Get Mentally TOUGH, Achieve Your Goals and Do The IMPOSSIBLE By Doing This TRICK | James Lawrence | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Get Mentally TOUGH, Achieve Your Goals and Do The IMPOSSIBLE By Doing This TRICK | James Lawrence".


Note: This transcription is split and grouped by topics and subtopics. You can navigate through the Table of Contents on the left. It's interactive. All paragraphs are timed to the original video. Click on the time (e.g., 01:53) to jump to the specific portion of the video.


Intro (00:00)

That's why people fail is because they rush straight to that big goal and they miss out on everything in between, which is the most important part. You can't skip those stepping stones and go right to it because that's where you're gonna learn. You fail in your preparation so that when you get to the big goal, dream as big as you can so big that it scares you and you hear that all of the time. But what people don't do is they don't shelf it, forget about it, reverse engineer it to the point where they build that success and that momentum so they can eventually get to it. And that's the part about doing. If you just read, watch, you don't adapt and evolve. You gain knowledge, but it's not applied knowledge. Once you do, you get closer and closer to that big goal. - James Lawrence, the Iron Cowboy, welcome back to the show. - Man, super pumped Tom, thank you. Thrilled the beer. - Dude, I'm excited to have you. You are the epitome to me of hard things, doing hard things, building your identity around that. Why do hard things? Why do they matter? Why in fact, we should tell people what you did? So you sent me an Instagram DM and you said, Tom, I'm gonna do 100 Iron Man length triathlons in 100 days, which is crazy. And then you ended up doing 101 in 101 days, which is absolute pandemonium. Why?

The Importance Of Mental Toughness And Strategic Planning

Why Hard Things Matter (01:26)

Why hard things? - Why hard things? Great question. I believe that without doing hard things, we will go backwards in life. We'll go backwards in the way we feel. We'll go backwards in the way our mind develops. And let's just take the pandemic, for example. When that happened, you could take a look around to your peers or colleagues or associates and say, they've experienced hard things based on what I'm observing, how they're handling this right now. And then flip side of that is I could look over here and say, okay, these people have never experienced something difficult in their lives and really, really struggling with this. And we all struggle with different things at different times. But it was pretty obvious to me who had experienced things before and who could handle something like that. And so for me, doing hard things with intent is preparation for the unknown. Because life's not easy. Life is not easy and we all struggle with our own ways. And I truly believe that we all have to go through this life and we all have to learn the same lessons in order to navigate it. It's like a board game. And you hit all the check marks and you gotta hit all the squares. And you're gonna keep falling down the slide in snakes and ladders if you fail that test. And when you pass the test, you gotta go up the ladder. - You think there are universal lessons that we all have to learn? - Absolutely. - Yes. - Let's hear 'em. - I've never thought of them before. What an actual lesson would be. But I mean, I think we all have to learn things like humility, kindness, perseverance, toughness, grit. It's just off the top of my head. Those are things that I think we all have to learn. And the more and quicker we learn those, the quicker we can advance through life and gain those experiences. Number one question again, if you traveled around the world, been a lot of stages, it's been a blast.

How To Become More Mentally Tough (03:20)

I never thought that this would be my life. But the number one thing is, how do I become more mentally tough? How do I become more mentally tough? How do I overcome the barriers? How do I climb that mountain? You cannot read about it.

Will This Next Step Kill You? (03:38)

You cannot hear someone tell their experience from it. You have to have an experience. You have to climb the ladder. You have to climb the ladder. - What is it about doing it yourself? - I agree, by the way. But I wanna know, have you thought about why it is that we have to actually be in the mud doing a hard thing ourselves? - Because motion creates emotion. And you have to experience something and feel it in order to have an experience and knowledge with it. And so, if you are backed into a corner, you beat your broken, and somebody says, when that happens, you can take the next step. Well, do you truly believe you can take that next step if you haven't done it? Because I'm sure in your life with what you've built, momentum is a huge thing, right? Success breeds success and confidence breeds confidence. And so, by actually doing, you're creating those small wins in your path. And then you can draw back on those experiences and apply them to now. You can't do that. You can't gain momentum by reading something. It's always by application. - All right, let's push on that. I'm gonna add a third type of person. So you said, you're looking at COVID and you're seeing people that are handling it well, and you're like, all right, that's somebody who's seen some shit. They've been through something. They've built that sort of mental awareness of what they're like, what they need to do, that they can survive. You say a lot, the next step isn't gonna kill me. And once you know that next step's not gonna kill you, all of a sudden you're willing to take that next step. Then you look around and you see people who are floundering, they're really struggling, and you know that they haven't been pressed in hard times. I think though, there's a third category that might be indistinguishable, or maybe you can tell, but they've been through hard things and they've been damaged by it. And they haven't learned the lesson. They took the hard knock like you went through in 2008.

The Loudest Lessons (05:30)

They lost everything, and what they decided to learn from that was that they're a failure. And now when something hard comes along, they've got PTSD about it, and they really don't wanna face it or engage with it. So how do you make sure that as you either go through the hard thing or put yourself through the hard thing, that you learn the right lesson? - Yeah, great example, and that category is real and it exists. What happens is a lot of people they want to go from zero to a hundred, and they fail when they try to do that. And that person that has been knocked down hard, what they do is they try to go from zero to a hundred again, and they're not ready for it. And it's about everything in between zero to a hundred. And I couldn't even have conceptualized a hundred without doing the 50 prior to, and I couldn't have conceptualized-- - Meaning the actual 100 Ironman was precipitated by the 50, which before that was the 30, and before that the fun run-- - And the trail way back down to a four mile fun run, right? 'Cause that's kinda where my endurance history started. And someone tries to skip the four mile fun run, skip the first half Ironman world record, skip the full, skip the 50, and they try to go all the way to a hundred. Well, you're not creating momentum, you're not learning the lessons along the way to learn the key lessons that we all have to learn. And so that category needs to reassess where they are and be patient with their journey and start to learn the smaller lessons that are meaningful that get you to the bigger ones. But the real test, fail in preparation, and they're not willing to do the prep phase, they're just going right to the test, they fail, and that just kills their confidence. - All right, I wanna get into the lessons, and I wanna get into like there's a mental analog to what has to happen, but there's also, at least in terms of what you did, there's a physical analog.

