it the first big race that you did or did you do a triathlon before-

Rich Roll:
I did like some local, I did the Malibu triathlon and then I tried to do a half Ironman, the Wildflower Half Ironman, which I DNFed on after the bike. But I’d never done an Ironman. The last race before… The longest race before I did Ultraman was my DNF at Wildflower. So I was not an experienced endurance athlete. I have this swimming background, but there was no indication that I was on some kind of trajectory to be successful in endurance sports. But in the wake of that 24 mile run epiphany and thinking like, “What am I capable of,” and like, “How can I explore this athletic side of myself in my 40s in a cool and interesting way?” That could be a spiritual adventure, a learning experience, a means by which I could be more interconnected with myself and hopefully figure out some of these existential questions that are percolating in my mind.

Rich Roll:
And then layer on top of that the fact that I had unfinished business as a swimmer, because alcoholism destroyed my swimming career when I was at Stanford and I’m convinced that I never achieved my potential as an athlete. So I felt like I still had something inside of me that I needed to figure out. And that got me interested in endurance sports. So I was doing a bunch of local triathlons and thought, “Maybe I’ll do an Ironman at some point,” but I knew nothing about that, and I didn’t realize that these Ironman races sell out like a year in advance and I didn’t want to wait a year, and I came across an article in a magazine about this race called Ultraman, which was an ultra distance, double Ironman distance triathlon.

Rich Roll:
And I got to tell you, I didn’t know that was such a thing that existed. I just thought the hardest thing you could possibly do is an Ironman and that’s that. And then I came across this race, which was twice as long, and it just blew my mind. But it was this weird switch that got flicked. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was like, “I’m going to do that race.” I was just like, “I don’t know how.” That’s crazy. It doesn’t make any sense. There’s no logic. I haven’t done anything deserving of towing the line as something like that, but I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. You ever had that thing in your life where something irrational happens, but you just know. It’s like a past life thing.

Joe Chura:
And they only allowed 35 people in the race.

Rich Roll:
Yeah. They limit it. Something like that. Between 30 and 35.

Joe Chura:
How did you get in?

Rich Roll:
I got in… Well, I kind of applied my lawyerly skills to this. I mean, it’s different now because it’s much more popular than it used to be, but… Excuse me. I found out who the race director was, this woman, Jane Baucus, in Hawaii. First of all, we should say, this Ultraman race is 320 miles. You circumnavigate the entire Big Island of Hawaii. It’s a three-day stage race. The first day you swim 6.2 miles, and then you ride your bike 90 miles. The second day you ride 171 miles, and then the third day you run a double marathon, 52.4 miles.

Joe Chura:
How much sleep can you have?

Rich Roll:
Well, when you’re done, you can go to sleep. It’s like the Tour de France. As soon as you you’re done with the stage, you can go rest. But you got to get massage, you got to kind of massage the day out, you got to get food, you got to shower, all that kind of stuff. And then you’re up pretty early, but you can get, I don’t know, six to seven hours of sleep that you were getting. But sometimes it’s weird when you’ve exerted yourself that much, you don’t sleep that well. So that’s part of it as well. But back to getting in. So I called the race director and I was honest with… I was just honest with her. I was like, “Listen, I read this article. I saw this crazy guy, David Goggs did this thing. I can’t stop thinking about this race.” And I called way in advance of them taking applications. And I just said, “I’m really interested in doing this. I would love to do this. I’m I’m making this call with complete humility.”

Rich Roll:
She was like, “Well, what have you done?” And I was like, “I’ve done nothing. I’ve done nothing deserving of you letting me in this race.” And she, to her credit… She should’ve said, “Look, why don’t you go out and do a few things and call me next year? It’s not going to happen this year. I need to make sure that like you’re at least not going to die.” But she said, “Listen. Got it. Yes, we only accept 30, 35. I could just accept all the best athletes. That’s not what I do. I try to find the right athletes. I try to curate an experience for the people that I think embody the ethos of what this event is about, which is really about Ohana and Aloha. The spirit of Hawaii and creating this spiritual odyssey where over the course of three days, you and your crew members are transformed by doing this very hard thing, having this shared communal experience.”

