New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!

New book from NYT bestselling author Lewis Howes is now available!


Rich Roll

Experience Your Ultimate Potential

“My desire was to figure out a way to impact the most number of people in the most meaningful way possible.”

Success can have a very tricky definition. You can have the ideal job, make a decent salary, have that sports car you always wanted, and still not really be successful.

To truly be happy, the ultimate meter for success, you need to be doing things that fill you up.

Finding your passion in the world can be the difference between struggling to get out of bed in the morning and being excited to get the day started.

Sometimes you need to stop and ask if you’re really chasing the life you want or chasing something someone else wants of you.

This is a lesson that was hard learned by my latest guest, Rich Roll.

"When your heart is true, the universe will conspire to support you.”  

Rich Roll has been on my show twice before, and it was a pleasure having him back.

He battled with an alcohol addiction that ruined his life from the age of 17 to the age of 31, when he finally went to a treatment center. Most people only spend 28 days there. He ended up spending 100.

When he got out, he changed his life. He pursued a career most people would consider ideal and made a great living. The problem was, it wasn’t the life he wanted and it took a toll on him physically.

After having a brush with death in his late 30s, he began living his life for him. Since then, he’s become a successful athlete, motivational speaker, podcast host, and all around incredible human being.

You can hear all about his incredible journey and his plans for the future, on Episode 619.

“Find what is true to your heart and pursue that with everything you have.”  

Some Questions I Ask:

  • What are some challenges you’d experienced since this book originally came out? (8:25)
  • What’s the biggest lesson your wife taught you? (13:58)
  • Do you think your 45 year old self would be proud of your 51 year old self? (16:56)
  • Do you think you’ll be doing your podcast for another 5 years? (18:56)
  • Do you think you’ll do a race again at 60? (27:50)
  • If someone is looking to improve their life, what one aspect is the most important to start with? (35:48)
  • Food does something to our physical makeup? (38:57)
  • Why did you stay in the treatment center for so long? (39:56)
  • How has your relationship evolved over the last 20 years? (48:00)
  • What’s the big lesson that you try to teach your kids?
  • What’s the biggest lessons you learned from your parents? (53:57)

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The biggest personal challenge for Rich the last 5 or 6 years (12:32)
  • How Rich sees his story different now than he did when he first wrote the book (15:13)
  • The thing Rich is most proud of over the last 7 years (18:13)
  • The viking endurance race Rich did last year (21:10)
  • Rich’s long battle with alcoholism (42:13)
  • The journey of Rich’s marriage (46:34)
  • How being a recovering addict taught Rich about being compassionate to others (49:36)
  • The biggest challenge of being a parent (52:52)
  • The biggest challenge Rich is facing right now (54:38)
  • Plus much more…

Show Notes:

Finding Ultra – Revised and Updated Edition

Pre-order Rich’s new cook book The PlantPower Way: Italia

Connect with
Rich Roll

Transcript of this Episode

Lewis Howes:              This is episode number 619 with bestselling author, Rich Roll.

Welcome to The School of Greatness. My name is Lewis Howes, former pro-athlete turned lifestyle entrepreneur and each week we bring you an inspiring person or message to help you discover how to unlock your inner greatness. Thanks for spending some time with me today. Now, let the class begin.

Jeff Bezos said, “What’s dangerous, is not to evolve.” I’m super excited about this episode with my good friend Rich Roll. He’s been on a couple of times before, but it’s been a long time. Episode number ten was the first time he was on, and then back in the 100s, so if you haven’t heard of him, he is a world renowned vegan ultra endurance athlete. He’s got an incredible story.

He’s a bestselling author, wellness advocate, motivational speaker, podcast host, huge podcast, husband, father of four and an inspiration to people worldwide as a transformative example of courageous and healthy living. He’s been featured everywhere, CNN, Los Angeles Times, Men’s Health Living, Men’s Fitness Magazine and in 2009 he was named [in the] 25 Fittest Men in the World.

