Richard Hammond: The Untold Story Of My 320mph Crash & My 1 Minute Memory! | E221 | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Richard Hammond: The Untold Story Of My 320mph Crash & My 1 Minute Memory! | E221".


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Intro (00:00)

It was answering a question that had always wondered. When am I going to die? It was like, "Oh, it's now." Would you please welcome Richard Hammer! People see Top Gear presenter, Gram Tor presenter. One of the biggest TV shows in history. It's fair to say that he has the best job in the world. Be funny, quicker, and heavier. Every compensatory measure that anybody who's diminutive in height has ever made. I've done. It's one of the reasons I'm a broadcaster now, for sure. There's a cost about, though. Yeah. What's the cost? Was there a moment in the journey of Top Gear where you thought yourself this is big? We went out in front of 60,000 people. And just before we went out, I said, "Lads, have three guys with less talent ever gone out of front of more people?" Is there any guilt associated with your success? Yeah, there is. I want to prove I'm not a lucky idiot. So I took some risky decisions. Have you ever pondered that you might? Why have I overdone it? Richard Hammond has been seriously injured in a car crash. They had called Mindy in. They said I think we lose him. I had very bad post-traumatic amnesia for like a one-minute memory. Wow. I have to consciously write them a sound and work hard to recall them. Do you worry about that? I do. The damage was done. Let's probably have a look, find out. Are you scared to find out? Yeah. I just want to start this episode with a message of thanks. I thank you to everybody that tuned in to listen to this podcast. By doing so, you've enabled me to live out my dream, but also for many members of our team to live out their dreams too. It's one of the greatest privileges I could never have dreamed of or imagined in my life to get to do this, to get to learn from these people, to get to have these conversations, to get to interrogate them from a very selfish perspective, trying to solve problems I have in my life. So I feel like I owe you a huge thank you for being here and for listening to these episodes and for making this platform what it is. Can I ask you a favor? I can't tell you how much you can change the course of this podcast, the course of the guests we're able to invite to the show and to the course of everything that we do here, just by doing one simple thing. And that simple thing is hitting that subscribe button, helps this channel more than I could ever explain. The guests on this platform are incredible because so many of you have hit that button. And I know when we think about what we want to do together over the next year on this show, a lot of it is going to be fueled by the amount of you that are subscribed and that tune into this show every week. So thank you. Let's keep doing this. And I can't wait to see what this year brings for this show for us as a community and for this platform. Richard, can we start by you giving me your context, your earliest context?

Personal Struggles And Life Advice

Early Context (02:46)

Where? Yeah, little fella, born in Birmingham. Mum and Dad, I'm the eldest of three brothers. Quite a close knit family. My mum's dad worked in the car industry, he was a coach builder. So his train is a cabinet maker, working with wood. Then he went into coach building, which is in the old days when cars had a steel chassis and then they'd have an ash, usually wooden frame over the top. So that's where he started because his cabinet maker skills were relevant. But then he stayed within the car industry and finished up working at Jensen. So cars were always, they were always in my imagination. They weren't like littering the drive because, you know, we had modest means. So we had a purple marina coupe, it was a best car. But I loved them. And that grew into an obsession. Yeah, so schooled there until 15. And then we moved north as a family and I went to a Rippen Grammar School up in the north. And from there started working radio in 1988. That's a long time ago, isn't it? I wasn't alive back then. Yes, thank you so much. We've already just as soon as I was coming in, we mentioned that. The fact that I talk regularly to like full grown adults, like important people, you do lots of important stuff. And there's, oh yeah, I love your show. You used to watch it when I was a little kid. Yeah, I've done it that long. Yeah, I know. You've led a life that is a real anomaly in many respects. You know, you've done some unbelievable things that people would just dream of doing. When I think back in my own life, I try and pinpoint the moments of influence, whether it was a TV show I watched or something that happened for better or for worse. Like you said with your dad and his love for cars, that made me end up living a life that was a little bit different. When you think about those things and why you became an anomaly, what are those anomalous influences? See, my favorite game is to look back and pretend they were all part of some great plan and thread them all together. But you can only do that in retrospect. For me, I guess, I always liked expression. I wanted to be a painter or I wanted to draw or any well, I loved art at school. I love English. I loved writing. But I love photography when I was about 10. Improvise a little dark room under the stairs and print my own black and white photographs. So I loved all of that. But I was very much things like that with other people. I thought it was a Birmingham thing. Brom is, I've always heard that, but Brom is don't go, wow, who average Brom will never go, wow, no, no, no. That's no, I mean, my dead ex-girlfriend like that, I'm even bigger. It's just something we do. We don't profess to, we don't do that. And you kind of need to be able to do that to then think that's what I might pursue. So key moment, I'm making this up as being a key moment. I don't know. It feels like it when I was eight, something like that, nine. My dad's parents lived in Western Superman. So we'd go on holiday there, which meant an endless drive from Birmingham. Yes, before the motorway went all the way. So... Or was it in the life? Yeah, yeah, that's going to be a theme. We went all the way down to Western Superman to see them. And we were walking along the front there. There's a low sea wall and a beach down here on my right. And I saw there was a difficult fuffle going on, and then later on we looked over the wall. Well, a lot of people gathered around and some people holding things, and in the middle, and it was Derek Griffiths presenter who was doing a piece of camera. And there was a camera there, and I remember thinking, "That's amazing. He's been so animated and talking to that theme." There's nobody there, but he's talking to it. He's engaging with it, and so almost pulling a response out of it. And I think that was... I didn't leave that experience going, "That's it. I've got to be a television presenter." Because that was for other people, just as being a photographer was for other people or an artist. But it was there in my heart. That's when I thought, "I bet that feels amazing." What was for you? If that was for other people, what did you think was for you? I don't know. I guess it... I would never have imagined anything that I've done happening to me. None of it. For me was... See, I'm that bit older than you. And possibly there's a generation that were raised by people who were glad to have got through the war. And for whom what they really wanted was just a quiet life, with nobody trying to kill them or their parents or their loved ones. So I wonder if there's echoes of that. And I think that was maybe still echoing around Birmingham, that what you really wanted was just to make sure everything's okay, just to give it to everybody's all right. We can have family life and we can just progress without making a fuss, sticking your head over the parapet, because that brings risk. So avoid that, don't. So I never would have... Dream, I'm not saying I was directionless. Had I asked you about 18 or 16, what are you going to be when you grow up? What would you have replied, you think? 16, I'd have replied. I just want to write me moped. I'd have wanted to be an artist, a great painter, but I'd taken no meaningful steps towards it at all, because again, lacked confidence. Yeah, I was sort of... That would only have happened if a miracle had occurred. Do you know what I mean? If you have an option that you're not actually pursuing actively, because you think that's not funny, but I'll keep it in there. Admittedly, what I'm saying is I was hoping to win the lottery, but I wasn't doing the lottery. But it feels like that. But by 18, I'd have said I want to be in radio and ultimately TV. And that's what ends up happening, right? You go and study? Yeah, well, I sat my own levels under a different examination board, and a different syllabus from that under which I'd studied. And then I went into sixth form, but it reached a point eventually when the teaching staff thought it might be better if I went somewhere else. Literally anywhere else, just not there. Just don't be. They chucked me out. But not for anything heroic. But I wasn't one of those, "Yes, I set fire to the janitor's car." I was like, "I just was annoying." I was an irritant. And I wasn't focusing, so they slung me out. What do you mean? When you say annoying, you mean, "Oh, God." Just whining the teacher's up or something. Yeah. Trying to be funny. Every compensatory measure that anybody who's diminutive in height has ever made. I've done. Only discovered recently that one of my dearest friends, Zog Ziegler, who I've known for 30 odd years, is 20 years older than me. In emails referring to me to other people, he copied me into one by accident about 10 years ago. He always caused me little Napoleon. I didn't know he'd been doing that. He looked a bit shame-faced, but he still does. Yeah, I exhibited all of those traits. I was just irritating, honestly. Really annoying. Do you know why?

