Akshay Nanavati (@fearvanalife) is a former Marine who has survived PTSD, depression, alcoholism, and suicidal ideation to build a global business, run ultramarathons, and explore the world’s most hostile environments. He is also the author of Fearvana: The Revolutionary Science of How to Turn Fear into Health, Wealth and Happiness.
What We Discuss with Akshay Nanavati:
- What going on a seven-day retreat in total darkness and isolation taught Akshay about himself that transcended rationality and the reality of his senses.
- Why Akshay believes that the single greatest barrier standing in the way of our well-being is our negative relationship to suffering — such as the way we demonize fear, stress, and anxiety.
- What does Akshay mean when he recommends finding “the worthy struggle” that will make our suffering meaningful?
- Stillness accompanied by consciousness and intention versus doing nothing, and what we risk by being afraid to confront what lurks in the space of our deepest darkness.
- Why Akshay considers the prevailing idea in the self-help world of “I am enough” to be nonsense, why we are not enough, and — most important — why that’s not a bad thing.
- And much more…
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
The path we take in search of purpose isn’t always direct or obvious. It may be long and meandering, short and dotted with countless obstacles, an entirely wrong turn that never quite connects, or a seemingly endless circle. But to Akshay Nanavati, author of Fearvana: The Revolutionary Science of How to Turn Fear into Health, Wealth and Happiness, the destination is really just an ever-changing beacon of progress — and the path is simply the evolution that guides us toward it.
In this episode we talk to Akshay about his own path, the bumps he’s endured while feeling his way forward, why he embraces fear and pain as the signposts that show him he’s going in the right direction, what he considers his own “worthy struggle,” how he armors himself to suffer well, and what we can do to prosper on whatever path we’ve chosen for ourselves as long as we’re willing to keep moving. Listen, learn, and enjoy! Note: All proceeds from Akshay’s book Fearvana go to a charity that helps women who have been the victims of human trafficking, forced prostitution, and other horrible crimes. Pick up a copy where your favorite books are sold or right here.
Please Scroll down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Does your business have an Internet presence? Save up to a whopping 62% on new webhosting packages with HostGator at hostgator.com/jordan!
Ever dreamt of having the cleanest bum on the block? Omigo reinvented the toilet seat so you never have to use toilet paper again! Curious? Go to myomigo.com/jordan to get 20% off the toilet seat that’s changing lives one wash at a time.
Brooklinen spoils you with the comfort of luxury sheets, towels, bedding, and more without the luxury markup. Get 10 percent off and free shipping when you use promo code JORDAN at Brooklinen.com!
Smithsonian Channel Plus presents history, mystery, science, and pop culture in a whole new light, from the rise and fall of the Roman Empire to the demise of the Titanic. Go to getscplus.com/jordan and use promo code PODCAST to get 50% off your first three months following your 7-day free trial!
Zoom video conferencing lets you connect, face-to-face with anyone — across town or around the world — with flawless video, clear audio, and instant sharing of files through any device. Visit Zoom online and set up a free account today!
The Human Hacking Conference takes place from February 20th-22nd, 2020 in Orlando, and offers training on how to hack thoughts, actions, and the people around you. Go to sevillage.org and use code JORDAN200 to save $200!
THANKS, AKSHAY NANAVATI!
If you enjoyed this session with Akshay Nanavati, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources from This Episode:
- Fearvana: The Revolutionary Science of How to Turn Fear into Health, Wealth and Happiness by Akshay Nanavati
- Akshay Nanavati’s website
- Akshay Nanavati at Facebook
- Akshay Nanavati at Instagram
- Akshay Nanavati at Twitter
- Akshay Nanavati at LinkedIn
- What Are the Differences Between PTS and PTSD? Brainline
- Darkness Retreats
- Beau Lotto | Why You See Differently When You Deviate, TJHS 177
- Erik Weihenmayer | A Blind Man Sees No Barriers, TJHS 288
- LeVar Burton | Storytelling the Enemies of Education Off, TJHS 213
- Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner by Dean Karnazes
- Reflections on Carl Jung (Part 3): Make the Darkness Conscious by Scott Myers, Go Into the Story
- Band of Brothers
- Hacksaw Ridge
- Black Hawk Down
- Michael Gervais at Twitter
- “You Will Die Soon”
- Final Destination
- Kobe Bryant | Dissecting the Mamba Mentality, TJHS 249
- Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable by Tim S. Grover and Shari Lesser Wenk
- Remembering Muhammad Ali Through His Poem, ‘I Am The Greatest’, All Things Considered
- Lanny Bassham at Twitter
- Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley, Saturday Night Live
- Benefits of Contrast Showers and Cold Showers, End of Three Fitness
- Running Across Liberia, Fearvana Foundation
- Music in Psychological Operations, Wikipedia
Akshay Nanavati | Fearvana: Finding Bliss from Suffering (Episode 289)
Jordan Harbinger: [00:00:03] Welcome to the show. I’m Jordan Harbinger. As always, I’m here with producer Jason DeFillippo. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world’s most brilliant and interesting people and turn their wisdom into practical advice that you can use to impact your own life and those around you.[00:00:20] We want to help you see the Matrix when it comes to how these amazing people think and behave and help you become a better thinker. If you’re new to the show, we’ve got episodes with spies and CEOs, athletes and authors, thinkers and performers, as well as toolboxes for negotiation, public speaking and body language, persuasion, et cetera. So if you’re smart and you like to learn and improve, then you’ll be right at home here with us. [00:00:42] Today, on the show, Akshay Nanavati. After overcoming drug addiction, PTSD from fighting in the war in Iraq with the Marines, where one of his jobs was to walk in front of our vehicles and find explosives, he dealt with depression and alcoholism that pushed him to the brink of suicide. Akshay Nanavati has since built a global business, run some ultra-marathons, explored some of the most hostile environments on the planet, mountains, caves, polar ice caps. He’s been a friend of mine for a while and I just don’t know too many people who like to put themselves through the wringer like Akshay does. He’s lived in pitch-black darkness and total isolation for a week at a time. He’s run hundreds of miles across Africa. He just loves to punish himself, but of course, he finds meaning in the suffering and that’s what this is episode is about. Today, we’ll learn how and why Akshay wants us to love our demons and change our relationship to suffering. [00:01:31] If you want to know how I managed to book all these great people and manage my relationships using systems and tiny habits, check out our Six-Minute Networking course, which is free over at Jordan harbinger.com/course. By the way, most of the guests on the show, they subscribe to the course and the newsletter. So come join us and you’ll be in great company. All right, here we go with Akshay Nanavati. [00:01:54] I said before the show, I wanted to start with, why do you keep trying to kill yourself in unique ways? But it’s also kind of not totally a joke, so I don’t want to make too much light of it. What’s going on here? What are you doing lately to punish yourself?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:02:09] I’m still pursuing the ultra-running. I just recently, two days before this, I ran 42 miles —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:14] In one day.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:02:15] — in a few hours with minimal food and water to push myself through suffering and go through that struggle of no food, no water, feeling that kind of that dehydration. So ultra-running is currently it, but I’m actually now the limits that I’m exploring are the mundane, ironically. The mundane is my struggle. Sitting there working on a computer is what I struggle with. I actually have to temper the darkness because I want to go back into post-conflict zones. I want to go into Yemen and Syria. I have friends doing humanitarian work out there.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:02:43] Post-conflict is interesting because it’s a euphemism for “currently in conflict,” really.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:02:48] Exactly. So I want to go into conflict zones and I have to temper that darkness. I really actually navigated that when I spent seven days in darkness, which you know about and we’ll get into. But tempering that darkness and figuring out where the line is is something I’m still kind of exploring.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:03:04] When you say darkness, what exactly are you talking about? Because I know you were in the Marines. You’ve had or have PTSD. I don’t know exactly if that condition goes away or if it just gets locked up in a box.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:03:17] You learn to work with it. I like to say I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, but not that I have it because there’s a distinction. Post traumatic stress is not post traumatic stress disorder. In the sense that I struggle with survivor’s guilt to this day. I’m still a little bit more jumpy when there are loud noises. I’m still more vigilant than the average person. I still am not a big fan of crowds. I’ve learned to work with it. We’ve talked about this before too. With my survivor’s guilt for a long time, I had a picture of my friend that I lost in the war and it said, “This should have been you. Earn this life,” and my guilt drove me, but it started to take me too far. I went too far into that darkness and I had to find the line. So now I brought it back and the words are different. Actually for the first time, just a few months ago, I went and visited my friend’s tombstone. It was very powerful for me to be there and see it for the first time since he died. I was actually on his burial detail on the 21-gun, you know, rifle salute, carrying his casket. Being there, looking at his tombstone, I just said to him that, “I’m sorry I wasn’t there with you, but I will learn this life.” And so now my words, my reframe is honor his death, earn this life.[00:04:17] So it’s not that it ever goes away. That kind of stuff doesn’t go away. I mean, just a few weeks ago, I lost another junior Marine to suicide, my buddy of mine, who was in Iraq with me. I’ve lost two buddies to suicide. So that stuff doesn’t go away but you learn to use it and you learn to work. That’s what I mean, that finding the light in the darkness, learning to work with that stuff.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:36] You didn’t initially start dealing with the darkness by running, going into literally dark rooms and things like that. I mean, you started with — what I think a lot of us would start with — which is what drugs and alcohol.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:04:47] Yeah. When I came back, I had overcome drug addiction from — I struggled with drugs before joining the Marines. I got out of that, joined the Marines, but then when I came back from Iraq, it was alcohol. I do everything to the extreme so when —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:04:58] Yeah, I noticed.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:04:59] I mean it was like a liter of vodka. I would drink until I pass out.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:03] How much do you weigh?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:05:05] I’m like 135.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:06] 135 and even if you were like 165, 30 pounds heavier, a liter of vodka —
Akshay Nanavati: [00:05:12] I mean, I think the only reason I’m not dead, like the last time I went through this and finally sobered up after that was because at least between these sober sessions, I was at least eating healthy and training like, but I went through moments where I was like, I’m surprised I’m not dead.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:24] I think a liter of vodka would put me in the hospital. You know, that’s not a Saturday night.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:05:28] I would just drink though. There’s downing until I pass out. As soon as I wake up, drink again, and go on for five, seven days until I’m finally throwing up everywhere. I mean, just your mind’s in a state of chaos, you’re going through withdrawal, sweating. It’s horrible.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:41] Geez, that’s horrible. To do that to yourself, that’s no longer like, “Oh, I enjoy drinking.” You’re well —
Akshay Nanavati: [00:05:47] Way past that point of enjoyment. Exactly. Nothing fun about that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:05:51] One of your jobs in the service was to walk in front of vehicles and find explosives. When I read that, I was like, “We don’t have machines for this? You don’t put a goat in front of the car? Like, what the hell, man?”