He just republished and updated a version of his bestselling memoire, Finding Ultra, and it’s got a new vegan cookbook called, The Plant Power Way – Italia. Which is out right now, and we went into some inspiring topics, really the journey that Rich has gone in the last fifteen, twenty years, from being a recovering addict, extreme alcoholic, to transforming his life, becoming completely overweight, almost having a heart attack when he was in his late thirties to transforming his health and his diet and nutrition, workout plan, everything, to where he’s at now. To almost going bankrupt a couple of times during these transitions, and so much in between.

We talk about what it looks like to trust the process when things are extremely tough in your life. Also, why it’s so important to delegate, so you don’t burn out yourself. Why committing to a big challenge brings out the best in all of us, and when we don’t have some type of challenge or bigger goal in our life, the challenges that will come when we don’t have that challenge. Also, what to focus on if you’re ready to make a shift in your health, and what recovering from addiction teaches you about compassion for others.

We talk about all these things and so many other powerful things, and I hope you’ll enjoy this one. If you’re listening, make sure to take a screenshot of this right now and post it up on Instagram, on your Instagram Story, @LewisHowes and @richroll, to let us know that you’re listening to it and let your friends know to listen to it as well, it’s episode number 619.

And before we dive in, I want to give a shout out to the Fan of the Week. We like to celebrate people who listen to the podcasts. We have millions of downloads every single month from people all over the world, and I want to celebrate you guys! So the more people who share and comment and leave reviews, we acknowledge you for being a Fan of the Week.

And if you haven’t left a review, make sure to leave one right now, and this one’s from Maira Zayaz, who says, “After we got hit by two major hurricanes in Puerto Rico, I needed to hear positive and inspiring message to help me get up and be motivated again with my dreams of having my own ceramics shop. In that search I found this podcast and I’m grateful for it. Thank you, Lewis.”

So, Maira, thank you so much for that. You are the Fan of the Week, and super inspired to hear that you were able to get through those challenging times in Puerto Rico and glad to hear you guys are safe and you’re recovering and you’re onto living your dreams again. So, congratulations and thanks so much for listening and supporting The School of Greatness Podcast.

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Alright, guys, I’m super pumped about this one. Again, it’s all about experiencing your ultimate potential. It doesn’t matter what age you are, you’re going to hear an incredible story right now, with the one, the only, Rich Roll.

Rich Roll’s in the house, everybody! Super pumped you’re here, man!

Rich Roll:                      Good to see you!

Lewis Howes:               Good to see you, nice haircut.

Rich Roll:                      Thank you for coming to my home.

Lewis Howes:               We’ve switched sides.

Rich Roll:                      I know! For people that are just listening, I’m sitting in Lewis’ chair and for people on YouTube it’s going to be a little jarring, I think. I took over the seat, to join you. But it’s good to see you.

I wanted to say at the outset, before we even get into it, that I really appreciate you having me on. I think this is my third time on the podcast. And, like we talked about on my show, we got into this way back, we started around the same time and I know how it is when past guests hit you up and say, “Hey, can I come back on again?” and it can be awkward, so, it’s no small thing that you’re having me back on and I appreciate it.

Lewis Howes:               Of course, man, I appreciate you. Yeah, you were on in 2013. You were an episode ten! 2013 and then 2015, episode 169 and now, six hundred something.

Rich Roll:                      Six hundred! Wow! I’m at 356, so you’re almost double my count! Wow!

Lewis Howes:               Wow! Yeah, that’s interesting. It’s been a fun evolution for both of us. You’re a little more than five years. You’re, like five and half years, I think.

Rich Roll:                      Five and a half, yeah.

Lewis Howes:               I’m five and three months, I think it is. Because it was five at the end of January, so, it’s been a crazy journey, right?

Rich Roll:                      Yeah.