Rich Roll:
Because part of the allure of the race and reading in this article was that, although it’s a world championship event, it was about that transformation, and it was about supporting each other along the way, not this cutthroat competition, but more about how can we encourage all of us, all 35 competitors and their crew members to join together with this shared intention for transformation? I just thought that was so beautiful. And just not the vernacular or the language that you see associated with a race. It was so fresh. And she just said, “Why don’t you just stay in touch with me, call me in a couple of months, let me know where you are?”

Rich Roll:
She didn’t say yes, she didn’t say no. She just said, “Check in with me in a few months.” And I chose to hear your end. I just decided I’m going to start training right now and prove to her that I’m worthy of this, and I will figure a way to get into this race. And that’s exactly what happened. I mean, I hired a coach and at some point my coach had to talk to her and say, “I will have him ready.” And he was like, “You better do all these workouts because I promised her.” So I felt a sense of accountability to the whole thing, and that’s how I ultimately got in. I mean, now you have to do qualifying races. That would never happen today.

Joe Chura:
Was it what you thought it would be?

Rich Roll:
It was more than that. It over-delivered in terms of the experience, and in my case, the manner in which it just changed my life completely.

Joe Chura:
Was it the difficulty of it, the camaraderie with your team? What parts of it?

Rich Roll:
I needed to do something so hard, so seemingly impossible to me to shake up how I saw myself, and it delivered that, but it did it in a very graceful, beautiful way where I felt like I was part of something that meant something more than just me and what I wanted to accomplish. There was a beautiful community piece there that gave me a sense of belonging, and I think dusted on top of that is something really mystical and powerful about Hawaii. I can get super metaphysical here, but Hawaii has a very special energy to it. It can be very welcoming and it can also be menacing. And I think it can break you. And I think it demands of you a certain… You have to acquit yourself in a certain way or it’ll spit you out.

Rich Roll:
And I think most people don’t have that kind of relationship… People who have been Hawaii don’t have that kind of relationship with it because you’re just at a resort and that’s your experience of it, but I’ve lived there and I’ve spent a lot of time on these islands and I can tell you that that shit is real, and if you fuck with it, it will fuck with you right back. So I think there was this weird kind of relationship with the island that also played a role in that. And I just had this… Back to that kind of past life knowing thing, this sense that I was supposed to be there. There was something I was supposed to learn by virtue of doing this. And if I could learn it, there would be power in sharing what I had learned. Again, it’s not something that was logical or fully formed in my mind, but whoops, I did have that sensibility.

Joe Chura:
Is there an example of something that you saw… That’s on a tangent, but I’m super curious about this, in Hawaii that made you really understand the power of Hawaii?

Rich Roll:
Oh man. There’s so many things. There’s so many things. I think you need humility and a reverence. Like you have to ask Madame Pele for permission. May I tread on this land? You can feel it. If you’re paying attention, you can just feel the power of it and the sense that you just don’t want to mess with it. I mean, one example… This was the second time I did Ultraman. We were broke. We had no money. We couldn’t find anybody to help crew for me. So my wife shows up, she found two friends who were new friends that I had never even met before who agreed to come and help, and one guy was a guy who was studying with a native American chief. He was down the rabbit hole on that vein of shamanism. And he was all about like talking about that wisdom from that tradition.

Rich Roll:
What is the story exactly? There was some instance in which we were on the Queen K and I was running the double marathon, and the van that they were in got a flat. And it got a flat with a certain kind of… There was like a bone looking thing that was wedged into the tire that looked exactly like a whale bone, and when they were trying to fix it… Like a whale breach. There’s weird stuff like that. I’m sure there’s more crazy stuff, but… Doesn’t sound that crazy, but I can tell you in the moment that it was. Ask anybody. Ask Mark Allen, who couldn’t win, was coming in second at the Kona World Championships Ironman year after year after year, year after year after year to Dave Scott. And it wasn’t until he developed his own appreciation for shamanism and asking permission and going down this spiritual rabbit hole that he was able to crack the code, finally beat Dave Scott, and then dominate that event for years to come. I did a podcast with him several years ago and he goes on at length about the spirituality of Hawaii.