Akshay Nanavati: [00:06:02] No, that was because whenever we were in Iraq, we came through danger zones. Like, let’s say a bridge. Before the vehicle convoy could pass through the bridge or, let’s say if there was a lot of sand around us, two Marines would walk through and clear each side. One Marine take the left, one take the right, and that was my job to go through and clear and make sure there are no wires, no bombs.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:18] How did you get that job? That’s like, “Hey, who do we really not like?”
Akshay Nanavati: [00:06:24] “That guy!”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:24] Akshay, he’s expendable. I mean, I am joking, but it’s horrible. Pete is already mad at me for the goat comment. It’s just the why, ugh, I don’t know. I just assumed we had some technology that was like scanning for bombs.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:06:38] So once we found it, then we call EOD, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, and then they get the robots but somebody has to find it first.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:06:44] Geez, man. I’m going to stop on that thread because I feel like everything else I’d say is just going to get me in trouble after this. So yeah, depression, alcoholism — I mean, you were clearly trying to kill yourself subconsciously.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:06:58] And I did. I mean, I got to a point where I actually wanted to kill myself. I literally woke up after one of these binge sessions, thought about walking over to the kitchen, picking up a knife, and slitting my wrist too. And I’ve been in moments where I just literally thought about taking a knife and just stabbing myself and just ending it. Because it was so dark. I thought these patterns of drinking and sobering up would never, never change. So what’s the point of going on?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:20] Oh, that’s interesting. So you didn’t see any way out. You weren’t like, “I can stop or I should stop.” You were just like, “This is my whole life now.”
Akshay Nanavati: [00:07:26] Because I would try to stop and I would try to be like, “Okay, I’m going to stop now.” And then something would hit, some trigger would hit, and I would go right back into the pit. Again, when I go in and I go in it hard. It’s not just a little bit, it sends me into a dark spiral.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:07:40] Well, yeah, you send me voice memos. We’ve been friends for a while, but you send me a voicemail like, “Hey man, I’m running across Liberia right now.” And I’m like, that doesn’t sound safe at all. “I’m on my own mile number 42.” What are you doing? It’s like 110 in this shade in Liberia right now, July. What are you doing?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:08:03] I’ve learned to channel the darkness now.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:05] But there’s a part of me that’s like when you went from one way of trying to hurt yourself to a different way of trying to hurt yourself, but what’s inside the tunnel that you’re running into? Sometimes literally, or when you go into a dark room. Tell me about the darkness thing. We never quite covered that. You were like, “I’m in Germany and I’m not going to have any light for seven days.”
Akshay Nanavati: [00:08:25] I spent seven days in pitch darkness. I can’t see your hand in front of you in darkness, complete isolation and complete silence. So I didn’t talk for seven days at all. And you’re just sitting in a room with just yourself and you have nowhere to go. And unlike the silent retreats, which are much more common to these days, the vipassana when people go into silent meditations, unlike that, because you’re in darkness, you’re shutting off one of the primary senses through which you engage with the world, your visual sense. So by doing that, you can’t attach your consciousness onto things like I can’t see something and have a sort of conscious or subconscious conversation with it. You’re shutting all of that off.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:08:55] Is that what happens during silent retreats? You go and you, you see a window and you just stare at the window for eight hours or something.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:09:02] I’ve never been to a silent retreat, but inevitably when you’re looking at things, you’re registering that is, okay, that’s a mic. That’s a tree. Whatever you’re looking at.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:09] That’s just gone. You’re unplugging your eyes.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:09:12] You really have nowhere to go but within, and that was appealing to me because actually what drew me to that is when I broke my sobriety. I went through, which you also know about, I went through a fairly challenging divorce last year. When that happened, I broke my sobriety and I was like, okay, there are some gaps still I need to figure out within myself, and I realized the only way I could do that was no longer by running and even sometimes the positive things we do like running or climbing mountains or whatever working hard on my business, writing a book can be a way to run away from ourselves.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:39] Definitely.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:09:40] And in today’s day and age, it’s so easy to run it. We’re constantly running away from ourselves.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:09:43] I mean, if I added an extra show to this, I would have no life outside of that and many days that’s really appealing.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:09:50] So I needed to go within and obviously, everything I do I found the most extreme avenue to do that. That was the draw to it, to shut off every sense, to really go deep within. Because in the darkness, I like to say, your soul becomes a mirror to itself and you’re forced to go deep within.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:05] Is there someone watching you? Are you just in a room?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:10:07] No. You’re in a room, about yay size, sitting in a tiny room. I mean, there’s a switch in there, so you could literally turn the switch back on and sit there watching movies on your laptop the whole time. You know what I mean? Nobody’s going to know.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:18] But somebody’s watching you, right? You’re not, or you’re just not.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:10:21] There’s an emergency switch if you need to. Because what happens is, like for example, when they bring the smoothies. They ring a little bell outside and you hear the bell and then you come out — but the hallway is completely dark too. You’re not supposed to have any exposure to light because also what happens neurologically, like neurologically, your brain starts to release DMT, which is one of the primary ingredients in ayahuasca. So you’re kind of go on these trippy spiritual journeys, which I did. I mean like day six for example, in the darkness. I saw lights that were brighter than that light there.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:50] That are studio lights.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:10:51] That are studio lights. I felt like I couldn’t sleep. I felt like I need an eye mask to sleep. It was so bright. I was literally going like this like I’m closing my eyes and be like —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:10:59] It’s like hallucination because of these psychedelic chemicals that your brain has released.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:11:03] That released from being in darkness for extended periods of time.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:05] So your brain starts releasing these chemicals. I mean, do you know why that happens at all? That sounds weird. Why would your brain want you to be like, “we need you to hallucinate now.”
Akshay Nanavati: [00:11:14] I don’t know the science of it, but that was actually the value of it because, in my book Fearvana, I had a lot of research, science, psychology. I’m a big pragmatic. Everything could be validated with science and proven, but the darkness I went to actually explore the other side of that duality, the sort of science and spirituality to push into things that transcend reason and rationality. Like seeing bright lights in pitch darkness, there’s no logical explanation for that. I mean, if anybody told me I’m the last guy to believe this kind of stuff that first everything needs to be proven. But I mean, I just, it wasn’t just that I saw red lights, green lights, like purple lights that were as real as anything else you could possibly see.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:11:49] We do know that our brain is what makes vision. We’ve talked about this on the show before. I forget who the guest was. It was one of these neuroscientists, maybe Beau Lotto or something like that. Your eyes are just like a keyboard. The letter doesn’t go from the keyboard through the little pipe of the USB cord and pop up on the screen. The microprocessor tells the screen to display that based on input from the keyboard, which is just binary. So your eyes aren’t seeing things that are there. Your brain is constructing an image based on like what photons are triggering in your eyes, which send electrical signals. I mean, that’s probably not surprising to a lot of people. What was surprising to me was that this stuff isn’t really there and that what you see is just a shared illusion that our brain is creating. Because we have these guys and one of them is coming on the show soon, Erik Weinhemayer, he climbed Mount Everest and he’s blind, but he has like a tongue grid. Have you heard about this?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:12:39] I’ve not heard about that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:40] So he can see with his tongue because your brain can learn to see with pretty much any sensory organ. So there is a grid that he wears, it’s electrical, and it does really fine static on his tongue, and he can create images in his brain based on that.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:12:54] That’s wild.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:12:55] It’s crazy, which means that pretty soon you’re going to be born blind or you’re going to go blind due to some horrible accident. Knock on wood, it won’t happen to anyone listening to this or watching this. But you’ll be able to get one of those Geordi La Forge type visors and just walk around like everyone else because we’ll be able to just replace defective eyes. Or we’ll be able to lay something on top of your eye and it’ll just do the job as efficiently or more so than your eye. The mystery is why your brain’s releasing DMT and causing you to hallucinate, not how you’re seeing things. Your brain is just constructing vision because it’s going well. I guess our eyes don’t work anymore. I would bet you that there’s somebody listening or watching right now that went blind due to an accident or some genetic thing, and probably, in the beginning, had those kinds of and gets it northern lights experiences all the time.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:13:40] Yeah. It’s surreal. It’s surreal but deeply profound. I mean, that experience, as you can imagine, just being still within yourself, where you go, what you discover within. The experiences in the darkness will profound, but for me, the most powerful part was coming back into the light after seven days.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:13:52] That must have been kind of weirdly painful as well.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:13:56] It was. I mean when I first pulled off, obviously, it’s just kind of blinding when you first pull off the mask and you’re sitting there. It’s kind of blinding, but it was emotionally like it just hit me. I mean, I was tearing up. I remember looking at the world because I was in Germany, so beautiful black forest area and everything, I remember looking at the world and saying, I want to look at the world every day through these eyes, be able to see through these eyes. And I also felt like that was, that was two things I was going through my mind. One was that and the second was just a deep sense of gratitude for every bit of pain and suffering I’ve ever experienced because I realized that you cannot really see the light that way unless you’ve been in the dark. Obviously, in that case, it was very literal.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:31] That was quite literal.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:1:00] Figuratively and metaphorically as well, that you cannot really experience a light unless you go into the dark, which is why coming back to your first question. Why I like exploring these extremes is that in order to experience the extreme of bliss, you got to go into the extreme of pain and the extreme of suffering and extreme of darkness, and they’re challenging of course, but it allows you to experience life at a different level of intensity.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:14:51] You must have walked out of that room and then like one no more smoothies for a while and two — how long were you in there? Five days?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:14:59] Seven days.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:00] Seven days without looking at anything. You’re just thinking about your life.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:15:03] I was journaling in the dark too.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:05] How does that look?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:15:07] Thankfully legible. There was only one page where I wrote completely over myself and I forgot to kind of mark my pages, but I was like kind of putting a ruler and then writing and then moving the ruler down. Obviously, it wasn’t within the lines, but it’s legible. I’ve actually thought eventually to write another book completely in the dark, to go into the dark.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:24] I mean, you could use a voice recorder. I’m just throwing that out there.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:15:29] I thought about using a voice recorder. The reason I chose not to is because when you talk, your consciousness is focused like I’m hearing myself talk now. It’s focused on the thing I’m hearing. But if you don’t talk, your mind is more chaotic. And I want it to be with that chaos.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:42] That is interesting. I suppose you could always type to just no screen, and then you have, which is one really long weird document. Just make sure you know where the home keys are.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:15:51] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:52] I guess though, then if you’re off by one key, you have no clue what the hell you’re trying to say.