In this episode, I am joined by my guest David Richman, who is an author, public speaker, endurance athlete, and an amazing human being. Who has gone from this journey of an overweight smoker to an ultra-endurance athlete and done hundreds of races...
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/e270-finishing-what-you-start-with-david-richman-cptsd-and-mental-health-podcast/#show-notes
In this episode, I am joined by my guest David Richman, who is an author, public speaker, endurance athlete, and an amazing human being. Who has gone from this journey of an overweight smoker to an ultra-endurance athlete and done hundreds of races and marathons and even a five-thousand-mile bike ride. In this conversation, we're going to have a very in-depth discussion about what it means to be willing to fight for what you believe in to push yourself into ultimately being willing to discover who you are.
I love this conversation with David because it reminded me of the truth of what I believe about life which is, to some extent, there is a struggle, some suffering that is necessary to find success. There is the willingness to battle yourself to cross that finish line which ultimately becomes the differentiating factor between success and failure.
This conversation was potent, and I hope that what you will take away from it is the truth and understanding that you can do anything that you want in your life.
What does it really take to cross the finish line of life? What do you really have to do to be able to take an idea and turn it into a reality? How do you make a dream become your truth?
Let's find Out Now! Cath Up today because David will bring some massive value to the Unbroken Nation today!
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Michael: Hey! What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. I'm very excited to be back with you with another episode with my guess David Richman, who is an author, public speaker and endurance athlete with a hell of a story. David, my friend how are you today? What is happening in your world?
David: I'm doing well, Michael, what isn't happening in my world, right? We all got busy, don't we? I'm busier than you know, man no, no, no, you're busy with me. I don't know he's busier than us, that’s crazy.
Michael: The human can. Well, you know, one of my mentors says if there's white space in the calendar there's room for the devil and I'm like yep truth good. If my calendar is not full, I'm getting in trouble brother. So, for those who do not know you before we get in tell a little bit about how you got to where you are today?
David: It's interesting because you know you take a look at someone and you go, I can size them up in like five minutes and figure out like a little bit of what's going on with them. My path like most people's paths is not predictable or understandable until you kind get into it, I guess it kinda started as a young teenager I was raised by parents that were on nearly forty years and age difference and that led to one parent who was way too old to have kids and another way that was way too young to want them. And so pretty lonely childhood, I left home to go to college, a car broke down in Vegas, got robbed everything at gunpoint, lived on the street for a while so I could get myself on my feet and did, eventually just like a survival instant instinct kicked in and I just try to do everything I could do to survive and that led me to one career after another after another eventually to where I was running one hundred-million-dollar businesses for a major wall street firm. So, I went from kinda nothing to something but not along, you know a normal path of grooming and education and mentorship or I just dug myself holes or found myself thrown into holes and figured out a way to climb out of them. But in the background was a very unhappy kinda stressed out guy, I was overweight, I was a smoker, I was not active, I like to tell people I was learning some very, very hard lessons along the way in life but I just never applied them to the guy in the mirror.
And in my late thirties, I found myself in a pretty abusive relationship with an alcoholic like, I said overweight smoker, not healthy, very stressed out, young twins at home and I just had to get us out. So, I finally decided that one day Michael to just look in the mirror and go alright,like who are you? Why you wasted all this time? Who do you wanna be and you'd be better started out? Because like this is it; this is rock bottom for you, and I did. I finally said okay, well let's toss the cigarettes, let's start being active, I went for a little two minute run, first I got me and my kids of safety I got us out of there when for a two minute run couldn't hack it, eventually with hit finally and then I did a 5K and 10K and did a half ironman and higher man and I just let's see where this can take me. I found that endurance athletics over the years has really helped ground and center me not just physically as you know when you make a transformation like that, for me, you know your psychological well-being, your emotional well-being, your relationships, everything changes if you transform something as major as your physicality and your endurance and the things that you focus on. And so that's the journey I've been on for the last twenty years is just leaning into the person I wanna be rather than you know the person I thought I was supposed to be expected to be or you know all the nonsense time, I wasted doing things that shouldn't have been doing and trying to make a difference in the world, and like I said, lean who I am which is now which is weird to say but the guy has done you know almost twenty ironman, I've done a five thousand mile bike ride, written several books and you know I'm living a much, much, much happier life.