Being self-conscious about height (10:28)

Because I was conscious of being, you know, more than everybody else, and I wanted to be a bigger noise in the room. I wanted to sort of disrupt and do stuff. But I didn't want to be naughty. I still hate being in trouble. I hate being in trouble. It bothers me. And it did then. But I was just honestly, I wouldn't have put that with me. You know, there's like a stereotype that if you're smaller in stature, that you're insecure, that it becomes almost like a shame or an insecurity as a young man. And then you kind of act against that by exhibiting certain behaviors. Was that true for you? Was there ever like a shame of being smaller? It was... Yeah, I guess you don't really, it's not something you crave. Although, I've spoken to lots of tall people who often wish and had a similarly difficult time as a child, because you're always sticking out the crowd and you don't always want to. You can't make yourself small. It genuinely doesn't trouble me now. I mean, the truth of the matter is, often when I meet people for the first time, and if they've seen me on the telly, there's a moment and they're disappointed, because they're expected to meet something that you'd hang on a Christmas tree or put on the mantelpiece. But I'm actually what, five, seven-ish? So I'm fairly average, really. It's just that I consistently work with much taller people. But it... Yeah, it did drive me on as a kid. And I do... It's bullying. I've never bleated about it, but it is. And it influenced me greatly. Yeah. Yeah, it's... I overcompensated. I felt I had to. It's almost like you take that as a kid. You take that into the room with you. Anything that makes you different, whatever that is, you take that in the room with you, and it's kind of... You have to deal with it, and you have to deal with it. You have to compensate for it. Be funnier, or be quicker, or be angrier, or noisier, or naughty. You have to somehow compensate for this thing, which is to do with, I guess, if you could bring that thing with you into a room, and it was simply absorbed, and it didn't matter, then you could be the person behind all of that. So yeah, I think it did influence. It's one of the reasons I'm a broadcaster now, for sure. Really? Yeah. Banned to be. Must be. Must be. I've often thought really... If you're lucky enough... It's a bad thing. People seldom have careers now, as broadcasters as I think of it. Because they're personalities, and that's a different game. But I come from an era when it was a craft. I spent a long time learning about how to address an audience through radio. You never pluralise the audience. You talk to people one-on-one. All sorts of things. And those craft skills have gone, and they've gone from TV. Is that a bad or a good thing? I don't know if actually we're getting to see people genuinely as they are, if we're celebrating interesting personalities. Rather than somebody who simply learned to craft, maybe that's better. But I was pushed to do it, I think, in part by that. And I've often said that the worst people to pursue it, as in the worst people to deal with the trappings of success in the media, are by definition the same ones who are the only ones driven enough to achieve it. Because they're compensating. So... Amen. That's why it can be damaging. Because only the man or one who was so desperate for it would have hung on and endured sacrificing friends and time and spare time and sometimes dignity and whatever else in order to get there. And they're therefore the least able to deal with it when whatever it was that they craved is given them. But they'll be better off solving the craving, removing the craving, than feeding it. That's my theory. I said this to my girlfriend just today. Did you bed at 1am? You said. The point about how people that strive to have the admiration, that's called it, or the success, whatever the sort of external validation, maybe a broader way to kind of describe that are also the ones that once they get it, will struggle the most to deal with it, whether it's because of the scrutiny that comes with it or the power that comes with it, or whatever that comes with it. And so... Well, and that's my exact point. That's exactly it. Yeah. And we agree. I think it's not a... It's fairly obvious when you see it that way. I'm not against all of that. I'm not a... We live in that world where people can project their personalities across the world. That doesn't trouble me, hopefully. The way it does trouble me is occasionally I'll meet a young person kid, and they'll say, "Oh, yes, great. I love what you do. I'd love to be famous." And I'll always stop at that. I always... Really? Why? Because, you know, it's a... It's a byproduct of a fascinating and potentially rewarding job, and it can be important. It can be... Powerful, even. But the fame itself is just... It just means it's embarrassing standing on a train on your own, because everybody's staring at you. That's my sense. That's all it means. I guess if you live in London and go out, it might mean you can get a restaurant table. But you can only get that if you're in your... Hi! I'm kind of a big deal of a television. Can I have a take? Okay, and then you feel even worse when you come. Were you aware that you were being driven by some kind of insecurity throughout that period? Or was it really a hindsight that you look back and go, "Ah?" What I aware... Yeah, I was. Yeah. I mean, I learned to fight early on. I learned to punch above my weight, to make a noise, to be brave. If there's some idiot on his bicycle trying to jump over... Some action man toys on a ramp, it would be me. Yeah, I knew. I knew. I was a small kid just screaming, "Notice me, notice me, notice me." I think. I think. And the problem there, of course, a lot of us don't. We will have traits that aren't always the best, but that are rooted in justifiable cause. But if your job then rewards it, if you are needily showing off, my mommy stops showing off. All right. That was my childhood. But if you're then rewarded for it, wait a minute, your brain is sort of remapped a little bit to go, "Oh, so that isn't a bad thing. I should pursue that because I literally am rewarded financially and people seem to like me. So I'll continue doing it." It's why my midlife crisis has lasted 20 years, and it's still going on. Quite enjoying it. I am a cut, maybe 10, 20 episodes ago on this podcast. I started because I'd heard similar themes in my guests, that they were being they were almost describing themselves as being dragged by an insecurity. And I started to make this kind of distinction between being driven, which is maybe for intrinsic reasons or whatever. And then being dragged where there's some kind of void you're trying to fill or insecurity, you're trying to mend or some validation you're seeking. You're either in the front of the car, driving down the middle way, or you're kind of on the end of it being dragged by this pursuit of validation. And how at some point in our lives, we probably need to take hold of the steering wheel and be conscious about the direction we're traveling in, and not being dragged by the insecurity or the desire to be liked, whatever it might be. Was there a point in your life where the thing driving you moved from being that, that insecurity or that pursuit to show off and the validation it creates to being a little bit more conscious? Because I sometimes worry in myself, but also in the conversations I have that, if we don't at some point realize what's driving us, it might drive us to the wrong place. It might drag us to the wrong place, should I say. Initially, I don't know, I spent that much time thinking about it like that, because heck, it was work. If you're a freelancer in radio in 1988, '89, and you go where the job is, and you live in Webberbed, so you've got to live in to do it. Because I love the job, and it's not. I didn't, it wasn't one long introspective, naval gazing party. It was, this is really cool, I really enjoy it. And in those days, I'd arrive at a new radio station. And if I was lucky, we'd given the radio station car, which was often quite a new car, which was, and dispatched in that with a "You are tape recorder", which is a real-to-real quarter-inch tape tape recorder. That to you is a steam train. Something like an iPod or something. No, it's about 20 years before the iPod. It is honestly, it belongs in the museum, but that's what we used. So I'd be dispatched without going to an interview with no mobile phone to hook up. But when I got there, I loved it. I still love harvesting people's thoughts and ideas, and sharing via any medium. I mean, look at what we live in, look at what you're doing, what we can do, what I do, drive-tribe that I now run. That is about doing exactly that. And it's almost your generation, I guess, and the agencies that you run and the work that you do. You're that bit further than I am, from, as I'm still closer to still being amazed, I used to have a fantasy when I was working radio to go and do interviews. Again, no mobile phone, so you had to pick up a phone with a curly wire and make the appointment. And you had to be on time, because you couldn't just turn up and then, oh, I'll call you when I get there, the window mobile phones, it didn't exist. And there was no internet to research where you were going. So you'd all sat in that, so you took a paper map and navigated your way there. And you did your interview. You could link up live with the radio station, but through a radio mask that you had to put up. And then you'd go back, and I used to fantasize about, imagine if I could just go anywhere and do live broadcasting. It's just, and the other day, we were having a meeting with the guys that worked with me on Drive Drive, and we were talking about, so I'm not going to tell you, because you're going to do it and you'll take it from me. We've got a cracking idea for a little show we want to do on platform. And it involves, first of all, Lucy, one of the people in the team, she's going to go off and do this thing. And we can do it. We can link live. You know, well, what? Maybe those of my generations should keep hold of that amazement and just keep it going, because it will be, I mean to you, that's of course you can. I'm still a bit amazed by that. Is that a good thing? Is it useful? I'm going to say, yeah, but I'm only saying, yeah, for romantic reasons, because actually it makes no difference at all. The fact is you can practically, you can do what you can do. So do it to good effect. Sit in there, hoping up and down, go, what's amazing that we can do it probably doesn't help. What do you think? Better to be... Gratitude, right? There's a level of gratitude in there, which is a healthy feeling. Yes, there is. I'm grateful that we are able to do that. I'm grateful that we live in a time when we can come up with an idea, sitting in my barn having a meeting, and then just do it. That's amazing. And a younger generation, or a generation that haven't been exposed to the change, might not... They just have an expectation that it happens, so there's less gratitude involved in the fact that it is. Yeah, we should make the world grow up like I did, exactly, with no mobile phones, and just a hoop and a stick to play with. Do you...

