If you need some inspiration in your life this is the episode for you. We have on the show podcast, author and one of the fittest men in the world Rich Roll. At age 40, and after years of struggling with drugs, alcohol, and unhealthy living, Rich dedicated his diet to plants and his body to purposeful action. Just two years later, he began clocking top finishes at Ultraman World Championships and leading a community of others looking to transform their lives.
A graduate of Stanford University and Cornell Law School, Rich is a 55-year old, accomplished vegan ultra-endurance athlete and former entertainment attorney turned full-time wellness & plant-based nutrition advocate, popular public speaker, husband, father of 4 and inspiration to people worldwide as a transformative example of courageous and healthy living.
In 2012, Rich became a #1 bestselling author with the publication of his inspirational memoir Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself.
Taking up where the book leaves off, in 2013, Rich launched the wildly popular Rich Roll Podcast, which persistently sits atop the iTunes top-10 lists. In 2014, Rich & his wife, Julie Piatt, published the bestselling cookbook and lifestyle primer, The Plantpower Way: Whole Food Plant-Based Recipes And Guidance For The Whole Family.
In May 2010, Rich and his ultra-colleague Jason Lester accomplished an unprecedented feat of staggering endurance many said was impossible. Something they call the EPIC5 CHALLENGE– an odyssey that entailed completing 5 ironman-distance triathlons on 5 islands of Hawaii in under a week. Commencing on Kauai, they traveled to Oahu, Molokai, and Maui before finishing on the Big Island, following the course of the Ironman World Championships on the Kona coast.
In addition, Rich has been a top finisher at the 2008 and 2009 Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii. Considered by many to be one of the world’s most daunting and grueling endurance races on the planet, Ultraman is a 3-day / 320-mile double-ironman distance triathlon that circumnavigates the entire Big Island. Limited to only 35 carefully selected invitation-only participants worldwide, Day 1 involves a 6.2-mile ocean swim immediately followed by a 90-mile cross-country cycling race. Day 2 is a 170-mile cycling race. And the event culminates on Day 3 with a 52-mile double marathon run on the searing hot lava fields of the Kona coast.
But what makes Rich truly remarkable is that less than two years prior to his first Ultraman, he didn’t even own a bike, let alone race one.
Although he competed as a butterfly swimmer at Stanford University in the late 80s, Rich’s career was cut short by struggles with drugs and alcohol — an addiction that led him astray for the next decade, alienating friends, colleagues, and family, landing him in jails, institutions and ultimately rehab at age 31. Although sober, Rich soon found himself 50 pounds overweight, the furthest thing from fit. Everything came to head on the eve of his 40th birthday. Defeated by a mere flight of stairs that left him buckled over in pain, he foresaw the almost certain heart attack looming in his near future.
“It was time for a major life change.” – RICH ROLL
The day immediately following his staircase epiphany, Rich overhauled his diet, became a dedicated vegan, put on his running shoes, and jumped back into the pool. It wasn’t long before ambition took hold, and his quest to participate in Ultraman slowly began. Two years later, 50 pounds lighter and fueled by nothing but plants, he surprised the triathlon & ultra communities by not only becoming the first vegan to complete the 320-mile über-endurance event but by finishing in the top 10 males (3rd fastest American) with the 2nd fastest swim split — all despite having never previously completed even a half-ironman distance triathlon.
In 2009, Rich returned to Ultraman twice the athlete he was the year prior. Despite a stacked field, he took home first-day honors with a blistering 2:21 swim victory (6th fastest of all time) and a third fastest bike leg to win the day with a 10-minute lead on the field. On Day 2, Rich suffered a serious bike crash but managed to salvage the day in 6th place overall. With an injured knee and shoulder, Rich nonetheless went on to a 7:51 Day 3 double-marathon to hold onto 6th place overall.
Rich’s plant-fueled feats of boundary-pushing athleticism have been featured on CNN and major publications, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine, The Huffington Post, Stanford Magazine, Men’s Health Living, VegNews, Triathlete, Outside, 3/GO Magazine and Men’s Fitness Magazine, which named Rich as one of the “25 Fittest Men in the World.”
I can’t think of a better guest for our 100th episode of Next Level Soul. Enjoy my conversation with Rich Roll.
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Follow Along with the Transcript – Episode 100
Rich Roll 0:00
Imagine your life as a long branch of a tree. And along that branch, there are smaller branches that pop up or little buds along the way. And each one of those is, is a story that comprises the greater story that you tell yourself about who you are.
Alex Ferrari 0:28
I've been able to partner with Mindvalley. To present you guys FREE Masterclass is between 60 and 90 minutes, hovering Mind Body Soul Relationships, and Conscious entrepreneurship, taught by spiritual masters, yogi's spiritual thought leaders and best selling authors. Just head over to nextlevelsoul.com/free. I'd like to welcome to the show Rich Roll man how you doing Rich?
Rich Roll 1:01
Good, good. Good, man. Happy to be here. excited to talk to you, Alex. Thanks for having me.
Alex Ferrari 1:06
Man, thank you so much for coming on the show my friend I am. I've been an admirer of yours for a while from a distance being a vegan and plant based person myself and you are in many ways, a, a source of inspiration for us old folks.
Rich Roll 1:28
I'm older than you. I'm sure I'm older than you.
Alex Ferrari 1:31
You are. You are a little a few years older than me without question. But, but but you're beginning of your journey and your 40s that you changed your whole life and became this this athlete. And I'm in my 40s knocking on the door 50. And I'm like, well, there's there's hope for us. So I can't wait to get to the conversation with you met. So I wanted to first question want to ask you, which is before your transformation, what was life like before you became this kind of fitness guru and changed your whole life and everything?