Michael: Yeah. Well, I resonate with a lot of what you said and it's a beautiful testament to, I think the endurance that comes from rock bottom and I actually I wanna rewind and I wanna go to something important here and the Unbroken Nation they know this I've shared this story a lot but the changing point of my life literally came when I went, I looked at myself in the mirror. And I'd love to go back to that for a second here David and talk about the importance of it and I'd love for you to elaborate on that experience and not really what drove you to like do that but what the outcome of that moment was?
David: Yeah. And you know, when you've done it Michael it's not, you're not saying figuratively I literally did that, right? I mean a wise said, Jefferson, a great mentoring organization in L.A., and they kinda have this mantra of I see you, right? I didn't see myself ever and I was very aware very observant person, very sensitive, very like you know really dialed in but I never ever looked in the mirror and when I got out of that situation I have my kids at home, they're four years old I literally Michael, what you said I stood in front of mirror and I went really like who are you? Why don't you see yourself for what you are?
And when I finally did that, I said, oh, my god, look at all these great things about you but look at all these really not great things about you. And I mean, I'm not even saying this joking I was probably an hour maybe an hour and fifteen minutes, staring on myself in the mirror and repeating the words like who are you, like really who are you? Who do you wanna be? Like who are you? And I had to take a very, very honest vision of myself and if thirty-eight years old I don't think had done that for a minute let alone in a real way for an hour where I could use that as a launching pad, so that totally resonates with me.
Michael: What I think about in that additionally is like the willingness to do it, right? I think there's a lot of people who have heard this because you know, there's a lot of folks have come on this show and share that similar experience but there's the willingness that I believe it takes to have that negatively like honest on a bash conversation with yourself that changes everything. What I'd love to talk about here is in that and since that moment what is like your experience with like self-talk been? Because I have this weird feeling that it changes for us in that moment and people hear well, you run all these marathons and you've done these giant bike rides and you've written these books like how you must be superman. So, what I'm curious about is from a mindset perspective and how you communicate with yourself like how have you done these things?
Dave: You know, so you hear what you hear when you hear it, right? You see what you see when you see it. And we're all really good especially people that are like a personality or you're really good at scarring up trauma and so you don't let things affect you or whatever there's a million reasons that were you know really good at not taking that what you called that deep on look at yourself and I was a master at it not noticing myself. And I remember, Michael, I was with a friend of mine who known my plight quote unquote flight, being an abusive relationship, really being with just bad situation after the bad situation and I was complaining it to him one day and he stood up he's like dude, I am really, really tired of hearing and you say this. He goes every time you encounter a situation it's like you're walking up to a rabbit dog and you go to pet the dog and bite you and you're like what the hell just happened? He goes why don't you stop pending rapid dogs, once you take a look at yourself and fix your own problems. Stop complaining about everybody else, stop putting yourself in situations that you can't control, why don't you fix your own problems? And I'm like whoa, if he woulda told me that five years before I probably would've have walked away, right? I mean but it just hit me like yeah, I gotta be the guy that has to deal with my own problems and so that was okay, I guess to do, right? Like man, maybe I should fix myself instead of fix the situation, maybe I should take a look at me rather than blaming things on other people, maybe I should see what I want rather than what other people want for me or what I think they want from me and that's where that self-talk started. And you know it's like this three step process, I wanna get to a far ahead of our conversation but like when you do if you can take that honest look in the mirror, I think the next thing you have to do before you can start that self-talk which is really, really hard to do is just free your mind like, forgive yourself for making bad decisions, forget it that you wasted whatever years, forget it that you weren't your best self like allow yourself some peace and forgiveness and just go while I'm here now what can I do? Like free your mind like, I hate it when somebody goes they're forty years old and they're like oh, just that's who I am, knows that, no, not you could be anything you wanna be like don't tell me that. So, if you could take that on look, Michael and then I think for me it was just forgiving myself for not knowing any better until that moment then you could lean into the self-talk, into the learning and I didn't know that at the time but I know that looking back now is that I couldn't have done that self-talk without forgiving myself, without having look at that true person who I was. Does that make sense?