Social media and the impact on us (22:31)

I do sometimes ponder if that world, without the internet, my analog world, would be a much more enjoyable world for the human being to live in, and it kind of links some rock back to what we were talking about earlier, where if you think about the essence of what it is to be human, I don't think we're supposed to be exposed to this much information, and this much sort of global connection, in terms of the bombardment of notifications, and this constant stimulus, which leaves you in that fight or flight state. Maybe... And the drive to do that is quintessentially human, and it's one of the reasons we proliferate to the way we have. That's spreading of gossip and sharing of information, and sharing of... mutually agreed standards, be that industry show me is gossip, or religion, or anything else. But sharing those is what's enabled us to work together in huge numbers, otherwise we would be in little individual groups still, and togethering. So it's been key. We have to have it. It was inevitable. I think it's run away a bit. I think the critical nature of gossip and sharing all of that, because we've developed this way of doing it, but maybe it'll decrease in import. Maybe we'll need bigger spikes in it to actually grab her attention. But I don't... I don't think we can't condemn it, because we've pursued it. What's come out of us? We have all the options. That's what... So we need to look at what it will do for us. I think it'll water down. It'll dilute. I wonder if the brain has evolved at the same pace as it. Well, the brain... I mean, it can. It is... It is... a limitless, flexible bucket of soup and electricity, isn't it, really? When I dented mine, crashing to the ground up 320 miles an hour, stupid boy. That was typical. Me only did that, because I'm a short bloke. That is short bloke all over. And if you don't want to drive this rocket by how a dragster... Me, me, me! If everybody be looking, yeah, I'll do it. Then it crashed. But I did damage mine, and there were all sorts of anomalies within it, ways in which it didn't work, as it sure demotional responses were all over the place. No big motor control issues, but some. But it rewired. It fixes. And there's loads of instances of it doing that. So if the brain can recover, and literally physically reshape and function, post physical trauma, then it can also... We could evolve. We could be evolving now. Will it be genetically encoded and passed down? So will a new generation following on from you evolve? Will they carry pre-coded? That information to deal with our digital world? Well, physiological change is no. But then as human beings, because we have to have the capacity, you might be born a Wall Street billionaire, a fisherman in an Amazonian village. The same central ingredients have to do that. We have to have that limitless flexibility. So maybe that's why our brain will... Maybe it'll always retain that flexibility, which means by definition, it can't evolve in a distinctive route, because that's narrowing options. We're still born with this incredible capacity to do anything within a very broad range of things. And we need to hang on to that. Maybe all the baby giraffe has to do is endure a six-foot drop when it's born and be able to run a few minutes later, and you're away. That's it. We have to do a lot of other stuff. I wonder. A part of the reason I ask this question is because I'm trying to think about a lot of the things we're seeing with mental health and how it appears that situational and environmental factors are causing, of the modern world, are causing the brain to struggle in many ways, at a fundamental level. Whether it's loneliness, that's driving the brain to feel a sense of purposelessness, or something, or whether it's the overstimulation, which is causing anxiety, and the brain is struggling to cope with that. That's kind of why I was asking the question as to whether the brain is keeping up with the nature of the modern world, because there seems to be a lot of symptoms that it isn't. But there's only so many stimuli that can be received and registered via our various senses and organs into that lump in there. There's only so many things that I think you might attribute magical qualities to an analog existence, and you can see why we would, because an analog existence has a degree of definition that couldn't be achieved digitally, because you're always limited, whereas it's a bit like trying to explain science and the world using science, trying to explain the universe using science. It's only the langrification of it. It's not, it isn't absolute. These aren't the facts. They're a version of facts that we can share between us, and sharing, and communicating is what we do. It's what defines us. So that's all it is. It's the langrification of that that is. But it doesn't have the definition. It can't go down to a fine enough. It's still like trying to paint the Mona Lisa using Lego bricks. It's not quite fine enough. But I think a digital world is even less fine, because it's zero as more. It's absolutely. So yes, in what we do, it's greater. It turns empirical data on whether or not something is being approved of, if you're making a marketing film, as a poster, sticking your finger in the air, seeing which way the wind's blowing, and our people looking at that poster outside the bus station. Yes, but the poster outside the bus station in the analog world has a far, final level of detail than I think you could do digitally. But are you saying that it's intrinsically bad that we're drifting towards a digital world and away from the analog, because the analog contains something that, because stimuli is stimuli. Are you still there? You can still be able to replicate. We could honeycomb the entire world. And you could be put into a pod into which you could be given sufficient physical, mental stimuli, which is any chemicals, to maintain what is measurably a healthy human being. Would you be? I don't know. I guess I'm asserting that like humans clearly have some fundamental needs, you know, shelter, connection, I was going to say psychological safety. I'm not sure that's necessarily a human need, but it's important. And some of those things seem to be being stripped away by the nature of the world we live in today, where, you know, in America, when asked, how many people have you got to turn into in a time of crisis? The answer used to be three. I think it's the mode on modal answer, or the medium answer is now zero. Theresa May appointed the first loneliness side. They think loneliness is significantly worse than smoking 20 cigarettes a day, reduces your life expectancy by 10 years. And I wonder whether the, that's almost like a human response to something that's been stripped away from the way we live our lives over the last, whatever, you know, like living in four white walls alone is a single bachelor ordering my food using a glass screen, ordering like dating, using a piece of glass, stimulating myself, potentially sexually using a piece of glass screen in my hand. And then the processed food that I'm eating, the shit, I'm just wondering, and then look, you know, the constant stimulation of this dopamine hit from this glass screen as well in my hand, that's keeping me awake up at night, hurting my sleep, and then keeping me in fight or flight, because I'm nervous about something on this glass screen, you know. But if that's the answer, what is the answer to that? Because we made it collectively as a species, we have gone that route. I mean, I'm not sort of, we made the dicks in. We've gone that way. Well, yeah, I'm not sure we've gone that way. We must continue doing that. It might well be that disruptors need to put the hand up and saying, "Are we sure?" Yeah. I mean, I wanted to talk about the car, because I believe that the car is sort of an expression of some of that, because in that analog world, which, all right, I'm from, you've got those needs. So you need shelter, I suppose, warmth, food, stimulation, supplies, mate. Once you've got beyond cave, a car comes to represent all of it. That's why it's important. That's why it very quickly became a symbol, because you've got shelter, but what are you going to do? Staff to death and die of loneliness and boredom at the back of the cave? No, you need to leave it and get that, that you need, and something that can get you there first, to the kill, to the mate, to the resources. It's powerful. That's what the car became. You're very passionate about the role of the car in society, aren't you? Yes, I am, because of what it represents, which is everything other than shelter. Yeah. And here's me getting all poetic and romantic and dewy-eyed about the analog world, because I think something that moves you physically, corporally, from one place to another. That's powerful, because I'm taking my person, my son, and the universe only exists for each of us in here, so I'm taking, therefore, the universe with me, to wherever it is I'm going to do whatever it is I'm going to do, and that makes it impossibly exciting. And for that reason, I think it'll ever go away. Top gear.

