Spartan Up - Joe Desena Transcript

00:00
be Spartan races get that it just wants
00:02
your genes to go on to the next
00:04
generation I want to try something that
00:06
we've never done on a podcast before you
00:08
just gave me an idea I have a buddy that
00:09
I introduced you to Josh he was a rower
00:12
for those of you listening patrick
00:15
sitting here was an olympic rower second
00:17
in the 96 Olympic Trials so so you
00:21
weren't first so it wasn't a big deal or
00:22
a second I was the first loser if you
00:25
ain't first you're last so I'm gonna get
00:27
Josh on the phone because he's putting
00:28
on a swim race I think as we speak and
00:31
he called me two days ago because he
00:34
said look there's been a great white
00:35
sighting in on the course where we're
00:38
having our swim race and I think a bunch
00:40
of people are gonna want refunds and so
00:42
he was asking me for advice and I'm just
00:44
cold I say we call I'm let's see what's
00:46
calling cuz I'm gonna tell him you
00:48
should charge them more right that was
00:49
my immediate response was like can you
00:51
imagine see if the answers can you
00:54
imagine the number of people that would
00:56
be able to pound their chest and said I
00:58
got through this swim race with great
00:59
whites no cage hey you got two seconds
01:02
you in the middle of a swim race I'm
01:03
sitting with Patrick Sweeney right now
01:05
and we're with we're doing a podcast and
01:09
we're talking about fear and how
01:11
ridiculous it is for people that have a
01:13
fear like myself of sharks because the
01:15
statistical possibility of getting eaten
01:18
is very low and I thought you know what
01:20
let's get Josh on the phone how many
01:22
people canceled the race today due to a
01:24
potential shark attack 15 people so far
01:31
and I'm percent 10% and you didn't lose
01:34
those people to a shark attack you lost
01:36
them because they quit alright Josh
01:42
we're gonna let you get back to your
01:43
race good luck I hope you don't lose
01:44
anybody
01:57
we're gonna send out this podcast to the
02:00
15 people who tapped out for your race
02:02
I'll see you later love you buddy so
02:04
anyway there there's an example you're
02:05
saying right they might have missed out
02:06
on a wonderful opportunity to swim
02:08
because I swim to kiteboard with Richard
02:12
Branson to
02:13
row across the Atlantic oh all this
02:16
stuff so the amazing part I'll cut to
02:18
the chase about our story and then I see
02:21
these people carrying some chains across
02:22
so I think we got to do some burpees do
02:24
some respect but I'll cut to the chase
02:27
because I went through a very traumatic
02:29
event in my early 30s almost died Doc's
02:32
at Hopkins were telling me you know get
02:35
your affairs in order and I'm no doctor
02:37
but I'm pretty sure that's doctor speak
02:38
for your and so I'm you know I'm
02:41
thinking I'm gonna die and then all of a
02:43
sudden when I got out of Hopkins I
02:45
decided I wasn't gonna let this fear of
02:47
flying dictate my whole life and what I
02:49
did with my life and more importantly
02:51
with my family right because I knew they
02:53
needed a dad who could take him and show
02:55
him the world take him to Disney it
02:57
didn't matter and so I started taking
02:59
flying lessons I fell in love with fine
03:01
right the thing that scared me the most
03:03
for 35 years I fell in love with and it
03:06
was amazing I got my private pilot's
03:08
license my instrument rating I got my
03:10
commercial rating I'm never gonna be a
03:12
commercial pilot and then I started
03:13
flying aerobatic and competition and I'm
03:16
upside down doing this crazy that
03:18
would have had me poop in my pants you
03:20
know 15 years ago so I wonder that's a
03:23
whole genesis of this journey Joe
03:25
I wondered how many other people out
03:26
there had fear locking away an amazing
03:30
passion for more amazing gift or amazing
03:33
growth opportunities yeah I would not
03:34
have met my wife but we'll get into that
03:36
in a second half let's go do some
03:37
burpees help these people came that
03:39
carry that chain and we'll see if you
03:42
survive that this episode of Spartan up
03:45
is brought to you by Luminox the
03:47
official timing Partner of Spartan Race
03:49
Luminox is the watch brand of choice
03:51
when it comes to overcoming tough
03:52