Michael: Yeah, and there's so much in that I often think about this idea like if I gave you a backpack full of bricks and every one of those bricks were labeled with something that you messed up that you fucked up, that you screwed up a mistake thing that you went against who you are and all that and I just said, here you go, carry this. How long would you carry that until you let go of it? Because people fail to understand the truth about something, I'll give you some interest context, when I go to restaurants and you go put your name on the list and you know right next to it as the time that was right now, I'm talking now the time is not yesterday, ten years ago, tomorrow, five minutes from the time is now. And those experiences of your past if you carry those with you everywhere you go this backpack full of bricks, how will you ever be in this moment? And so, I do think there's a tremendous amount of letting go that allows you to free the space to discover who you are. So, in this as you're in this place of discovery you're like, alright, I'm gonna forgive myself, I'm gonna start moving into figuring out who I am, what does that look like for you? Because I think for so many people where kind of like in life with no compass, no guide, trying to figure things out, how did you figure out who you were?
David: I figured it out by realizing that I could bring the positive things that I had learned and apply them to myself like I deserved to have the kind of pep talks to myself that I would give to other people, I deserve to kinda coach myself the way that I coached other people and you know it involved like we said a fair amount of forgiveness when you're carrying that backpack and you and we like to carry the these things as burdens are used to hearing them as burdens because that's the way it goes. You have to free your mind and allow yourself to like start on unpacking the bricks, right? And so, I don't think that you can in the moment oftentimes know what is the next thing to do. But I think if you can start to rewire your brain, to allow yourself some of that positive coaching that positive of self-talk. Let me tell you a quick story I had no business doing this race the very first and in turns event I ever did Michael don't picture this because I'm not very coordinated is, eighty-five-mile roller blade race; a race on roller blades. Imagine me, I was still overweight you know still not in my element yet and I'm doing an eighty-five-mile roller blade race in Georgia, I had no business doing that, okay? And I get to and I done a few things I started to rethink my self-talk and that type of stuff but I still wasn't a pro at and I'm about thirty miles in and I'm heading up this hill and it's late fall freaking hot hell, I'm like a pig, I'm kinda hit the wall like I'm done and I turned perpendicular to the hell. And I lean over my knees and I'm just like what the hell am I doing here like, seriously you don't belong here, you're total idiot, you're a total loser, your total impostor, everybody else is like miles ahead of, this is ridiculous. Then as I'm looking down, I'm looking at the asphalt Michael and I see this like puddle of water it's coming out of me and I just went well dude, you got two choices, right? One you could go home, just pack it up go home you learned everything there to know about yourself, just go home like it's good, it's alright you did it you know everything now go home or figure out a way to take one more step and just go one more step and then you're gonna learn something new. And if you can go one more step you gonna to learn something new and sometimes you can't take that step forward but I just was like oh, my god what it be nice to learn, wouldn't it be nice to figure out, what wouldn't it be nice to open my mind to what I might discover if I'm able to coach myself to push myself, to do more the way I would prompt other people to do it, why can't I do it? So, eventually made it to the finish line like, six hours later and all I learned was is that man if I think I already know everything or I think I've reached my limit or I think like that's it I can't freaking handle anymore, I go okay really, I mean really can't you just take one more step, can't you just do one more thing, can't you just you know try a little bit harder. And man, can we do more than we think we can.
Michael: What it be fair for me to assume that you still probably were not the last person across the finish line?
David: No, I was not, I was close to the last person but I'll tell you what I finished the head of every person that never started, that's for sure.
Michael: It's true.
David: Yeah. I was just gonna say like remember doing my first half ironman, I'm like I was the most hilarious thing and you probably I'm not gonna assume to think that this is your experience but maybe the first CrossFit competition that you went to, you might have been looking around going what the hell is everybody a freaking god, I mean what am I doing here, right? Look at all these monsters, I mean what the hell? So, I'm doing my first half ironman and it's one of these waves starts where you know not everybody starting at the same time they go off in waves and I'm looking around and everybody is like walked out of a GQ magazine or something I'm like what the hell am I doing here? And the gun goes off and I go watch some swim and like the first dude flips over and his back and he starts floating down the river and the next guy's like swimming in circles and I'm just yeah, there are some great athletes there but there were some people that were struggling to swim and I'm going oh, why don't you stopped comparing yourself to them and just see what you can do. Yeah. I totally get that mindset is even if I did finish last it wouldn't matter right because I'm just there see what I can do.
