EPISODE 75 — Colin O’Brady — The Impossible First: From Fire to Ice – Crossing Antarctica Alone
Colin O’Brady is a man living so far on the edge of possibility that only one other person out of 7 billion has crossed the finish line with him. O’Brady is a 10-time world record holder, speaker, and author — and the first person to complete a 932-mile, 54-day, unsupported solo trip across Antarctica.
O’Brady believes the greatest threat facing each of us is comfortable complacency. His expeditions prove that the idea of the impossible is never a reason to give in.
In this inspiring episode, Colin recaps the struggles and triumphs of his epic journey, offering insights on:
- Framing your mindset to discover untapped potential
- What to do when face-to-face with your adversary
- Finding balance on the spectrum of complacency
- Reaching for the impossible
10:14 – Redefine difficulty. “All of us — every person listening — we all have untapped reservoirs of potential to achieve extraordinary things, particularly when we can shift our mindset toward the positive and choose how to react in tough situations.”
12:15 – Don’t read your inner narrative. Write it. “We are the stories that we tell ourselves. We actually have a choice of how to re-write that narrative. We can’t always completely quiet that, but I try to shout over the top of it with positivity. Every morning in Antarctica, I would shout out loud, ‘Colin, you are strong! You are capable!’”
22:00 – The voice on the other side of the phone. “[Jenna] is incredibly strong, she’s incredibly powerful, and she’s incredibly able to tell me to push forward in really tough circumstances. And she’s also willing to say, ‘Colin, I trust you. I trust you. You’re sitting there. Make that decision.’ She’s not pulling me back or pushing me forward, but empowering me to make the right decisions.”
25:47 – The O’Brady theory of relativity. “Too often, we’re stuck in this zone of comfortable complacency. So rather than thinking about one to 10 in a linear plane, I think about it as a pendulum swinging back and forth. I’ve realized to experience the 10s, you also need to embrace the ones. You need to put yourself in challenging circumstances.”
29:18 – When all those before you have failed. “This actually might be impossible. However, I’m willing to try my very best. I’m willing to go out there, and if I fail in 50 days, I still believe there’s value in trying something this hard because I’m going to learn something from it.”
37:55 – Planning helps; doing makes history. “Sometimes, when things are this far out on the edge of possible, there’s no way to simulate it other than just to get out there and problem solve every step of the way.”
41:51 – Flow state. “I ended up making this final push, 33 hours non-stop, 77 miles, reaching the finish line without stopping. That was a 10. I found this place inside myself. I had to go through all the ones, all the challenges, all the frozen tears, all the doubts inside my head — but I finally found this flow state inside my mind that was just one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. I tapped into the positive energy of love, kindness, compassion, and empathy, and ultimately that brought me to the finish line in the silence and stillness of my mind.”
44:33 – Two in 7 billion. “As I got towards the end and pushed through this flow state, what really came to me was this love and gratitude for my family, my friends, support, and for Lou, ultimately. This person who had been an adversary — he brought out the best in me.”
50:40 – Supporting every success. “The criticism in my life has been fuel and re-anchored me towards positivity. It’s been a re-affirming thing to say, ‘Be proud of your successes, but be the first person to congratulate and uplift other people’s successes.’”
52:40 – What does being a game changer mean to you? “Actually having the strength to ask yourself, ‘What is my Everest? What is the biggest goal that feels kind of out of reach?’ A game changer not only asks that question, but answers it — and shows up every day to take one step closer to that summit.”
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