Rich Roll 2:05
Yeah, I mean, I grew up in a pretty traditional household, my needs were met I, you know, I was reared in the Washington DC area, and grew up in a pretty education first environment with pretty high expectations for achievement. I was kind of an awkward, socially anxious kid who had a hard time figuring out how to fit in, I definitely wasn't one of the cool kids and, you know, found swimming. That was my kind of first love and sport that, you know, served me well. It was the one thing that I actually had any competence in and I learned about life and how to accomplish goals through that sport that transferred into the classroom. And so by the time I was a senior in high school, I was, you know, pretty accomplished in both of those arenas and got into a bunch of fancy colleges ended up going out to the West Coast to Stanford to to attend this amazing university, but also to compete on their, their swim team, which at the time was like the number one program in the country. And it was like a dream come true. I was training with like Olympic champions and world record holders and stuff like that. I'll be it me being kind of a benchwarmer, I wasn't a scholarship athlete, and live that life and loved it. But when swimming was over, that was kind of the end of my athletic career. And, you know, that vacuum ended up getting filled with drugs and alcohol, which, you know, took me down some dark alleyways, I have a whole kind of addiction recovery story. That got pretty dark and really, up ended my life and in in some pretty, you know, serious ways. But I had the good fortune of getting sober at 31 After attending law school and kind of pursuing a career in law, and spent, you know, between 31 and 40, really building a foundation of sobriety, and beginning to kind of wrestle with my inner demons. And you know, why I had, you know, behaved that way and started asking myself deeper questions about, you know, who I wanted to be in the world. And it became apparently kind of evident that I was in the wrong career, like I kind of pursued this career law because I just felt like it was what was expected of someone like me and not really a function of, of, you know, what I was naturally kind of attracted to, I was sort of jamming a square peg into a round hole and because I know how to work hard, I know how to suffer and all of that was able to achieve some modicum of success, but I always felt like I was living somebody else's life. And with the tools that I was learning in sobriety, you know, it was slowly becoming untenable to have this kind of, you know, multiple personality or kind of, you know, split between this, you know, person that I was I'm slowly becoming and the person who kind of showed up in the professional world. And that ended up kind of creating a bit of an existential crisis that collided with a health scare. Because ever since I retired from swimming, I never really took care of myself. And in the kind of corporate law context, it's all about, you know, ADR weeks and, and you know, ordering in takeout food and hitting the fast food drive thru on the way home and I put on 50 pounds. And, you know, that all caught up to me in a pretty visceral singular moment where I struggled to walk up a simple flight of stairs without getting winded and had tightness in my chest and heart disease runs in my family. And it was sort of like that moment when I decided I needed to get sober. But in this case, I realized I needed like rehab for my life, or rehab, at least initially, for how I was taking care of myself. And that kind of set in motion, a series of events that have that have, you know, over many, many years led me to what I'm doing today. But, you know, I ended up changing my relationship with food and with my body and adopted a plant based diet and invigorated from that, you know, started pursuing athletic interests. And that led me into the world of ultra endurance, and in my 40s, was able to distinguish myself in some, you know, kind of interesting races that caught the attention of the media, because people were confused. Now, there's lots of plant based athletes, but at the time, there weren't very many out there, and people wanted to know, like, how do you go? And do you know, a three day double Ironman race when you're not eating any animal products? And not for nothing? Like, aren't you like a lawyer? Like, what do you even do to begin with, you know, that like, opened up a lot of doors for me and what led to the opportunity to write a book and the podcast, I started in the wake of the book coming out and like, here we are today, and I get to talk to cool people like you.
Alex Ferrari 6:57
Oh, that's it's thank you for for that. And it is really interesting. What I find fascinating about your story is by that once you got sober, there was an almost a decade time period, there were from the outside, it seemed like you had everything you were successful. You were you were you know, making money. You were you were you know, living the dream, as many people think you worked as a corporate if I'm not mistaken, as a lawyer in Hollywood, in one way, shape or form entertainment, in the entertainment business.
Rich Roll 7:25
Yeah. City. Yeah.
Alex Ferrari 7:27
Right. So then you're you know, you're hanging out with celebrities, and those so from the outside, you know what I mean? Kind of, you know, you're hanging out, you're, you're not you're not at Brad Pitt's house, I get it. But generally speaking from the outside, a lot of people looking at it like, oh, man, you work in Hollywood, and you work in an entertainment law. And so it seemed like you had everything but you there was something missing on the inside. And you I'm sure, you know, many of your colleagues who are still there, and didn't have that kind of, you know, for lack of a better term come to Jesus moment, where they just said, I have to, I have to change something inside of me. What was that thing inside you that was calling for you to make this change? What was making you so unhappy? What? What was that thing inside you that you said, I had, besides the health scare on this kind of thing, this this crisis that you had,
Rich Roll 8:17
I mean, it really, it was really pain, you know, pain is the only thing that's ever gotten me to, like, you know, make hard decisions, or take risks or change, you know, any of my errant ways. And, you know, the facts of my experience are unique to me. But I think it's pretty common that people wake up after many years in a chosen career and think like, is this like, wait, I wasn't sure. This was the life that I actually consciously chose for myself. And I certainly was one of those people. But it just became harder and harder to show up and even do simple tasks. And my job, like I just knew, like, I'm not supposed to be here. And yet, I had invested so much time and so much money in this career, and was kind of raised in a in a safety seeking household, like I don't come from a long line of entrepreneurs and risk takers are artists, like, you get your good job and you work hard and you put your nose down. And that's how you make your way in the world. So the idea of like, walking away from this career, was the most terrifying thing I could I could possibly imagine. And, you know, just to disabuse people who might have some familiarity with my story of like, how it all went down. It wasn't some big dramatic thing. It was a very gradual process of starting to attune my focus and my attention into things that were bringing me joy and happiness and kind of fertilizing that terrain over many, many years. Well, I was slowly kind of losing interest in the law and investing in other things. You know, it took a long time, like I left the corporate law firm, but then I was the sole practitioner and then I practice law with like a couple partners and went back to being a say so but all the while kind of like losing interest and making less and less money doing it because I was diverting that, you know, my attention and other places that weren't, you know, that weren't paying the bills. And now everything's fine. But you know, I do endure some hardship, making that transition, some financial hardship, and in order to make it work.
Alex Ferrari 10:25
So it sounds like you did a an inventory of your life. Do you have any tips for people who are listening that might have, they might be in that same place where they're just not happy where they are, they might be financially stable, or in that way, but not happy. I remember I had a job that was paying me was one of the highest paid editors doing promos in Florida, in the in the early 2000s. Or in late 90s, I think. But I was miserable, because I was doing promos for Matlock for God's sakes. But I was making insane money. And I just I literally just started to act up. So I could get fired. I literally on a subconscious level, started to do things that made me impossible to work with because I just wanted to get out, I didn't have the courage to do what you did. Even if it was a slow process. I didn't even have that card. So how do you any tips you have as far as doing inventory life inventory of where you are?