Michael: Yeah. I relate to that a lot. The journey for fitness for me has been this consignment ebb and flow, right? This consignment, I'm like alright, I'm gonna try this thing maybe I'll like it, maybe I won't I'll have. You know, I just discovered a couple years ago the tremendous amount of effort that it actually takes to have like a six pack for extended period of time and I was like no this is for me and you go, you know, there is this thing that you experience through, I believe pushing yourself physically and which you discover what you're made of because there's no other experience that I've had that is as emotionally and mentally demanding as the physical exert of going past what you believe you're capable of doing. And it's like, I don't know how to explain it so, I wanna dive into this with you because I think it'd be really interesting to go into. But I have found myself at the crux of quitting of being like no, man fuck that, just do it anyway. And there's this part of me that is literally dragging myself through completing what I said I was going to do, I don't know how familiar you are with CrossFit but the first merf that I did it's couple mile run, followed by a ton of setups and push-ups and squats and it is a crazy demanding event it takes you a solid hour and a half to two hours to complete this thing. And the first time that I did it about four years ago, I'm just sitting here and I'm like what am I doing? Why am I here? And in that moment, I said I'm doing this to prove to myself that I can; there's no other reason, I have no other objective, there's no charity, there's no fundraiser, there's no fucking sticker at the end that I get throw up on the wall and they're like I did it, it was like I'm doing this to prove to myself. And I'm wondering how much of these physical endeavors that you've put yourself through is based in that and if I'm off base I'd love to talk about it because I wanna know what that is? Like what is it that drives someone to suffer in the way that you have physically?
David: Yeah, it's a great question, it's a great concept and it does really resonate with me because you know I'm sure that everyone has this to a certain degree and everyone this listening if you don't agree with me then you're living in denial but we oftentimes we beat ourselves up at work and relationships with friends and whatever situation because we think it's what we should do or we think it's what's expected of us or we or we've been told we need to do it that way by our parents or our boss or spouse or whatever, right? And it's like if we're over achieving, if we're driven, even if we're driven out of fear or a failure or whatever then we're gonna try to accomplish that thing whatever that thing is but in the end it is a little bit empty because unless it's the thing that we really wanted, like where you could say it's not for a charity, I'm not getting a sticker, I'm not, nobody's watching me you know, he's taking my picture during posting it on some websites saying like, what you know look what Michael did, right? If you're just doing it for you that's a very powerful, empowering, wonderful thing because like I wrote about this in in my book winning in the middle of the pack, how great is it to know that nobody's watching and nobody cares. I mean that's a very freeing thing because then it means I'm doing it for me and it's not important and not don't do it this is fine because nobody cares nobody's watching anyway. But if it's important to you to find out what you're made of then it's like it's freeing that nobody cares, that nobody's watching that you don't get a medal, there's nothing other than to see what I'm made of and its mind boggling, for me it's a little more like, for you it's more power and strength and endurance and fast twitch and that kind of stuff.For me, it's I found a little more meditation in the longer slower stuff and I remember I had to rewire my brain to be able to settle into that mindset so super quick, I'm getting ready to do a fifty mile run one of the first fifty mile runs that I've done and it's held the last weekend in June in Vegas, it's called rang with the devil, okay? Hundred and twenty-one degrees that's what the high that day was gonna be and I raced in a start line, I'm a few minutes late I'm cursing myself, I'm such an idiot, I jumped out a car, get to fit a start line and I start running in the first quarter mile is like straight uphill and I'm like really like seriously you're gonna make us run uphill for a quarter mile? And then I look at my watch and it's like ninety-one degrees at 6 A.M. and I'm like six zero, 5 A.M., I'm like really like what has to be this hot and I started did nobody page you to be here like change your attitude like get a different perspective because honestly if you go home nobody's carrying, no nobody's gonna care, nobody's watching you, stop being whole bitch and just do it if you wanna do it change your perspective. And then, I said to myself, Michael aah, perspective, why that mean to change your perspective? And I had the self-talk with myself super deep meditate self-talk myself and about four hours later Michael I hit the turnaround twenty five miles and I went holy shit, I just spent like four plus hours thinking about one word perspective and how you could change it, how you could apply it to yourself and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, I had this like beautiful self-talk thing where I go oh, man you know you could accomplish whatever you wanna accomplish if you're doing it for the right reasons.