Wills biological experience (07:10)

So one thing that I think's important, like for people to really understand, I'm obsessed with this idea of you're having a biological experience. And what I mean by that is one, that your brain and your body act in certain ways, and there's no way to transcend that. There are ways to deal with it, there's ways to leverage it, but there's no way to transcend it. It is going to happen. You are going to be in the grips of having a squishy, wet brain, that evolution is shaped in a certain way. Part of what has allowed you to do what you're doing is that, okay, you start as a wrestler when you're quite young, that strengthens your tendons and your ligaments and your joints, and so you're laying a physical foundation, and it's important for people to understand that, a, that just takes time, and b, you have to understand where your body is to know if you're going to be able to get to that point, because somebody that starts lifting, for instance, when they're very young, they build groundwork in the connective tissue in their body, that somebody, if they're picking up weights for the first time in their 40s, they're not going to have that same ability to layer on the same kind of strength. So just being thoughtful about that. And then now getting into this idea of the mental lessons that you're going to learn. So I want to know what those are. So the small lessons that we begin to learn along the way, what is it that you begin to understand where your own cowardice lies, that you understand the nature of the negative voice in your head, or is it something else entirely? - I think the negative voice and learning how to deal with that is literally the most important piece, because I've been through it.

The internal bully (08:52)

I've been doing this for 15 years, and each time we push that envelope a little further and you would think at this point in the time, like I've completely silenced the bully. Dude, he's loud. He's still loud. - The internal bully. - The internal bully. Yeah, he's still loud. I mean, the outside bully is another totally different topic and conversation, but that internal bully, that internal dialogue, it's always going to be there. And I believe I said this the first time we met, like as humans, we are most tough on ourselves. Like we are our toughest critic. And for some reason, we don't see ourselves the way that others maybe see us. And it's typically in a more negative light. And so I think mastering that continual conversation and beat down that we have with ourselves is one of the most important pieces to that puzzle. And why if you go from zero to a hundred, that voice is so loud, it's so dominant, you don't have a chance. And you have to be able to learn how to talk to it, early and during simple things so that you can overcome it and build that momentum like I mentioned before. You can't take on the biggest thing. Like you don't go from off the couch to climbing Everest. Like there's a process and base camps you gotta go through. And that biggest component is that self-talk, that conversation that you have. 'Cause people always ask, you know, what is it? Is this a mental feed or is this a physical feed? And I say it is a hundred percent both. As you can probably see, I am obsessed with the future of crypto and NFTs and I want to make sure you are prepared to understand and enjoy this new digital revolution. To help with that, I've launched a new impact theory discord where you can get not only all my information on crypto and NFTs, but also stay up to date on everything impact theory. You'll be joining a community of amazing impactivists and have direct access to me early offers and so much more. To join, click the link in the description and I hope to see you in there. - I bet you thought I was going to say mental. - I wasn't sure which way you were going to be honest. - It's a hundred percent both because the physicality, the groundwork that you just talked about, it has to be there. Let's just say I'm a 300 pound man and I try to do the physical feats that I do. It doesn't matter how mentally tough I am. That becomes my limiter. And let's say I'm the most physically fit individual on the planet, but I have a really weak mental game. The mental side of me can't drag that incredibly physically fit person along the way. And so it truly is an equal bounce and I've heard a lot of people say, "Hey, these things are 70% mental and 30% physical or whatever the ratio is." Dude, it's a hundred percent of both. You got to go all in on both sides of it in order to do 14,000 miles. You know, 140 miles over a quarter of a year. And then you've got to understand it wasn't just 140 miles. It was 24 hours a day because you've got the recovery. The side of the thing, the side of a project like that that people don't understand is like, even when I was sleeping or trying to sleep, it was complete trauma. I mean, I was having intense night tears. I was having full body tremors and every night I'd sweat through my clothes in two sets of sheets. That's just, that's the recovery part of the journey that people don't see. And I'm still dealing with the mental side of this post-Conquer 100, the massive drop off. And so if you don't have an intently solid mental game, I don't care how physical you are. And if you have an incredibly strong physical game, I don't care if you don't have the mental side. It's a hundred percent of both. - Yeah. Now that makes a lot of sense to me. I want to talk about what you have to do as you're building up to this. There's a really interesting study that shows that if you set a small goal for yourself, you're actually less likely to accomplish it than if you set this really crazy big goal. Because the big goal is exciting. Like somebody can get excited about saying, "I'm gonna go set world records "which you've done in spades multiple times over and over." It's really incredible. And obviously that's really inspiring. And you can imagine like, 'cause I remember part of the early discussion was, if I'm gonna go into coaching or teaching, I need to differentiate myself. And so there was even an element of like, this is a marketing vehicle, which I think is very smart. And on top of that, I know that if I'm gonna stand up in front of people, I need to have done it.

Enjoy the journey, there is something to learn at every level. (13:30)

So in the beginning, like you can get excited about, okay, I'm gonna totally change my life. I'm gonna set records, I'm gonna do all this crazy shit. I'm gonna be up on stage, I'm gonna get paid a lot of money to do this. I'm a clever businessman, like all of it plays into how you get excited enough to do this. But because you can't go from zero to 100, people get totally fucked up because they don't have the widest sustain in these small little increments that are absolutely critical. So how do you help people have like, hey, here's this big crazy thing that you're gonna do, but you have to set that aside for a minute. And now we have to build the tendon strength and get your joints there and your ability to deal with the mental side. And that's the part that people aren't willing to do because they get so excited, they see the headline. They see the headline of what it is and they want that feeling of what it takes. And to be honest with you, I don't enjoy the business side of stuff. And I didn't, I set it out to do it on the coaching side of stuff just for triathletes. Trust me, last thing I wanted to be was on stage. Last thing I wanted to be was in front of people. Last thing I wanted to be was the center of attention. And like you said, it's so important to have that big goal 'cause that's a super exciting thing. But people miss out on the journey and I'm so cliche and I hate even the words came out of my mouth, enjoy the journey, but it's so true. And it's not about enjoying the journey, it's about taking in the journey and participating and being very present in every step of the journey. And that's why people fail is because they rush straight to that big goal and they miss out on everything in between, which is the most important part.