Rich Roll 11:22
Yeah, sure. I mean, I'll preface my answer by saying that, you know, especially in our social media age, we're kind of inundated with these messages of like, pursue your passion, and like you should chase your dream and all of that. And I think, although, you know, that comes from a good place of, you know, everybody should feel fulfilled and the life that they're pursuing, I think, oftentimes, it makes people feel bad about themselves, because a lot of people actually don't know what their passion is, or what the thing would be that would make them happy. And so that ultimately, you know, becomes like a guilt inducing thing. And I was certainly one of those people, like, I never even considered what, what might make me happy, or what could be a different possibility for how I was living, and the only, you know, so the advice that I would give is just, is just to share the experience of what I did. This isn't isn't the only way. But it began with some of the tools that I learned and 12 steps through recovery. And that tends to be kind of a lens through which I, you know, process all of these things. And a big part of that is doing an inventory, like a big inventory, and then a daily inventory, that kind of connects you more objectively to your behaviors, and over time kind of reveals patterns, and you start to see why do I keep doing this thing, and it just makes you more reflective and, and creates a greater understanding of what's impulsing you and, you know, and the like. And then beyond that, and I will credit our mutual friend Sasha, for for getting me involved in this. But I started doing the artists way, which is Julia Cameron's book and program that is really about unlocking creativity, I'm sure you know, the many screenwriters that are fans of yours are familiar with this, it's a great program for anybody who wants to be a writer. But I think beyond that, it's an incredible tool for that journey of like self connection and trying to, you know, figure out what your authentic voice is. And you know, a big piece of that is, is doing what's called the morning pages, which is just writing three pages, the first thing in the morning, which is kind of like, you know, the garbage dump of like getting out of your head, like all this stuff that you ruminate on, so that you can kind of get clear on what it is that you really want to focus on. And that's been a practice that, you know, I've been doing for decades at this point. And then to supplement that, there's a book called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, I'm sure you're familiar with that Sasha was the first person to give me a copy of that book. And that's a book that I read, I read that book, you know, at least once a year and have had Steven Pressfield on my podcast, I just have so much reverence and respect for, for that book and the other books on that terrain, that subject matter that he's written, and that was also super helpful. And then just beyond that, like just the practice of journaling every day, you know, as as a means of developing that connection. You start to learn about yourself and I started, I remember very vividly making a decision not about like, Oh, I'm gonna leave this career in a you know, in a in an explosion of glory and go do something else. It was really a journey of like, well, what does make me happy? Like, I wasn't even sure right, so Oh, you know what, like, I really miss swimming. Like I'm gonna go back to the pool or I really like you know, kind of running out there. Whereas with my shirt off with the sun on my back, like it wasn't, I needed this car, or I need this position or I need this house or apartment, it was really primal simple things. And I just, you know, decided that I was going to give myself permission to indulge in those pursuits that made me happy, and I wasn't going to make them subservient to some career path. And the more you do the things that bring you joy, maybe it's like model airplane building, or, you know, writing jokes for possibly becoming a stand up comedian, or whatever it is in your life. I think when you water that garden, you're giving it energy, and you're kind of telling the universe, hey, this is what I'm into. And in my experience, the universe kind of responds in kind by saying, Oh, you're into that, like, well, here's a little here's, here's a little easter egg, like, why don't you come over here, like, it's not like a whole path gets laid out in front of you where like, where you can see clearly how this might become a career. But you start to get evidence in the form of little openings and kind of cracks in the universe that continue to guide you. And I made a choice of following those, you know, little bricks as they got laid in front of me and did not have any idea how that would ever become a vocation. But I kind of put that out of my mind. And I said, I don't care. Like I like doing these things. And I'm going to continue to do them. And I trust that, you know, in the process of doing this, I'm finding something out about myself on figuring out who the authentic person is inside of me and trying to bring voice to that. And I think when you develop that as a practice, it becomes kind of a guiding force or principle that leads you in a direction in which opportunities will eventually arise. Maybe not on your timeline, or in the manner desire. Yeah, like it doesn't work out. Like you imagine what it could be like, it doesn't, it doesn't work like that. But if you're devoted to the process of it to the practice of it, it almost doesn't matter. Because those opportunities are like side benefits. The real juice is like the sense of self that you get from committing to, you know, that type of way of life.
Alex Ferrari 17:21
It's so interesting, and I think you can you can agree with me on this. When I started podcasting, and I was like, this is where the money is, obviously. Yeah, I, my first after my first episode, I'm like, oh, yeah, I'm gonna be doing this for the next seven years, and it's gonna support my family. Like, that was not a thing that was even in my mind, I wished it, I hoped for it. And it was my side hustle for a little while, while I was still directing and doing post production and things like that. But I started to feed it little by little more and more. And all of a sudden, people started to show up. And with this show, which is a much newer shows only a little bit over a year old. All of a sudden, you know, I get calls, and we're like, Hey, do you want you know, I know, Rich? Do you think Rich would be a good guest? I'm like, Yeah, I think Rich would be a fantastic guest to come on the show, and things. So the universe starts to open up and provide opportunities when you give it signals that you are serious about something. Is that your experience as well.
Rich Roll 18:26
Yeah. 100% 100% Yeah. And, you know, my experience with my podcast is not dissimilar. I mean, I started it 10 years ago, with the idea that it could be a vocation or you could make a living doing doing it was preposterous. I mean, you know, even Adam Carolla at that time, you know, was trying to figure out how to make money doing it, like nobody was making, you know, so I was doing it for the joy and for the love, and because it was fulfilling, and, you know, the ecosystem kind of grew up around me while happening. And I found myself in a very privileged situation all of a sudden, but it wasn't because that was a strategy or a plan. It was because it was, it was it was it was an extrapolation of that very same practice, which is like this is enjoyable for me and it's fulfilling and I dig it, and it's making my life better. And you know, I am going to keep doing this and just see where it leads me. And it really was nothing more than
Alex Ferrari 19:25
And also that we're also serving others as well I think that was the big big takeaway for me is that by me doing this I serve other people. And that feels really good and helping other people with these conversations and and guiding them through pitfalls of the film industry and and now here in the spiritual and personal growth space. You know, this conversation is going to help somebody listening to it or someone watching it around the world. And we have no idea the impact that our actions have on other people, especially people like us like doing podcasting or writers or think You have no idea what your art or your work will, how it will affect other people. Because I'm sure you've had this, people probably come up to you at events and go, Richmond, your podcast has changed my life. Oh my god, it's like, it's happened to me. And it's such a oh my god, such an amazing feeling when you hear something like that.
Rich Roll 20:18
Yeah, it's it is very cool and very fulfilling and almost embarrassing. Yeah, I agree. Um, you can, you can like wet something that you enjoy, to a purpose that is greater than yourself. I mean, that's the real juice. And you know, the service thing is something, again, that I learned in recovery, like prior to getting sober. The idea that you could enhance the fulfillment and happiness and sense of purpose in your own life by like, giving of yourself to other people selflessly. Like, that was not part of my mental model at all. But I've learned to do that reflexively. And it's a practice because I'm selfish and irascible, and, you know, grumpy, and all the like, just like anybody else. But when I cultivate that, my life gets better. And what's really cool is that it's helpful to other people. And I just don't know, what else in life is, you know, cooler than that.
Alex Ferrari 21:26
Now, there's a lot of things that we do in our lives, in regards to the stories that we tell ourselves, the stories that we tell ourselves are the things that hold us back for the most part, how do you get past those stories? Because, I mean, you went through, you went through some, you know, some tough times with addiction. And that story haunts people and can completely ruin people's lives. If you continue to tell that story and live in that story, and not focus on the future. How do you? Or what advice do you have for people listening, to get past those stories that we tell ourselves that we can't do this? Or we can't do that? Oh, my God, that happened to me. So that's why I can't go there. I'm not worth it. So on and so forth.