Michael: Yes. I mean, I think about that all the time and it's like you know I apply that to everything that I do. You know, Think Unroken this company has one mission to end generational trauma in my lifetime through education and information that's it, that's the whole purpose of this company. All the books, all the learning, all the speaking all the podcast, it's so we can give people tools because that perspective matters, because so many of us grow up being told you're not good enough, you're not strong enough, you don't matter and then you realize the truth is what you exactly just laid out, it's up to you. You determine, it's just like you said I nobody paid me to be here, you decided to do that for yourself but I believed and I know from firsthand experience like you have to deploy a certain amount of courage to be willing to face the unknown. How much of these moments of endurance is courage and how much of it is like I think, let's go back real quick I wanna create some context because I know people are listening this probably have this thought. You're step one, day one, you're like alright, I'm overweight, I'm smoking somewhere along the line, I'm like I'm gonna run a marathon, I'm gonna do this thing, it's the unknown, you have no idea what took so do you have a general idea like I'm gonna run twenty-six point two miles, I got nine hours to do it or whatever. What was that like? Take me back paint me a picture, give us the experience because I think so often be were like oh, you did five thousand miles, great, like whatever but what about mile one? What was that like?
David: Fucking hard man, it was hard. I was thirty-eight years old, I was probably close to fifty pounds overweight, I'd smoked nearly a quarter, I calculated nearly a two quarter million cigarettes in my life. And i was a stressed out monster, okay? And it was hard, I literally I remember I've not told too many people this because it's a little embarrassing but I tried to play beach volume I living him in Manhattan and beat and somebody that told me they said dude, you run like a broken leg, like seriously. So, the first thing I decided to do when I said, okay you gotta change who you are is I said I gotta find a coach that can teach me how to run so don't look like run all with a broken leg. So, I sent to this coach hey! I wanna learn how to run can you teach me technique keys? I got you're come up to Santa Monica we’ll meet at the pier, we'll go for a little mile run and we'll be good. I'm like alright whatever, I've never gone for a run with the hell do I know gives between a mile and not a mile. We started running at a twelve-minute pace which is basically fast walking, I couldn't make it two minutes I sat down and I'm just like I'm done, I can't do it. He goes yeah, you've never done anything more than run across the street for a red light, okay maybe you ran from one side of a volleyball cord to another on the sand for a minute but that's not really exercise, he goes yeah two minutes straight of running for twelve minutes you couldn't handle it. It was freaking hard and then like three days later I did run the two minutes then I ran four minutes and then I think about a week later, I ran my first mile and I probably ran in about thirteen fourteen minutes. And I couldn't sit down for a week, I was just like toast, I was absolute never done that to my body, thirty-eight years old, I've never done that to my body before, so, okay is it injuries are paying, if it's pain I've caused myself enough freaking pain I can handle a little physical pain whatever no big deal, right? And there's way worse kinda pain you mentioned the trauma being a trauma to tell a lot deeper than the physical pain.
You could get so I just said alright if you're gonna do it do it because you know what you could stop and starts smoking again, you could you eat whatever you want but you can't swim with a cigarette in your mouth, you can't run you know even fast food you just can't do that, so I just said well one step at a time man, just figure it out figure it out, figure it out, so that was day one. And then I realized oh, shit maybe my goals are high enough, running in a mile now running enough, 5K’s down enough, 10K’s now. Hey if I can do a half ironman man why can't I do a full iron man, I did my first ironman, nine months after quitting smoking and I'm working a full-time job, single dad with four-year-old twins, okay? And having literally lost everything and you know like rock bottom, rock bottom the stress that dad has, you know, two single dads, four-year-old twins, a full time very stressful, very high-profile job. And I did an ironman in nine months later because I just said jeez, maybe ought say your sites a little bit higher if you can do this why not back? If you can do this why not that? And then it becomes not an addiction but it becomes like I don't know like you go hey if I can do that, why can't I do this? It's very learning, it's very attractive to learn, to be able to figure that stuff out that I had never tried to figure out before in my life it was like oh, my god I got like your analogy, I got a tool belt that's empty and I can put a whole bunch of new tools in it I'll hell yah, that's nice, what guy doesn't like tools.