obstacles where every second counts
03:54
visit Luminox calm and use code Spartan
03:58
10 to get 10% off your next order Wow
04:02
how was a heavy chain so you wrote this
04:06
book which is basically I guess a
04:08
culmination of all your experience up
04:11
till now and because a lot of people I
04:13
think it's a good idea a lot of people
04:15
don't have that moment like you had in
04:18
the hospital right and so there's and
04:20
for me you hear a lot of cancer patients
04:23
say the greatest thing of their life was
04:25
getting cancer because you have to
04:27
I to learn how to live most people have
04:29
to die to learn how to live and that
04:31
happened to me you know I was I was the
04:33
biggest coward you could possibly
04:35
imagine I was terrified of everything
04:37
you know I was running what was the top
04:40
technology company in this in the space
04:42
RFID radio frequency identification and
04:44
I was terrified of each board meeting
04:46
right like I'd spent two weeks preparing
04:47
because I'm trying to figure out what
04:49
the board wants to hear I was afraid to
04:51
you know I was gonna lose my best
04:53
employees oh and I had this low-level
04:55
cortisol the stress hormone just eaten
04:57
away at me so it's got its got
04:59
physiological in addition to all the
05:01
things you miss out on it's got its got
05:04
a physiological response huge impact on
05:07
your health yeah absolutely
05:08
there's no reason all of us shouldn't be
05:09
living to 100 and and doing the death
05:12
race in our 80s and 90s I know the
05:14
oldest guy what's the oldest guy you've
05:15
had so far
05:16
probably 60s 60s and then today as you
05:20
see we've got some youngsters day we've
05:22
got a six-year-old out there yet I love
05:23
the kids death race as well my three
05:25
kids are there so back to the fear thing
05:27
yeah what would what became amazing is
05:30
after I almost died and I got out of the
05:32
hospital I decided to take the flying
05:34
lessons it became this amazing passion
05:37
and then courage had this halo effect on
05:39
my whole life I I'm working half the
05:42
hours and my business has taken off and
05:45
my relationships were so much better
05:47
because I I found the authentic me so by
05:50
dying I mean literally going to the edge
05:52
I realized that that I've gotta live or
05:55
else I'm gonna be full of regret and I'm
05:57
gonna be full of remorse and and and you
06:00
know not achieve things you want to
06:01
achieve exactly not only just not
06:04
achieving things but not realizing how
06:06
much like how vast the opportunities
06:08
were for me I never you know I mean the
06:11
doors just opened up once I got over
06:13
that fear and it's amazing you know and
06:15
so I wanted that for for everyone else
06:17
that's my mission now and so you think
06:19
you think the book will unlock that for
06:21
a lot of people and what do you think
06:22
does it well so so what happened for me
06:24
was you know I went from being the
06:27
world's biggest sissy to all of a sudden
06:29
finding courage as a superpower and I
06:32
was on a charity bike ride a century
06:34
bike ride in Boston and ended up riding
06:37
with a neuroscientist from Tufts and we
06:40
had 80 miles together
06:41
so we got four hours to sit and chat and
06:43
I told him my story I said how did how
06:45
did this happen that I went from being
06:46
afraid of my own shadow to be in captain
06:49
courageous right and I said it's it's
06:51
the funnels me he invited me into his
06:53
lab and he said here's what we're doing
06:55
work on here's how your brain works this
06:57
is you know what's happened and I say
06:58
wow that's really fascinating and he
07:00
said we've only had the technology in
07:02
the past really eight to ten years to
07:05
what's going on in the mind I mean it's
07:07
a last area of our body of human
07:11
physiology that has the technology to
07:13
now start doing some diagnostic tools
07:15
and so 2016 they had the first real map
07:18
of the brain that people agreed on which
07:20
is ridiculous because you've got
07:22
psychologists saying you know is this
07:23
just a cigar or is this you know you in
07:26
love with your mother what's you know
07:27
what's going on and it it's complete
07:29
bull you have psychologists saying okay
07:31
well you've got to learn how to avoid
07:33
fear you got to learn how to deal with