Rich Roll 22:06
Yeah, I mean, I think it's a great question. I think this is like an epidemic, most people are stuck in some kind of narrative loop, whether positive or negative, it doesn't matter, because it's not true. You know, like most of what we tell ourselves, about ourselves in the world and our past, and what we're capable of, you know, is a lie. So I think that the first step is to recognize that and develop, like a separation between your higher consciousness, and the kind of, you know, vacillations, of, of view your thinking mind, right? So it's like, it's a kind of a, you know, developing a more Eastern perspective, like, oh, actually, I can be an observer of my thoughts. And those thoughts don't have to control me, I think, you know, like that epiphany for me was huge to realize, like, oh, I have an awareness of what my mind is thinking those things aren't necessarily the same, you know, I'm saying like that, that was huge. And then understand that you do have the power to change your story. And that your story is really, in essence, just a few isolated incidents, like imagine, imagine your life as a long branch of a tree. And along that branch, there are smaller branches that pop up or little buds along the way. And each one of those is, is a story that comprises the greater story that you tell yourself about who you are. But in truth, that branch is long, and there's millions, if not billions, of other stories that just never sprouted into branches for some reason. But we in our minds, drill down on a couple few examples and decide this is how I will be defined or how I'm defining myself and I think to broaden your attention and say, Why am I getting that story so much attention when this other thing over here, which contradicts that story that I believe to be true? puts into question, the whole story that I'm telling myself about who I am, suddenly, you feel empowered to kind of shift that narrative. And I think the other thing is, learning how to be honest with yourself, especially about your secrets and the things that you're hiding or that you're ashamed of, or grief stricken about, and trying to bring voice to those because a lot of our negative self talk derives from some form of shame about something that happened to us or something that we did. And unless we, you know, excavate that through therapy through sharing with another human being, or any other kind of, you know, modality that suits you, it will continue to fester and, and kind of entrench that negative story that you're looking to trans And so I'm a huge believer in, in therapy in, obviously in recovery and all these other modalities that have allowed me to make peace with my past. So that it doesn't, it doesn't imprison me anymore. And you know, I can tell you from somebody who's been to 1000s and 1000s of a meetings, there's nothing more extraordinary or liberating than seeing somebody get up in front of a group of people, and tell some harrowing story about some shameful thing that happened to them, or that they did. And do it without any kind of like, emotional trigger attached to it. Because you see somebody who's made peace with that, and it doesn't hold them hostage. And I'm like, wow, like, That guy did that. And he's like, laughing about it, like, how do you do that, and you do it through summoning the courage to be vulnerable. And, you know, we're taught especially, you know, as, as, as men, that vulnerability is a weakness. And I think it requires a tremendous amount of courage to be vulnerable, because you're being asked to talk about things that you're ashamed about, but in that sharing, and in that, you know, flexing of vulnerability, that's where you find true strength and peace with yourself. And I think that's the real engine that will lead you to, you know, changing your story and creating a healthier one.
Alex Ferrari 26:27
Now, during your, your recovery, and then also during the time that you were moving towards becoming more of a of an athlete. What part did spirituality play in that? Did you connect to? You know, not religious, but did you connect to other things that were higher than yourself? Internal meditation, Eastern philosophies, what what part did any of that play in this transformation that you this this massive transformation from? Where you were, to where you are today?
Rich Roll 27:00
Yeah, I mean, for me, it's all spiritual, and that spirituality has never taken any kind of dogmatic form. And it's been, you know, a kind of a slow, expanding experience for me, you know, I grew up in a, like I said, a pretty traditional house, we went to church once in a while, but I never connected with that in any meaningful way, and had no interest in investing any of my energy in anything religious or spiritual, or spiritual. And it wasn't until I was kind of utterly broken. And in a treatment center, where it was impressed upon me that, you know, my best thinking, me thinking, I'm this smart guy, and I have these fancy degrees. And I've done this, and I've done that, well, my best thinking, basically landed me in a mental, a mental institution. That's what a trip there is. Right? Like, how do I know?
Alex Ferrari 27:55
That's amazing? Well, I gotta stop. I gotta stop you there for a second. That is an amazing comments you like, you're so fancy, you've got all this stuff. Look where all of this intelligence is landed. Great. I just wanted to point that out. Amazing.
Rich Roll 28:09
Now, as you know, the ego doesn't want to hear that. But that's exactly what the ego needed to hear. Right? Right. So you know, you're you think you've got it all figured out in your mind. But if you can let go of your attachment to how your brain functions and allow other people in to guide you, people who know a little bit more about this world than you if you can humble yourself, you just might learn a thing or two. And, you know, I got sober because a guy handed me a broom and said, sweep the floor. And instead of saying, how is that going to keep me from drinking? I just said, Okay, I'll do it. And when somebody said, Well, why don't you make the coffee, you know, at this meeting at six o'clock in the morning, every day, I just said, Okay, I'll do that. Because these people seem to have figured out how to stay sober. Whereas my mind would say, I don't need to do that. Just tell me how to like not drink. Like, I don't want to make coffee for anybody. So it was, you know, I think, humbling myself into into a place of realizing like, I don't have all the answers, and I can't solve this, in my mind was a huge piece. And I remember in that treatment center, one of the counselors saying to me, rich, are you a spiritual being having a human experience? Or a human being? What did he say? Are you a human being having a spiritual experience or spiritual being having a human experience? And I was like, I was like, Wait, say that again? Like, I still can't get it. Right. And I was like, I don't understand the question. Like, I was so detached from you know, being able to really kind of understand anything non material at the time, but I've since come to truly believe that. You know, I'm a spiritual being having a human experience and you We tend to believe that our senses, what we can see, hear, smell, taste feel, is the ultimate dictate of reality. But I think there's a lot more going on. And when you live in the mystical, and you live in awe and the wonder, and you open yourself up for greater possibilities, that's when I think the true magic can occur. And, you know, for me, again, that's another practice. But when I can inhabit that, then I'm available for the miracle. And when I look back over the last 50 years, the fact that I'm in the position that I'm in right now, it makes absolutely no sense. There's no logical or rational explanation for how I went from where I was to where I am today. Like, this is not the result of, you know, my self will, or, you know, my plan or some goal that I was, you know, seeking. There's a lot more at play here. I think, you know, I'd like to believe and so that's kind of, you know, it is it is more Eastern, obviously, you know, perspective on reality. But again, it doesn't, it leans towards, you know, Buddhist traditions and etc. But I wouldn't consider myself a Buddhist.