Joe Chura:
It’s incredible. I know I asked you this earlier, but you also, in participating in that race, had a time where your bike malfunctioned and a pedal came off, you were injured, but not terribly injured where you would DNF. But you were mentally done at that point. You thought the race was over for you. And then what happened is the mechanics all came together from your team and other teams and they found a pedal and you had to re-energize yourself and get excited about doing the race again, and I just wanted to dive in your mindset at that point of what you were feeling and how you got yourself going. Because I think a lot of us get into a place or a rut and you just don’t want to go, or… I can think of something as small as like you think you’re done with an exercise routine, and someone’s like, “One more lap.” And that’s the smallest level… Yeah, exactly, it throws you off mentally and you get frustrated. How did you get through that?

Rich Roll:
Very inelegantly, I would say. Yeah, just to catch people up, people who don’t know the story. I was in the middle of this Ultraman race in 2009. I had won the first day stage and we were 30 miles into the second day, and I wiped out on my bike and I went down hard on my knee and my shoulder. But most importantly, I broke my pedal and thought like, “This race is done. I’ve got 150 more miles on the bike today. I’m not going to do that with one leg. Let’s be honest about what I’m willing to do and not do.” And I had to peddle on one leg to catch up to my crew, which was about a mile away from where I crashed, and during that one mile experience just being with myself, I had completely checked out of the fact that I was in a competition.

Rich Roll:
Moments before I was on a razor’s edge, “Here’s what I’m doing. We’re going for three days. This is what it’s going to be.” And then crash, moment later, like, “I’m done. I’m out. I’m going to sleep in a hotel tonight. I’m going to go to beach with my kids tomorrow. I don’t have to do this shit. I can bow out and nobody’s going to judge me or think that I was weak. This is kind of awesome. Don’t tell anyone.” And as that’s going through my mind and then reconnecting with my crew, where there were a bunch of crews waiting for their athletes to come in through, a crew member for a competitor, a competing athlete, asked me what kind of pedal I needed. To which I replied, “Why are you asking me that question?” And he disappeared and returned with the exact model of pedal that I needed to fit my cleat. In a box, brand new. I was like, “How is that even possible?”

Joe Chura:
It’s Hawaii.

Rich Roll:
He grabbed my bike… Yeah, it’s like, “This is Hawaii. Dude, you are not done. You’re not here to win the race. I got another challenge involved for you. Let’s see how this one goes for you.” Exactly. He gets the pedal on the bike, hands me the bike. I was like, “You don’t understand. I’m done.” He goes, “Get on the fucking bike. Your race is not over. Think about everybody who sacrificed. Your wife, all your kids, everybody who sacrificed for you to be here. You are not finished. Get on that bike and get it done.” And he was a lot bigger than me and very intimidating, so I sheepishly got on the bike and started peddling and just thought, “Well, this is the worst thing ever.”

Rich Roll:
It was raining. I was exhausted. But most importantly, and to your point, I had mentally checked out. Completely mentally checked out. I was no longer in a race. I was in a situation of trying to survive. How am I going to get through this next 150 miles? My knee is swollen. My shoulder’s bleeding. I just don’t want to be here at all. And the process of going from being on that competitive razor’s edge to checking out and then trying to get back into it. I don’t know that I have any great answers as to how to do that other than you develop a bias towards action. There’s an adage that I learned early on in sobriety, which is mood follows action. Neuroscience now proves it.

Rich Roll:
And it means that if you want to move your life forward, you need to get out of this mindset that we all have that we’ll do it when we feel like it. If we wait until we feel like doing something, chances are we are not going to do that thing, because we’re never going to feel like doing it. Or when we kind of feel like doing it, we’re going to wait until we feel more like doing it. In truth, the mental state that you aspire to inhabit, the mental state that you seek is a result of taking action first. Mood follows action. Behavior first. Perceptions, feelings, and thoughts follow.