07:35
this one fear and it's complete bull so
07:38
what I found out was from from this guy
07:40
he said you got to go visit this guy at
07:42
Harvard so I did and he said oh you
07:44
should go visit my colleague at MIT so I
07:46
did and after interviewing four or five
07:48
of these guys I said man there's a book
07:49
in here this is so fascinating and if
07:52
people knew this is what's happening in
07:54
your brain I said they they can flip a
07:57
switch they can literally pull a lever
07:58
in their brain and become courageous and
08:01
then it'll open up a whole new world so
08:03
the reason I left the you know the
08:05
Entrepreneurship the tech world behind
08:06
is for all this stuff to hopefully
08:08
change millions of lives that's the
08:10
point
08:11
so you leave tech you write the book
08:13
book done books done published by rowman
08:17
& littlefield in New York and it will
08:19
come out in December 2019 so it comes at
08:21
the end of this year awesome and it's a
08:25
hundred thousand words I'd to pare it
08:26
down from 120,000 but it's you know I
08:29
think it's really impactful I think it's
08:31
got some great stuff in there for people
08:33
so for those that that don't have the
08:35
book can't read whatever and they're
08:37
listening give us three things that
08:39
somebody could do at home so that they
08:42
don't end up like me standing on a chair
08:43
when they take their cold showers so I
08:45
think the first and foremost Joe is to
08:47
understand when the amygdala is trying
08:49
to take over so we've got that two
08:51
million year old lizard brain and the
08:53
reason I say it's both that we
08:55
have to avoid our fears is we actually
08:57
have to find more fear in our life right
08:59
I think if we do something that scares
09:01
us every single day we'll recognize when
09:04
the amygdala has taken over and I call
09:06
those your fear tells so everybody has
09:08
the same reaction whether it's
09:10
butterflies in the stomach or a tight
09:12
chest or if we go gets we got some of
09:16
the the death races are pretty happy
09:20
yeah so every time we get scared we have
09:24
these individual responses so when you
09:26
get this is why everyone should scare
09:27
themselves every single day so you start
09:30
to recognize when the amygdala that that
09:32
survival brain is the limbic system it's
09:34
called is trying to take over so if you
09:37
scare yourself every day and you say oh
09:38
okay I feel those butterflies I feel my
09:40
jaw tightening I feel my my hands
09:42
getting sweaty whatever your specific
09:44
tells are then you know the amygdala is
09:46
trying to take over your decision-making
09:47
you're gonna make a decision based on
09:49
regret so you've got a stop and I'm
09:52
gonna stop the lizard brain and then
09:54
pull back and say okay what's what it is
09:56
my decision-making process and you need
09:58
a process to push through it but the
10:01
amazing thing is and this is why some
10:03
some baseball players you look at David
10:05
Ortiz during the playoffs you know he's
10:07
just clutch or Messi or Ronaldo during
10:09
the World Cup these guys when when their
10:12
heart rate is is at 130 beats per minute
10:14
they've got a hundred thousand people in
10:16
the stands they're able to perform even
10:18
better so you can use fear as fuel if
10:21
you have the tools to do it but the key
10:22
thing is you got to practice you got to
10:24
practice it because otherwise you don't
10:25
know what's going on you don't know
10:27
what's happening in your body and
10:28
because it's unusual using that gut feel
10:31
and it's the wrong signal exactly that's
10:33
exactly right so so that's one of the
10:35
big things that I'd recommend to people
10:36
you know if they don't want to buy the
10:37
book or they don't want to take the
10:38
course which we had a blast filming by
10:41
the way in the Atacama Desert
10:42
Dunnan in Chile it was unbelievable
10:45
crossing the desert to deliver a pair of
10:46
Spartan shoes 200 was 273 miles across
10:51
the desert on different transportation
10:57
none of them modern yeah no nothing
11:00
modern and nothing easy I think my
11:01
thighs are still sore from that damn
11:03
horse when we saw that sign
11:05
that said 198 miles of no services that
11:10
had the amygdala gone for me because I'm
11:12
like I don't know if we're gonna make it