Alex Ferrari 31:18
You know, one of the questions when we were when we decided to do this conversation together the the one question that was, that kept popping into my head, I'm like, I have to ask rich this question, because it's a question that so many of us have trouble with, especially when we're doing something large. How did you tell yourself the story, that you were going to become an ultra athlete in your 40s? Like, there must have been a thought process. And I'm sure your brain said, you're insane, as, by the way, many other voices around you said the same thing. If I may, quote your book, people were like, you're absolutely nuts. And now you're not only going to just run a little marathon or half marathon, you're, you're talking about an Ironman and then eventually an ultramarathon double Ironman, what was the thought process that made you believe that you could even attempt to step on the same field with people that had been doing this for years and also younger athletes than yourself?
Rich Roll 32:22
The only way I know how to answer that is that there was something inside of me that that like, I can only characterize as unknowing, you know, like, I just knew that it felt right. And there was like an internal switch that got flicked, and a sense of direction. Like, it just felt like I just knew this was what I needed to do. And I knew that I was capable of doing it like, and I very vividly, like, I mean, there was a couple of events leading up to that. I mean, you know, as I was getting more fit, and I talked about this in the book, I went out for a run, I had only been running, you know, a little bit at that point, and ended up like running like 24 miles, which is longer than I ever had. And I felt amazing. And I thought like, wow, like, I never thought that was something that I could do, like maybe I'm sitting on, you know, some kind of untapped potential that I wasn't aware of. And I started getting interested in the world of ultra endurance, which was something I had no familiarity with whatsoever. And I think it was compounded by the fact that, you know, alcoholism really, you know, crushed my athletic dreams in college, like I had not achieved my potential as an athlete. So there was a bit of unfinished business there. But I read about this ultra man race, which for people that don't know is a double Ironman distance. Triathlon, that over three days circumnavigates the entire Big Island, it's like a 320 mile race. And in this article, the description of this experience made it sound more like a story out of the Bhagavad Gita like it was like this spiritual Odyssey it wasn't like a race. It was yes to race since World Championship and like people are trying to win, but it really was about transformation. And it spoke to me because I realized that that was what I was seeking, like, I was trying to pursue personal transformation and through endurance, and it was like this epiphany where I realized that like, endurance training is like this catalyst or this vehicle for greater self understanding, like when you test yourself when you take your body to the ultimate limits, mentally, emotionally, physically, etc. It's sort of like, you know, sitting in the cave for 90 days, you know, it's, it's a version of that where suddenly you can't run for from yourself and you meet yourself as you really are. And with that experience, you deepen your understanding of self and really, for me, like yes, I'm an athlete, but it's really about ultra endurance. It's as this vehicle for spiritual growth. And here it was like, here's this race, it's everything that you're looking for. And something inside of me, even though that sounded insane, and I couldn't believe human beings could even, you know, propel themselves for these distances, I was like, that is what I'm looking for. That is what I'm going to do, like this is gonna happen. And I kind of started to orient my life around pursuing that goal.
Alex Ferrari 35:25
It's a remarkable story. You know, I've heard that athletes when they are especially athletes, at the level that you were, that you are competing in, you're pushing your body and your mind to places that human beings generally don't go. And that at a certain point, and please let me know what correct me if I'm wrong, but at a certain point, you don't think anymore, and you're now just, you're just being and there's that thing called a flow or the flow state. During those moments when you're on that, like the last leg, I guess, or, or wherever, in that race, that it got to a point where everything was everything in your body saying, Stop. But yet you keep going. I remembered, I've heard I've heard David Goggins talk about this a lot in his, on his interviews, that you just keep going. Is there something that you tap into? Is it almost a spiritual place that you go to because you transcend where you are? At a certain point, in my, in my small ability in small times, doing athletic competitions? I've had that in small doses, I could only imagine it at the level that you were competing in. So what happens at that moment? And if you do have a spirit, did you ever have a spiritual like thing happened to you? I'm not saying that Jesus is running next to you or something, but but something that you tap into that flow state that thing that it's hard to explain with words?
Rich Roll 37:04
Yeah, I mean, it is hard to explain with words, and I'm not sure that I can really, you know, put words to it, other than to say that there is an aspect of flow state, but it's a little bit different, like flow state, its flow state asked in that your relationship with time kind of shifts, and there is a sense of oneness, but because it's so painful, it's not pleasurable in the way that flow states are typically characterized. So I think it's a little bit different, but but, you know, it has kind of shared DNA with like, what it must be like to have a breakthrough in meditation where, you know, your consciousness feels expanded. And, and, and there is a oneness between your mind body, your soul, and the environment that you're in that is inexplicable. And I think it's what a lot of endurance athletes are chasing. Because in that heightened state, there's no room for that thinking mind to like, loop, you know, because you're basically in this survival mode. And what's exciting about that, is really testing the outer limits of what you're capable of. And the fulfilling aspect of it is realizing that you can do more than you think, than you thought that you could, and I think we're all you know, capable of that. And, you know, these endurance races are just, again, like a vehicle for connecting with that. And those experiences then raises the ceiling on how you see the world more broadly. And you realize, like, oh, what other areas of my life? Am I kind of just blindly, you know, bumbling through where, you know, I'm on, I'm even unaware that I could be doing better or doing more. But in those moments, yeah. Like, I don't know how else to describe it. Other than other than that. I mean, it sucks. When you're in it, I don't want to make it sound like it is some kind of like ecstatic. You know, it's some bliss. Spot, you know, but it's like, even if you go one step further, it's like an esteem bubble act, right. And that builds upon itself. And so brick by brick, you're kind of creating this new person as a result of putting yourself on the line in that kind of visceral way.
Alex Ferrari 39:25
You're just kind of like, I have to believe you're breaking down all preconceived preconceptions you might have had in your mind, at one point or another while you're going through that process, especially the first time. If you do after a few times. You've been there before, but that first time that you were going and you were pushing yourself beyond places you've ever gone physically, mentally. I gotta believe that. I mean, I have to believe that the monkey brain inside your head must have been going on. I mean, 100 miles a minute. Just going to up, stop, you're hurting yourself, you're gonna kill yourself. How did you, I mean, we all have monkey breaks. And we have problems just on a daily basis, I can only imagine trying to shut out that voice, when you are literally breaking your body down to a place where you are on the edge of, of a possibly really hurting yourself?