Top Gear (31:43)

That really was a big thing. Yeah, cool. Yeah, yeah, it was remarkable. I mean, I'd done car shows, I'd done radio for years, moved to the South to get a job at Renault in the press office, so I could get to know the editors of the car shows, which I do, he did, one of whom Pete Baker saves me, and gave me a job on Granada Menomodas, making little car shows. And then eventually, after years and years and years, and years of doing that, I auditioned for the new top gear and got the job. When you got that job, did you, what were your expectations of the role of the show? Well, initially, I cried, and opened the bottle of champagne in my mouth. Oh, God, yeah, it was just, to be it. Well, I'd spend my whole life trying to do that, so it had worked. Yeah, yeah, it was a huge moment. But we just thought we'll make a car show. I remember the conversation in White City, BBC HQ. With most of us with, before James joined, but the rest of us were all in place, and weirdly, some of the people we still work with. Now, we were all in that room, and we all said, right, these are the grand rules of top gear. It's about the real world. Cars that people really buy, no supercars, no foreign travel. We're only going to drive proper cars that people buy in this country, and then that didn't ask very long. So we realized, that's not what people wanted. Not what we wanted to make. We never made it with any science or calculation. We just made the best car show we could. And we were lucky. Things aligned. The world wanted that show, three misshapen blokes, talking about their passion. But I do think if you've watched that pottery show, I don't care about pottery at all. But watching people who are so into it, you know, the lovely chap cries when somebody does something. It's like, wow, watching people engage with, indulge or share their passion is incredibly compelling, whether it's for making pottery or baking or dancing. It doesn't matter. All cars. It doesn't matter. I want to know more about why. Like, why did people love it? You're touching on some psychological elements there, but what is it doing for the viewer at home in terms of the, what is it giving them? Because it's not just cars. Oh, no, no. It was, we were still a car show, but we always say, you don't have to be a car nerd to watch it. We do that for you. I think it was, means of escape, but through a relatable portal. Because you could look at all of us three, and let's be honest, we're none of us. Brad Pitt. We're none of us. Pretty many good, anything really. You could, I think people would always find that identify with one of the three of us. Am I the little short squeaky, bromi one or a little bit more graceful, long head, slightly fat one, all the really big fat shout-out to one, which one am I? Which one? And you'd fall into one of those camps. And so that would sort of take you along with us on whatever eventually we were going on. It's why we ended up making today the big trips, because that's what people liked, the proper escape. The one thing that troubles me though is about that, that business about the subject being important. If you're going to make a TV show, podcast, some internet content, whatever about something, the subject leads it has to. It has to have that authenticity and integrity to it. Because we the audience will see when it doesn't. And it's a hit, cars for some reason. I always, if somebody's going to make a TV show, a piece of internet content about this, right, we'll do this thing about cars. Okay. And then they don't get anybody who knows about cars involved in making it. But you wouldn't do that if it was baking or dancing or cooking or sport or football. I mean, you wouldn't. You'd want that baked in because it's not so the wrong foot. Your consumers, your listeners, your viewers, or catch them out or show off that you know more than they do. But you can demonstrate, yeah, this is real. This is this. This is an authentic passion. And we always kept that right at the forefront. It wasn't big, but it was there. Even though what we were doing was ridiculous often. How much of it was scripted per se? I was watching some clips earlier on, and I was, there was such a moment of brilliance. I was wondering, is that like a producer in that ear telling them to crack that joke or to like say that to him? Or is that just them being comfortable enough to be free? The really good bits are in the moment. But I mean, that's easy to guess, isn't it? You'll have said some killer, funny or incredibly moving things in the moment. That's when we do our best work all of us. So we would always devise a broad trajectory for the whole thing if we're making it, especially expensive. So we can't just go to Mongolia and see if some stuff happens. You've got to set something up. But you know, that's the minimum you're going to come back with. And you know, the best bits will be the unplanned bits, of course, always. Was there a moment in the journey of Top Gear where you went, where you thought to yourself, fucking, oh, this is really what? This is this is big. Oh, well, surprise moments. Day one, studio one, series one, standing in Dunst, for hold. So this is 2002, very early, or maybe 2001, we filmed it, I think. I remember long time ago, standing on the stage. And you know, I'd always watch Top Gear because I loved cars. And I'd watch Jeremy on it, and he's older than me, and he was already doing it. And so as we were, it was recording one, they played in the Top Gear theme. And my instant response from inside was, oh, Top Gear's on, brilliant. Oh, I'm on it. Better concentrate. But yeah, there were key moments once when we were driving three cut price supercars that we'd bought. And we pulled into a petrol station, so this is early days. And everybody came out running to see us and to talk about the cars. And they said, oh, what are you boys doing? What are you up to now? And that's when we realized, oh, hang on, we've created something here. It's got a momentum of its own, which is great. And it really did have a momentum of its own globally. No idea why. Honestly, none of us have none of us have. It was, which is made the best show we could. And next thing we know, we're walking out in front of 30,000 people on stage in South Africa, or Sydney, or Hong Kong, or all around the world doing the live stages with people that loved the show and we left. Why? We went out in front of 60,000 people in the Polish National Stadium in Warsaw. And just before we went out on stage, I was in the ladsback staging. We have those ear pieces and microphones so you can only hear each other. That was too much noise. And there were all, there's music playing. We're about to all drive out with some terrible stunts. I usually hadn't listened to the briefings, so there'd be a crash. And just before we went out, I said, lads, have three guys with less talent ever gone out in front of more people? We can't know that there's ever happened. With this, it was just a serendipitous lining up of a need for our slightly anarchic approach. I don't know. It was just a time. Came and went when we fitted. Someone asked me on an interview I did earlier on in the Arcadia magazine.