Rich Roll:
Now, I was not consciously aware of this while I was on my bike in Ultraman, but I did know mood follows action, because I’d been sober for a minute, and that was something that I tell myself every single day. So this sucks, I don’t want to be here, but the only way out is through. The only way out is through. There is no end run out of this. And I got through that bike and it was not pretty and it was not fast. And I finished that Ultraman race, and ultimately it ended up delivering the greatest gift because what God needed me to do or the universe or whatever you want to call it is not win that race. What the universe needed me to do was learn something about myself so that I could heal these wounds.

Rich Roll:
And when you’re winning a race, you don’t learn a whole heck of a lot. But when your back is up against it and you meet unforeseen obstacles, like, “Hey, you thought you were done, but guess what? You got to go do this. And by the way, it’s raining and it’s freezing out.” Whatever it is, when you’re in that situation and you see your way through, that is where you meet yourself. That is where you can no longer hide from who you are, who you think you are, and you are confronted in the most profound sense with the truth of your existence. And that is what reveals character. That’s exactly what I needed. That is the lesson that I needed to learn for myself. And I got that. So when I say that that race and that experience has been transformative in my life, I am not over stating that fact. It truly has. And with some reflection, I was able to take that experience and translate it into words, the meaning of it, hopefully in service to other people.

Joe Chura:
I love the mood follows action, and that is so key in so many areas of our life. So I’m glad you unpacked that a bit, and I think that’s the example in the book. I’m just like, “Dive into your mindset of that moment.” But I also was wondering of another moment when you’re crossing that finish line after accomplishing the hardest thing that seems nearly impossible a couple of years before, a year before, that you were like, “I’m going to enter this race. I’ve never even done an Ironman, and I’m going to do two in a place like Hawaii.” So what did it feel like? What was your mindset when you crossed it and you finished it?

Rich Roll:
I mean, it was rather overwhelming. I mean, in 2009, I had… The first time I did it in 2008, I was just trying to finish it. 2009 I was really there to race it. 2008, my family wasn’t there, but in 2009 they were, and it was very meaningful to have them there. My family sacrificed a lot. And I have to say in the lead up to these races, we were having a really hard time. I was still technically a lawyer, but barely making enough money. It’s the 2008 crash. I’m not getting hired. I can barely pay the bills. We’re not able to pay the mortgage. I’m just trying to put food on the table. And by the way, I’m like going out and riding my bike all day. It was insane, dude. And trust me, plenty of people are calling Julie, her friends, and being like, “Not for nothing, but what the fuck is going on over there? Shouldn’t he be getting a job?”

Rich Roll:
And Julie, to her credit was like, “He’s on a spiritual mission.” She was so supportive beyond. Because I would have these crisis of consciousness where I was like, “This is ludicrous. I need to go back and get a law firm job.” And she’s like, “No. The only way out… Again, the only way out is through. You cannot go backwards. The answers that you seek lie ahead. And I believe in you and I trust you and I know that if you pull on this thread and you follow this thing that’s inside of you, that’s compelling you to do this, that I believe is true, that the answers for you and the answers for us as a family will be revealed.”

Rich Roll:
And that is such a profound level of like trust and respect. I mean, what spouse would do that? Most would be like, “Go get a job, dude. We got kids. What are you doing?” She’s like, “You got to get on your bike. You got an eight hour ride tomorrow. You better get to sleep.” Crazy, crazy. And yet here we are doing a podcast and I’ve created this thing and I get to do what I get to do today, and I promise you, none of it happens without Julie having my back in that way.

Joe Chura:
Because then you kept racing after that, though, so was there a point where she’s like, “He’s on a spiritual journey but he should probably get a job now.” How did that happen?

Rich Roll:
I did it for a couple of… I’m not the guy who’s going out like Dean Karnazes and doing a zillion races. I did Ultraman 2008, 2009. I did-

Rich Roll:
…a million races. I did Ultraman 2008, 2009. I did Epic Five in 2010.