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:15:56] You’re done. It’s going to be a giant massive gibberish.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:15:58] Oh yeah. Good point. Never mind. Don’t rely on me for advice on this one. Geez. Okay. You said in the, in Fearvana, or at least in one of our conversations, that the single greatest barrier that stands in the way of our wellbeing is our negative relationship to suffering. So that essentially means what? That you enjoy at some level suffering, which is no surprise. I mean, that’s like what you’re known for is like. Whenever I get a message from you, I’m like, what weird-ass thing is he going to do today to cause more pain? But you’re right, we do demonize fear, stress, anxiety. I mean, half the books that come out now are like love every second of your work.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:16:35] And it’s nonsense. That idea that if you love what you do will never feel like a day of work in your life. That’s garbage. I mean, I love what I do. I’m sure you love what you do, but there are days where it’s work. It’s socks.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:16:42] Every day, pretty much.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:16:45] It’s sock sometimes, and that’s okay though. But like these words like fear, stress, anxiety, guilt, suffering, pain, adversity. We have such a negative relationship. Nobody hears those words and think of them as positive things or positive experiences, but you cannot transform. You cannot evolve without suffering. I mean, it’s like working out. You put your body through physical stress in order to grow. Yes, you temper it with recovery, but it’s the same thing with the mind and spirit. You put yourself through psychological stress, through spiritual stress in order to evolve. Yes, so many people are like, love what you do. Everything should be easy. I mean, we live in a world that’s feeding the garbage about the easiest, quickest path to getting what you want.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:17:22] Yeah. I mean, it’s like everything that I railed — I mean, even you and I have talked about this before where I’m like, “These people or these influencers, they’re selling get rich quick or they’re selling this like a business in a box and it’s like such BS. But people are going for that. I mean, the first thing I remember learning from my parents was if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I mean, this is like the first slogan. I probably heard that when I was eight or seven or younger. And now as adults, it’s like so tempting. Somehow half of our friends are doing it.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:17:51] Yeah and we’re conditioned by it too. Because our world, like, I mean, we have a little dopamine machines, so we’re constantly taught that we can get instant gratification everywhere. Watch a movie instantly, get something on two days in Prime, it’ll be there to your door. We’re constantly taught that by our environment. And so we’re looking for it in every way. And you know, like everything is feeding that, but it’s kind of missing the point. The value is not the million dollars or the six-pack abs or anything of the results. It’s the person you become on that journey and you’re missing the point if you’re trying to get there as fast as possible because of the suffering that you go through to get there, that will be the change that happens. That will be the thing that transforms you, the way you grow.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:18:20] That’s a good point. It’s kind of like you have to work out in order to get strong. You can’t just inject steroids and watch Netflix. Try that, it didn’t work out. I just ended up with a bunch of cholesterol and giant biceps. No, but like the idea that you would even try to do that in another area of your life makes no sense. Because my next question, which I accidentally answered for myself was, well, if life is giving us stress, anxiety and all that, why should I dive headfirst into it? Because I’m already getting enough from life. But that’s kind of like saying, well, when you walk outside and you lift your equipment case into your car, isn’t that the same thing as going to the gym and lifting weights? The answer’s no or yeah, you want to turn it up to 11 or to eight so that when you’re at a five you’re fine.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:19:07] Exactly. It conditions you to handle the normal stressors of life, and it’s also not about seeking suffering for the sake of suffering.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:13] Except in your case apparently.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:19:16] Finding as much as many ways as possible. But you know, like when I mentioned with the drug addiction, I used to cut myself. I have still have scars on my arm just for just cutting myself. I have a burn here on my arm from taking a cigar, burning myself back in when I was on drugs.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:19:28] What kind of drugs were you doing?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:19:30] Cocaine, I mean, lots of LSD, lots of cocaine. But I was actually at a point that I would have done any drug that came my way. Like everything I do, I was the one, you know, pushing the line. Thankfully more did not come my way and they started to come in by the time I stopped doing drugs, but I mean, I would’ve done PCP. I would have gone down the special K. I would have done anything here. It was like I was looking for it. Thankfully it did not because it could have, I mean, I have two friends who OD’ed and died from that phase of my life I was in. You know, so there was no virtue to this pain. So you’ve got to find the stuff. I mean, I do ultra-running. I spent seven days in darkness. I’m not saying everybody needs to do that. But find your own, I call it the worthy struggle, like what’s that struggle worthy of who you are and who you want to be for the world and for yourself. Seek that out and in that, you’ll find beauty. There’s bliss even in pain. I mean, when I’m running 72 miles or spending seven days in darkness, there’s without a doubt moments where I’m like, “This sucks. Why am I here? This is awful. I don’t want to be here.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:22] Yeah. I was talking with Dean Karnazes a while ago and he was talking about when you guys are on these runs. You guys know each other?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:20:28] So he actually got me in ultra-running. His book, Ultra-Marathon Man, I read it when I was in Iraq, a crazy, odd enough. And just so we didn’t have a lot of time cause we were infantry, Marines out the wire doing stuff every day. But whenever I did have time, I would run for like three, four hours around this tiny little base in the middle of Iraq. An Ultra-Marathon Man was the trigger that inspired me and I reached out to him after sharing my story, and thankfully he wrote a little thing for Fearvana. He is awesome. I love him.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:20:50] I can see this insertion looking at you and they’re like, “Don’t go. They’re crazy. These guys have been running in circles for seven hours. Let’s go and get the other. I want this guy to run after me. He’ll never stop.” But, yeah, Dean, he was talking about how some of his like hundred-mile desert runs, he’ll shit himself and just keep going. You guys are wired in this weird way where it’s like, that’s just part of the game.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:21:14] Yeah, it’s horrible. You know, like going through that. I’ve had yet bloody shits when I’m gone when I ran 80 miles around a 0.2-mile loop a few months ago, 0.2-mile loop.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:23] How many laps does that work out to?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:21:24] Four hundred laps.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:25] That’s so ridiculous.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:21:26] Nightmarishly psychological torture, right?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:27] Yeah. Because at least when you’re running through Liberia, there’s like a village over there and a river down. No, just a track.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:21:35] Just this track and like, I think it was maybe 60 miles in and I started shitting blood and I just was like, “All right. Suck it up!”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:40] But there’s no probably like, eh, red line, literally, in this case, I better go to the doctor.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:21:45] So in that case, because I was actually planning a 46-hour run because I had work to do the next day. I had a presentation to do. I was like I can’t afford to go to the hospital.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:53] No, you can’t afford to shit blood during the presentation.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:21:56] Oh, eventually, I tempered it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:21:59] There’s a couple of ways to not get invited back to Google. That is one of them.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:22:03] Exactly, exactly. So yeah, you find the line temper, but I have been in the hospital before for heat exhaustion and had to get IVs and stuff.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:09] That seems pretty standard for this stuff that you’re doing. Yeah. My goodness. You want to fall in love with the demons, fall in love with the darkness and confront them. But is this not just like another way of cutting yourself to just see if you can do it? I mean, because to me it sounds horrible. To you, it sounds horrible also, but then you’re like, “Ooh, but I want to do that,” but I’m not like, “Ooh, I’m going to go get drunk and cut myself,” and I’m not making fun of you.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:22:33] No I get it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:22:34] I’m just saying like, this seems like you’re searching out pain. It’s just that this way is more socially acceptable because people go, “What a badass!” Whereas if you’re cutting your arm, people go, “Dude, you need psychological help.” But I’m looking at you running around a track 400 times, shitting blood, and being like, maybe you do need also to go to therapy as a result.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:22:52] I have therapists, one therapist told me that I have a mental disorder or something about how I’m psychologically flawed in mental disorder. He told me that I was pretty messed up, which was —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:04] It’s like a very masochistic thing though.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:23:06] Yeah, but I mean, I think that you know, like now with compared to, let’s say cutting myself, the pain that I earn in long-distance running, I earned that pain. I’m running eight, nine hours to earn that pain. There’s a virtue to it. There’s a spiritual seeking I’m getting out of it. This is almost a shortcut even to pain, cutting my arm.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:23:21] That’s like the steroids of a —
Akshay Nanavati: [00:2323:00] Exactly. Now it’s like I’m seeking, there’s a purpose to it. There’s a virtue to it. I tell a story around it. It inspires other people. I’ve had some people at my talks, we’re overweight. Tell me if the first time that they started hiking and lost all this weight, so there’s a virtue to it that allows me to transcend myself and serve others with it as well because we all have different versions of the darkness. We’ve all gone through different things in life, but everybody suffered in some way. Their degrees or whatever, you know, is irrelevant. Ultimately, we’ve all suffered. And so the point is though if you don’t engage those dark spaces, they’re going to hold you back. You can’t really become that highest imagined version of yourself until you confront the deepest, darkest version of yourself. You know, there’s that saying that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. It’s the same way. We are only as strong as that weakest link within ourselves, but nobody wants to confront that because it’s hard. It is terrifying going into those spaces to confront that weak link, to confront that demon. But Carl Jung, one of my favorite quotes of all time. He says that “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious that one does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
Jason DeFillippo: [00:24:21] You’re listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest, Akshay Nanavati. We’ll be right back.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:24:26] This episode is sponsored in part by HostGator.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:24:28] Need to build a new website from scratch, but don’t know where to start, looking to transfer your existing website away from a host who acts like your need for prompt efficient increased customer service is some kind of hostage negotiation. Hoping to dust off that personal website you built from your dorm room back in ‘98, but you’re designing eye never developed past the chic GeoCities aesthetic of the day, HostGator can get your new website registered in up today. HostGator can transfer your existing website away from the hostage negotiators over to a customer service team who will treat you like royalty or at the very least of a valued customer. HostGator can help you overcome your design stunted sensibilities and spruce up that ancient personal website with a wide selection of themes and prebuilt sections. Hell, HostGator can even get you a toe by 3 o’clock this afternoon with nail polish. HostGator’s 99.9 percent uptime guarantee and around-the-clock support ensure your website is available to the eyes of the world every day and night of the year. Got a tight budget, no worries. As long as you’re a new user you get to try any HostGator package for up to 62 percent off the normal price for just hearing the sound of my voice. And if you’re not completely satisfied with everything HostGator has to offer, you’ve got 45 days to cancel for a refund of every last penny. Check out hostgator.com/jordan right now to sign up. That’s hostgator.com/jordan.