Lewis Howes:               I look over here at the wall, at some of the people I’ve had on. We’ll have to get a photo of you up there now, you don’t have one up there. And it’s just, like, so many lessons learned, and it sounds like, to me, there are a lot of lessons you’ve learned since you wrote the first edition of Finding Ultra, until now it’s coming out with 100+ new pages, and I think a lot of lessons where we were talking about before.

After the book came out you still lost your house, you were saying. I didn’t even know that, and there were other challenges. What were the other challenges you’ve learned in the last five years, since originally this book coming out?

Rich Roll:                      So many, setting aside everything I’ve learned as a result of doing the podcast, as you know, having these amazing people all sit across from you and you get to hold them hostage and ask them everything  you want to ask them. I mean, I can’t even begin to unpack how much that’s impacted me in a positive way. It’s just been an insane journey. I don’t think either of us could have predicted that, A, we’d still be doing this. I didn’t know that I would still be doing this, or that what we’ve built with our respective audiences would have grown to the extent that it has.

So, super grateful for that journey, and, yeah, you know, I started the podcast shortly after this book came out, which was in May of 2012, I started the podcast in November of that year. And it was really my intention, you know, I didn’t even know if I would do a second episode, but once I kind of got rolling it was an opportunity to just continue the conversation that I think this book began.

And one of the kind of core themes of this book, a lot of people mistook it as a book about running, or how to be a better triathlete, it’s really not about that. It’s about how to basically better self-actualise, how to become the best, most authentic version of yourself, however that looks for you. And my story is intended really as a metaphor for the unlimited potential that we all have.

But one of the themes is that, when your heart is true, that the universe will conspire to support you. And when this book came out, I put everything into pushing it out into the world, and let go of practising law. My background is in corporate law, and I thought, “Okay, I’m going all in on trying to create some kind of profession out of promoting these ideas that are important to me, whether it’s speaking or writing another book,” or whatever that may look like.

I wasn’t really sure at the time, but I thought, “Okay, my heart is pure, this is the theme of the book, I’m putting myself out there, I’m stepping out and I’m waiting for that universal signal of support.” And I got to tell you, it didn’t really come. I was was, like, “Phone’s not ringing, what am I going to do?” Money was running out and I could go do a speaking gig for free, or maybe do a little thing here, or there.

Lewis Howes:               Try set up some books or whatever, in the back of the room.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, you know, and I have four kids, I’ve got a mortgage, so we went through a very difficult, extended period of time that lasted a number of years. It was like, five or six years of touch and go. Julie, my wife, calls it our Divine Moment, where we were really brought to our knees, and forced to really confront our attachment to material things, like our house and our cars. We had two cars repossessed. Well, after this book came out.

I mean it’s like, it was the weirdest juxtaposition because I was getting a bunch of attention and I was sort of in the media and yet at the same time there was a lot of suffering that we had to experience around how to navigate what we were trying to accomplish and do in the material world, and ultimately we really had to burn in that fire in order to kind of come out, and I think that it required a tremendous amount of faith and persistence and really just being in the moment day to day, to try and figure out what the next step would be.

But I think emerging from that, now everything’s great! My life is in an embarrassment of riches and I have so much opportunity and it’s insane. It’s hard, looking back, to even imagine what it was like back then. But I think it allows me to communicate with the people that are tuning in to my channel and my frequency with a level of humility and honesty and just realness, really. Because I know what it’s like to be in that place.

And that was one of the reasons why I wanted to rewrite the book, because I wanted to tell that story of what happened after Finding Ultra came out in 2012 to present, because I think those events are equally dramatic, if not more dramatic, and certainly more relatable to the average person than some of the ultra endurance feats that are chronicled in the original version.

Lewis Howes:               Right. Yeah. What would you say is the biggest personal challenge for you over the last five or six years?

Rich Roll:                      I think, and this is a theme that you know well, like, it really challenged my idea of what it means to be a man. As a masculine human being, as a head of a household, as somebody who is supposed to be a provider, somebody who is supposed to have all the answers, somebody who is supposed to make their kids feel safe. And all of that, was called into question, because I was in a position where, for a period of time, providing for my family was a tremendous challenge.