Joe Chura:
Wait, let’s talk about Epic Five quickly. Then, 2009, you complete this race. Your family is there. It has to feel amazing. How do you talk to Julie and say, “I’m creating another race”? “I’m creating this one with my friend, and we’re going to do something no one’s ever done before.”

Rich Roll:
Yeah. I mean, that was definitely a family decision also because Jason had expressed interest in me doing it with him. For people that are listening, it’s this thing where we try to do five Iron Mans on five Hawaiian islands in five days. No one had ever done that before. That’s a very different animal than Ultraman. I knew it was going to take a lot of training. I was interested in doing it. But also appreciative of the fact that it was going to demand a lot of my time and energy. Julie was like, “Look, if this is what you think is the right thing to do, I trust you. We’ll work it out as a family.”

Rich Roll:
We developed this system where when I was training, I was training. But as soon as I came back, she’s like, “Here’s a baby. Goodbye. My turn.” It was like that. I was like, “I can’t complain.” I’m like, “Okay. This is what we’re doing.” we were able to do that. I’m not saying it was easy. Again, we were under incredible financial constraints. There were so many reasons why it just seemed like a bad idea. But I ended up doing that Epic Five. It took a little bit longer than five days. That was another unbelievably transformative experience that really connected me to the islands in a profound way and elevated, once again, my sense of what I was personally capable of.

Joe Chura:
Do you think you’ll ever move to Hawaii?

Rich Roll:
No. Even after Finding Ultra came out, I got this book deal, which paid a certain amount of money. But we blew through that pretty quick. A big theme in Finding Ultra is when your heart is true, the universe will conspire to support you. I believe that to be the case. But that doesn’t mean it’s on your timeline or that it’s going to look the way that you would like it to look. But I believe that. That’s why the day that my book came out, in May of 2012, I committed to not renewing my bar membership; that I was walking away from the law no matter who called me. I was not going to get lured back into helping so-and-so do whatever because I needed to cut that tie, and I trusted my heart is true. I know my heart is true. The universe will conspire to support me, Joe. It’s going to happen. That phone is going to ring.

Rich Roll:
Phone doesn’t ring. Phone doesn’t ring. Phone doesn’t rang. Fuck. What the hell are we going to do? I wrote this book. I made all these statements. I talked about transforming your life. I’m like, “We got no money. What is happening?” I just thought, “Rich, you’re so full of shit. All this stuff you talked about in the book, and look, it’s not happening. What are we going to do? I was on the precipice, once again, of reactivating my bar and trying to find a job or just doing anything. I got to make some money.

Rich Roll:
I got a call from this friend who owns a property on the north shore of Kauai called Common Ground. He made a bunch of money with Mark Cuban. He was part of broadcast.com way back in the day. He wanted help developing this property as a communal space. He had read Finding Ultra. We had met one other time. He was like, “Hey. Why don’t you and your family come out to Kauai and help me figure this out?”

Rich Roll:
“Now, I have no experience. Why are you calling me? I don’t understand. Why do you think I’m the person who’s supposed to help you with this?” But this guy was tossing me a lifeline, and I needed a lifeline. Within a week, my family had boarded a plane. We were living in yurts on the north shore of Hawaii on this organic farm. It was the craziest thing. We ended up living there for three months.

Rich Roll:
That’s where I started the podcast, on the north shore Kauai. But I started it because I was starting to get island fever. I was like, “I wrote this book. I’ve done all this stuff to try to figure out what I’m going to do with my life.” Now, I’m on, essentially, a deserted island. I’m feeling very disconnected from humanity and a means by which I could move my life forward. I’m like, “What am I going to do next? I got to do something.” That was the tension that produced the podcast.

Rich Roll:
But your question being, could you ever live in Hawaii? I’ve lived on Kauai for three months. I realized that now I probably couldn’t. I’m somebody who thrives off of being where the energy is, which is probably why I live in Los Angeles and why I love New York City so much.

Joe Chura:
Well, I’m glad I asked the question because I didn’t know the podcast was created in Hawaii.