11:14
yeah and in in the conditions right
11:16
because it is literally the driest place
11:18
on earth and so when you get that now
11:20
you've got that anticipatory fear and
11:22
you can either use that fear it's like
11:24
being in a car crash you've been in a
11:26
car crash yeah week three car crash and
11:29
in in you know how everything moves in
11:31
slow motion yeah it's because that that
11:34
fear system we produce a fear cocktail
11:36
right it's adrenaline it's DHEA it's
11:39
cortisol and it gives you superhuman
11:40
powers so if you learn how to use that
11:42
you can do amazing things like your
11:44
decision-making is much better your
11:46
mental acuity is sharper and physically
11:48
you can do incredible I love it
11:51
so so if you're not gonna take the
11:53
course and you're not gonna read the
11:55
book and you're not gonna get off your
11:57
couch you're not you're not our people
12:01
listen to the podcast so so one other
12:03
tip give me one other tip sure so I'll
12:05
give you what my email signature says
12:07
for for people out there who I've never
12:09
had the pleasure of meeting or emailing
12:13
it's magna vitae memento mori
12:17
and that is live big and remember your
12:20
death so I think if you start every
12:22
single day before you get up out of bed
12:24
one of the things and and I started it
12:27
with my kids and now I do it with CEOs
12:28
that I work with and and you know
12:31
thousand-person audiences the last thing
12:33
you want to do is get on your phone in
12:34
the morning cuz now you're living by
12:36
someone else's agenda right whoever sent
12:38
you something that's gonna distract you
12:40
you're letting them dictate how your
12:41
morning starts so wait an hour till you
12:43
get on your phone and then I like to do
12:46
a morning meditation I do some breathing
12:47
exercises do the cold shower and I
12:49
always remember if I die today what do I
12:52
want to do today
12:54
what is this day gonna be like if I know
12:55
that at midnight I'm gonna die so if you
12:58
remember your death you think to your
12:59
why you know I say to my wife listen I'm
13:01
really sorry I was grumpy last night I
13:03
love you tons you're you know you're the
13:05
biggest part of my life and our kids are
13:07
great I'll call up you know a partner or
13:10
brother or whatever and and and make
13:13
sure that whatever it is I think okay if
13:15
I die today am I good with that am I
13:17
gonna die a good
13:18
and I think remembering that and putting
13:21
that in perspective for people is
13:22
probably one of the best things we can
13:23
do which now makes sense because I could
13:26
never reach you that was awesome and I
13:33
guess the name of the book the name of
13:36
the book is fear is fuel there so we're
13:39
learning how to use fear as fuel I took
13:41
the key concepts of that when we were
13:43
down in the Atacama Desert in Chile for
13:45
for a week and and we did 14 modules I
13:50
think it's gonna end up being which are
13:51
which are really killer and and you know
13:54
I'm gonna be here it's part of the
13:56
Spartan team to follow up answer
13:59
people's questions and and get people
14:01
engaged because we want them off the
14:02
couch we want them up here doing the
14:03
death race which I love the name need to
14:07
say it in Latin though cuz it sounds so
14:09
much more badass well memento mori
14:11
remember your death so for those of you
14:15
that don't have any fear I guess there's
14:16
a few of those people out there yeah
14:18
that's race that's it come to the death
14:20
race and and we'll put the fear of God
14:22
into you alright I told you this guy
14:24
you've got a lot of fear I know special
14:27
operator over here you do have a lot of
14:29
fears right everybody everybody does and
14:32
can you harness him now yeah no I I
14:35
think I think I can I think I can I
14:38
think I can right I mean that's they
14:40
tell you that as a little kid right I
14:42
mean I've never stood on a stool in a
14:44
shower I can tell you that you know so
14:47
that's a little stab at me because I'm
14:48
afraid of sharks no no I mean everybody
14:51
everybody is afraid of something and
14:53
what really struck me though is when he
14:55
was talking about kind of that when it
14:57
happens where it happens and the
14:59
emotional content of add emotional part
15:03
of it and that it stays with you forever