And I would not have made it through without the strength and support of my wife. I mean, there were many times where I was like, “Forget it, I’m going back to being a lawyer. I’ll get a job at a corporate law firm, whatever. I mean, we’ve got to take care of business here.” And she’s like, “No, you cannot do that. You’ve come so far, you can not retreat, that’s a move backwards. The only way out of this is through, and I have your back and if we have to say goodbye to our home, we’re together, we’re in love, we’re with our kids. It’s all going to be fine.”

And it’s easy to say those things, but to actually live those things, and weather that storm is a different matter altogether. And so, it was because of her, in large part, that I even get to sit here and talk to you today.

Lewis Howes:               That’s a pretty powerful woman. That’s inspiring.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah. She’s my biggest teacher, for sure.

Lewis Howes:               Really? What’s the big lesson she’s taught you?

Rich Roll:                      She just has, I mean, she is somebody who has committed herself from the get go, to always pushing the boundaries of her own personal evolution, personal growth, so, whether it’s spiritual, mental, emotional, incredibly well read person and just somebody with an extreme amount of personal fortitude.

She’s just an incredibly strong person. And very convicted in her ideas. And so, to have her as my partner, who not only, I mean, she’s the reason I even wrote this book to begin with. Because I was a junk food addict, recovering alcoholic, very unhappy in my professional career, but she was always able to see through that facade, that heaviness that I was carrying around, to this better, more actualised person within.

And she held the space for me to find that within myself, and that’s a whole other story that’s actually part of the book as well. But, I think, just that ability to kind of see the best in somebody, and not in a lip-service kind of way, but in a very real, fundamental way, is rare.

Lewis Howes:               Yeah, that’s cool. Do you see your story different now, than when you first wrote the book?

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, in so many ways. It’s a weird thing, and I’m sure you can relate to this as well, Lewis, when you get asked to get on a stage and tell your story or go on podcasts and, “Tell me what happened?” You get into this space where you tell the story so many times, that suddenly you think, and I don’t know if you have had this experience, but I certainly have, you think, “Is this story even true?”

Like, I’ve told it so many times that it’s easy to distance yourself from it and just spit it out because you’ve done it so many times, and so, I’ve had that experience, where I’ve really had to think, “What is the heart of the matter, what is really true about this? And what is just something I’ve said so many times that I think it’s true?”

So, I’m constantly in the process of deconstructing that and trying to examine it. And I think the process of getting up on stage and sharing my story with groups of people, large and small, has helped tell me what it is about my story that connects with people. I think, when I wrote the original version of the book, I thought the story was one thing, and in the process of telling it, I realised so much more about myself. And so, it’s changed and morphed, not with respect to the facts of that experience, but I think what the emotional heart of it is.

Lewis Howes:               How old were you when you wrote the book? Forty-five? Forty-six?

Rich Roll:                      I think when I was writing it, I was forty-four, forty-five.

Lewis Howes:               When it came out, forty-six?

Rich Roll:                      So, in 2012, that was seven years ago, I’ve fifty-one now.

Lewis Howes:               Forty-five, somewhere around there, forty-five. Do you think your forty-five-year-old self would be proud of your fifty-one-year-old self?

Rich Roll:                      Oh, for sure. I mean, I’ve far exceeded my expectations for, not just the books that I’ve written, but for the level of impact that I’ve been able to have. My desire really, was only to figure out a way to impact the most amount of people in the most meaningful way possible, and I didn’t know, like I said, exactly what that would look like or how I would manifest that, but to sit here today, as a fellow podcaster and author, I just, I can’t even believe that I get to do what I get to do every day. I work really hard, as I know you do, it’s like, I’m working all the time, but it doesn’t feel like work.