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:25:43] This episode is also sponsored by Omigo. All right. When you bathe. Do you use some nice warm water or do you just rub your skin with a dry piece of paper and hope for the best? If you drop peanut butter on your arm while you’re making a sandwich, do you just wipe it off with a dry towel and then not wash it? No. Cleaning up with toilet paper is outdated. When you think about it, it’s kind of gross. There’s a better way to go. That gives you that allover clean feeling when you need it the most, and where do you need it the most, frankly. Omigo, the toilet seat of the future available today. Yes. I should be embarrassed advertising bidet toilet seat, but I’m not because this is a game-changer for your bum. I’ve got the whole home wired with them. They prevent hemorrhoids. Something you probably don’t need to worry about, but I’m pushing 40 so I’m just waiting for one of those things to come in knocking. And you feel like an unwashed, unclean savage when you go to the bathroom elsewhere and you don’t have this hooked up, which means we’re on the right track. It washes you perfectly every time you control the whole experience by adjusting the water temperature, the position, the pressure, the width, the movement. The seat is heated. When you get up at night and you got to go to the bathroom, you just sit down in a nice warm cloud. Telling you to game-changer. The element is their newest bidet that starts from 69 bucks. No plumber. Install it yourself, piece of cake. Jason.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:26:56] For better health and hygiene, stop wiping and start washing. Right now get 10% off your order when you go to myomigo.com/jordan. That’s M-Y-O-M-I-G-O.com/jordan to get 10% off of the toilet seat bidet. Your butt will thank you.[00:27:11] Thanks for listening and supporting the show and to learn more and get links to all the great discounts you just heard from our amazing sponsors, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals. Don’t forget we have a worksheet for today’s episode so you can make sure you solidify your understanding of the key takeaways from Akshay Nanavati. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. If you’d like some tips on how to subscribe to the show, just go to jordanharbinger.com/subscribe. As always, subscribing to the show is absolutely free. It just means that you get all the latest episodes downloaded automatically to your podcast player so you don’t miss a single thing. And now back to our show with Akshay Nanavati.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:27:49] Oh, and by the way, I do see the difference between earning the pain and just giving yourself a burn on the shoulder. Because it’s sort of like the difference between us going out back here and snorting heroin or whatever versus getting a runner’s high. Nobody shames runners for feeling high when they complete a marathon, but we will get arrested and shamed by our friends and family if they catch us out back shooting up. So it’s similar. I see. Like you’re just trying to earn something that most people are frankly trying to avoid in a lot of ways, and you’re saying the reason we try to avoid that is because we’re afraid of what we might find.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:28:20] Because we’re afraid of what we might find because it’s really hard to go into those spaces. It’s not fun. It’s not enjoyable to confront your demons to be still. I mean, that’s another thing and one way to do it is through suffering and others through stillness. Stillness is not slowing down. Sometimes I tell people that I would spend seven days in darkness. They’re like, “Oh, don’t you have work and you’re running?” Yeah, but stillness is not slowing me down. It’s accelerating me actually. There’s a difference between stillness and doing nothing. You know what I mean? Stillness out of consciousness and intention is very different. So inviting people to go into those spaces because when you go there, you will find something that you had not looked for before and by confronting it, by making that darkness conscious, then you can do something about it. You can make it work for you.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:00] Can you give me an example of what you find when you say, let’s say, go into — How about just running, like when you’re running through Liberia, when you’re not leaving me a voice message and panting.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:29:12] One of the few that I leave you.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:13] What are you finding in yourself? Like is there something that you can explain.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:29:18] Yeah, so I’ll give you an example. So when I was in Liberia, it was day four, something like that. I was maybe 17 miles into the run. Every day, I was running about a marathon a day for a week.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:27] Marathon a day for a week. So just let that sink in, because you kind of like screw that one out. You know that is a lot of running and of course, you’re not recovering. I mean, you’re not passing the hell out, getting up, and doing it again.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:29:39] You’re staying in these shitty places. You know, it’s not a hotel. There was no AC. I’m not trying to complain about like, but the point it was really hot and I’m like —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:29:48] That’s the least of your worries. Oh, man, there’s no AC in my —
Akshay Nanavati: [00:29:50] And you’re sitting there and it’s hot and you’re just like, yeah. I mean, one hotel I stayed in the toilet seat had like cracks in it, so every time I sat it would cut into my leg. That was fun.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:00] I’m going to need a little Neosporin for — never mind.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:30:02] Good times. But, so yes, so you’re not really recovering. It was day four that this aching pain hit my shin, just aching, horrible pain hit, and I tried to stop and massage it, put some cream, whatever, and massage. It’s not going away, but I had to get the miles in for that day. So I started limping and I’m kind of limping, limping, limping. And then about a mile and a half after that —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:21] You tore something in your shin.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:30:23] I don’t know what happened.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:23] Oh you don’t know.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:30:24] It wasn’t a tear. I don’t think so because later on. I was fine.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:30:26] Just gnarly shins.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:30:28] But it was aching. It took me out. I was literally running and I just stopped. I mean, I was on the ground trying to massage it and kind of put something on it, and then I was just limping. And the whole time I’m living for about a mile and a half, I’m like battling, not just the physical pain, but the psychological pain that I got three days left of this. This is going to really suck. I have about 75 plus miles of running left. I mean, got no 80 plus whatever. And so then after by a mile and a half, I’m like, all right, just get in it, just start jogging. I started jogging, and then within minutes, I’m sprinting. The whole time when I’m sprinting, I’m saying things to myself like, remember Neil — he was my friend who died in the war. I said that should have been, you earn this life. If you quit now you deserve a coward’s death. People are dying everywhere. Suck it up. You have no right to complain. You know, just going into these spaces that you should have died in the war. You haven’t suffered enough. Earn this life. Stop being a bitch. Like this is my self-talk, right? And I’m going into these dark spaces and tapping into that darkness. Those five miles I ran in that in Liberia on that part was the fastest five miles I ran the entire trip. So I learned to make those demons, my PTSD, my PTS post traumatic stress, my survivor’s guilt, my feeling like I haven’t suffered enough — One of the things I’ve struggled with for a long time is guilt for feeling happy. Like I felt like there’s too much pain. I’ve seen so much pain and suffering in my own life and in the world. I felt like, who am I to be happy? So I tapped into that space instead of trying to avoid it. I used it and like literally, and I’m not saying I do this in every run, obviously, some runs are happy and smiling. But sometimes when you make it conscious, then eventually you get to the point where you can access each at will. So now, I have that —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:31:50] Access each the feeling?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:31:52] Being darkness or the light, being the demons, being the blissful thing. Sometimes I’m smiling, running, enjoying life. This is beautiful. I get to experience feeling grateful. Sometimes, I’m going into those dark spaces, but the idea is when you do this consciously, you can tap into each at will. I’ve helped a lot of other people with this. ‘ll give you another example of this. So I had a friend, and this is going to sound a little crazy, so I’m going to qualify myself as opposed to everything else I’ve been saying.[00:32:17] I had a friend that was helping with a lot of stuff. We had been talking, had a lot of conversations. When I asked her this question — I’m about to share with you — she was ready to go in those spaces. Now, she had gone through some severe childhood trauma. And I’d done a lot of stuff with her to help increase her awareness to have these conversations. So eventually I asked her and I said, “Stay with me on this,” but I said, “What if you deserve the trauma you went through?”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:37] Ooh.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:32:37] And she literally said that. She goes, “Ooh,” and she was like — I mean how do you say that to somebody?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:32:42] Yeah, especially like some kid who’s abused or something.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:32:45] Exactly, and before you think I’m out of my mind, the reason I asked her that was I knew her this point. We talked and I said, “There’s some part of you feels like you deserved it.” And she said, “Yes.” I said, “There’s some part of you feels guilty, like that was your fault and you feel guilty about it.” She said, “Yes.” I said, “Exactly. Confront that part.” Most therapists would say, “Oh, it’s not your fault. Obviously, you don’t deserve all this kind of stuff.” No, obviously.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:06] Which is true.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:33:07] Yeah and it’s true, but I’m saying because your subconscious is feeling it. Go there. And she did. In fact, that very night she sent me a text message saying, “Fuck you, Akshay,” word for word, because she went into some dark, as you might have imagined. And I don’t recommend everybody do this if you’re not ready, because it can send you to some really horrifying spaces. At this point, she was ready to go there, but eventually, after she got out of it, for the first time ever in her life, she’d been married about 20, 25 years, she shared what she went through with their husband.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:31] He didn’t know.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:33:32] He didn’t know.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:33] She was hiding that the whole time.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:33:34] And I don’t even know what it is. She just told me of severe childhood trauma. I mean, I have an inkling of what exactly —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:37] Well, you fill in the blanks.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:33:39] You have an inkling of what it is. But I said I don’t care. You don’t have to tell me. But the point is, you know, go there and if you did deserve it, what does it mean about you? What does it mean about God? What does it mean about humanity? What does it mean about the world? Go to those spaces, find the answers, seek out something and bring that darkness to the surface, and she did. As a result, she got to the other side, in a way she hadn’t been before.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:33:55] Right, because even if the truth is uncomfortable, I’m trying to wrap my head around this because of course kids were abused or something don’t deserve this.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:34:02] Of course.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:34:02] But if you then go, why do I feel this way? Let me look at that and take a good long look at it. Then your mind can, your consciousness can sort of with the help of a good therapist ideally as well, wrap your mind around this and go, “Okay, I feel this way. It’s wrong. I understand that it’s wrong. I now see and feel and can understand why that does not the case. So the next time it bubbles up quietly in the back of your head and you’re enjoying sitting with your husband and your child and you’re thinking, I don’t deserve this. You go, no, no, no, no. I’ve already, this is settled in my head. I understand I feel that way and that it’s wrong.” So you can get rid of it. You can sort of overcome it. I can follow that logic. But yeah, you probably don’t just confront all, rip open all your childhood wounds and then go running in Africa.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:34:44] You got to be ready. I mean, I didn’t get to the point that I’m not overnight. It took me a little while for a long time. I ran away from all that stuff with alcohol, obviously, and all that stuff. It took me a while to get to the point. Now what I do is, I think I’ve shared this with you. I, what I do is I sometimes intentionally watch scenes from war movies. Like Band of Brothers or a Hacksaw Ridge, or Black Hawk Down. And knowing that will make me cry. I tear up watching these scenes. They’re very intense. There’s nothing inherently fun about them. But I do that to consciously enter those spaces that I believe has value because pain is one of the most valuable drivers of change. Michael Gervais one of the leading sports psychologists said, “Every great change starts with pain.” Pain is going to lead to change. I like to remind myself of the pain to remind me why I’m here on this earth. In many ways, I should have died. Not only did I was a guy walking from the bombs in Iraq, I found out 10 years after the war that my vehicle drove over an active bomb when I was in Iraq.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:36] It just didn’t go off.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:35:37] It just didn’t go off. God knows whatever reason.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:39] How did you find that out?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:35:40] My staff sergeant, I didn’t know at the time because I guess we were busy on a mission. My staff Sergeant and another one of my buddies who was in the same squad in the same vehicles, and he had told me. My staff sergeant was the squad leader in our squad of 1213 Marines. We had a 10-year reunion and they were talking about it and I’m like, “Wait, what? I didn’t know this.” And it’s an interesting thing to think about, obviously, you know.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:35:58] “Oh, remember that time when it’s your job to find the bomb. Yeah, you missed one and we almost all died.”