Rich Roll:
Yeah. The first episode was in a warehouse on the north shore of Hawaii. Exactly where Gabby Reese would teach this fitness class every morning, back in the day, in November of 2012. But hot tip/pro tip for all the aspiring podcasts out there/podcasters out there do not do a podcast in a giant warehouse. The acoustics are not workable-

Joe Chura:
We’re doing that here [crosstalk 01:23:41].

Rich Roll:
Actually, we are a little bit. Yeah. It’s a little echo-y. That’s probably why.

Joe Chura:
Yeah. That’s an incredible story. What I want to just make sure people understand is the series of… Or how long it took to build this pocket? You’re creating in 2012. There’s definitely not a Spotify out there. iTunes was like the only home, pretty much.

Rich Roll:
Spotify. There’s no iPhone.

Joe Chura:
There’s nothing. There’s nowhere to publish this. There’s one place. You’re creating a podcast. It wasn’t a popular thing. We already touched on that. There was a few people doing it. What was that iteration like over time? How did you stay consistent without analytics, knowing if anyone’s even listening to this? You don’t have the instant gratification on social media as much back then. [crosstalk 01:24:40].

Rich Roll:
Yeah. A couple of things. I mean, first of all, I love doing it. It was personally very gratifying. That made it easier to just make it about process rather than results or destinations. Because, at the time, there was no money to be made anyway. If you were getting into this because you thought there was a pot of gold at the end, you were a lunatic. That didn’t make any sense at all. I was doing it for the joy of doing it. I think that’s a big reason why it’s become successful because that is a thing of my heart was true. It was enriching my life personally. Although I wasn’t being financially remunerated, I was being remunerated in so many other ways. Every encounter that I had would bring a new person into my life as a friend, as somebody who would become a mentor or somebody that I could call on for this and that. I was getting enough feedback from the few people that were listening to appreciate that other people were getting something out of it.

Rich Roll:
At the time, because there was so little competition, really, and so few people doing anything interesting in the health-specific space, the show, even though it wasn’t being listened to very much, was still number two in health, or something like that, from day one even, because there just wasn’t anybody else. We were able to, whoops, grab a little real estate and establish ourself. That was also very encouraging, even though it’s an externality and trivial. But there was enough positive reinforcement and feedback in my personal life and externally to keep it going. But the truth is I never thought that it would be something that would pay any bills or support my family. That wasn’t why I was doing it.

Joe Chura:
How were you supporting your family over that period of 2012 to beyond?

Rich Roll:
Barely. Barely. Yeah. After living in Hawaii, we went back. I mean, we didn’t pay our mortgage for a long time. It’s shocking that our house was not repossessed. Shocking! That’s a whole podcast in and of itself. It was really cobbling together just… Somebody would pay me to go give a talk somewhere. It was a lot of waiting around for the phone to ring.

Rich Roll:
What else did we do? I mean, I wasn’t making any royalties on books. It was really lean for a long time, making pennies count all the way. I don’t want to belabor this, but it was emasculating. It was embarrassing as a head of household. I’m supposed to have this figured out. By the way, I’m the one who went to Stanford and Cornell Law, and I can’t fucking pay the electric bill. Our trash bins got taken away because I didn’t have $80 to pay the sanitation service. They took our bins away, which meant we had to put our garbage in the back of this beat-up minivan that we had and drive until we found a bin behind the supermarket or whatever to dump it. It was terrible.

Rich Roll:
That went on for longer than I really care to admit. It went on for a long time. Now, when I reflect back, I’m baffled. Like I was telling you. We’re doing a little bit of a remodel on our house. I just put a new roof on it, and we resurface it. I can’t believe that I’m able to provide for my family in a way that I just didn’t think I would ever… Because I was so financially unsuccessful for so long, I started to believe that I just didn’t deserve it, or I wasn’t capable, or I just lacked something that would allow me to ever figure out that piece.

Joe Chura:
What is it the podcast and the audience growth and be able to capture sponsors and your future books?