Guilt & Proving I'm worthy (39:05)

They said, is there any guilt associated with your success? And it's quite a curious question. And it stunned me into a bit of a silence. Guilt. How does that question sit with you? Is there any guilt? Same thing. Yeah, there is. Guilt is slightly more refined than it's almost a "why me." It's... "What?" Yeah, because I'm still the little Birmingham lad that being a photographer wasn't for me. That's for other people. I can't do that. I can't actually be a photographer for real in the big world. And if somebody had said I could, you know, run various businesses and be a television presenter, and no, don't be daft. It's not guilt. It's been conscious of being the beneficiary of a great deal of luck. When I was younger, I went through a phase of luck. Luck often lands at two in the morning, and you're the only one still in the radio station editing. No, it's just luck. It really is, because I've got people who started in the same year as me, 88. And I've got all the luck. I took some serendipitous decisions. I took some risky decisions. You know, I stepped away from a only ever job with a company cart back into broadcasting. I took a massive pay card. I took a massive pay hit when I joined Top Gear. They were risks, but they're only risk if they're freely made, given that they were the product of whatever it was in me that was driving me to do what I was doing. It was already going to happen. So I'm lucky because not only did that opportunity come along, but earlier in my life, something had happened and equipped me with the need to gain whatever it was. I stood a chance of gaining from taking that risk. So I took that risk. So it's still luck. It's still luck. Somebody else could have had that same opportunity, but they hadn't been lucky enough on top of that to have been given that extra impetus to pursue it and take that risk by something that happened earlier in their lives. So it's luck and I've just been very lucky. That's a strange feeling, though, isn't it? Yeah. Do you think that you got to live this life because of a set of factors that, you know, you're born in a certain place in a certain way, and then that created that impetus you described. And then the dominoes that fell and the decisions you chose to make because of all of those subsequent experiences lands you with this incredible job, with an incredible level of freedom. It's quite, can be quite, as you say, a "why me" like feeling. Yeah. Is it guilt? It kind of is. It tastes slightly differently, but it is sort of... Is it embarrassment? Is it slightly embarrassing? Is that why having, God, accidentally stepped into so many luck traps? I'm now, you know, running my businesses. And because that's something I feel I can say, "No, I did that. That wasn't just lucky. I made that happen." By consciously taking the decisions by thinking about it. Maybe. Don't know. But then I'm lucky enough to have the opportunity to do that, which I would never have had. So it's all the whole experiment of my life has been skewed entirely by those key elements of luck at those key stages. But we all have to... We're lucky to be alive. And it's easy to say that and it sounds trite and nonsensical. But we are. And for each one of us to experience our own individual perception of the universe, to live this experience, is so phenomenally lucky. So many millions and billions of things have to not just have happened, but continue happening for that to be possible. That whether or not whilst experiencing this miracle of self-awareness in and of the universe, we also get to go on the telly driving about in a car or not. It's kind of irrelevant at the end. This, having this conversation, being aware of having loved ones, being aware of yourself in the world, being aware of the world. All of that. That's the amazing stuff. The rest is just stuff. And that's easy to say for me, because I'm not that worried about my next phone bill. It's a lot harder if you are. I get that and I'm not. I'm not. Not failing to be aware of that. And right now for a lot of people, whether or not they get to do a job on TV driving around in cars, or whether or not they get to look at the universe and talk about the idea of God and love existing or not with their mates, it's kind of less important than they've just had to have a prepaid meter fitted for their gas. So, the answer to that, guilt, embarrassment, I think, carry it with you, maybe learn from it, look up from it occasionally and think, "How can I, what can I, can it make me better able to connect with people?" That, just that would be useful. What's your opinion of yourself? You know, when you, what's, this is a really interesting question, but you said something which kind of brought me to this question about this idea that maybe the building these businesses that you have now is another pursuit of like proving one is worthy, I guess, because of. I suppose I want to prove I'm not a lucky idiot. So, what does that say? That's why I said, what's your opinion of yourself? Oh, it's probably, I guess for that reason, it's probably just revealed. It's probably quite low, isn't it? I'm very lucky, I think, to describe myself. What is the voice in Richard's head say Richard is, who he is, what he is? It'd like to be more fair about life. I don't, that troubles me, I think, fairness, and I'm aware it's desperately unfair. But also, yeah, as with a lot of us, I'm fairly anxious inside. Need to be loved, same desperately. Need to be reassured. And one of the dangers, I should imagine you'll find this given, you know, you're young and enjoying a stellar career in what our archetypal positions of power and authority. So, it's very likely that the world would look at you and think, well, he's the last one that needs a bit of reassurance and a chuck on the shoulder and someone to say, oh, you're doing really well, well done. Whereas actually, you do. And I certainly find that something that I need. I need someone to acknowledge that the things are going well and you're taking advantage of whatever luck comes your way in. You know, I'd love building my businesses up because I love the fact that I'm conscious, that's other people's jobs. This is their story I'm helping build. If they get working with me at 24, even if they only work with me for five years, when they would then remember that forever, like I remember the first radio stations I worked at, this is their history. We're taking a part in writing, so I'm conscious of that. But at the same time, sometimes you just need someone to roughly hear and go, well done. And that would be nice. Yeah. I'm asking it to rough my head. Just because I'm slightly old. It's, I guess it's quite curious because someone would, someone looking in might think, well, you know, Richard's done so much in his life. He must just be absolutely satisfied and he must be completely complete and like there's nothing more else to prove or to, but the business point you made sounds like you feel like you have something to prove there. Yeah. And I'm 53. I've got another go around in me. Yeah. I'd like to have. I don't know when you're thinking about time off, if you've ever got time off coming up, which I shouldn't imagine is very often. I mean, but when it is, I always think, yeah, God, I'd love to just take a week and wake up every day and just go for a run and then maybe write an old motorcycle and just really, really revel in that. I don't, I'm immediate. I am he just addicted to work. But that's hardly surprising given that workers also been self verification and it's the reward that I probably shouldn't have had. So obviously I'm addicted to that. There's a constant value. Yeah. Yeah. If you're not careful. What's the cost? Your relationships. You know, my two daughters that I've made excuses over the years of sitting in a rainforest filming and there'd be a camera operator and maybe it's a bloke and he's just that his first children and he's away from home and he's upset. And I've said, yeah, but you've got to remember, you know, you're their first example of how to lead a life. You can see where this is going and you know, you're going to come back with amazing stories and they're going to look and think, wow, well, if he can pursue his dreams and do that, I can pursue mine. And you'll inspire them. Yeah. But they also just would quite like it to be around. That's a fact. Yeah. I've been able to provide well for my girls, Izzy and Willa. I wish I'd been there more, of course, I do. But if I'd been there more, we wouldn't have been where we were. I can, our life would be so different because I've worked sort of in and out of London for 25 years. And we've lived deliberately out of London. They've been raised in Harifertia. That's their county. That's where they belong. My eldest, I bumped into her in London this week. She popped into the flat and she'd just been out in a pub in Fulham and pretty much everybody in there was from her county of Harifertia and she knew them all. And that's important that she can drift around London and know people or she can drift around her home county in the same for Willa. And that's important for them. They've got a big view of the world, but they still have a home to go to and always shall have. Has it ever, have you ever pondered that you might, because I'm a work colleague? No, no, no, no. Yeah. Well, basically, I'm definitely addicted to work and sometimes, and just still the pursuit of building and creating things and success. And I sometimes ponder, in certain moments, it'll just catch me that this isn't what it's all about, and that I'm missing the point. And going back to my point earlier, I'm being dragged by a need for validation, whereas I'm going to get to my death bed, be laying there and go, "So I just wish I'd just gone and hang out on a mountain with my partner and in Peru a little bit more and been there for my kids and my dog." But you didn't. And there's no magic in this. It's simply what happens is what happens, and that's the way you've gone and the way your collected experience. If you imagine you are the sort of front of a tsunami of stuff, and that's the way it's taken. That's the way it's taken. There's good and there's bad within it. I never feel actual solid regret, ever, because that's the way it went. But I just don't feel it. Good and bad. I'm not saying this is a good quality, but I just don't feel it. And not because I engineer it out to myself. I simply don't feel it, because that's the way I've gone. It also helps you sort of live now, which is that's a huge part of the answer. You could continue being driven as you are by work for the rest of your life. If you're able to be in a mindfully present and actually experience it, then great. All of that will come into it.