Michael: For context, for those who don't know ironman swim bike run what are those distances?
David: So, the distance is a two-point four-mile swim which if you're at the YMCA pool or your local gym pool it's like a hundred and seventy times back and forth and then a hundred- and twelve-mile bike ride and then you get off the bike and you go run a marathon twenty-six point two miles. And when I did my first one in November, I quit smoking in February of that year, I did my first ironman and November of that year I had never done any of those distances individually. So, I set out to do them all for the first time back-to-back to back and ironman. And I was able to do it I definitely didn't finish last, I think I finished anywhere there first either but I did it and I'm just like, whoa what the hell like you completed something that would be you can even wrap your brain around how to do that you know nine months ago.
Michael: The question that comes to mind for me and that is thinking about the truth of the reality that we do not give ourselves the space to think big enough, that we so limit our space and people are like you know I'm just gonna settle, I'll take this, I won't go for everything. And one of the biggest things that has changed my life over the course of the last five, six years is just being like no, man I'm going huge because if I can't go big, I'm gonna go bigger, I'm gonna figure out a way to make this work, I'm gonna figure out a way to have the best life that I want to have everything. What was the switch for you in that moment of I know you mentioned you're were like yeah, I thought well why can't I do bigger but like what really happened there?
David: So, I had a confluence of events, right? I've already mentioned about where I was that rock bottom looking in the mirror type place, okay? Also in that same period of time I had got a call from my sister we're very close in age, she's living her best life, you know happily married, two kids, great job, great friends, living now great, I'm stressed out she's great. And I decided to make this like okay, I'm gonna look in the mirror and start down a path let's see where it takes me and I get this call from Eri and she said Hey, I gotta let you know, I got terminal brain cancer and I'm not gonna be around much. And so her journey was going from today to her certain death at some point not too far in the future and my journey was going from who I thought I knew everything about myself and what life had to offer me and where I was and what I was capable of and the most I could ever be until I finally looked in the mirror realized, you don't know anything about yourself for which you're capable of so I'm taking the first steps along this journey, going I have no idea where it's gonna take me. So, I kinda had that dichotomy going where I kinda like was more motivated to find out and to make sure I give this my best effort because I got a start reminder and my sister then not everybody has that opportunity, not everybody is gonna be given a gift of saying hey, who are you now shed everything you know about yourself for give yourself for who you're at and start your journey. And it just really was a powerful thing to me to go, I get to do this like life's not happening to me, it's happening for me and it's like wow, man okay, forgive it that you haven't figured it out before or now just forgive yourself but right now you're here like it make it happen like understand the light is here for you and just go find it, go figure it out, just go as far as you can go, because not everybody has that opportunity. And sometimes we limit ourselves with that opportunity, I already know everything about myself, already know what I'm capable of, I already know that I got too many fucking problems on my back or whatever, I disagree with that, I just like you to say like, I love your analogy and just take off the backpack man and just start now.
Michael: I've been thinking about this over the course of the last few days is how limited our imaginations become the older that we get. You know because I believe this and I could be wrong, I don't know, I'm not a kid anymore but there were these little glimpse as a child where I've like dude, I just wanna be a rock star like that's everything I ever wanted like, I wanted to be Jay-z or Tommy Lee from motley crew you know and it was like I was, I want this and it was like I want this big beautiful gigantic life and then I took a couple of baseball bets to the face and you're like oh, shit wait a second, you know what actually I probably should just be okay with the corporate job, it should be okay with the eighty thousand dollar car and the terrible relationship and being overweight and smoking all these cigarettes and hating the world, I should be okay with that. And then I was thinking about it the other day I was like wait a second, like, why can't you have everything? Why do you have to be limited? Why do we have to be stuck in this idea that we should only ever settle? And I think what happens is when you put yourself in these moments of declaring these massive goals because David you probably have people when you first said I'm gonna go do fucking an iron man, they're like you're a psycho, you're not gonna do that.
David: Yeah, you're stupid there's no way, why you even waste your time doing something you can't do.