Rich Roll:
It’s consistency. It’s like, “How did you…?” It’s consistency, consistency, consistency. [crosstalk 01:28:54]-

Joe Chura:
It seemed like you were consistent. What-

Rich Roll:
But not giving up. You know what I mean? Belief. I’m just going to keep doing this. Okay, what can I control? I can control how much I ride my bike today. I can control whether I’m putting content out in the world. I can’t control whether the phone’s going to ring, so let me just focus on controlling the controllable.

Joe Chura:
Creating your own luck.

Rich Roll:
And being okay with it. Because this had been going on for so long, I had developed some peace about it. There’s an old Popeye cartoon where… Remember Swee’Pea, the little baby in the Popeye? Swee’Pea crawls onto a construction site and crawls up onto an I-beam. Then, a crane picks up the I-beam, and Swee’Pea’s crawling around it. Right when Swee’Pea gets to the very end of the I-beam, it swings around and connects with another one. The baby just crawls. This happens 20 times. I swear to God this is my life. Right when I think I’m just going to get decimated and fall to my death, that phone does ring. It doesn’t ring in the way that I would like it to, but it rings in a way that makes sure that I’m taken care of. It’s this crazy faith-based approach to life. It’s never failed me. That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been hard. It’s been fucking brutal.

Rich Roll:
This warrior path that has taught me so much about who I am and brought me to my knees and my wife’s knees in many ways, in ways that would split up most marriages, but we found a way to allow it to make us stronger. I don’t know, man. I think consistency, trying to make sure that your heart is true, pursuing that thing that is meaningful to you, and having that self-belief. If I was to do it again, I don’t know that I would do it again. I would’ve gotten a job so I could be… I’m not advocating that anybody do what I did. Trust me. I don’t think that I did it correctly.

Joe Chura:
Yeah. Well, we were talking about this earlier when I was talking about entrepreneurship and building businesses. You go back, and you look at all the pain. Certainly, you can see the success in certain areas and see the outcomes. But to get there, it’s surgery. I go back to when I had back surgery. I’m like, “I don’t know if I do that again,” or heart surgery when I had it, “I don’t know if I would do that again.” I would. But just thinking about that process is so daunting. But you did it, and you did it over time. That’s the message that I want to get across. Thank you for sharing that, is that things take a long time, but then, all of a sudden, they seem like they happen fast.

Rich Roll:
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, that’s truly the case. I said it earlier when I was giving my talk. We tend to overestimate what we can do in a year and wildly underestimate what we can achieve in a decade. I think it’s a big reason why so many people just tap out on their new year’s resolutions two or three months in because we’re not wired to look at things from that long-term view. In my case, these accomplishments, they all come in ten-year periods. I’m at nine years on podcasting, and I feel like I’m just now figuring it out. Everything that I’ve done can only be measured in decades. I was 10 years sober before I had that… almost 10 years sober. I was nine years sober when I had the staircase thing. It’s like slow-briety. They say slow-briety. Sobriety takes a long time. Everything good takes a long time.

Rich Roll:
I think the message is release your attachment to some calendar timeline about accomplishing the things that you want to accomplish and fall in love with the process. The podcast that I do is successful because I love the process of doing it. The more you’re about the process and the journey such that you’re not thinking about where it’s the destination or some goal or the competition or anything like that, the better position you are in to actually succeed at the thing that you’re trying to do.

Joe Chura:
Amazing. Now, the podcast, obviously, is top of the charts in every category. I know we were talking earlier. There’s over 120 million downloads of the Rich Roll podcast, which is incredible. You’ve had 622 or so episodes. I don’t claim to get the math right, exactly.

Rich Roll:
It’s all right.

Joe Chura:
But I’m sure you know. But a lot of episodes. It’d be so tough even thinking about my 35 episodes and something that just sticks out to me. But is there something that was so memorable to you that you keep going back to because you’ve had amazing people on? Was there maybe something way early on or something that’s recent that you’re like, “This is why I do this,” or something?

Rich Roll:
I’m going to resist the urge to pick amongst my babies. But I think there’s so many themes that emerge from commonalities amongst the guests. But I think that the most important thing to point out is this idea that change is possible. That it’s really our prerogative, and it’s what we’re here to do. This idea that people don’t change is lazy. I think it’s false. I think it’s a lie that is harmful to people that we’ve all intuited and yet, actually, is not true. There is no stasis . None of us are on cruise control.