Rich Roll 40:21
Well, I mean, two observations on that. I mean, the the thing to understand is that it's not like you show up for this race, and you haven't done anything similar to it like, right, the training leading up to it like this slow boil, it's like, you see Laird Hamilton drop in on a 40 foot wave, and he'd go from a one foot wave to a 40 foot wave, like, he worked his way up to that so that the 40 foot wave is his new normal. And the training that it put in to do these races was, you know, analogous to that. I mean, there were breakthroughs. I remember, you know, I had I worked up to a point where I had to do a 40 mile run, you know, for in training, you know, for this race. And that was just, you know, saying I'd never done any Yeah, and I did it, you know, and I started in Venice, and I went ran all the way up to point Doom on pch, and then ran back. And I just couldn't believe that I actually succeeded in doing that. And, and I still have, like, you know, I don't know, like, three, two and a half, three months before the race. So it's like, I had experiences along the way, so that when I showed up at the race, like, I knew I could do it already, because I've done so much to train. So it wasn't like, Oh, my God, I'm never gonna be able to do like, I knew that I as long as they didn't crash my bike or something, you know, unless something went terribly wrong like that I was going to be able to complete the distance, it was just a question of like, you know, what's the strategy, you know, how to do it and all of that kind of stuff. So, there's that. And then I think, yeah, you have this voice in your mind saying Stopstopstop. But, you know, part of like, being in that elevated heart rate, where it's just your breath, you know, does quiet that and it can be kind of a peaceful thing, like, you can't be going all out and three day race, like, you've got to find a pace that's manageable, and it becomes about efficiency and economy, like, what is the pace that I can sustain for nine hours on this bike or eight hours on stage? You know, and because you've adequately trained for it, like you're like, Okay, I know what that is. And I know what that should feel like so that I can finish, you know, and not be like dying at the end, because I've got to wake up the next day and run 52 miles for the third day of that race.
Alex Ferrari 42:41
That's yeah, I mean, it's, as we're talking, I'm thinking about, like, 40 miles, I'm like, 40, I came and run a mile, let alone 40 In a day as part of your training, no less.
Rich Roll 42:53
So it's all all perspective. I mean, there's any runners now that are running 240 mile races and doing is there's always somebody doing like something crazier than that's what's you know, amazing about the human spirit, like, once somebody does something, then the floodgates open? And then, you know, everybody can do that all of a sudden, that
Alex Ferrari 43:11
Four minute mile, four minute mile thing yeah. so there was a, there was a moment in your book that you talk about a crash that happened, and how it kind of the challenge of crashing your bike, and having to keep moving forward and the kind of analogy of life and what it what you have to do when certain things happen. Because you're in the middle of a race, you're dying already. It's hard on you, you're physically beating, and then all of a sudden, your bike crashes on you. And now you have to pick yourself up and keep going with this new challenge in front of you. Can you talk about what mentally you have to go through with that? It's just there's one specifically in the book that you talk about?
Rich Roll 43:55
Yeah. And I think what's interesting about that story is that it's not about the bike crash. It's kind of like what's applicable to everybody in their lives in terms of like meeting obstacles. I mean, in that case, it was you the second time, I've done this race, ultra man, it was on day two, the first day, I had won the stage and I had like a 10 minute lead on everyone. And it looked like I could, you know, be on the podium at this race, which was absolutely insane because I was like 44 years old, and I've only been at this for a couple of years. And you know, on this day too, which is 171 miles on the bike about 30 miles in I I slipped on wet pavement and went down and crushed pretty hard and up my knee, took all the skin off my shoulder, and importantly, like broke, like cracked my pedal off of my crank. So it wasn't just like get back on your bike and ride like I had no pedal right and it was an area of the race. With this race every every competitor has a crew that follows them and like a minivan that feeds them and you know, takes care of make sure that they're safe and all of that. But this was like a protected area of the island where they didn't allow vehicles. So I had to pick myself back up and figure out, like if I was okay, and get on my bike and pedal on with one leg to, you know, like another mile or two to get to where all the crew vehicles were waiting for the athletes to pass this particular section. And in that, you know, period of time, I realized, like, well, this is over for me, like I can't, I'm not going to ride, you know, 140 miles with one leg. I mean, that's, you know, this is not happening, like I'm done. And this sucks, because I, you know, 10 minutes ago, I was in a very different mindset, thinking about podiums, and now, suddenly, another switch got flipped, and I'm like, wow, I can like, gracefully bow out of this really painful experience. And nobody can give me a hard time because I have a battle, like, I started thinking about going to the beach the next day with my kids and sleeping in the, you know, nice hotel room, and all that kind of stuff. And that's what's going on in my mind. And when I meet up with my crew and these other crew vehicles, a guy who is working for another athlete saw my bike, and he's like, what kind of pedal do you need? And I looked at him, he was much bigger than me, I kind of looked up at him. I said, Why are you asking me like I'm done. And he disappeared, and he came back, and he had you had a fox. And in that box was a brand new version of the exact pedal that is broken. And he grabbed my bike, and he put the new pedal on, and he's like, here's your bike, like, get back on it, like your wife is here, and your kids are here, they come all this way for you to like, back out, you know, because you banged up your knee. And that was not what I wanted to hear. And I think what was, you know, really instructive about that experience, is, you know, how powerful the mind is, like, one minute, I'm like, all in on this race, and then something happens, and suddenly I'm like, I'm done, I'm out of checked out. And then having to get back into that former mindset, again, like is very, very difficult. You know, I did it. And then I ended up, you know, completing that race and doing quite well. And, and what I learned from that, really, is that, you know, when things don't go your way, like, ideally, I would have liked to have, you know, been on the podium without race cetera, and that the ego loves that. And you get a lot of attention for that. But like, if everything goes to plan, like, what do you actually learn, like, well, you've learned that you can execute on a goal, and that's valuable. But other than that, you don't learn a whole heck of a lot. But when something goes terribly wrong, and you're forced to make a choice, a decision, that decision and that choice, are your teachers like those are what reveal character, right. And I realized in that moment, that, you know, I was more capable than I thought that I was. And I've learned I'd learned more from, you know, things not going my way than I would have ordinarily. And it made me realize, and remember that I didn't get into the sport, to be on podiums. I got into it for the reasons I explained to you earlier, which was to have a transformative experience. And to be faced with an obstacle needed and overcome it gave me was a big key. So in that transformative journey that I was seeking, so I actually it was great, and I wouldn't change a thing. And ultimately, you know, it's something I still think about to this day, when things don't go my way or wishes is different, etc.
Alex Ferrari 48:41
And never goes exactly how you plan ever. And it generally works out for better than what you had planned. It's my experience, at least.
Rich Roll 48:48
Alex Ferrari 48:49
Now, Rich with all of this, you know, attention that you got and media attention, and accolades and things like that. Many, many people would crumble under the, the, the pressure of the, of the ego, of like, you're the best, you're awesome, you're great. Look what you've done. And I love, love, love, love, love. How did you handle that kind of attention, which I'm assuming you didn't get as a corporate lawyer. So you it was a new thing for you? How did you handle that? You know, as also as a recovering as a recovering addict and in your recovery? I mean, I can't I can't believe that kind of attention is good for recovery as a general statement, and it might be wrong. Please tell me what what do you think?