People rush to the big goal, instead of making a plan and acting on it. (15:08)

You can't skip those stepping stones and go right to it because that's where you're gonna learn. And I said earlier in this conversation, you fail in your preparation so that when you get to the big goal, I tell my clients all the time, dream as big as you can so big that it scares you and you hear that all of the time. But what people don't do is they don't shelf it, forget about it, reverse engineer it to the point where they build that success and that momentum so they can eventually get to it. On a small level, we coach the full distance triathlon all the time. And all the time, someone will do their first workout and they say, I can't do an ironman, I can't do a full distance tri. And I say, forget about it. That's not where we're at. Like that's the finish line. And I ask, do you trust me? Do you trust the process? Are you willing to show up every single day? Yeah, absolutely. Great. That's not the goal. Let's just do today because by doing this, you're going to adapt and evolve. And that's the part about doing. If you just read, watch, you don't adapt and evolve. You gain knowledge, but it's not applied knowledge. Once you do, you get closer and closer to that big goal. When I started that form off fun run that we've talked about, I could, no way my brain could have conceptualized, like I couldn't even come up with the goal. It was so astronomically out there, right? I couldn't even come up with 50. I could come up with a marathon. That was my goal, that was my heart. And as you evolve and learn and continually show up, more becomes possible. You know this is what I do. One, we wouldn't do it if we knew how hard it was. And two, when you're in the middle of it, it absolutely seems impossible. And everybody that's in the middle of there impossible hit us so hard. And it is ruthless and it's brutal. But then when you accomplish, you hit that goal, whether it's intermediate or big, then you go, ah, I've learned I've grown, I've adapted. Now more becomes possible. And then you can continue to push that envelope. That's the thing you never wanna do is sit down and go, okay, I've made it, I'm there. I would have been content with the 30 full Ironman's through 11 countries, I would have been it.

Complex goal setting (17:24)

But I just knew deep down to myself, like there's more, I'm capable of more, and I've learned. I'm different than when I was when it, when I was in the middle of it and it was the hardest thing I've ever done. And then as things evolve and progress, more becomes possible. And it's, man, I have learned at the highest level that perception and perspective is an amazing thing. What do you mean? My perception and perspective of 100 is very different than say yours. You've never done an Ironman, right? No. And so to you, that would be holy cow. From where I am today, that would take a lot of effort, a lot of energy and a lot of training. I could probably walk off set and if somebody said, hey, go, it's time to do an Ironman. I'm like, oh, okay fine, let's go do one, right? My perception and perspective of what that is is very different, but over time, now my new normal, and the way I look at things is very different. My previous world records that were the hardest they could have possibly been when I was in the middle of it are laughable to me. But to the newest member of the community, their heart is my formal fun run from 14 years ago.

Perception and perspective (18:36)

And you need to meet your self-way you're at on your journey. And over time, your perception and perspective will change about what's possible for you. And that's the biggest thing is people want to get intimidated and overwhelmed by, oh, he did that, that's impossible, I can't do it, I can't even relate to that. But you have to understand that everybody's journey starts at the beginning. You're never an expert when you start. Like when you exited Quest, your knowledge was so different than when you were like, oh, I'm gonna start making bars and do this get into this nutritional space. How big of a paradigm shift in your perspective probably changed a lot from conception to exit strategy. You didn't even worry you are with this business, now I mean, where you were and what you've learned has completely changed, but you didn't watch a YouTube video, you did it and experienced it, experimented with it, this worked, this didn't work, you learned you had failures, you had successes. And now your goal is probably bigger now than it was when you started. And when you started that goal was astronomical and almost unimaginable. But it's because your perception and perspective has changed. - Dude, I really hope people listen to that. That's so important, it's what I call frame of reference. So your frame of reference will determine-- - It's a much easier way to put everything. - In that your behaviors follow your beliefs and your behaviors are all that matters, which means ultimately your beliefs are all that matters. So then it becomes a question of, well, how do you shape your belief? And one thing that I love in your story about, okay, you have to go out there and do it because I did watch YouTube videos, I did read books, but my thing is I do that and then that day I'm deploying that knowledge. So that the knowledge is an abstract, it's concrete, it's allowing me to go do something. Now the reason I think you need to do something for the reasons that you talked about is illustrated so perfectly in your story where at one point I think this is back in the 50, where you just lay down on the side of the road, curled up into a ball and we're like, I don't wanna keep going. Now in that moment, it's a battle with your own self-talk, it's reorganizing your why, why am I doing this? Like you talked about sort of gathering all those things up. That to me is the juice. That to me is why you do hard things. That's why I do cold exposure, right?

Being exposed to my weaknesses (21:04)

So I'm not going to do 101, excuse me, triathlon, length, Ironman things, but I need to be exposed to my weaknesses. I need to trigger my insecurities. I need to get into fight or flight. I need that part of my brain screaming at me to get out that I'm in danger, that this is bad somehow, that you have that real sense that fight or flight, right? I've gotta get the fuck out of the water. So like trying to force yourself to stay in ice cold water, I was in 52 degree water, I think, until I was legitimately worried that I was going to hypothermia. - How long was that? - I looked it up after and I was so far off, I could have stayed like another three and a half hours but I actually haven't worried about it, but I was utterly convinced. So I was in there for over half an hour. And so you're in the like your teeth, I was worried I was gonna bite my tongue or chip my teeth, it was that kind of thing. And in those moments, two things happen. One, you're confronted by your weaknesses, which I think are really important to stare at. So when people say you learn something or you learn about yourself, it isn't a pretty thing that you learn, it's an ugly thing, it's a thing I'll speak for myself. It's a thing that makes me less impressed with myself, but then I push through that and I find defense mechanisms and I find my why or I strengthen my why and I find things that allow me to overcome that. And then I'm like, whoa, that's a really useful tool. But the thing that nobody ever says is you are confronting the weakest, ugliest, least attractive version of yourself, humanly possible. And in slaying that dragon, you move forward. - Yeah. Yeah, and that's why people don't do it is because nobody likes the edilist version of who they are. And we, I mean, who doesn't enjoy comfort? And I'll tell you a cold story. I hate being cold and I've had two terrible experiences being cold. I did a full distance extreme triathlon in Alaska. - Oh, God. - And it was June, but it's in the ocean was the swim. And a normal full distance is 2.4 miles and they were going point to point so they're like, no big deal will do 2.7. And there was a glacier dump about halfway through the swim. Now my normal full distance swim is about 105, 2.4 miles. This water was so cold, it was about 51 degrees. And when we swim past that glacier dump, it dropped to 48. - Oh. - The swim took me an hour 53. I could not feel my body. And it took me the entire bike ride to warm up before we did the marathon on the mountain. But that was literally the coldest I've been.