15:06
and so then it you know the tricks you
15:08
can apply to kind of overcome it but
15:10
when I'm listening to it I'm thinking
15:11
the whole time
15:12
this guy's got a knowledge and a talent
15:15
and skill set and he may and maybe just
15:18
didn't come out but I'd really like to
15:20
see him involved with with veterans with
15:23
the VA or something because there are a
15:26
lot of people that that's the exact PTSD
15:29
issue it's not always obviously the
15:32
physical
15:33
it's the emotional scarring right when
15:36
you see something you're just not
15:39
prepared for or you think back later but
15:42
you don't even don't even dumpin you
15:44
don't even know that trigger exists you
15:45
don't know it at the time and it comes
15:47
up later and I don't tell the whole
15:48
world everything but but I had a little
15:50
bit of an issue with that so that's why
15:52
I was thinking about that I you know I
15:54
you don't know what's gonna trigger
15:55
something and then I had some issues and
15:58
it was like wow where does that come
15:59
from you know so I think he really could
16:03
be quite helpful to some people it's
16:05
definitely fear goes into rowing fuel
16:07
failure a fear of you know getting on
16:10
the line at the World Championships in
16:12
and having your or be the one that that
16:14
digs deep or misses the water on the
16:16
start and screwed up for the whole team
16:18
and I think the biggest thing that helps
16:21
me with fear and especially as an
16:23
athlete is visualizing before I go into
16:26
the situation things that could go wrong
16:29
things that that may come up that would
16:32
cause panic perhaps and if you visualize
16:36
and spend time seeing and how you're
16:38
going to respond rather than react to
16:40
that that can help lessen the fear going
16:44
into it and then if something does
16:46
happen you're way more prepared to
16:48
handle it and and do you think that is
16:51
the trick be like like when when Colonel
16:53
Nye talks about or Patrick Sweeney talks
16:55
about this these triggers these things
16:57
that haven't passed in our past life
16:59
right in the past do you think by
17:02
visualizing you could help mute those
17:04
responses well I mean being aware of
17:07
these triggers is if you don't know what
17:10
your trigger is and you're all of a
17:11
sudden in a fearful situation
17:13
well it's hopefully you can learn from
17:15
that situation moving forward and find
17:17
out maybe identify that trigger and then
17:20
how to kind of like taking a little bit
17:23
of a serum if you can take a little bit
17:25
at a time you might be able to lessen
17:27
the effect just a quick story here so a
17:30
few years ago every now and then I don't
17:34
know there were months apart I was
17:35
getting severe headaches I mean you know
17:39
tears coming out of my eyes and hanging
17:41
on to my head and I remember once
17:43
actually pulling off the side of road
17:45
to a convenience store 7-eleven or
17:46
whatever and like some kind of drug
17:48
addict I was going through the shelves
17:50
and I grabbed some Tylenol or something
17:52
and I was eating them in the aisle you
17:55
know I'm trying to grab some water and
17:57
get him down and I told my wife this a
17:59
couple times and she she luckily medical
18:01
training was like this only happens when
18:04
you're out by yourself and you're
18:05
driving around you know you don't know
18:07
where you're all where you're at and
18:08
you're getting anxious or something
18:10
turned out I had never owned a
18:12
smartphone or anything so I didn't have
18:14
the GPS I was an old-school guy and I'm
18:16
just driving around right this all comes
18:18
back to being in convoys and being in
18:21
traffic and being overseas and not
18:23
knowing if the car next to you was going
18:24
to blow up or get shot up or whatever so
18:27
when I was in these situations the
18:30
trigger in the traffic in an unknown
18:32
place wasn't conscious I wouldn't say oh
18:38
this is but it wasn't so she told me we
18:40
went out bought a smartphone I've never
18:42
had a headache again now I don't know if
18:44
they identified the problem yeah I
18:50
different fear and phobias are a little
18:53
bit different I've noticed with my
18:54
children a phobia is you cannot reason
18:57
with it you cannot control it one of my
18:59
child kids is fearful of boats and and
