Today on the podcast:

Dean Karnazes is an Athlete and a legend in the sport of ultrarunning.

He is also a two-time New York Times bestselling author and the author or the great new book A Runner’s High.

Dean was named by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world for pushing his body and mind to inconceivable limits. Among his many accomplishments, he has run 50 marathons, in all 50 US states, in 50 consecutive days. He’s run across Death Valley in the middle of summer, and he’s run a marathon to the South Pole.

His list of competitive achievements includes winning the World’s Toughest Footrace, the Badwater Ultramarathon, and winning the 4 Deserts Challenge, racing in the hottest, driest, windiest and coldest places on earth.

This is our round 2 of the podcast, Dean also appeared on episode 182: Getting Comfortable Being Unconformable in 2018. In today’s show we talk all things ultra-running and mindset for this long overdue episode.

Episode Outline

  • 05:09 The inspiration behind A Runner’s High
  • 06:34 The most quoted chapter and the most difficult chapter Dean wrote in the book
  • 09:43 Developing the mindset of embracing the suck and silencing the voice that tells you to quit
  • 13:27 How suffering brings salvation
  • 16:42 The advantages of tapping into your ego when preparing for a big challenge
  • 19:02 The importance of mindset growing pains – “Until you go over the edge, you don’t know how far the edge is.”
  • 21:05 Why you are the sum totals of all your habits and how to create new ones
  • 24:50 How Dean rediscovered his love of nature
  • 26:48 Advice that Dean would give to his younger self
  • 30:27 Using forward projection to avoid quitting when things get really hard
  • 33:07 The game changing advice Dean offered me when I first got into ultra-running
  • 35:54 How Dean’s diet has changed over the years
  • 38:20 How to ensure quality sleep
  • 40:50 Dean’s productivity-boosting habits
  • 43:46 What Dean is currently most excited about
  • 45:14 The words that Dean would want written on his tombstone

Key Points

  • Why embrace the suck? Because it’s ironically in the challenging times when you discover true happiness and fulfillment. Comfort feels good for a while, but your growth stagnates if you stay there. Amid discomfort, you experience the full spectrum of human emotions as you fight through the lows and soak in the highs. You learn more about yourself and gain new skills, and emerge from the depths stronger and wiser.
  • Comfort leads to stagnation. Prolong comfort for too long, and it brings misery. High achievement is about suffering and overcoming. When we reflect on the moments that brought us the most meaning in our life, they aren’t the easy moments but the tough moments that we’ve conquered.
  • We are the sum total of our habits. It’s the little things that you do that ultimately make up who you are. In this sense, the seemingly small and mundane things are the most important factors to focus on if you want to grow day-by-day. Get granular and look at every action you take and eliminate what’s unproductive so that you can maximize the actions that lead to your personal growth as well as those that serve other people.

Powerful Quotes by Dean

  • In school, you get the lesson and then you take the test. In parenting, you take the test and then you get the lesson.
  • The answer to happiness and true fulfillness isn’t comfort. It’s discomfort.
  • My commitment at the starting line is, “I’m just going to be the best Dean that I can be today. I’m not going to compromise in any way. I’m not going to leave anything on the course. I’m going to give it my all.” If you can be true to that, there’s just no way you end up losing.

Dean Karnazes

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