The world's toughest race in Fiji (24:06)

And then we did a race called the World's Health Race in Fiji. It's on Amazon Prime 10 episodes, hosted by Bear Grylls, Mark Burnett Production, totally crazy thing, way outside of my expertise levels. You're talking, repelling, sending a thousand foot waterfall, just jungle trekking, things I've never done before. And we had to get up this river system and at the top was these frozen pools. And I've never been so cold in my life and it felt like two days. We were in that for close to 12 hours in freezing cold, cold waters. And I've just, I hate being cold in general. And so those two experiences, it's the reason I don't do cold showers and cold therapy because I'm like, I got it, check. I don't need to do that anymore. - How did you push through? Like what is your secret sauce? Is it just you have a killer?

Motivation And Setting Personal Expectations

Why? (25:03)

Why? Like how do you get yourself, dude? The idea 101 fucking Iron Man length triathlons in 101 night terrors every night. Like it's so crazy. Like I think I'm mentally tough, but dude, that's gnarly. - I think the concept or idea of a challenge, like that is so exciting. And again, you have no idea. - Why is it exciting to me? - It's not exciting to me. Sounds ludicrous. - I think doing something that nobody else has done before and trying to do it at a level that's so high nobody can deny it. So are we good to talk about why I did the 100? - Please. - Okay.

The 50 full Ironmans (25:47)

So I was on your show after I did the 50 and that was 50 full Iron Man's 50 consecutive days through all 50 states. Young, young family, we've got five kids. It's an unbelievable wife. And we had this crazy idea to push the envelope. We'd broken a couple of world records and we said, this is what we're gonna do. And doctor said it was impossible. They said we were gonna die or I was gonna die. And the kids are gonna have a great time. I was gonna die. And when you're doing something that nobody's done before, there's no road map. And so you're ultimately gonna make some mistakes. And we did. We never hid them. We never ran away from them. We faced them head on. But as you know, the internet space is unkind. And we were attacked and mocked and ridiculed and they deemed, not everybody, there's a small camp out there that deemed what we did a complete failure. We failed. We did not accomplish it. And I'm so glad we did. - Because there were a couple days where you had to train indoors because of crazy weather and change? - Yes. We were chased by a hurricane. We had to go indoors. On day 18, it was 106 degrees outside in Chattanooga, Tennessee. And I was so exhausted. I'd never done 18 consecutive before. Nobody had. And I lost concentration for two seconds and I fell asleep on my bike. When you do that, you eat crash. You crash. And that's no fun. And my hips swelled up. I had road rash. And I made a decision to get back on my bike and finish that day. And there's a whole sub story to that where it was my daughter, my why. She was waiting for me. She was doing a 5K every single day. And I was like, I have to meet my daughter so she can accomplish her goal. I don't show up. She doesn't run. She falls short. That's on me. And I felt that responsibility. So I was so glad that she was on that journey. Same time I was on my journey. And anyways, long story short, we were the following day we're in Mississippi. Massive storms again, inside. I'm physically broken. I'm mentally broken. I'm completely exhausted. We had done most of the day. We were wrapping it up. And I was like, I'm in a lot of pain. And we had done a lot of our training to minimize the damage on the body on an elliptical machine. It simulates running really well. We could match my heart rate intensity. We were still covering the distance. I called up my coach. I said, hey, wrapping today up. Gonna jump on the elliptical. We're gonna do a couple miles on there. We're gonna take the finished picture and get to the next day. I wanna get out of Mississippi. And he was like, great, let's do that. Thinking nothing of it, we took the finisher picture. Like we did every single day and we posted online, got in the car, drove all night and started the next day, day 20 in Alabama, I think. And I woke up to an angry mob. And for years, years after that, back up, we decided to continue. We finished, it changed my family's lives. It has given people around the world hope and inspiration. I have gone on to speak in 48 different countries. We have changed the way people think and show up in their own lives. And we, I almost pulled the plug, day 1920, because of that incident. And because how ruthless people were to us. And then that whole time space of me being on stage, every time I got, get off stage, I felt like a complete hypocrite. Because I was telling people to be mentally tough and to show up in their lives. And just that smallest little, again, that voice that never goes away, that beats on us, we give it so much power. And I finally said, that's enough. I sat down, pulled out my calculator, did all the math. We covered 7,000 30 miles. I was like, okay, how many miles did I spend on the elliptical? 0.24% of the miles. 0.24%. So then I thought, man, if I was in the NBA, and I knocked down 99.76% of my shots, I'd be the number one player in the entire league, I'd have $100 million of all time. Of all time, ever. If I was in the NFL and I, a QB and I nailed 99.76% of my throws, I'd be the player I've ever. Why am I being so hard on myself? Nobody had done what we'd done. We'd moved the bar so much. And I don't know if it was, I wanted to prove to myself who I know I am. Or if part of me was like, I want to show that less than 1% of the people that have this opinion that I am who I said I was and who I am. And then the pandemic hit and I had gotten out of shape. I had been traveling nine months out of the year. I'd been on stages and coaching and presenting and helping people have hope and get out of their own way and achieve their dreams.