Rich Roll 49:39
Yeah, I mean, well, the first thing I would say is they still suffer on some level from imposter syndrome. Like I just can't even believe that I'm here and I'm still waiting for them to like, take my microphone away or
Alex Ferrari 49:50
Same here, my friend same here.
Rich Roll 49:53
So and also you know, I've never wanted A grace. And then when I got a book deal, it was like, Oh, I'm gonna I get to write this book like, but I'm not a world champion. And I'm not like, Yeah, I did some interesting things. But there's a lot of people out there who are a lot better at this stuff. And I am like, Why am I being tapped to write a book, you know, I'm constantly reminded that I've been given this privileged opportunity to do certain things that most people never get in their lifetimes. And I think that keeps me humble and grounded. And you know, then the book came out, it wasn't a New York Times bestseller. It's not like, I have all the, you know, it did fine. And it continues to sell. And that's great. And people enjoy the book, that I started the podcast and, you know, was starving for years and years and years and almost lost our house and, you know, had cars repossessed, like, I've been humbled so much, so that by the time I actually started to get, you know, meaningful success, I was a much more grounded, sober person and capable of, you know, handling the emotional experience of the attention, but it's still like, now I get a lot of attention. And I really do have to endeavor to keep my ego in check. And remember, like, I didn't, this is not like, it's not about you do, like, you didn't do this, like, for some reason, you're in this position where you get to do this cool thing. But you are a servant to a message. And it's not about your ego and your personality. But, you know, I have to I get caught up in it just like anybody would, and I have to, you know, bring myself back down to earth and all of that, but you know, it happened it happening, you know, I'm 55 now. And like, everything that I'm doing is just kind of kicking into high gear now. And because I'm an older person, and I've had a lot of experiences, and I've been humbled so many times, I just think I'm able to process it in a healthier way than certainly that I would have been able to in my 20s or 30s.
Alex Ferrari 51:57
Oh my god, could you imagine in your 20s, your 30s cheeses. I mean, I mean, I had a hell of an experience from the My 20s, where I almost made a $20 million movie for the mafia. And I was flown out to LA and I met all these huge movie stars and all this kind of stuff. And I look back at that, and obviously didn't go through and I say Thank God, I didn't get that I would have I would have self destructed I absolutely wouldn't no toolset whatsoever to handle any sort of success at that age, I would have destroyed myself. So the universe was like, let's give him a taste. Let's torture him. Let's give him some trauma. And that's going to help him along the way for the rest of his life.
Rich Roll 52:38
But you get you get your what you're, you know, capable of handling.
Alex Ferrari 52:44
Yeah, and, and sometimes when you it's sometimes we all hear those stories of those people who get that when they're not ready and Lucien and Hollywood. I mean, both you and I worked in the business. So we've seen it, people just destroy themselves. It's it's not easy. It's fame and fame and attention, and all that stuff. It's fleeting. But when it comes in, it's not an easy thing to handle. And it does, you do need to have been humbled a bit. And it's much better to get success in your 40s and 50s, than it is in your 20s or 30s
Rich Roll 53:15
Alex Ferrari 53:18
Now, I've been a plant base, I've been plant based now for over a decade. And you are an inspiration because you are you know, one of the plant based one of the best known plant based athletes because you were doing it like you said earlier, not a lot of people were talking about her doing full plant based athletics before. What part has been plant powered, as you call it, affected you in your life as an athlete. And then of course, the main question is, what do you get your protein? Sir? How do you live?
Rich Roll 53:53
You're actually going to ask me that.
Alex Ferrari 53:55
No, of course. I'm never gonna No, no. Come on. It's ridiculous for you and me, but so many people. That's the first question that comes in. How do you even like, Oh, I just go out and eat the grass. I don't even have to pay a gardener. I just eat the grass. Like a cow. That's all I do.
Rich Roll 54:10
Yeah, it's been, you know, look, it's it's been an amazing journey. There's no aspect of my life that that isn't, you know, impacted positively by this lifestyle. And I'm sure you would agree with it. And it's been, you know, an evolution and a kind of growth accelerator for me as much as anything else. So like I you know, I initially, you know, when I had that staircase episode, and I was like, I need to make a change. I did like a seven day juice cleanse and then I played around with a bunch of different diets and then thought, well, maybe I'll be a vegetarian, but then that just meant going to Pizza Hut and keeping the pepperoni off that, you know, like, I tried all that year softer ways and was ready to kind of abandon some methodology around healthy eating. All together and just thought, well, maybe you're just supposed to feel like shit when you're in your 40s. And, you know, I was just turning 40 at the time. And I thought, well, there's one thing I still haven't checked off here. And it sounds horrible. But I can't really say gave it a go unless I give this a try. And that was, you know, eating 100% plant based, which was such a foreign concept to me, this is 1998. And what was it? What year was it? No, it was. So let's say 15 years ago, whatever that was
Alex Ferrari 55:34
2000. And something Yeah, 2007.
Rich Roll 55:39
And very quickly, like within seven to 10 days of eradicating all animal products, from my plates, and getting rid of the processed foods as well, I felt better than I'd felt. And as long as I could remember. And I just realized, like, wow, there's something about this, that is really powerful, I want to understand it better and learn more. And it's just been a process of building on that ever since. And I made a promise to myself back then that if it wasn't working, that I wouldn't be dogmatic about it. And I'd be willing to entertain a different way. But, you know, it served me well, for 15 years, and now it's 55, I can still go out and, you know, push myself hard. And I'm not training as much as I was when I was doing those races because I have other interests and pursuits that I think are more meaningful to me now. But I still get out and you know, train and crush myself and all of that, and I'm still able to build any muscle mass. And I feel very fit for a 55 year old. And it's been incredible. But you know, my point of being the inception of that journey, I would say that my motivations were, you know, fairly, you know, selfish, it was somewhat about vanity like, I didn't look, I didn't like how I looked in the mirror, I didn't like feeling like shit. And I wanted to feel good in my body again, and I wanted to be able to like, take my shirt off at the beach, or whatever. And that was about it. But you know, as I've plotted this course, this lifestyle has opened me up to so much expansion, and my motivations for continuing to pursue the lifestyle are very different these days. Like, for me, it's about living, you know, more sustainably on the planet. And it's about living a life of ahimsa. How do you live a more compassionate life and the choices that we make every single day, not just ends up on our plate three times a day, but all of our consumer choices, have impacts on other people and on the planet. And to the extent that we can be more conscious around those choices, understanding that, you know, we all leave an impact on the earth. And it's not about perfection, but it's about, you know, striving to be better, I think is a really beautiful way to live. And I can tell you when, you know, early on, like the plight of the animals was something that never entered my mind. And now, you know, that's something that I think about and consider quite a bit. So, you know, in the context of like, the vegan movement, one of the things that kind of irks me is when people who are interested in making shifts in their lifestyle, get shamed out of the gate, because they're not doing it perfect. Or if you're a real vegan, you do it way. And it's like every nobody, you know, everybody is on their, you know, like journey towards being better. And I'm all about like fanning the flames of positivity and celebrating the small wins. Because I know that, you know, I've grown so much in the years that, you know, I've been, you know, trying to get better and you have to you have to receive permission and space for people to have their own experiences and commend, you know, their sense of awareness on their own with encouragement.