Akshay Nanavati: [00:36:04] Nice job.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:05] “Yeah, great job. Who invited you again?”
Akshay Nanavati: [00:36:09] But it was very humbling to kind of see that and to think, and in many ways, I feel like I shouldn’t be here, but now that I am, it’s like I want to remind myself and go into those spaces to remind myself that, okay, I’m here for a reason and let me do something with it. So whatever it is anybody go there?
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:00] Have you ever seen those Final Destination movies? I think I’ve seen one, you know, 20 years ago, and that sounds like kind of the same thing. Like you avoided this thing and you go, “Well, wait a minute. This should have been me.” So now you’re chasing some kind of pain/realization that maybe you deserve to be here. And you’re doing that by self-flagellating. It’s like a Catholicism circa, I don’t know, 300 AD or whatever, those guys like whipping themselves.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:36:52] But it’s not only that, obviously. I enjoy life too, these days.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:36:54] I know you do. Like if you threw a prisoner into a Gulag and you said, “You have to run across Liberia.” They’d be like, “No, just shoot me, just kill me.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:37:05] I’m done.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:05] I’m not doing that.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:37:06] When I did the seven days in darkness, my friends were like, “You know we do this to torture people, right?”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:11] Right. Like, “Sorry, we only have one room here in Germany and the other one’s in Guantanamo Bay.”
Akshay Nanavati: [00:37:16] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:18] We’ve been joking darkly in a way that I’m not used to on this show. This is something that happened.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:37:22] Exactly, it just goes there.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:25] There’s something that you wrote in your notes here, which I love. The prevailing idea in this self-help world is I am enough, but that’s nonsense. We are not enough, and that’s not a bad thing. Wow, man, unpopular opinion, but I like that. I agree. Most of us are not enough as we are. We have to work to get something, and I, that was what I grew up with, but now it’s like I believe in me.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:37:49] Yeah. Love yourself no matter.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:37:50] Send me checks.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:37:51] Say, you’re great. Love yourself. I am enough and all this garbage. It’s such a weak mentality. Greatness requires you to accept and acknowledge that you are never enough, and it’s in the pursuit that leads to not only greater growth and striving, the pursuit itself is happiness. I like to say contentment is the death of mastery. You know, the second you get truly content, you stop evolving and growing and this idea, I am enough. That is so prevalent, right? Like in the self-help world, in personal development. Now you’re enough. Love yourself no matter what. Like as an example, I was at this self-help seminar and this person there was overweight and he was struggling with his self-image about it. Now, no, right, wrong, good, bad about your weight. Like cool, everybody’s got their own. There’s no judgment about it. But they were trying to make them feel like love his body no matter what and I thought that was garbage. Like what I would’ve done with him and say to him, “Do you really want to be in this weight? Like do you want to just go deep? Let’s navigate this. Let’s first get clear, do you want to, and if not, don’t sit there saying you love your body. Look at the mirror and be like, ‘I hate what I’m seeing. Let me go do something about it.'” You know what I mean? When I was much heavier, obviously now I don’t have a lot of weight to lose. I would look at the fat I see and be like, you fat piece of shit. Go do something. I’m not saying you got to take that far.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:38:59] We all have different self-talk.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:39:01] Exactly, but it got me in the gym, it got me in the gym, it got me out the door. This idea that I am enough is such a weak mentality and it cultivates an idea that we’ve reached. The second you believe you arrived at anything, you will stop growing. You’re never enough, and that’s not a bad thing. That’s a beautiful thing. Like I’m constantly striving. I heard your interview with Kobe Bryant and I’ve read the book by Tim Grover, Relentless, who was kind of Kobe’s mindset coach and stuff like that and he talks about that. He said, “People who are that level of the game, they have a relentless pursuit to know that they’re never enough.” Kobe was talking about that. He was Kobe Bryant, best in the world, he would still be out there, first-person ever, training, training, hard training, hard training, hard looking for that next one percent of growth. And that’s the mindset of mastery and even if you only want to be like a Kobe, it’s not even just about attaining the growth. That’s what actually leads to a better and more fulfilling life is that idea. So stop looking to be enough and accept that you’d never enough. When I got trained as a life coach, there’s this idea that you’re whole and complete, treat everybody as their whole and complete. And I feel it’s much more valuable to approach it from the paradigm that we’re all broken. And who cares? We’re all broken. We all have our stuff. We all have our brokenness. That’s great, accept it, use it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:40:10] I totally agree with that. I think the difference between — There is something to be said for people who say, “Look, I am enough. When they feel like they’re so worthless that they can’t do it, and there’s no point in losing weight because I’m a big loser and nobody will love me.” Like I get not wanting to live in that feeling, because then you can’t even get off the couch and get to the gym. You just go, what’s the point? You eat a bunch of ice cream because it provides dopamine for the next five minutes. You know I understand that. I’m more in your camp where I wake up and — I was talking with somebody yesterday who’s a producer for a really famous talk show host, and I said, “Oh, do you think that you could get me in touch with them and I’ll pay them. I know that they’re going to be ridiculously expensive, but I want them to critique my interview technique and my show prep.” And the producer goes, “You don’t need to work on anything.” And I was like, “You don’t know me.” If I can improve one percent and it’s going to cost me 10 grand, I’m going to pay you that 10 grand have you. And they’re like, “Well, I don’t know. I mean, we could go over this, but it’s going to be this expensive and you’d have to fly out here.” And I’m like, “Great, when can we do it?” And he’s like, “But you don’t need this. I listened to your show. There’s nothing that you can improve upon.” And I just went, “Don’t tell me that. I don’t want to hear that. That just means you can’t help me. Like I want you to say, well, there’s a, maybe there’s something we could do in this department.”[00:41:23] Because I don’t wake up going, I am such a good at this. I wake up going, where is anyone gaining on me and where can I shore up my weaknesses. If it showcases a little bit more personality on the show, I’m not going, “Oh, all right, that on a post-it.” I’m going, “Great. Hire a top-notch presenter who’s funny and has a great personality and have them like beat me up by listening to the last 10 episodes of the show and find these little areas where they go, this is too boring. This is boring. This one went on too long and that thing happened.” That’s what I’m looking for. And people are constantly like, “Why are you doing that? Go up, take a vacation.” My worst nightmare is being stuck on a beach with no internet. You know, like I don’t want to do that.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:42:06] I feel you, man. You know, I absolutely love it. And I do get what you mean about that kind of idea that like if you’re on the couch eating ice cream so that you have to kind of have this some degree of self-worth. And so I think the distinction of this, I am enough versus that point is that you remove your self-identity from the failures, from the things you struggle with, from the weight. So I’m not saying like for example, when I work with people with mental health issues like I have people who say, “I am depressed or I have depression.” It becomes who they are. That self-identity as opposed to saying something like, my brain goes through a state of depression, but I’m not my brain. My brain is not me. So you remove the self-identity from it. And when you do that, and Kobe talked about this too as well, like he used to be berated by his coach saying that, you know, like when they would perform poorly in their basketball tapes. But it was not about who they were. It was about behavior. You’re removing the self-identity from it, and that is of value. Don’t get me wrong, totally. So I can say, okay, I’m not this thing, these things, and I am all these other things. I cultivate greatness by attaching myself identity to, okay, I’ve achieved all these things. Like so again, ego for example. Ego is not a bad thing. Ego is often demonized. Ego is the enemy, the ego is something demon. Like people say, ego should be eliminated, but if you want to believe you’re great, you have to own your greatness.[00:43:17] And athletes are another perfect example of this. Muhammad Ali used to say, “I’m the greatest. I knew that before the world knew I was.” He kept saying I’m the greatest. When Tom Brady was selected with the Patriots, he said that “I’m the best decision this organization’s ever made.” They owned their egos. But ego and humility can coexist. They also have the humility to be relentless learners, to constantly find that next one percent for improvement. So you have to own your greatness and be like, look, I’ve done all these things and I actually have a little tool I call the spirit armory. I have two elements to the legend and legacy. And the legacy is all the things I’ve accomplished. So when I’m in dark spaces, I’ll be like, “Dude, look at everything you’ve done in your life. You have achieved all these things. You’re a badass. You are amazing.” You own that greatness and you use that to transition into. So when I say, “I am enough.” It’s like not in the sense of like my present self and attaching contentment to it, but I can own this version of me that is now here is great. I’ve done all these things, but yet my future self is never enough. The future self I’m creating because I also don’t believe there’s a self-defined, there’s only a self to create. There is no inherent self. We create a self by choosing who we want to be every moment and so by —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:15] I’m thinking that’s empowering, because otherwise what did you find it and you don’t like what you have.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:44:19] Exactly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:20] Yeah. I’d rather be able to build it than to it —