Rich Roll:
When I was in rehab, another thing a counselor told to me early on was every action that you take, every decision that you make, every interaction that you have with another human being, every little tiny thing you do is either moving you towards a drink or away from a drink. It just belies this idea of us being static creatures. Everything is in flux all the time. Every action, every thought, every decision, every interaction is either moving you towards the person of your dreams or away from it. Are you progressing? Are regressing?

Rich Roll:
We’re all changing all the time. Whether we want to think we are or not. What does that change look like? How can you be in better control of that process so you’re changing in the way that you want to be changing? There are just countless examples of people who have been on my show, and my own life included in this, who have changed their lives wholesale, and in ways that are so dramatic and astounding that it’s mind-blowing.

Rich Roll:
I think it’s to understand that… Look, just because you want to be LeBron James doesn’t mean you’re going to be LeBron James. I’m not saying like, “Oh, the life of your dreams is just a matter of like you deciding to make it happen.” What I am saying is that all of us are sitting atop mountains of untapped potential. Even if you think you’re operating at the highest level, I guarantee you there is more there that you’re unaware of. This has been my constant discovery for better or worse, but it’s frustrating. I’ve got to look at that now. The road just keeps getting narrower.

Rich Roll:
Well, that thing that I’ve been doing forever, I guess, I can’t do that anymore. I think of it as a sacrifice or some martyrdom thing. But then, my life gets better when I let go of that thing, or I confront that behavior that I really don’t want to look at. Every person on my podcast has not become successful by a life hack or some shortcut. They have been doing their thing for a very long time. It only looks like it came out of the gate. When you understand that change is your prerogative and that it’s available to you through a change in mindset, through a lens through which you see the world, this biased to action that we were talking about before, developing a curiosity around people in your environment, a better life awaits you. Regardless of the circumstances that you find yourself in, a better life awaits you. It is available to you.

Joe Chura:
I want to leave it at that because I could talk to you forever. But I think that is so true and so remarkable. I know you’re a very humble person, Rich. But I can tell you. You’ve been an inspiration to me. I know a lot of the people that are listening to this… You’re going to motivate them to at least take that first step. That’s all we can expect. Hopefully, they keep going and move toward that goal and know it’s not linear. There’s no perfect line of life.

Rich Roll:
Definitely not linear. Definitely not linear. Well, thank you. I appreciate you having me today, Joe. It’s been a pleasure to hang out with you and get to know a little bit more about your world. I don’t take being here for granted. I’m very grateful to spend this time with you.

Joe Chura:
Thank you so much for tuning in if you’re still there. Rich Roll, you’re the man. I really appreciate the time that you spent with us this weekend, with me, my family, my community, my company, and just everyone that you touched. It meant the world to me and this conversation, I thought, was just the icing on the cake. Thank you again.

Joe Chura:
I got so much out of the conversation, but a few key facts that I know to be true are change takes time. I was a lost high school kid, really in my college just lost as well. It wasn’t until my early twenties that I embarked on a path that was slow but gradual. It got me to a better place. I made the best of that place. It took a decade. I think Rich’s right on when he says, “Change can be measured in decades.”

Joe Chura:
I mean, I look from where I was from 20 to 30, and 30 to 40. I’d ask you to reflect on the same thing. Just know that nothing happens overnight. The second thing that I really have been thinking about is mood follows action, so much so that I called this podcast just that. It’s so true. The event that I created, or we created, this last weekend, called the Go, was just about that. You start off the day with a run, get the body moving, and then you sit down and listen to some inspiration, get the body moving again, listen to some inspiration. Mood follows action. We start with action. I think in your life, you really need to examine. I need to always examine. If I don’t want to do something, start doing it. That is going to dictate the mood versus talking about it, which won’t. I know this was a long episode, so I’m going to let you run. Until next week, remember, you, me, we are not almost there.

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