I mean, is this work? We’re working right now! Right? It doesn’t feel like work. I would come over here and hang out with you and do this anyway, if I had another job. So, very blessed to be able to do what I love and also provide for my family and impact people in a positive way. I mean, I can’t think of anything that I would rather do with my life, but it’s certainly not anything I would have dreamed that I would be doing. I mean, if you had asked me when I was thirty, I couldn’t have even imagined. I thought I was going to be a lawyer or a movie producer or something. So, it’s weird.

Lewis Howes:               With all the stuff you’ve been able to do in the last seven years, what’s the thing you’re most proud of?

Rich Roll:                      The thing I’m most proud of is that I know, in my heart of hearts, that I have shaped and impacted the way people lead their lives, in a meaningful way. Whether it’s one person, a hundred people, a thousand people, however many people it is, just the feedback that I get, I know, and I know you get emails like this as well.

To receive really intimate, heartfelt letters from people saying, “I tuned in to your podcast,” or, “I read your book, and this is where I was and these are the obstacles I faced and here’s where I am today, and thank you!” I mean, that’s a gift, from the universe. There’s nothing more meaningful or valuable to me, and it’s a blessing.

Lewis Howes:               Yeah. You’ve been doing the podcast for over five and a half years. Do you think you’ll be doing it for another five years?

Rich Roll:                      I don’t know, you know, the promise I made to myself was, I would do it until I started to get stale or sick of myself. And, you know, I actually ran up against that around December, January of this year, where I was starting to feel a little bit burned out for the very first time. And I had to hit pause and really reflect on whether I wanted to keep doing it, and, if so, how to configure, reconfigure the way that I was doing it so that I wouldn’t have that approach, because I would want to approach every episode, every interview that I do, with enthusiasm and excitement.

So, you’ve always been really good about delegating this amazing team of people helping you and we’ve had this conversation a lot of times, where my Achilles heel is that I’m a bit of a control freak and I get too in the weeds on the details, and so I’ve done a better job of delegating and building my own team. And also focussing on the things that are most important that only I can do, and letting other people handle the rest.

And then batching the work. I wasn’t very systematic in my approach to it, and so I ended up working on it a little bit every single day and I felt like I was just drowning. So I’ve now created a schedule that allows me some flexibility with my time, and that’s improved my perspective on the interviews. So, to answer your question, yeah, I’ll do it as long as I feel like I’m adding value and I’m into it. The minute I start to feel like, “Ugh! Another one?” then it’s probably time to either take a break or retire. But at some point, we’re not going to be doing this when we’re seventy, right?

Lewis Howes:               Larry King’s still doing it.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, I guess, right?

Lewis Howes:               He’s on sixty-thousand interviews.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, but he takes breaks. Have you ever taken a break?

Lewis Howes:               Me? No. Not in five years.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, so I’ve never missed a week.

Lewis Howes:               I mean, I took a break, I went to Hawaii last week with no phone and no computer, but I had worked enough to be…

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, then you’ve got to work a lot before you go.

Lewis Howes:               Yeah, exactly. To batch it ahead. And now I got to get caught back up again, so it’s not like needing something for tomorrow.

Rich Roll:                      Oh, we’re getting lean, I gotta…

Lewis Howes:               Which it always feels like that, though, because we’re doing two episodes a week, anyways, so you can get a bank, but then they’re gone the next month, you know?

Rich Roll:                      Of course.

Lewis Howes:               You did this race last year, right? This crazy endurance race. It was, like, 46 miles, is that what it was? Through the Galapagos Islands or something like that?

Rich Roll:                      No, I wish it was the Galapagos, the water would have been a little bit warmer.

Lewis Howes:               It was in Sweden or Switzerland?

Rich Roll:                      I hadn’t done an endurance challenge since Epic5 in 2010, which is a big part of this book, because, in those intervening years, I was going through this dismantling period and trying to figure out how to make my way, and I was very intent on creating a sustainable, professional approach to what I was doing. And so, I achieved that.

Lewis Howes:               Because before you were eating bad, having fast food and things like that.