Akshay Nanavati: [00:44:23] And create it. Exactly. Creating a purposeful action. So attaching that, using your ego to then drive you into the next self, and stepping into whoever that may be.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:31] It’s like getting a gift card versus opening a present. You don’t know what’s in that box, but if you just get a check, you can get whatever you want.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:44:37] Love it. No doubt, man. I love that.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:44:41] I do agree that it has to coexist. Your ego has to coexist with humility. I think there’s so much to that. When you see ego without humility, it’s a disaster. That’s what we see this ruinous ego, egocentric behavior, and then we see humility without ego, and it’s hard to really, I don’t exactly know where that leads, but one, it seems inauthentic first of all. Two, it’s sort of this weird spiritual plane where I don’t think most of us can function healthily in life.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:45:09] Yeah, I agree. There’s an interview with the Dalai Lama where even he says something that was like egotistical about himself, but again, it’s not a bad thing, and he is a Dalai Lama.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:18] Yeah. Hey, slow down there. Who do you think you are?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:45:23] But you got to own that, like that I’m awesome, and that I’m great in order to take the hard thing, because whatever worthwhile is going to be hard. So in order to do that, you have to tap into yourself, that warrior spirit, which what we all have within us.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:36] Speaking as a warrior spirit, you’ve got this practical exercise. Creating a spirit armory. What is this?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:45:42] I actually carry this everywhere. So I have this little notebook with me right here. I call my spirit armory.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:45:47] It literally says it’s spirit armory on the cover.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:45:51] On it. Yeah. So what this is, it’s two parts is the legend and the legacy. So the legacy — you know, you call it whatever you want — but the legacy is the part where you write down all the things you’ve accomplished that makes you worthwhile, that you believe the successes you’ve achieved, the struggles you’ve overcome, the challenges you faced, all of that stuff. So when things get dark, you can look back and be like, “Hey, look. I’ve done all these things.” So you remember what your potential really is. That’s the legacy part. The legend part is who is the future version of you. The ideal version of you, like the perfect version of you. Once again, perfectionism, like many things I’m saying is not a bad thing. Perfectionism, when exercise usefully is a beautiful thing. So use perfectionism like I’m striving for perfection all the time. Like you are chasing perfection, right? You’ll never attain it because nobody’s perfect. But in the chase is a beautiful thing, and the chasing of perfection, you will attain excellence right. So the legend list is the criteria and the characteristics or traits of the ideal version of myself. So anytime I’m sitting around in my, you know, let’s say I’m feeling a little bit lazy one day. Or I’m in the gym and I’m struggling with the session, you know, whatever it may be, a look at my legend list, and I have these characteristics, these traits. So for example, one of mine is — which wouldn’t surprise you — an inhuman ability to endure suffering.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:02] Oh, yeah, ding.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:47:04] But I have many others, so I have like consistent in every area with an iron wheel structured and disciplined like a machine. So anytime I’m not being this version, I transcend my present self. I noticed. I become aware of except what is, and I transcend this self to step into this future self. One part of it is these characteristics. The other part, which actually learned from this Olympic gold medal-winning athlete, he created these statements where it would say, it is like me too. So you’re creating personas and beings that you’re saying it is like me to do X. So for example, one of mine, which I’m, this will actually resonate, one of mine is it is like me to embrace, play, love and happiness every single day. Now, why do I have that? Because that’s not in my wheelhouse. Clearly.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:47:44] I was going to say what? What are you talking about?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:47:47] So you’re writing it-is-like-me-to statements that are not who you are now, but who you want to be. So you’re imprinting into your conscious subconscious that this is who you are. This is my being. This is my beingness to step into that. I carry this everywhere. I mean, that’s why it’s with me and my pocket and these two things. Like I have these traits. I have seven it-is-like-me-to statements. Like one more, for example, is it is like me to relentlessly pursue victory with laser focus, meticulous attention to detail, uncompromising structure, and steadfast discipline. So I create these different things and self-transcendence to try and send this version of me to step into that future version of me anytime I need to —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:20] Yeah, that’s great.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:48:21] — to accomplish the mission.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:48:24] You’re listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Akshay Nanavati. We’ll be right back after this.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:48:30] This episode is sponsored in part by Brooklinen. You spend one-third of your life in the sheets and if you’re like me, you’re aiming for half, but don’t you want them to be insanely comfortable and this holiday season, maybe it’s time to gift the ones you love or even yourself with something a little cozier, like bedding, loungewear, towels and more. Brooklinen’s got over 50,000 five-star reviews and counting, and honestly, the stuff is legit. I slept on the Classic, which is cool and crisp over the summer and switched to the Luxe, which is buttery smooth. I’ll have, you know, for the wintertime. The bed bundle is a great deal and you can mix and match the colors and size of the sheets that do they cover the pillowcases. Got a lot of flexibility in which you’re sleeping on these days. Their mission is to make you comfortable. Again, it’s not just sheets. They got robes, loungewear towels, everything without luxury markups. It’s the first direct to consumer bedding company. Skip that middleman, skip that bedding middleman jacking up those prices. Jason, tell him where they can get that softness, that comfort, those essentials to help them relax.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:49:26] Brooklinen and has all of that and more, and I couldn’t recommend their products more for graduates, newlyweds, friends, or family. Treating yourself to the bedroom upgrade you deserve. Get 10% off and free shipping anytime when you shop at brooklinen.com and use promo code JORDAN. Brooklinen and is so confident in their product that all their sheets, comforters, and towels come with a lifetime warranty. To get 10% off and free shipping. Go to brooklinen.com. That’s B-R-O-O-K-L-I-N-E-N.com and use promo code JORDAN. Brooklinen everything you need to live your most comfortable life.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:49:59] This episode is also sponsored by CBS Smithsonian. Now, everything you thought you knew is ancient history. Smithsonian Channel Plus is a new streaming service that presents history, mystery, science and pop culture in a whole new light. What I like about these guys, of course, they’ve got stuff from the rise and fall of the Roman empire to the demise of the Titanic and something called combat trains, which I can only assume is amazing. Epic air disasters, the secrets behind King Tut’s tomb. But the problem with a lot of channels and a lot of stuff that’s produced on every other streaming service is it’s kind of just baloney. They just make that crap up. But Smithsonian Channel Plus brings authentic and original programming that’s reviewed and fact-checked for accuracy by the experts at the Smithsonian Institution. That’s important because I spend a lot of time watching documentaries and reading and learning, and there’s nothing more frustrating. Here’s looking at you game-changers, watching a documentary and being like, “Oh my gosh, look at this.” And then having my friends who are in the industry and be like, “Yeah, that turns out that that’s just made up. That’s all pretend, Jordan.” And then you look and feel like a dumb ass, and then you did a whole thing to change the course of action based on it, and it turns out to be a complete fabrication. They’re adding new programs every week. You can watch it anytime, anywhere. I’m definitely going to check out combat trains. I know, I know. I’m a huge geek. I don’t care. Jason.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:51:16] Visit getscplus.com/jordan to redeem this special offer, 50% off your first three months of Smithsonian Channel Plus. That’s getscplus.com/jordan to get 50% off your first three months. Check out Smithsonian Channel Plus today.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:51:33] This episode is also sponsored in part by Zoom.