Alex Ferrari 59:07
You talked a little bit about processed foods, you know, as being a plant based guy myself. You could be a very unhealthy vegan, you could you could you could very, I mean to be a vegetarian you can be like you said, just go to pizza and just leave the meat off and you're a vegetarian. But being a plant based vegan or being a vegan, I got caught in the process food world where there's just like now more when I started 10 years ago when you started 15 years ago, there wasn't a lot of options like it was a challenge to find. Other than tofurkey you know, which is sorry, tofurkey is horrible. There wasn't a lot of options where today. There is so many plant based foods and so many plant and processed plant based options for you. What is your take on these whole processed foods, how can we kind of liberate liberate ourselves a bit more from the processed foods? So it's better for our health?
Rich Roll 1:00:11
Yeah. You know, you said like, oh, you know, 1015 years ago, it was so much harder. But I like to flip that argument and say, It's actually kind of harder now than it was then. Because, you know, these companies have figured out how to make meat and dairy analogues with plant based ingredients that actually taste good, you know, that used to be the stuff tasted terrible, so you wouldn't want it anyway, the truth of the matter is that the preponderance of those products are made with a lot of you know, additives and preservatives and sugar and saturated fat and all these things that we're trying to, you know, get rid of in our diet. So there's a huge difference between being vegan and being plant based and being whole food plant based. So the rule really the rule of thumb is, ie, plant based foods as close to their natural state as possible, and try to assure avoid those processed foods. And you know, what, if you want to have like, you know, a plant based, you know, one of those burger patties every once in a while, that's fine, but it shouldn't be the building block upon which you're, you're building your diet. So, you know, I think it is harder now to me, because you can delude yourself like, well, it's vegan, so it's fine. And then you realize, like, all you're eating is Oreos, and like, beyond burgers all day long, like, it's not a healthy way to live. But at the same time, these things are not black and white or binary, because I think it's a win for the planet, the more of these, you know, food products and, and meat, dairy analogs are, you know, widely adopted at the fast food restaurants, etc. Because, you know, truly, we have to move away from animal agriculture, Factory Farming, it's killing the planet, it's obviously, you know, ending the lives of, you know, it's creating unbelievable suffering for billions of animals every every single year. And, you know, it's just a, it's a terrible way to produce food for humanity. And once you go plant based, and you actually feel better, and realize that, Oh, I feel better, it's better for the planet, it's better for the animals, like all the boxes are checked, like, why would I go back? And if I can thrive doing this, like, why are these systems in place that are so damaging, like, we need to elevate our consciousness and find real solutions to solving these problems. And I think, you know, companies like Beyond Meat, and impossible and just, and the like, are really in service to a better planet, because they are creating food products that people enjoy that they like, that don't involve animal suffering, or the downstream environmental implications that animal agriculture causes. But that doesn't mean that you know, so that health is a different function, right? That's got to be a little bit more aware of that, that kind of stuff. But I think we're at the beginning of this journey. And some of these are now understanding, like, oh, we can't just make it taste good. Actually, people do care about like, how healthy you are coming along, now that are doing both. And I'd like to see more of that. So I think it's really exciting in the food space. And there's so much innovation going on, not just in the United States, but all over the world. You know, Israel is like, you know, ground zero for a lot of interesting things and Food Innovation right now. And I, you know, I think that we're in a good place to really solve some of these existential crises that that we face as a global society.
Alex Ferrari 1:03:46
Now, rich, I'm gonna ask you a few questions, I asked all of my guests, what is your definition of living a good life?
Rich Roll 1:03:55
I think living a good life is when your actions and your values are in sync, when you feel fully integrated, and expressed in your true authentic self. And when you have choices about how to commandeer your time, like, I think, you know, living a good life involves being conscious of and having domain over, where you invest your attention and your energy and, and, and it's often overlooked, like, we don't value time, as much as you should, but that's the real, you know, unreviewable currency that we all have. So, for me, it's about you know, constant growth, being devoted to growth, and always trying to narrow that gap between, you know, the person that I aspire to be and the person that I am today. What is your mission in this life, prove the lives and raise the consciousness in a meaningful, very meaningful way for as many people as ever articulation. So it's not, it's less about the number of people. And it's more about the substantive impact that I can have on the trajectory of people's lives.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:12
And what is the ultimate purpose of life?
Rich Roll 1:05:16
To grow and to share freely with others what you've learned along the way. So growth and service.
Alex Ferrari 1:05:28
Fantastic answer, sir. And Rich, where can people find out more about you? Your books, your products and things that you are doing for for the world?
Rich Roll 1:05:38
Yeah, I mean, you can find everything out about me at Richroll.com. The podcast is the Rich Roll podcast, you can find it on YouTube or on your favorite podcast player. My memoir is called Finding Ultra. And then we have some cookbooks if you're interested in the plant based lifestyle, the plant power way and the plant power way Italia. So you can find those on my website are also on Amazon. And then we have two volumes of a book called Voice of change, which is kind of a coffee table version of the past with beautiful photography, excerpts from some of my favorite conversations, essays. It's pretty cool. And that's a self published series that we do here.
Alex Ferrari 1:06:19
Rich, it has been an absolute pleasure and honor talking to you, man, you have been an inspiration to so many people around the world and I hope you continue to do the good work that you're doing and helping people around the world. Thank you on a personal standpoint, for inspiring me. I don't think I'll go do Ultra, but I feel like I'm gonna I'm gonna work out a little bit more now. After talking to you sir,
Rich Roll 1:06:41
Yeah, no, it's cool. Thank you, Alex, I really appreciate you having me on and right back at you. I think the more people that are kind of doing the thing that we do the world is a better place. I think conversations do matter. And the fact that you know, you've built an audience and I have an audience tells me that there is a thirst and there is a hunger for meaningful exchanges and our clickbait you know, kind of soundbite world and that gives me hope so more power to you and thank you for letting me share today.
Alex Ferrari 1:07:15
Appreciate you my friend.
Links and Resources
- Rich Roll – Official Site
- Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself
- The Plantpower Way: Whole Food Plant-Based Recipes And Guidance For The Whole Family
- The Plantpower Way: Italia: Delicious Vegan Recipes from the Italian Countryside: A Cookbook
- The Rich Roll Podcast
- FREE Gaia Trail: Discover Gaia’s Thought-Provoking Movies and Inspirational Documentaries
- FREE Mindvalley Spiritual Masterclasses
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