Rich Roll:                      Well, even prior to that, like when I was… Yeah, the story leading up to it, just to catch people up who have no idea who I am: I was a corporate lawyer at age thirty-nine, 50lbs overweight, junk food addict, basically classic couch potato sliding into middle age on a crash course with lifestyle disease, depressed about my life, and also, having an existential crisis about my career, my profession and what I was here to do.

And that existential crisis sort of collided with a health scare shortly before I turned forty, where I had a heart episode walking up a simple flight of stairs. That really brought into focus this desire to change how I was living, and in the following months and years, I overhauled my diet, adopted a plant based diet, started getting fit again, went on and conquered all these crazy ultra endurance challenges, wrote this book and all this crazy stuff happened.

Lewis Howes:               Is that story even true any more?

Rich Roll:                      Yeah! Yeah, see, like that’s the thing! I’ve just told you the thumbnail that I’ve said a million times, and we could dissect it if you want, but it’s probably outside the bounds of this, but then it was about, “Okay, I’m doing the podcast, I’m trying to create something,” you know?

Lewis Howes:               You’re trying to build an audience.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, and also, on that theme of, you know, my approach has always been, “How can I have the most impact?” And if I’m on my bike for eight hours, or you know, training all the time, then there’s no podcast, I’m not serving my main mission statement.

But I turned fifty last year and I thought, “This is a good moment to race again,” because I wanted to prove that a fifty-year-old dude, who also happened to be vegan, or plant based, could still go out and kill it. And I thought that that would serve the mission statement, because there was a service aspect to that, so I committed to this race in Sweden.

Americans would call it Otillo, the Swedish pronounce it “Ertiller”, which means “island to island”. It’s a 75km race that traipses across 52 islands spread wide across the Stockholm archipelago in the Baltic Sea. Leading up to this race, I trained for it for about nine or ten months, I had decided I was going to share every single workout on Strava and on Instagram Story so that people could join along, and they could see I had bad days. Some days I didn’t make training because something else happened and just be totally transparent about the whole thing, which was super fun.

And then showed up in Stockholm, and this race, it’s the weirdest thing. It’s called, swimrun, this is the world championships of something called swimrun, which is an emerging sport, mostly in Northern Europe. It’s starting to find its way to the US, but nobody know it here. And, essentially, what it is, you swim and you run. And you do the whole thing in a wetsuit with your running shoes on.

Lewis Howes:               That’s got to be challenging!

Rich Roll:                      Swimming across these waterways and crawling up on granite rocks on all fours and scurrying across these little islands and then jumping back in the water and swimming again. You do this fifty-two transitions, and it’s a ten hour race, and you do it in teams of two. So I did it with my coach, Chris Hauth, my long time coach.

You have to stay within ten metres of your teammate the entire time, you can’t get too separated, and it was the hardest one-day race of my life. I mean, just the distance alone was challenging, and the terrain was way more difficult than I imagined, because on these islands you’re not really running, it’s more like an obstacle course thing. You’re falling down on rocks and the conditions that day were insane. There was sideways rain, just crazy rain, the swells, and it was like, six feet swells in the water. It was bananas, and freezing cold, frigid water in the Baltic. And there was one…

Lewis Howes:               That’s scary! You could drown.

Rich Roll:                      Well, this race they would never have allowed to take place in the United States. No insurance company would underwrite this thing. It’s only, like, the vikings, you know? Who are like, “What’s the big deal?” You know?

The craziest part of that race was about two thirds of the way through, there’s a swim section. It’s one of the largest swim sections, it’s called The Pig Swim, and it’s about a kilometre across this waterway, and it’s the most exposed area of water on the whole race, where there’s no more islands, there’s just Baltic Sea to your right. And the swells were so crazy, the boats that were out in the water, who were sort of charged with making sure everyone’s safe, I’m like, “These boats, they’re going to capsize!” It was crazy!