Ads (50:32)

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Your crash (52:25)

36 years old 2006 I believe. Yeah. Take me to that day. Well, we've had a discussion in the office and I have told this story before and then some people you might be bored of it. Sorry. Andy Wilman the editor had said he got this chance for this car to be driven and I'd gone into the office and I just want to go really fast. What's fast we can go? It's that dumb an idea. They came up with this car and I went to drive and I turned up on the day. Did numerous runs in the thing. It was pretty basic and crude. Really quite fast, especially when you hit the afterburner. Chip propelled drankster. I didn't have a speedo in the car because then you would be chasing speeds and that would be dangerous. So there was no speedo. I didn't know how fast I was going until after the event. You stopped it to stop it from high speed at a pulled parachute cord to stop the parachute came out and stopped it. And I'd done all the days runs and the director came over and said, Rich, I've got permission for one last run. Oh, brilliant. Right. We were happy with how it's gone but let's get one more bag of shots and I was aware something had happened. I all I recall is a sense of oh no, foot going towards the brake and realized I was doing three. I didn't know but I was doing 300. Just shy of 320 miles an hour. So brakes on. The car, what had happened is the front tire had delaminated and blown. The car had skewed right and was going off-road but it was still doing 290 miles an hour as it started to roll. I'd pulled the lever for the parachute which was all that mattered to me when I finally weeks or months later became aware of what was happening. I needed to know had I done that because I looked at my children and thought if I've nearly denied you a father for the rest of your lives because I'm an idiot I did the wrong thing. I wouldn't forgive myself but I did do the right thing. So it was never going to stop it. So then it went over and it rolled and as it went over I knew there's no roof just a roll bar. I didn't know how fast I was going but I knew it was fast. I just thought well I would die now but it wasn't. Again I'm on record of saying this and I don't want to go on about it because I get self-conscious. I don't want anybody to think oh stop going on about that and I'm not but if you are interested I found it interesting that there was no fear associated with that. There was no don't know. There was genuinely it was answering a question that kind of at the back of my mind had always wondered and I think a lot of us do all of us. Right I'm not going to die. How? Why? And it was like oh it's now that's the answer that's the next thing to do. That was it. And then I wasn't conscious again until in husband I was conscious apparently when they got to the car but of no recollection because the damage was done brain decelerative sloshing forwards her frontal lobe bleed because just decelerating upside down using my head as a break it isn't good for you. Have you had the story about what was going on in your family at that time? Well while you were unconscious in hospital. Who called Mindy your wife? Yeah Mindy was called she was on the road she was called by a Willman. They all spoke. It was hard and my daughters were young and for them to grasp it was pretty pretty difficult. Yeah it's disruptive it's horrible and it's hard. In my memories are all over the place anyway because I had very bad post traumatic amnesia for weeks like a one-minute memory. Mindy my wife always says I was the nicest I've ever been. I was lovely if I don't know. I was perfectly happy which just made me and has made me think often since that you know I've got a friend who's yeah we all have friends perhaps or ourselves whose parents are through whatever degenerative form of illness losing memories. And I always say to him is she happy? Yeah fine if I go to see them yes she'll come into the pub to see me three or four times and is equally happy it's time. That's all right doesn't matter. And I was perfectly happy reading the same newspaper every single day several times a day. I just it was by my bed I just pick it up and oh brilliant I'd sit down and read it put it down a minute later gone until Mindy took it away because she was sick of seeing me read it but it was more distressing and really the message there is yeah as if it's if somebody is in that confused state of whatever variety in whatever reason if they're happy they're happy then you're all you've got to do is cope to support them in that happiness doesn't matter if they can't remember who you are what anything is if they're happy they're happy and that's that and I was. When you're in that coma I watched the video you produced about your incredibly powerful video about your morphine dream and the crooked tree on the hill. Is that true that there was a morphine you a more. Yeah I was in a as we held in coma because brain was expanding post crash so it was they were holding me in coma but it was looking very very bad and they had called Mindy in and they said I think we we'll lose him I do she said is there anything I can do not really try anything can I shout yeah so she roared and shouted at me don't you dead I'm really quite swearing and cross why did you do that because she was cross you didn't want me to die I think there's lots of people have done that I think I'd do that but when all else is tried and failed if somebody is lying there yeah last resort don't you dare because you know she wants to be around I think we'd all do that it's not just a movie trope you can you could you are calling to somebody and I think we know an hour to hours we do have a great deal of independence in terms of what happens to it and mind is a powerful thing mind and body are one chiropractor friend of mine chiropractor he'll kill me if not osteopath friend of mine Steve sorry Steve um osteopath very well red man and we were talking about mind and body as one and about you know bringing I was I said something about bringing mind and body to work together and all together you know yeah well it is all one because it's never been apart oh yeah your body and mind have never existed separately they've only ever existed as one and one needs the other and compliments one is the other which is why if in that coma state and it's only an altered state of consciousness I'm not dead um I picked up on the emotion from Mindy the anger and thought oh that's a dream the dream was honestly all going to be in trouble now it's not funny anymore it's a very distinctive fleet flavor of you know when you're feeling you're being a bit naughty and you're being cheeky and you're getting and then you're always oh no I really am in trouble and that's when she was really boring and shouting and yes and mind can do an awful lot with our bodies there's enough evidence of that yes your mind took you to your favorite place which gives me immense comfort because it will do that eventually anyway I know that's where I'll go and given that at the moment of dying of the body shutting down of it stopping to do all the things that it does you're no longer tied by all those by time not biological rhythms lunar rhythms none of those matter you know beholden to the many more which is a kind of eternity so if my last thought I'd been walking around that tree in I was up there two weeks ago the lake district yeah went to the same tree um yeah my mind takes me around and that thought echoes for the eternity as far as I'm concerned and really the universe only exists as far as I'm concerned or you're concerned it's only your perception of it and if that last moment is no longer constrained by worrying about heartbeats or cycling of the seasons it's kind of an eternity isn't it and I wouldn't mind hanging around by that tree forever what was happening in that dream so you were you were in a coma and you have that sort of a morphine induced dream while you're walking up a hill yeah I was walking up the hill towards a tree and I was grew increasingly conscious that oh I'm going to be in trouble for carrying on no no I'm going to carry I just want to press on and then as I reached the tree it was a very clear oh no I really am going to be in trouble I better go back and that's the point um I just related that story as a unit to Mindian it was very clear when I was brought out of coma shortly after and that's when it happened I mean it could be a story that don't forget your brain fills in things after the fact a sense of recollection is all you need for something to be in the past doesn't have to actually be in the past but I've retained I've gained immense comfort from it I find it very comforting and warming to think so I continue to think it why is it comforting and warming to think because um I think the question of what happens it since we are aware of our own mortality we're aware of the world and we're aware that it's quite nice being here to be aware of it um and if that's one possible resolution one possible that might be where it goes it's all right bermi it's not the not the first time um you had a car crash when it was nor the last it yeah I've had a lot yes I went off a hill in Switzerland yeah that was just again idiocy failed to break at the finish line went off I did think I was dying on now after that first major crash the one where you were going 300 or 319 odd miles an hour um did your risk appetite change um kind of no because it was all assessed as risk I knew there was risk and we had done everything we could mitigate against that you know the air ambulance came I was saved um no it has done more latterly but that's because I'm getting older I think um no it didn't really radically change it you came remarkably close to your two young girls not having a father does and and getting close to that reality must leave some kind of perspective change or some kind of perspective it would certainly make me think about the prospect um and maybe start planning differently or possibly did that but then getting older does that passing 40 passing 50 does that it's in line with everything else that's ever happened in my life it doesn't really stand out massively did for a while but it doesn't stand out as a particularly that's or hang everything on there's also passing 40 there's there's all those other milestones that we all have and processes that we go through and subtle and not so subtle shifts in our priorities needs that happens it's just that's just woven into the fabric of my life and it's just one couple of stitches in it after the crash um you experienced depression yeah I mean I was told Mindy was told by the doctors that a frontal lobe brain injury would possibly lead to me having a greater propensity for obsession compulsion depression paranoia Mindy left a pause my wife and just you didn't meet him before the crash did you? Which is quite funny to be fair it's got a good line um yeah I think I did suffer a bit I'd suffered all of those things to a degree yeah in so much as I became aware of them as a thing because I could feel them from the inside and see through them to the outside so yeah I was aware of them all of those things obsession compulsion paranoia yeah depression yeah what was it what were the symptoms of that that made you realize that it was a reality for you um how are you different or what did you feel some of them were really weird moments like and I still get an echo of it I remember having been institutionalized for a long time in hospitals and and actually in recovery when I thought I was free I wasn't really I was still being monitored and I was still being carefully guided but when I was really free I would have the I'd be coming into London to do something and I could open the wardrobe door and just look at all the shirts and just trying to work out oh it was too much choice was a problem I found