The 100 Revisited and the Logistical Improvements Made (30:57)

'Cause I'd achieve mine. I've got my dream home, I've got my family, I've got stability, I've got whatever I want now. And I built it all. And the pandemic hit and overnight, literally overnight. Speaking goes away, coaching goes away, racing goes away. And I had, I didn't know it at the time, but I had an entire year plus zero work, no income. I get to focus on me, I get to be with my family. And everybody experienced the COVID shutdown in different ways. It blessed my life. It was an opportunity for me to go, there's one more. 'Cause the whole time, six years post 50, I always said and I'd always wanted, I can do that better. I got asked all the time, if you could do it again, would you? And I said, I wouldn't do it again, would I do it the first time? And they said, would you change anything? And I always said, no, because I'm the person I am today because of what I learned on that journey. I love the mistakes we made. Like I said, I would never had it, we put it in the book, it's in the redefine impossible, it's in the documentary. We highlight it, all of these struggles and mistakes that we made, 'cause it was part of our journey. There was no roadmap for this. And so I started thinking and I said, okay, I'm not perfect, I'm a human being, I'm not perfect. But, I can try and strive for excellence in anything I do. And I looked back on the '50 and I said, what was the '50? The '50 represented to me chaos, logistics, fatigue. And I said, okay. If the '50 was what we did was dubbed redefining impossible, if I remove chaos, if I remove confusion, if I put systems and team in place, if I control my surroundings, can I double what people thought was impossible? Because what I initially set out to do on the '50 was how many consecutive full distance tries can the mind and the body do? I didn't find that out because logistics and chaos got in the way. We had no money, we bootstrapped it, and we were relying on the general public to be there when they said they would be there in each state as a volunteer. We were at the mercy of everybody, and we had the wingman you've seen them and they're crazy and the mistakes they made. And they, I mean, he hit a deer in the middle of the night, no fault of his own, he was exhausted, but that took out our generator, we couldn't carry food, all these things. So the '50 was chaos and confusion and logistics. And I said, if I can remove those, control those, put team and systems in place, financially we're in a different spot. If we did this all in a remote location, can I achieve my goal of finding out what the mind and body can do as far as consecutive is concerned? And that's where we landed on 100 in Utah because the pandemic wiped my calendar out. And I said, I've got possibly a year to get ready physically and mentally to draw from my past experience and to see if that's possible. And on March 1st, 2021, we set out on a journey to see if that was possible and do 100 consecutive. Now that, there's different ways to frame that goal. 'Cause you can say the word 100 consecutive or 100 consecutive days and it's hard to conceptualize that or figure out what that is. It's a quarter of a year. So now take the iron distance, it's 140.6 miles. Well, if you just say 146 miles a day, it's hard to conceptualize too. So it's 14,000 and 60 miles over 14 weeks and which is 140 miles a day. And we set it on a journey. And again, you wouldn't do something if you knew how damn hard it was gonna be and you wouldn't do something if you had all the answers and you don't start as the expert. And so we did, we set it on a journey on March 1st and the rest is history and I am so proud of myself. I'm so proud of our team. And we left no doubt. We left no doubt to who we said we were and the criticism we silenced everybody and I challenge anybody to find a flaw or an asterisk to what we did. Hey guys, I hope you've joined the Impact Theory Discord which if you are unfamiliar with Discord, it is basically a more fun slack. But if you need another reason to join, here is the ultimate one. On October 13th, we are going to be dropping our most valuable product yet maybe the most valuable product that we will ever offer in the form of an NFT. This yet to be revealed NFT token will give you unparalleled access to everything I am working on. Special discounts, free access, exclusive access and much, much more. If all of that was exciting to you and you want to learn more, click the link below to join our Discord community and follow the steps to read my article, The Beginners Guide to Crypto and NFTs. Reading that and joining the Discord community will make sure you are ready for October 13th. - It's so funny that that .24 would-- - Jules.

The dealing with personal embarrassment and curses (36:16)

- And look, it would fuck with me as well. So I completely get it. But on the outside looking at you, I'm like, really? Like you let that fuck with you? It's so crazy. Like the story alone of like the first or second night where you have to fly coach with five kids after waking up and not even sleeping, running a triathlon, then flying to the next date with five kids in coach and do the next one. I was like, come on me out. Like at what point did we say? Like this is so fucking absurd. In fact, if you want to complain about that, you go do the fucking 50, 50, 50, 50, and then you can complain. But it would fuck with me too. That's the weird thing. Like, and I can imagine-- - That's what makes you special though. - Does it or are we just wired like that? Like what I think makes me special is I'd find a way to the other side of that, whether it was doing what you did and finding some even fucking more just absurd thing and like going, okay, this time there's not gonna be an asterisk as you called it. Because I think that, I think the human mind is just a certain way. And one of those things is we are a social creature and it absolutely matters what other people think and it matters what we think and it's this weird confluence of all the things. So it didn't bother you until you got the echo back from people that, oh, this is an asterisk. But once it got in your head, then it's all over. 'Cause now it's like you can't escape it. - Well, 'cause if you remember in our first interview, I said at some point in time, I didn't care what people thought and I wasn't trying to prove them wrong. I was trying to prove myself right. And I said, that's a very different energy. And I don't know when that shifted 'cause I still believe that. I believe I'm successful in what I do because I don't care what people think. I'm not comparing myself against somebody else's standard of excellence. If I did, I would have been satisfied with pen in a row, right? And so why push that envelope? But I think it's because I know that there's more. I know that that wasn't acceptable. And deep down, I believe I'm a person of integrity and my word is my bond. And for some reason, I'll be honest, the 100 was for me, 1000%.

The Real Point of the 48 and the 50 (38:35)

It was for me. Because that question was posed to me, it did bring up the conversation that internal dialogue was, well, did that point to 4% matter? If you said you were gonna do that, did you do it? And I said, I guess. And then you just have that whole conversation while you rationalizing it. Did you actually do it? Are they right? Do you give them any power? And so it's that entire conversation with that tiniest bully that we give so much power to. And I wouldn't have said this before, but I am so glad I gave that little voice, a little bit of power. Because it brought out the best at me. It brought out a different beast that came out and literally doubled what everybody thought was impossible. I call it weed-defined logic. It was so, I don't know what the word is, unlogical for what we set out to accomplish. And again, full circle, my perception perspective was different based on the experience that I had learned and how I evolved through that process. When I woke up and I presented the thing to Sunny and said, I wanna tackle a hunter consecutive. Her hesitation wasn't, it's possible or not possible. It's, how is this gonna disrupt my life and our kids' lives and how do I balance and framework that? Even her perception has changed. Like, no question in her mind, literally the question wasn't, is it possible, can we do it? It was like, okay, how are we gonna fit this into our kids' lives? 'Cause we're six years removed from the 50, our kids were six to 12. Now they're 12 to 18. Now they're very busy, they have their own lives, they're looking at colleges, they're looking at high school friends, jobs, you can't displace your family. And so you have to framework, how's this going to work with seven of you? And that's a different conversation. And it's crazy because her perception was the same as mine. Yeah, that's totally possible based on what we've done. Now our preparation needs to match that goal. And get it done. Let's talk about criticism and people that throw shade. How did you, so it brought out the best in you ultimately, but how did that conversation go? How did you begin to switch it? And then as you were doing this, was there ever a time, 'cause I'm a big believer in what I'll call the dark side. And I mean that in a Star Wars way, where it's like nature only gave you pleasure and pain. And so why people don't leverage the anger, the rage, that side of the equation to me is a mystery. I don't understand it. So I think they're both useful. I think you have to be very careful how much time you spend in the dark energy because it's very corrosive and over time it ends up destroying you and not the other person. But it gives you some pretty powerful impetus.