19:03
it's not the water it's just like the
19:05
openness once we start to go out a
19:07
little bit and immediately we'd have to
19:10
turn around and the whole day would be
19:12
ruined and the boat boat trip would be
19:13
ruined cuz there was no way of calming
19:16
her down it wasn't till I realized that
19:17
you can't reason with a phobia but with
19:20
a fear I think you can find like we were
19:23
talking about a way to soften the blow
19:26
Joe and tell the truth because I was
19:28
there you jumped out of an airplane with
19:30
the Golden Knights I was pushed out
19:33
gonna say I don't think it was you know
19:37
I don't think it was your most
19:38
comfortable moment right but you did it
19:41
right I mean I did it I'm as you're
19:43
talking I'm thinking the way I handle
19:46
fears I had to swim in the ocean with
19:49
our friend from Delta recently that
19:51
doesn't exist and I had to do a mile
19:55
swim and I'm afraid of sharks and they
19:56
had seen some some great whites out in
19:58
Montauk
19:59
but I'm not saying no to him so I don't
20:01
know I have this mechanism where I just
20:03
shut it off what is your fear of letting
20:06
him down greater than the fear of the
20:07
shark or letting myself down right right
20:10
like we're doing this right well we're
20:12
doing it yeah I mean listen every time
20:14
they opened the door and I on a whatever
20:15
aircraft it was on I don't care who you
20:18
are your heartbeat starts to go up you
20:20
start to anticipate you know you're
20:22
breathing a little ardor and I don't
20:23
care how many jumps you have it's still
20:25
gonna happen what patrick was saying
20:27
about the fear handling the fear through
20:29
focus and I think that is a great tool
20:33
like whenever I find myself I was skiing
20:36
up on Mount Washington last year and I
20:38
got in kind of a gnarly situation and
20:41
the only way out was down and the only
20:44
way to get down safely was to be hyper
20:46
focused and I think that resonated a lot
20:50
with me I think since I've met Patrick
20:53
and since we did the interview just
20:54
knowing that you've got basically legacy
20:58
hardware and software in your brain that
21:01
is triggering a response to make sure we
21:03
continue to exist as human beings like
21:06
that's enough for me to say wait a
21:07
minute this fear of sharks is ridiculous
21:09
yes there's a risk jumping out of the
21:11
plane but come on they're well-trained
21:13
individuals we're gonna get right I I
21:15
will say it I'm gonna detour here a
21:16
little bit it kept giving you we're
21:19
talking about the stats that very little
21:21
chance of getting bit by a shark right
21:22
are you increase those though when
21:24
you're in the water and you increase
21:25
them when you're in water where the
21:27
shark actually already exists you know
21:29
so yes only one in a million let's say
21:32
people get bit by a shark but nine
21:33
hundred ninety nine thousand I'm are
21:35
sitting in an apartment in New York City
21:36
so you're but it forces you to
21:42
irrational right right like I can get in
21:46
the bathtub
21:46
without any rest yeah you ought to be
21:48
able to do that and just swim a little
21:50
faster and make sure there's a few
21:51
people on either side Hey with that we
21:56
want to hear what you're afraid of and
21:58
we want to help you get over your fear
22:00
fuel getting off that couch and getting
22:03
done so so write something down below
22:06
here or and or send me an email
22:08
Joe its Barton calm or you could even
22:09
send Josh Nemo a colonel night they
22:11
probably won't respond
22:12
to you but I will thanks for listening
22:16
to today's episode of Sparta now if you
22:17
have goals we're here for you with tips
22:19
to keep you on track and interviews
22:21
every Tuesday with inspiring motivating
22:23
people the only thing we ask of you is
22:25
to push yourself and push your limits
22:26
and to help us get the word out we're on
22:29
a mission to rip a hundred million
22:30
people off the couch and give them the
22:32
tools to keep going so please tell your
22:34
friends about us subscribe share it if
22:37
you liked this episode and let us know
22:39
what you think are we on the right track
22:40
you can find us on Instagram at Spartan
22:42
up podcast or on Twitter at Spartan up
22:44
pod see you next week
22:49
[Music]