Depression (01:05:29)

choice really difficult for quite a long time but also I'm feeling your emotions derailed or interfered with as a result of what is only a neurochemical imbalance that's all talking about just chemicals and electricity I was walking across my drive of my house and I felt this sudden welling upsurge of love in my chest what's that this is not that long out of oh still on the rotary cover I suppose and eventually identified I'd would pass my old landrover which I do love but only because I quite like it it's an old landrover but it just triggered this absolutely I thought what would lie to me um it made me think you know if emotions can be that profoundly affected by what was just a mix up of chemicals and electricity in my head then I am more aware of I don't listen to my emotions too closely if I'm very very tired or if I've had a big night out with the boys the night before if I've drunk red wine I do not tune in to see what I think about anything because it's irrelevant for a day um those are the rules I've been quite lucky for that reason I've had that slightly more objective look at my own self on that rotational self and myself on that rotary recovery what was was there a hardest day where you look back and go that was the the most challenging for myself and Mindy and other allows anger was there was I was angry for a while really massive the anger is a problem in people recovering from brain injury the weirdest thing though I've chatted to so many people who've recovered from acquired brain injury acquired in so many different ways from being shot to falling off a ladder to a car crash whatever um and the similarities are astonishing in the rotary recovery really are the confusion's the weaknesses the slight it's not guilt I mean I wanted a t-shirt on the front said I'm okay stop asking and on the back that said I'm still poorly you know because you it's it's that this if you run for a bus where while since you run for a bus but if one were to run for a bus and you twist your ankle and you sort of carry on running on the other eye the fine yum yum it's a bit like that with what I'd done but of course what I'd injured was every it was me where I am and how I see where I am there's a horrible circularity to that type of injury and after that close friend who again was similarly injured falling off a horse because he's an idiot um and again massive similarities they're more different than you couldn't imagine he has dignity status gravitas great family everything I'm not but his experience of recovery very very similar are there any remnants of the accident in in terms of injuries or probably but there's probably remnants of everything that's happened to you in your life and everything that's happened to me in mind are you aware of any is Mindy aware of any no um I worry I do worry about my memory because it's not brilliant my working memory is very large must have a processing memory in the moment so I can still read a page of script and deliver it but my longer term not brilliant I have to consciously write memories down and work hard to recall them sometimes now that might be because I'm 50 it might be 53 might be because I'm working a lot and I'm tired it might be the onset of something else you worry about that yeah I do I do so probably have a look find out probably should um are you scared to find out yeah yeah because you know it was a bleed on the front it could mean there's an increased risk I don't know we need to find out it's all I've just I have been too scared to do it but I do need to I need to um I need to do it really on the way here I had to stop off um for a medical when you're doing a production you know you have to have a medical which always has been involved in any accidents I kind of know the piece of paper please I'm still going um very nice doctor and at the end that's yeah I should definitely um I need to book myself in one of those midlife MOT's to see and everything's okay and I wanted to say and to check there's nothing going right up here but I'm checking out didn't that needs I probably need an MRI scan but at 53 you know you remember you just start to get a bit they call it lost key syndrome the doctors did when I first came home from brain injury and they have it with a lot of patients because you know they would lose their keys and go into an absolute flat tail spin panic oh no I've lost my keys it's right no you've just lost your keys it happens I am quite forgetful I'm generally not paying attention generally thinking about something else the next thing and therefore I do drop the ball I forget stuff I lose stuff I forget keys that's just me that's not a function of something going wrong it's how I am isn't it such a peculiar thing that

Health anxiety (01:11:33)

humans will avoid finding out something if they think there's potentially bad news on the end of it I was reading some I think some crazy study I was reading about over Christmas when I was writing um about how if someone is diagnosed with breast cancer at work um and they're in close proximity to you you're less likely to go and get a checkup really yeah it's just counter to what we would imagine was that you'd assume but it's this avoidance of discomfort the psychological discomfort associated with finding out bad news and I um I had a procrastination expert on the podcast once upon a time and he said whenever you're procrastinating on something it's because there's some sort of psychological discomfort associated with the activity and essay you don't feel competent about so you end up just doing the dishes all day or whatever it might be so when you're procrastinating you've got to ask yourself that question what is the psychological discomfort here that I'm trying to avoid so I'm asking you Richard what is the psychological discomfort you're trying to avoid and why? They're quite simply facing something I wouldn't want to face it's my own doom it's all that it's um I would find it very difficult to talk to my family and say right this is what's coming I know I'd be all right as I've said if you're in a confused state I doesn't bother you but I'd feel bad putting that on them yeah I want them to have a future full of of hope and clarity and energy and vigor and potential and fun and I don't want to interrupt that that's heavy yeah but like it's not it's not it's interesting you know this conversation about like health anxiety um I think it's one worth having and trying to get to a solution on because whether it's that or whether it's a lump I feel somewhere or whether it's a testicle that's a bit of a strange shape or whatever it might be that we do a lot of us live with this health anxiety of like if I just ignore it then uh it's not a thing but then obviously ignoring it with many ailments causes it to be a few things yeah but it's not surprising that we don't want to face it surely not it's it's I mean logic it would say requires a procrastination expert who I did here and I have heard him on on the radio as well and I always laugh about it turns out obviously um the science of procrastination but I don't think it requires that to realize of course we don't we're aware of ourselves we're aware of the fact that we're aware of the world and we enjoy that process daffodil doesn't have to stand around worrying about being a daffodil it just is a daffodil I think as you get older you can make that process easier I do find you know practicing a bit of mindfulness or thinking about things asking about things talking about things can make it easier and you don't have to imagine a world without you in because you won't be in it so you are only in your world for as long as you in it and that's eternity it's far so concerned have you spoken to Mindy about that anxiety yeah kind of you know yeah so it's not an elephant in the room no no no and she's pushed you to go get checked hasn't she yeah probably should yeah well yeah if anything it does demonstrate that we are much more emotional and a lot a lot less logical than we think we are you know because the logical decision would be I have a lump I should go get it checked but yes humans tend to go I mean they're often just google it and convince themselves they have something even worse or they just avoid avoiding avoiding avoiding avoiding avoiding avoiding avoiding avoiding avoiding also I mean you don't want to show weakness and that again is perfectly not but my well both my daughters and my wife they're all into horses but my youngest daughter Willow our horse was was on well and she pointed out to me that they have evolved to be incredibly good at masking pain and discomfort because they're a herd animal if they're not in the herd they die so they need to hide it they need yeah I'm just one of the lads here I am I'm fine yeah I'm running with you over there and they will do because that's her only chance of survival at the moment it's hard feeling a bit crooked so I might stay here I'm not saying we're horses no but it's a great analogy and