Jason DeFillippo: [00:51:36] Zoom didn’t invent video conferencing, they just made it better. Now Zoom is how business gets done. Zoom ties together all your communication needs into one easy app for video conferencing, phone calls, group chat, webinars, and your conference rooms. Turn any workspace into a modern, easy-to-use Zoom room. An enterprise great video conference room designed for instant collaboration with flawless video and audio, instant wireless content sharing in a single tap of a button to start a meeting. And Zoom phone works seamlessly from any device as your business phone system to make and receive phone calls, capture call recordings, and easily elevate from phone calls to video if the need arises. Zoom is used by millions to connect around the world. Why wait any longer? Visit Zoom online and set up your free account today and meet happy with Zoom.[00:52:24] Thank you for listening and supporting the show. Your support of our advertisers keeps us on the air. To learn more and get links to all the great discounts you just heard, so you can check out those amazing sponsors, visit jordanharbinger.com/deals. Don’t forget the worksheet for today’s episode. That link is in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com/podcast. If you’re listening to us in the Overcast player, please click that little star next to the episode. We really appreciate it. And now for the conclusion of our episode with Akshay Nanavati.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:52:52] Because sometimes if I don’t have a structure for this, then they come around at the wrong time, these values. It’ll be like, “Oh, I’m going to go enjoy this really good meal. I’m going to have Greek food. Oh, I love pita bread, whatever. But I’m a diet Coke because I’m feeling good.” And then you go, “Ooh, I’m supposed to be this like health-conscious person.” And so it sort of conflicts with your values and then you don’t enjoy the meal, but you also feel like crap because you went there for that meal. So like you lose both times. Other times I do need those types of values, or I don’t know if they’re called affirmations. Those are a little different. Those are like, I’m good enough. I’m smart enough and don’t like people like me, that’s what I’m going to think. But like if I’m about to go to work and I’m sort of groggy, I want something like that where it’s like, you’re playful. People are counting on you. You bring knowledge to millions of people each month. Every show you do is important. It’s like, well, maybe I should put some pants on, you know, for the next era. Or they start there or not but pretty quickly like you want to be there at least. So you can sort of access this persona at will but it’s different than looking in the mirror and telling yourself a bunch of untrue statements that you wish were true.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:53:59] Exactly. I think that’s kind of nonsense to say I’m great. I’m great. I’m great. You have to find reasons to validate to yourself why you are great. Like you’re saying I’ve done great because if all these things and this is who I’m stepping into, this is who I’m choosing to be. And so that’s why you create structures and systems for everything. Like you said because if you don’t have systems and structures, it’s easy to go to the easiest course of action. So I even systematize like one of my things was it is likely to be very structured. So I have systems for everything. I have systems for how I shower. I have like systems —
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:26] You have a system for the shower. Interesting.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:54:28] Because I like to do everything. I had to go with the addictive nature and go all in. I systematize my life to the tee — morning routine, night routine — days are structured, system to the tee. This is a system, this is a system that I use to access and transcend myself. Everything is systematized, so I don’t have to think I saved my cognitive and physical energy for when I need it most.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:54:47] I can only imagine what the shower system is. Step one —
Akshay Nanavati: [00:54:51] Basically I have like 5 different showers, I have like five different showers. I have a cold shower, a contrast shower, two different forms of a contrast shower. One, a wide-space creative thinking shower, and then one like a music shower where I’ll be like listening to music.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:01] Playful shower.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:55:02] Playful shower. So I choose, so every time I enter the shower, there’s also a system for each one of those steps. Like each shower has a step-by-step format to follow. And so again, I take it to a different ridiculous level, but it works.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:14] Yeah. I mean, I understand that by the way this darkness retreat. Can we link to that in the show notes or was that something you set up that doesn’t exist for the common man?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:55:22] No, no. Yeah, totally, you can link to it in the show notes.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:24] Where is it?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:55:25] Darknessretreat.net. It’s in Germany. That’s the place that I did it and they were awesome. Great, great experience. I highly recommend it.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:32] Good smoothies.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:55:33] Yeah good smoothies. I highly recommend everybody to go try it once.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:39] What about this legacy side of things? Is that in the same book or you have another one?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:55:44] Same book, you can even use like a notepad. I use the same book because it’s a tiny little thing. I can just fit in my pocket and then I have my legacy of like, hey, you know, you were a Marine, you did all these things, you overcame PTs, all this kind of stuff. All the stuff that I’ve achieved in my life to remind me of my awesomeness.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:55:56] And when do you read that? When you feel down or tired?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:56:01] The system that I follow to read it, I read my it-is-like-me-to statements every morning, every evening, usually in the middle of the day, especially if I have a hard training day, then I’ll take a nap and then I also need it as and when needed then. So if I’m having an off day, I will use this. This is my access point because I also track everything. I plan and track everything. At the end of every night, I say, what am I top three to five actions for the next day? And then I plan that out. So and then I track my meals, I track my training. So if I’m like, you know, let’s say struggling middle of the day, I’m procrastinating. I don’t like to do this one thing for my work. Because again, I struggle with being mundane. Sitting on my computer is harder for me than going to war. I think I was sharing with you that I was more terrified of going on a date, than I was spending seven days in darkness, running an ultra-marathon, going to war.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:41] I remember you telling me that. That was like, I guarantee you this is going to be easier than seven days of darkness.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:56:47] I was terrified of going on that date.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:56:51] Where are you finding these women?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:56:55] So when I face those kinds of challenges, I go into here and be like, “Look, dude, you’ve done these things, you’ve been to war. Come on, man. Snap it up.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:00] Yeah, no kidding. Like she’s probably not going to bring any —
Akshay Nanavati: [00:57:02] Yeah, she’s not going to try to kill me.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:04] No chemical weapon. Geez. Is it true you have a sign above your TV that says you will die soon?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:57:10] I do.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:11] Why even have the TV then?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:57:13] So it’s in my living room, I have a TV and movies are my relaxation, but it’s basically in my living room. I see it all the time and it’s actually not just a random sign. It’s a graveyard and the graveyard is of the tombstone where my friend was buried.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:28] Oh wow. It’s not just like shutter stuff.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:57:29] Exactly, it’s that graveyard in the words, you will die soon under it. So I think the fear of death is a good thing. I think we need to stay present to death because by remembering the death, and not in the sense like live every day like it’s your last. Because if you do that nonsense, who’s actually going to put in the work, I’d rather, you know, let’s get hopped up and shit face, let’s get drunk.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:57:47] Yeah. If it’s my last day, like exactly, I’m doing something that’s probably going to end up getting me arrested, but it won’t matter.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:57:51] Exactly, I’m not going to put in the work. So it’s not in that sense of live every day like it’s your last. It’s more like, well, death is coming. Death is coming and it is coming and I know that when I get to my death, man, like I want to look death in the eyes. And be like, I’ve given so much to life that I’m actually exhausted and I can tell death, “It’s good to see you.” That’s how exhausted I want to be by the end of my journey because I’ve given so much to life. So I like to remind myself that death is coming and it’s intense, obviously, especially because it’s a graveyard. I mean, my dad was in my house the other day visiting and he’s like, “What the hell is that? Why do you have that?”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:23] Lighten up, buddy.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:58:24] Yeah, exactly. I get mixed reactions to it mostly when people come to visit my home.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:31] Like if you bring one of your dates back, put a towel over that thing. Geez, like you will die soon. She’s like, “You know, I’m tired. I’m going to head out.”
Akshay Nanavati: [00:58:41] “I’m going out. I’ll see you later.”
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:45] Yeah, this is why you’re single.
Akshay Nanavati: [00:58:47] Exactly. Exactly. Exactly. It keeps me driven.
Jordan Harbinger: [00:58:53] You’ve got some other practical ways to suffer. I think these are a good place to wrap, right? Like some of these, we talked about going in the seven days of silence. That’s not dipping your toes in the suffering water though. What about somebody who goes, this sounds like a good idea for me, but I don’t want to run a marathon every day for seven days. I can’t fly to Germany and sit in a dark room. I can’t starve myself, or whatever it is. Where can people start to practice the idea of suffering, well, without taking a week off work and coming back, you know, having to go to a therapist?
Akshay Nanavati: [00:59:22] Roger that, that’s a fair question. So fundamentally, it’s to reframe, like at the very core is reframe your mindset and the relationship to the experience of suffering. Like, realizing that fear is not a bad thing. Struggle is not a bad thing. Adversity, stress, all these things are not bad things. That mindset shift is a starting point because again, most people demonize it. So like I’ve worked with somebody who said, “I’m just waiting for the fear to go away, so I quit my job and start my business.” I said, “That’s your problem. You’re waiting for the fear to go away. It is scary to quit a job and start a business.” So first off, just embrace the experience of struggle and accept that it’s present. Once you do that, like great ways to seek out suffering is when you’re in it. Ask yourself, what can I be grateful for in this pain? What can I learn in this pain? When you look for learnings in it, you actually start to find value in it. So like when I went through my divorce, I would never have wanted it. It was brutal. It was extremely hard. Hence, it broke my sobriety, all that. But I started to feel grateful for that. I’m grateful because I experienced a new kind of suffering and with the new kind of suffering comes a new kind of evolution. So finding gratitude in pain.[01:00:17] Another way is to look for a play mindset. So a play mindset is simply saying, how can I enjoy this? It’s as simple as that. Sometimes when I’m running and I’m like horribly in pain on these ultra runs, I literally consciously bring a smile to my face, and I’m finding, okay, what’s fun about this? Why am I here? I’m finding ways to enjoy it. So adapting a play mindset to the experience of pain when you’re in it. That’s another way. But ultimately, the most important way is to experience it. You have to go out. I mean, you can listen to this podcast. You can read another book, this, that, and the other thing.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:00:44] This is generally a pretty painful experience.
Akshay Nanavati: [01:00:48] For most people, you’re embracing the suffering as you listen to this. Suffer well. Like seeking it out and putting yourself, visualizing yourself in the experience of pain and rising it. Not just like you’re walking in the beach with a million, like the sort of law of attraction kind of thing, but visualize yourself overcoming the suck, facing the suck, embracing the suck. I always like to say the mindset to that progress is not the elimination of problems. Progress is the creation of new problems. So that’s a little mantra that guides me that when I have a problem, it’s a good thing. It’s only in the process of engaging a new problem that you can, you find a new evolution. And finally, another technique that’s really helpful is to turn problems into question, turn barriers into questions. So when you come up against a problem, a challenge, a struggle, turn it into a forward-focus question. So as an example, I was working with this kid who kept saying, I don’t have money for college, and most people do. When we don’t have money, we’d become like a victim to our problem. Instead, start asking, how can I make money for college? How can I be worthy of the scholarship? Who do I have to become to be worthy of the scholarship? What scholarships are available? So I always used to struggle like there’s no way I can be like a billionaire Richard Branson entrepreneur and be an ultra-runner. No way. And then I said, okay, how can I do both? How can I do both? How can I do both? So now, by looking for asking questions, I found answers. So one of the things I do now is voice notes while running, which you’ve experienced. I also schedule only scheduled phone calls while I run, unless it’s in a podcast interview. I only scheduled phone calls while I run.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:02:04] That’s a good idea.
Akshay Nanavati: [01:02:05] So I can manage my miles with my work. You know, I do voice notes to my team only while I run. That way when I’m not running, I can manage my work off my recovery game. So by asking questions, I’m looking for answers to answer those questions. And then finally, one more technique is just approaching it from the growth mindset. I always like to say there’s no such thing as bad or good or strong or weak. There’s only trained and untrained. People will often say, I’m bad at this. I’m weak at this. I suck at this. But instead, when you reframe the mindset, I’m not bad at anything. I’m just untrained. Then you get to decide, do I want to train at this? So like for example, my squats are not necessarily best. Instead of saying I’m bad at this, or I suck at this, or I’m weak at this, I’m untrained. And when you shift that mindset is a really powerful technique to say, okay, I’m on trained at this. So then you approach life from a training perspective, and when you do life becomes training and then it gamifies the struggle. Like I’m training at this.