The Power of Setting Expectations for Yourself (41:31)

For sure. Was there any of that like you're going through the 100, you're fucking tired. I mean, you were running on a stress fracture through some massive percentage of this. So are you saying to yourself, there's gonna be no fucking asterisks on this, like I'm going all the way? - Yeah, absolutely. What I learned from the 50 was what you say you're going to do is the expectation and if you deviate from that, it gives them permission to then attack you. So on our website, we said, these are the rules of the 100. If we deviate from these, come at me full force. I deserve it. And that's one of the biggest lessons that I learned is you have to set up the standard and the expectation. And then once I set out those parameters, there was zero deviating from it. And I learned if I do, they will come at me. And I was so driven to not give anybody an ounce of power or ammunition to come at me with anything. And so it was, every situation I was in was, go back to you. This is a great lesson for anybody in life. And before you go on any journey, whatever you're doing, figure out your ethos, what you truly stand for. Then every decision after that becomes easy. Should I do this? Does it align with my core values, black and white yes or no decision made? Once you set out the parameters for the 100, what that looks like, that's your ethos for this project. Then you go back to your inner decision, should we do this or that? Go back to the ethos, black or white, easy question. Easy answer. And so once we wrote out the parameters, made it public, that's what it was. And it was everything outside. Day number one, 18 degrees outside. Whoa, 18 degrees, try running your bike. And 18 degrees when that happens, it's very, very cold. I made a colossal mistake in planning the 100. I looked at the average temperature for March in Utah. I'm like, oh, 50s and 60s, I can do that. That's the high. Never on one day of the 100 was I on my bike during the high of the day. It was on there at seven in the morning. Day number one, 18 degrees. And so we were immediately up against it as far as like your ethos 'cause that would push anybody inside. We would bike through snow.

Handling Adversity: The Journey On Road

Getting Out on the Road: Suffering from a Stress Fracture (43:52)

We'd bike through sleep. We'd bike through hail. Like you, there was a moment and it was so amazing the way the cycling community came out. But there was one day it was so cold, we called the snow day. And we stopped several times to either refuel and we went into a gas station. And one of the guys went to take his gloves off, bite it to get the glove off and nearly bit through his finger because it was so cold and he couldn't realize he was actually biting into his finger. Whoa. That's a cold it was and we were all that cold. But it was just a quick stop and he was trying to take his glove off so he could refill his water bottle to get back out on the road. But those are the conditions that we started at and it's an immediate gut check. The first week of the journey realizing, hey, I'm on day 10, I've got 90 more of these. Where am I at? And you mentioned that stress fracture that I had in my shin. It started with an undisclosed ankle injury that I went into it with that I didn't want to tell anybody about. And it quickly exploded up my leg. 'Cause when you're in training for something like this, you have to minimize the damage. You don't want to over train and you don't want to hurt yourself before you even start. And so there's an obvious immediate ramp of volume. That's unavoidable. And your body has to go through the adaptation phase of doing that. Well, my body didn't handle it. I turned 45 in the middle of this journey. I'm older and I developed a stress fracture. And it got to the point where I felt like I knew my leg was gonna break. And I had to manage the pain in every step I was taking on the marathon. I was like, this next stop, my leg's gonna break. This next step, my leg's gonna break. And I'd manage the pain, manage the pain.

Wingman (45:38)

And I'd block out. I'd pass out. And Casey was there, one of the wingmen, he did all the runs with me. He'd catch me. And within five seconds, I'd come back to. And we'd do a little countdown and we made a shirt that says, here we go. Because that's what we'd say. We'd audibly say it out loud, here we go. And we'd get moving again and I'd manage it, manage it, manage it. Black out, catch me. And he said, you know, you're blocking out those entire last six miles. And I said, I know. But it's what we had to do because the question I had to ask myself is, is the next step gonna kill me? That's one of my major ethos. One of my major mantras is the next step gonna kill me. And it was about day 15. I was at the peak of the shin problem. Literally thought like my leg was gonna break. Didn't know what to do. I was at the completion of the day. And I looked at Sunny and we were back at my house and I said, I don't think I can manage that level of pain for 85 more days. And she gave me some of the best advice that I've ever had my entire career. And she said, the work is done today. The work is done. Allow the team to do their job. We had a great PT massage therapist team there. Allow the team to do their job. Go to bed, wake up tomorrow because we have no idea what tomorrow's gonna look like. And then let's face tomorrow as it comes. 'Cause mentally I could not conceptualize that level of pain management for 85 more days. We were so early in the journey. And my 45 year old body was broken.

Pain and exhaustion (47:16)

Broken, if the 50 was chaos, exhaustion, and logistics, the 100 was injury, pain, and longevity. Those would be the two parallels between the two or contrast. And that to me became the campaign motto was, take every day as it is today because we have no idea what tomorrow's gonna look like. 'Cause what we've learned on my journey is my body is in our body. It's a human body. It's an amazing tool. If you give it the resources it needs to recover, perform, whatever it takes, same with the mind. And my body could go from great to bad in a 24 hour period, and they can go from bad to great in a 24 hour period. We had no idea. And you deal with what you have when it's given to you. So on day 15 when she gave me that advice, that kind of became the theme. For the rest of the journey was like, we don't know what tomorrow's gonna bring. And if you quit now, you're never gonna find out. And that would be the most tragic thing you do on your journey to not know what tomorrow brings. And so every single day we would fight till we got to the point where I was like, you've done the work today. Now trust your team to take care of you because tomorrow could be completely different. - What are your tactics for pain management? That's extraordinary to be able to manage the pain to the point where you pass out, tucks. So what do you do? - I saw footage that I don't understand because I'm completely blank. I've saw footage where I developed a rhythmic pattern with my hands, that I'd move them in a certain way to either distract myself or, and I didn't know I was doing it.