Michael: Exactly. And so you think about that mentality and so this trickle-down effect that happens from the really just the impact of the environment and not only everyone around you but the media and the consumption of social and everything saying, no man, you know just you don't need it, you don't deserve it, you shouldn't do it and I've just been so just distraught by the idea that our imaginations have been taken to the point that if somebody says hey, I'm gonna go run this iron man their first response is like man, that's crazy whereas I'm over here like fuck yeah, can you do too, right? And I think to myself like what does it take to get to that place of belief in yourself like in that process in that journey and I'm going deep this conversation because I really hope people will start picking this up you're like, alright, I set this goal, I have this intention, I got clarity, I realized that I'm gonna do it because other people can, I'm looking at the cancer right dead of my face, so my life suit is asked I hit rock bottom, I'm gonna fucking do this. What happens between the declaration and the finish line?
David: So, remember early error, I was telling you I learned like a lot of hard lessons but I never applied any of them to myself. So, for me the answer was this I will give this analogy to people at work or if they're having a tough time in a relationship, again never applied it to myself it's never that smart but I could preach to them like really easy and here was the analogy I said, I go look. There's two fifty story buildings hundred feet apart, I'm a put a ladder from one to the other and I'm gonna ask you to climb across that ladder from this building to that building what would it take? And they're like, I'd never do it like go, okay well, if I give you five million dollars would you do it? No some might take the chance to walk across five million dollars and I go if I could extend your life for ten years would you do it? Some might, right? And I go whoa, what about this, what about if I picked up the wind so that the buildings were swinging a little bit and the ladder almost gonna fall off is there anything that I could get you to do to go from one side to the other and they'd be like hell no and I said okay, let me tie your baby into to the middle of that ladder and you have got five minutes’ walk across ladder and save your baby, they're like oh yeah, I do in a second, right? So that was the analogy, I tried to get them to think that way and then when I started doing this stuff and I'm getting this state, I'm like dude, you're the freaking baby on the ladder like that's the urgency that you gotta have with it, it's your life, you got fuck, you've gotta save, you gotta live it, you gotta be it you know and that was my self-talk to myself, it's like dude, you gotta be the thing that's motivating you to do all the stuff you wanna do because otherwise like what's the point like just walk away take the elevator down a lobby, go home and just you already know everything about life whatever. But I just said to myself dude, you're the baby on the ladder, figure out a way to make everything that you do, that important to you to get it done and I know that sounds pretty that's not what I would tell anybody, I guess just what I tell themselves. Does it make sense?
Michael: Yeah, it does. And I think that to not be willing to do that you're going to fall short in life and that's not to be preach again from my side but it's just like experience it again and again and again and again in my life where it's like you I've had people come to me and be like man, you live with this crazy intensity, you do all these things you accomplish all these goals. David when it comes down to me as I go, I don't negotiate with myself and so when I set a goal, I don't give a shit if it's gonna take me twenty-five years, it's gonna happen because it's like you're crossing finish lines that other people never started the races for. And I think that holds so true of our life is it's like you have the ability to do anything but that belief that's only going to come through the continuation of doing difficult things over and over and over again because think about how many hours of training it takes to get to that finish line, how many efforts I mean how many slaps, swimming and miles ran and all the things that it takes to do that and, in the place, where you wanna quit. And I wanna go into that for a second. Nobody does hundred mile runs and five thousand wild bike rides in fucking marathons without wanting to quit, I just don't believe it's possible. And so, what I wanna know and this is a personal question just to be frank, how do you not quit in those moments?
David: Well, four or five times I have quit, I'm not doing ironman man but doing fifty mile or her mile not meeting, yeah, and a hundred mile alright so every once a while you have to quit because you go, okay, I've done everything I could do like, I know my limit is I cannot take one more step like I know that which is okay but it was hearing the right thing at the right time, I watched an interview with one of the founders of the environment he was talking about like what is the mindset of a person that wants to do something like an ironman and he said you're gonna wanna quit a thousand times that day. He goes in if you do, it's totally fine because nobody else is gonna know but every time you look in the mirror, you're gonna know you didn't give it everything you could have given it. And I'm like, holy crap, you mean what I think of me matters more than what anybody else thinks of me? I know we've kinda touched on this earlier but what makes me not wanna quit is I don't wanna let myself down, I got so tired of living with a mindset of I can't let other people down, that I totally discounted what I thought about myself, and so I said, I don't wanna let myself that okay, if I have to quit. Ask a second kind to disappointment if I gave it everything but am I really given it everything because if not, I don't wanna look back and go you wasted it dude, like you know now, you forgive yourself for all your problems, all the bullshit you did to other people all the bad choices you made all the crap that was thrown into the baseball bats that in the back of the head whatever just let it all go, but from this point forward just did you give it everything you got and if you did okay, if you quit and if you didn't keep going but if you can take one more step it will get easier eventually it does get easier.