Jordan Harbinger: [02:02:55] That turns everything into a potential opportunity as long as you’re going to put the work in. Like I’m not a hilarious person. I’m not that funny. Well, I’m just untrained. You take comedy classes and literally just solve the problem.
Akshay Nanavati: [01:03:07] Exactly. Exactly. So I can train at this and get better at it, but you also tie onto a good point. What you said is what’s the clarity on the thing you want to achieve? A big reason why is, again, you’re not suffering for the sake of suffering. No virtue to certain kinds of pain, like cutting myself. So like with you, a comedy club, you want to get funnier. What’s the clarity of the outcome? When you have clarity of the outcome, now you have a purpose. You have a why driving you behind the struggle. Like running across Liberia, I was helping to raise funds for a school out there. We raised a lot of money. There was a why behind the struggle. When you have a compelling force pushing you into the pain, it’ll help drive you when the suck inevitably hits.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:39] That’s really cool. By the way, when you’re running across Liberia, which is that safe?
Akshay Nanavati: [01:03:45] I wasn’t a hundred percent sure, but it was a, I mean I got stared at a lot.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:03:48] Yeah. I’m imagining people coming out of their little houses and being like, “What is going on right here? I saw him on the horizon and now he’s on the other horizon. Like what is this guy doing?”
Akshay Nanavati: [01:04:00] It was funny because I got stared at a lot one I looked different than everybody in West Africa. And two, when people are like, and I’m not unaware of what I do as a first-world luxury, but people are like struggling for food and water. Nobody’s going running right. They would see my support car because I had a support car. And people would literally be like, “Why doesn’t he just get in the car? What’s wrong with him?”
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:17] There seems to be wrong here.
Akshay Nanavati: [01:04:20] Because obviously practically speaking, if you’re trying to get to point A to B, get in the damn car. So it was funny. I got stared at everywhere. But at first, it was a little awkward, but I ended up like, I got used to it. It was never hostility. It was just curiosity. Who is this clown? But I had the most beautiful experiences. Sometimes these kids would run with me. Oh, it’s like the most powerful. Moments of human connection and like just a great story too. Like I got close to my cameraman who was filming it. He would run with me for parts of it. We got so close that I ended up like he had found out his five-year-old son needed a lifesaving heart surgery. And so through my foundation, we sponsored him. He came and stayed with me and my family in India for a month, him, his wife and his son.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:04:57] He was a local cameraman?
Akshay Nanavati: [01:04:58] Local Liberian cameraman who, I mean, the number of stores I had to sort of align for this. It was wild a story and like he would run with me. We were chatting because he saw moments when I was suffering. So he’d come to try to like motivate me and inspire me or whatever and chat with me. We got close and he told me about his son. Then through my foundation, we brought him to India, him, his wife and his son, and they stayed with me and my family for a month in India. His son had this life-saving heart surgery and now he’s in Liberia playing soccer, doing all these things. It was just the most beautiful moment if people coming together in different worlds to transcends. I mean, I get kind of goosebumps thinking about it. It was such a powerful moment of human connection to have that and, and that’s the value, I think when you had I drove across the country, something in the running and the suffering, you access different states of human connection. One of my buddies, he says, a family that suffers together stays together.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:46] Yeah. Well, that’s depending on how much they suffer I suppose until they go.
Akshay Nanavati: [01:05:50] Go suffer together now, my friend.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:05:53] What an honor to be able to do that with somebody, right?
Akshay Nanavati: [01:05:55] Exactly. It was such a beautiful experience. Because we had that run together, we went into those spaces together. We had a different level of connection. It was very beautiful. It was very profound.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:2] I mean, he’s seen you probably a kind of one of your worst sort of physical/emotional states. You know, mile number 400 or something like that. What’s the latest way that you are trying to cause yourself suffering? I’m trying not to say it in a way that sounds really trite, but you’re basically torturing yourself. So what other madness if you come up with?
Akshay Nanavati: [01:06:25] Right now the big struggle is actually building and scaling the Fearvana empire, the business. It’s more mundane, the struggle. And also I’ve recently, the woman I’m dating, we’re kind of taking the next steps which terrify me. That’s terrifying. So my fears now are more in quote-unquote normal.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:40] Yeah, I can see why for you that sort of like vulnerability is so terrifying.
Akshay Nanavati: [01:06:46] It’s so terrifying, so terrifying. It’s easier for me to go into war. Like if somebody said tomorrow going to war, I’d be like, done.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:51] Been there done that.
Akshay Nanavati: [01:06:51] I’ll bring it. I’m not just saying I’m a whole lot better and braver, but it’s just because that’s my wheelhouse. That’s my comfort zone.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:06:59] But getting your heart broken again, ugh —
Akshay Nanavati: [01:07:02] It’s terrifying. Exactly. So that’s part of it and then I am going to get back into some adventures — polar exploration, mountaineering, some big ultra runs. I do want to get into some of these post-conflict zones and do some humanitarian work there. So in fact, next year, early next year in January, I’m doing a hundred mile in India through my foundation, we’re helping these young girls who are victims of sex trafficking.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:07:22] Oh man. So we’re going in there. Maybe I heard about it from you. That’s incredible. That’s a really vulnerable population.
Akshay Nanavati: [01:07:30] Oh man. Yeah. Like what these girls have been through this. So it’s an organization to support in Bombay. I see them every time I’m there in India. And these girls are just the sweetest young girls and what they have been through the hell it’s inhuman. The level of like is this awful. Anytime you’re around those spaces is a very intense experience. But just being around them is also the most beautiful cause these girls are the sweetest kids. It’s heartbreaking what some of them have been through. So we’re going there to do some work to help support them, to help potentially rescue some girls, bring some girls out, and raising funds for this non-profit through my own foundation. I’m going to be doing a hundred miler because of course. One else does want to do to help raise funds as well. So I’m doing some of that stuff.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:10] I’m surprised you’re not like. I’ll sit in a room with strobe lights in death metal for 24 hours, or I don’t know 124 hours to raise money for them. It’s like I’m on to you. You like it.
Akshay Nanavati: [01:08:21] That’s easy for you. Funny you do mention that. I forgot we’ve talked about that actually. That is something I’m working and experimenting next is the strobe lights in death metal, so I got a strobe light in my house. They found the song, I forget the name of it, but it’s like the song that the CIA uses to torture people. It’s like the horrible death metal song. It’s horrible. I can’t remember what it is. I’m a member and sent it to you.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:08:40] Some Rammstein or something.
Akshay Nanavati: [01:08:40] Yeah something like that. I want to practice sitting in a room of that and practicing being still in the face of external chaos. So that’s why I ran 80 miles around the 0.2-mile loop. I want to get to the point where it doesn’t matter what the external environment is. I’m able to internally control my frame. So whether I’m running across the beautiful mountains or running 80 miles around a parking lot, it’s for me, the internal experience is the same. I’m nowhere near there. This is the kind of spiritual mastery that takes a lifetime to attain a kind of thing. But I figure being in a strobe light with death metal is a step in the right direction.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:11] Only you, Akshay. Well, this has been amazing. Thank you very, very much.
Akshay Nanavati: [01:09:14] Thank you, brother. Thank you, brother.
Jordan Harbinger: [01:09:18] Big thank you to Akshay. The book title is Fearvana and all proceeds from the book Fearvana go to human trafficking. Well, human trafficking charity to help victims of human trafficking to be specific, forced prostitution, human trafficking, other horrible crimes. This organization is looking to eradicate that. So go and pick up a copy of Fearvana. We’ll link to that in the show notes as well. There’s a video of this interview up on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. There are also worksheets for each episode, so you can review what you’ve learned here from Akshay Nanavati. That’s at jordanharbinger.com in the show notes. We’ve also got transcripts for each episode, and those can also be found in the show notes.[01:09:57] We’re teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships using systems and tiny habits over at Six-Minute Networking. That’s our free course over at jordanharbinger.com/course. Now, you’ll do it later, right? I get it, and I’ve heard it all before, but you’ve got to dig the well before you get thirsty. Once you need relationships, you are way too late. These drills take a few minutes a day. I wish I’d started it 20 years ago. You can either put it off even further or you can start right now. It’s not fluff. It is crucial and it’s free at jordanharbinger.com/course. By the way, most of the guests on the show, they subscribe to the course in the newsletter. So come join us, you’ll be in a smart company. In fact, why not reach out to Akshay Nanavati and tell him you enjoyed this episode of the show? Show guests love hearing from you, and you never know what might shake out of that. Speaking of building relationships, you can always reach out or follow me on social. I’m @JordanHarbinger on Twitter and Instagram. [01:10:47] This show is created in association with PodcastOne. This episode was produced by Jen Harbinger and Jason DeFillippo and edited by Jase Sanderson, show notes and worksheets by Robert Fogarty, music by Evan Viola. I’m your host Jordan Harbinger. Our advice and opinions, and those of our guests are their own. And yes, I’m a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. So do your own research before implementing anything you hear on the show. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for the show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting that should be in every episode. So please share the show with those you love and even those you don’t. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live what you listen, and we’ll see you next time.
Jason DeFillippo: [01:11:28] If you want to make 2020 the year, you finally get ahead. Listen up. Our friend Chris Hadnagy is hosting an awesome training event this February in Orlando called The Human Hacking Conference. You can train for hours with the masters Chris himself learns from and works with Joe Navarro, Ian Rowland, R Paul Wilson, Robin Dreeke, Dov Baron, Stephanie Paul, and others. These world-renowned experts will give hands-on deep dives into social engineering, body language, trust and rapport, building, cold reading, influence and leadership, deception and acting and more. Plus, they’ll hang out with everyone during the conference. You’ll also get tracks, panels, and tons of networking in a beautiful setting. Registered before workshops fill up at sevillage.org and use our code Jordan200 to save $200.