Rhythm pattern (48:59)

And I would take myself somewhere else. And I think over time with dealing with pain, you develop techniques and everybody's gonna be different. I didn't have that technique in 2012 when I broke the world record for official events around the world. I didn't have that technique. I didn't experience that level of pain. I experienced exhaustion and difficulty, but not that level of pain. And as I progressed through my career with crashes and continuing to push the mind and the body, I developed personal techniques that have helped me. And I don't know how to flip the switch.

Flip the switch (49:43)

Like I would literally be a multimillionaire if I could write the manuscript on how to flip a switch. On the actual act of doing it, I don't think it's a tangible thing that you can teach anybody because it's so unique to an individual and how they do it in their space. And for me, I've watched some videos that I am just like, or someone would tell me the way I was acting. And this was crazy for me looking back on the experience now. At some point in time, you slip into this trauma protective state. And again, it's not a flip. It's not, hey, day 35 to day 36 that happened. You're going on a journey that's a quarter of a year and you slowly step into the state until your mind is completely protecting you from the chaos and trauma that you're experiencing. - Protecting you how? - From the actual experience. - Like you're going somewhere else. - You're doing your journey. - You're doing your journey. - You're doing your journey. - Finger bang. - Yeah, absolutely. Going somewhere else. Had somebody asked me on day 98 of the journey, could you do 200 consecutive? No question the answer would have been emphatically yes. Day 102 when I was done and my mind let go. - Ah. - I couldn't figure out how we did 101. It was shocking to me. And I'm, we're two and a half months removed from the accomplishment now. I'm still struggling physically and mentally. I can't wrap my mind around what we did. And it's just proof that you slowly slip into the state and how powerful the mind is to drag a physically fit body through something that everybody deemed was double what impossible was before. Why do 101? - You only promised 100. - I did. - That was a challenge. Already absurd enough. - Yep. And 101 didn't come about until the very last week of the campaign. 'Cause again, when I'm on 65 and I still have 45 to go and that seems so insurmountable, somebody joked early on, I think it was Casey and he said, hey, let's do 101, just me, you and Aaron, the wingman and we'll shock everybody. And I said, F off.

Going Beyond 85 (51:51)

Like we're not even having this conversation. I can't conceptualize it. Not even on the table, bring it up again and you're fired. Like I was so mad that he would even bring it up. It couldn't conceptualize it. And then, you know, for me about day 85, I just got into such a flow state. After 85, like you're there, but you're not there. - That's all it took. - You're an 80 car. - Yeah, yeah. - It's so easy. - It's easy. You're unconsciously conscious of that point, just executing. I knew where every pothole was. I knew the course. I knew the environment. I've had so much confidence having fought through the worst of the worst through 85 days. I'm like 15 is so manageable to me. Again, perception, perspective, somebody said, I'll do 15 consecutive. You're an idiot, but now we have 15 to go there. Like you're so close, it's done. You might as well, like it's easy. It's a wrap, it's a wrap. And so once I was beyond 85, my world now is going around and coaching and mindset, strength, and that's the important part of going on any journey. And I hate speakers that one are just talking heads that don't have any experience, have never been on the battlefield. And one of my things is the next step's not gonna kill you. And the big question I got after the 50 was could have you done one more? And I hated that question. Of course I could have done one more. I chose not to. - Right. - And so during the last week of the 100, I just got the biggest impression. I'm big on intuition, doing what your gut tells you to, and my gut said you have to do one more. I said, I don't want it.

The Aftermath: Dealing With Physical And Mental Exhaustion

Going Beyond 100 (53:29)

And it said, I don't care. You have to do one more. If you're gonna get up on stage and tell people you can do one more step, you have to do it. And here's what I learned about people. You're gonna get to a point on your journey where you're broke physically, mentally, not financially, but financially too. You're beaten. You can't imagine dragging yourself out of your dark corner. You can imagine pulling yourself off the ground. You have no support system. You're a corpse walking around. You're depressed. You have anxiety. Everything freaks you out. In order to overcome that, you have to show up on your journey. And I don't know your journey. I don't know how many times you're gonna have to show up one more time. Sometimes it's gonna have to be on your own. And so we didn't tell anybody that one on one was gonna happen. We didn't even know it was gonna happen till literally three days before the 100. And 100 was finished on a Tuesday. I made the final decision on the Sunday night. To do it. And we were just gonna go live on that Wednesday morning. And I got in the pool and nobody was there. 'Cause they thought we were sleeping, celebrating. And I woke up and I got in the pool and I was by myself. And I did the 2.4 mile swim. And I was fully anticipating doing 112 miles by myself. And the chat boards went crazy. And the supporters locally said, no way is he doing that by cried by himself. And they showed up and we had an amazing 112 miles. And we did it on our terms. And I just felt like as a person who gets up on stage and tells people, you can show up on your journey no matter what. I was broken. I was beat. I was defeated. And on the flip side of that, I'd achieved the goal. I'd done what I said I was gonna do. But I just felt at the highest level, I needed to lead from the front. I needed to go do one more. Well, that's by myself or with my team, the importance of that. I think day one on one was more important than the previous 14,000 miles. - It's crazy. - Yeah. - Because you didn't have to do that one? - I didn't have to do it. I didn't have to do it. And I was so broken. I didn't have to do any of them. That was just my word and my bond. - I know what you mean though. So there's something about, and I say this to myself all the time. It's when I do the one that I didn't owe myself. So you owed yourself the 100 because you said you were gonna do it. But you didn't owe yourself the 101. - No. - You still did it. - I did. They 100 were so chaotic. It was so much media. I mean, we started this conversation with I don't wanna be the center of attention. That's not who I am. And so to do 101, it was on my terms. It was with my small team. It was intimate. It was stress free. To me it was the ultimate victory lot. One, my drought galore, you know, to do that and then go, you know what, this one is truly for me. Don't ever ask me if I could have done one more. Don't ask that question. The answer is always yes, I choose not to. This is my journey. I'll do what I want, when I want, as long as I'm within the parameters I set. And it was truly for me.