Michael: I agree a hundred percent. And I think in my own life when I hit that precipice and I'm like I've literally done everything that I believe so fucking firmly that I've done everything in my power to cross that finish line whether literally or metaphorically I always come back to is it true that I do not have one more step. And if it's true then I'm okay with that because there have been moments where I've walked away, where I've quit, where I've left, where I've looked at the thing and I'm been like I gotta go away from this; this does not serve me. And in those moments that I know that I gave it my all I sleep soundly at night but like you if I know, I can just take one more step and I can force this thing and I really truly believe at some point it's just like literally forcing it like if I can just force this thing at least I know that I took the next step even if I quit on the next step at least I took the next one and I think that's what I want people to take away from this is knowing the truth that like everything about your life is going to be determined by your choices, your decisions and your actions and as long as you don't give up you're never gonna lose but between that start in that finish line there's gonna be a thousand quits and it's just about keep going and I could not agree with that more. David, my friend this conversation has been incredible before I ask you my last question, can you tell anyone where they can find you?
David: Yeah, sure. You find me my latest bite book will talk about that in another time to crown covid fifteen people’s emotional journeys with cancer and also include a narrative of my five-thousand-mile bike crisis. So, you find out a few times how I'm badly I wanted to quit but didn't. And all my books and anything else is you could just look up david-richman.com or look up cycle lives or winning in the middle of the pack or whatever. You know nobody's hard to find if you wanna hear what they have to say, so if anything touches you just looking me up and connect, I'm always excited to connect with people.
Michael: Brilliant and of course we'll put all the links in the show notes and the book is definitely one that I recommend that folks check out. David, my last question for you my friend what does it mean to you to be unbroken?
David: You know, I knew that the question was coming and you know for me, I feel like I broken like the whole time that I was putting on front to accomplish whatever I needed to accomplish that wasn't real, so you know what saying like I have to accomplish this because otherwise I'm gonna be homeless, I gotta do this because that's what my boss says, I gotta do and people don't know what's really going on in your head, they don't know who you're experience, they only the traumas, they don't know where you come from, right? So, it's like this big game sometimes we're deceiving others, sometimes we're deceiving ourselves and it's just like we're just like not in tune, not dialed, right? For me, unbroken means you know I'm gonna be authentic, I'm gonna have my feet on the ground, I'm gonna care more in the mirror; about the guy in the mirror than anyone else, I'm gonna forgive myself what I don't do well, I'm gonna truthfully reward myself or appreciate what I can do well and just be don't be an asshole to others, well don't be an asshole to yourself, right?
I mean that's a really important thing and so for me unbroken is being authentic, allowing yourself to figure out what life has for you and going out there and kinda like leaning into it with optimism and put the thing you've been struggling with is something that I feel like as long as I have the opportunity to do it, I still do now and I do will for hopefully a very long time my best days are out me. And I think if I'm truthful like that's a long answer a short answer is I’m unbroken if I still believe my best stays are out me and there's a lot to unpack in that statement but some of the things, I just touched on right there is like being unbroken for me is being my true authentic, optimistic, leaning into what life has in store for me, learning and figuring it out, so to me that's what unbroken is.
Michael: Brilliantly said, my friend. Thank you so much for being here.
Unbroken Nation, thank you so much for listening.
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Author, Endurance Athlete, Speaker
David is an author, public speaker, and endurance athlete whose mission is to form more meaningful human connections through storytelling. His first book, Winning in the Middle of the Pack, discussed how to get more out of ourselves than ever imagined. With Cycle of Lives, David shares stories of people overcoming trauma and delves deeply into their emotional journeys with cancer.
He continues to do Ironman triathlons and recently completed a solo 4,700-mile bike ride.