Opening up (01:15:52)

one I think I can relate to you know being a CEO and always being the leader yeah you've got you've got to be fine I'm fine yeah what have you masked oh god insecurity not being sure of the way forwards also simply tiredness but I quite enjoy that I enjoy being up first it's dumb but I like it you know if I've got people if we are all away with work and we're all staying together I like to be up first go for a run partly to signal to myself rich you're more important than all of this and that's important and partly to signal to them that no young don't worry I've got this I've not only got this I've got this before I've got this so we'll be fine well um like that injured horse analogy is there anything that you've masked that you've masked because you'd think it would be a weakness I know I certainly have I reflect on it especially my career when I was younger when I was struggling I would not I wouldn't tell a person because I didn't couldn't believe that a CEO and a man could possibly express that so but that's different now surely I think it is far easier I mean I think you know the patriarchal society and all the stereotypes and tropes contained within it I've done just as much damage to men in many ways different damage but that inability to share that inability to show I think that has changed or is changing though I have to very carefully because I live in a fairly nice middle-class bubble and I've fallen foul in this before because I live in a very happy world where there is no in my little world there is no racism homophobia sexism bullying it's nice and then it's easy to forget and then you say things based on that and then you look out at the broader world and realize oh hang on a minute that really isn't doing much for the situation of somebody living here or coming with that so but I think on the whole it's easier now to share things was there a point where you you can record opening up and the and the positive consequence of opening up in a way that you maybe haven't before because I can think of times where for the first time ever I've just said to my partner look I got to tell you something this is how I'm feeling about this and old Steve whenever would have done that he would have been too too much of a tough guy would have seen it as just a tremendous weakness I can't remember when that happens I know I mean I'm off up to the late district this weekend and I will see Les my oldest mate is a shepherd up there an AED who runs the bridge and my two brothers are coming with me and we're going to have a sort of supper on the Saturday evening and we're going to cook and it is the most natural thing in the world for that's five four very disparate people with very disparate jobs as a headteacher stockbroker the television presenter businessman a man running a hotel in his shepherd but we will we'll share things very happily and it feels the most natural thing in the world it doesn't feel like oh no let's be really serious and let's share our most feelings and let's be supportive and not because no we'll do it's just and it can be knock about it doesn't have to be artificially gentle and and all on a bed of cotton wool we can still take the pace we can still have a laugh but we are doing it with love we are we need that yeah yeah yeah very definitely men especially men more so because they're useless at it and realizing that these things have value and it's okay and it doesn't mean you have to turn into something you don't want to turn into a change as a person like I have really rugged chats with my mates from forces often soldiers are pretty good at it nowadays ex-military yeah that's up to how you feel why not that wouldn't be ashamed of your beautiful young daughters is

Advice on living a full & happy life (01:19:58)

a bell in willow they turn to you and they say dad what what um what advice would you give me on living a a full content happy life oh i'd rather just ask me for money i would i would say um i've got a beautiful picture here that i found oh that is them on the internet bless them that's after doing some show rather yeah that is them i would say well they already are in a way they make wise decisions their clever willow had got into the young she'd got into a couple of good universities to do psychology she loved it she's interested in it she's bright both are um but she's got a bit quiet about it we said what's up she said well i'll do the psychology but we know the only thing i've really been passionate about is horses and matters equestrian and i don't want to get five years from now and think oh i could have done it because i know you're absolutely right and if there's one piece of luck you need to take advantage of it's that i'm not i can afford to look after you for a bit longer so if you want to go and explore it and then in five years time you'll be able to say yeah i did it or i did it and failed that's better than not so they're they're already thinking quite wisely about their futures what does that that picture mean to you in terms of the people in it um they're the most important people in my world but i've been taking away i've taken myself away from them too much over the years in order to support them but actually they're support they need it sometimes with me being there and that's the hardest thing and i can't undo that and there's me saying i have no regrets um i regrets are funny i don't feel it as a real pain like always i could go back and change it because i know i can't so i simply don't feel it in that way but i do wish i'd found a way of being there with and for them more just as me rather than as me being away in a jungle or on a glacier earning lots of money and sending it home and mindu yeah i include mindi in that they all three shout at me when i go home yeah but they're the reason you know they reason i do it and that is true you've been through a lot with mindi a lot she's been through a lot with me but i think we have a closing tradition on this podcast where the last guest asks a question for the next guest not knowing who they're leaving it for question that's been left for you is yeah what is the single greatest piece of advice that you have ever been given oh um single greatest piece of advice have ever been given and i've known some really wise people Tim Jackson who was my boss at Renu

Listener Questions

The last guest's question (01:22:36)

we lost him last year absolutely tremendous man and he he would have given me lots of advice because he was i mean it was it was to Tim Jackson actually that i'd i'd broken out of radio because i was starving to death i realized i was never going to get to make motoring tv shows based in a bed set somewhere in the north i needed to get down to where the work was so i got a job at Renu UK in the press office and my boss there was Tim Jackson who was a PR director and just the lumbliest man he only gave me the job because during the interview he'd been in realized i was wearing a pair of shoes i had buckles and laces and he'd drawn them throughout the interview he said to his secretary "look at that i think we're giving the job" he told me to to to follow it sounds really cheesy and i don't i don't address it that was a follow my heart but i knew i resigned twice because i got the job for a better tv work so i actually did i filmed the review of my company car sent off to pea baker and he said yeah okay well i can't promise you a lot of work but i'll give you some so i had to leave Renu so i went back to Tim and said Tim i'm going and tears in my eyes when i said it we were both heartbroken because we i really enjoyed working with him and in fact i went back in end of that week and said no i can't go on staying but then i went back in on the monday and said no i am going and he absolutely said that you've got to go that you have to follow it while you can and i think that applies to everything and anything because you won't always be able to and maybe that's maybe that that's what it distills down to if you're thinking should i do this well can you do this at this and might there come a time when you can't in which case you should and that's sort of what came out came out of what i had with that quite teary conversation over an egg sandwich one morning with Tim Jackson 20 odd years ago Richard thank you so much it's an honor to meet you as someone i've watched since how was it yeah all right thank you no but it's you're incredible for so many reasons not least because because of your success and everything but really you're a remarkable communicator someone i've really learned a lot from in that department communication telling stories and keeping someone engaged through vivid language and and your sort of total expression it's really remarkable and you've lived a life which is incredibly inspiring so thank you so much for the inspiration it means a huge honor to meet you today and to have the opportunity to have this conversation if you are as tremendously excited and you've over delivered and then some in terms of everything i was hoping this conversation could be so thank you thank you for your kind words and i enjoyed it and i look forward to seeing the next one thank you you got to the end of this podcast whenever someone gets to the end of this podcast i feel like i owe them a greater debt of gratitude because that means you listen to the whole thing and hopefully that suggests that you enjoyed it if you are at the end and you enjoyed this podcast could you do me a little bit of a favor and hit that subscribe button that's one of the clearest indicators we have that this episode was a good episode and we look at that on all of the episodes to see which episodes generated the most subscribers thank you so much and i'll see you again next time

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