James Experience with Depression & Brain Fog After Iron Cowboy Triathlons (57:00)

- Yeah, incredible. - That's right. - How do you deal with the come down of doing something so unprecedented and then what? It's like, do you have a sense of like, I need a new purpose or what's that been like? - Not a new purpose. Who coming off the 100 has been very hard for me. We were, I was heavily cautioned, coming off the 50, there'd be this big let down. And then-- - And then what? - Like you don't have the adrenaline. - I'm like-- - I think it's achieving the goal. It's your sole purpose. And once you achieve it, the next day is nothing. And I saw, and I'm gonna post it on my social media this week. It was a letter written to, from the Olympic athlete standpoint. Had I known, it would be like this. And the whole thing is like you, you trained for four years or your entire career for this one moment, that one moment happens. And next thing you know, you're mowing your lawn and nobody knows who you're right. And that's what it feels like. And I was cautioned after the 50 'cause it was so big at the time. And then I didn't experience it because I got whisked away into the speaking, into podcasts, into meeting Tom and all these crazy things. And so I was just on this incredible high that never ended. And that became my new normal. And so when we did the 100, what changed was the duration of it. There's a big difference between going all in, being on. I mean, on on mentally for 24 hours a day, for seven weeks, and then doing that same ask on on for 14 weeks. And this is the first time in my life. I am a very positive person. I'm a very happy person. I'm a go lucky person. I am in the face of adversity. I've got a smile on my face. You cannot tell I'm suffering. This was so dramatic and so drastic. And I got into such a protective state that when I came out of it, I've experienced sadness and depression and hormonal imbalance like I have never experienced before. And it's been really hard on me because I have never been on that journey before. And now I'm on a very new journey. If any year, if every journey has, I would say three phases is preparation, execution and post or recovery. Well, I am in that post recovery portion and it's like nothing I've ever experienced before. Like literally when I get home from this trip, I'm going to get brain MRIs done. - Whoa. - Because I'm suffering from such brain fog and confusion. This is one of my favorite stories. I was, it was like a week after the 100 and I was driving somewhere with my wife and we were on the interstate in Utah. And my wife looks over and so lovingly and so patient. She says, "Hey, you're driving 45 miles an hour." - Whoa. - And I was like, "Oh, yep, I am." I didn't realize it. I was in this fog of a space and I said, "I think you should drive." I've never experienced that before and I can go through a day where I've either done a virtual presentation or creating content or doing some filming and the day ends and a switch goes off and I go from, "I am okay, I am not okay." And there's confusion and I don't want it to do. I'll be walking around my house. I've never, ever experienced this before and I'm not worried about it because I know it's a hormonal imbalance and we joked prior to turning the cameras on, don't ask me the question, what's next? And this is a perfect lead into what's next and I've kind of been going down this cool journey of biohacking my brain, my body, my health.

James Next Chapter: A Sustainable Healthy Lifestyle (01:00:38)

And I'm still gonna do fun races. Like I'm doing a cool race in Costa Rica in a couple months. It's the hardest mountain bike race. I'm going to Abu Dhabi Dubai to do the World Championships for Spartan. I'm doing some really cool stuff. What's next? For me, it's, I wanna live a sustainable, healthy lifestyle beyond 105 years. And to me, that is super intriguing and fascinating and I think is possible. And I wouldn't be the first, but for me, I wanna go on that journey of like total health and wellness and controlling my mind and giving my body what it needs because I've learned at the highest level, like, you're so powerful, mind and body, but you can't abuse what you have and you have to, if you've learned anything about the pandemic, like you have to take care of yourself to combat and battle our surroundings. We're in a constant war with the elements around us and I am fascinated, especially having experience with I've experienced coming off of the 100 and the trauma that I went through intentionally mind you. I did it to myself. I'm not comparing myself to anybody else who's been through different types of trauma, but for me, it's kind of like opened up this box of like how powerful the mind and body is how protective our minds can be to our bodies. And now I wanna take it on the journey of like, how powerful of a human can I be and how long can I live maintaining a really high standard of living? And that fascinates me. And I know it does you too. You wanna live to your 500. - Wanna live till forever? - Forever, right? - That would certainly be the ideal. I'd push that button, yeah. - Yeah, so I'm kind of going down that journey right now. Just of self discovery and just with the emotions that I've had and I mean, I have an unbelievable life. I have so much to be grateful for and to be in the middle of a workout and just start bawling. Like for no reason is shocking to me and to have that experience. And I have empathy and compassion now for people that are like, no, I like something's wrong. Like it's an imbalance and I don't know why I'm sad. I don't know why I'm depressed. And for me, the biggest thing that's helped me is like I have to get out and do something. I can't sit at home and focus. You talk about focusing on that dark space or whatever it is and that dark space can come in many different ways and depression and anxiety is a big one. And for me, getting on my bike and getting up into the Utah mountains has been so therapeutic for me and healthy. Just to get out and just separate and disconnect and breathe air and just do something that I love. And that's been super helpful for me 'cause I joked that I did a quick video and Instagram and I said, that tree right there is not yelling at me. It's not judging me. It's just a tree and it's letting me be who I am. And I think that was super important for me to realize how important like cycling is in my life and how important it is not to sit in a corner and focus on everything that hurts or everything that is sad to get outside and to shift that energy. I said it before, motion creates emotion.


Closing Remarks (01:04:02)

And for me, it's a super important piece to my puzzle. I love it, dude. What you have done is so inspiring. And if the next step is to inspire people to live to 105, you can count me in though that's pretty young, but at least it's more than what most people hope for. Where can people follow on your insane journey? Yeah, we post most everything on Instagram. So Iron Cowboy James and then everything can be kind of plotted and navigated to our website, just I love it, dude. Guys, if you haven't already, man, what this guy has shown to be possible is extraordinary. You can't look at it and think that something in your own life is impossible. It's merely a question of how badly you want it, what price you willing to pay to get it. And speaking of things that you can get, if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe. And until next time, my friends, be legendary. Take care, peace.

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