And I just remember, halfway through I kind of pulled up and looked around. It’s so disorienting, because you’re getting washed around like a washing machine and suddenly you’re swimming the wrong way and it’s like, you don’t know where you are. I just started laughing.

I was like, “What am I even doing out here? I’m like, a fifty-year-old dude, I’m in the middle of the Baltic! I can’t even believe, what is going on in my life that I am here?” It was like this moment of realisation, that all these things that I had done and all the challenges that I had overcome had put me in the position to be in the midst of this totally insane adventure race that was just crazy, and it was great. I didn’t have the greatest day, to be honest with you.

Lewis Howes:               You struggled.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, I definitely struggled.

Lewis Howes:               Was your coach/partner, was he like, “Come on! Let’s go!”?

Rich Roll:                      No, he was cool. From the get go. I didn’t sleep well, it’s a whole thing. But he was mellow, just like, “Okay, well it is what it is,” you know? He could have been two hours faster without me. Well, he’s a world class machine. But we were still the fastest American team and we finished, I don’t even remember where we finished, like thirtieth place or something like that.

But it wasn’t about that. It was just about having this experience, and it was incredible. It was incredible to do it as a fifty-year-old man and to show I can still mix it up with these world class athletes and do something that scared me, because I hate cold water. Everything I’d done prior was in Hawaii and in warm water, and it was epic!

And the best part of it was just that I got to share that whole experience with the people that follow me on the various platforms, and just demonstrate, like,”Look, I showed you exactly what I did, every single day leading up to this. There’s no magic, there’s no mystery. You saw the whole thing,” and my hope with that is that it inspires other people to rethink their own limits and their own boundaries about what they’re capable of.

Lewis Howes:               Yeah, that’s powerful. Do you think you’ll do it in ten years at 60?

Rich Roll:                      I don’t know. We’ll see.

Lewis Howes:               That would be sweet.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, well every time I do one of these things, I’m like, “Okay, I’m good for a while,” you know, I’m not racing all the time. But I am looking for, I’m on that cusp of committing to something.

Lewis Howes:               You need a challenge, though. Every couple of years you need a challenge, probably.

Rich Roll:                      I think you always need a challenge. I think when I’m committed to something like that, it gives my life structure and focus and it allows me to prioritise where I’m spending my energy and my attention. And when I don’t have a goal like that, it’s easier to just kind of go with the flow and I’m not as productive. So, even though there’s a huge time commitment with something like that, I tend to be more productive in everything else that I’m doing. I have a goal.

Lewis Howes:               Isn’t it funny, when we put bigger goals on our plate, everything else becomes productive? Because we have structure, we have time commitments and we can get things done. And it seems like, even if we have more on our plate, as long as we have big goals that we’re focussed on, we just work around that. And when we have less on our plate, or no goals, we feel like we’re lazier, we’re not as structured and organised.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, there’s no question about it. I mean, when you have a goal and it’s an important goal to you, then you’re more likely to create boundaries over what you agree and don’t agree to do, right? And so, although, like I said, that goal is going to require so much of my time and energy, it draws focus on everything else that you’re doing.

So then you’re not on Facebook in the middle of the night, you’re not binge watching Netflix, you’re not just going out to lunch, and whatever. You’re like, “Okay, this is what I’m doing,” and I’m just a happier, more productive person when I have that in my life.

Lewis Howes:               You know what I think you should do?

Rich Roll:                      What?

Lewis Howes:               I think you should create your own race.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, I’ve though about that.

Lewis Howes:               You should create one, but it’s different than the obstacle course races and just a marathon, but it’s like your own spiritual journey that people go on that is still extremely physically demanding. Maybe there’s a swim, there’s a bike, there’s a run, there’s some partner stuff, or whatever it is, but something that you get to be creative with and creating an experience. But also get to train for and experience yourself. And then bring it to life for your audience.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, that’s a good idea.

Lewis Howes:               It could be like an annual thing, once a year.

Rich Roll:                      The only circumstances under which I would do that, Lewis, is if you agreed to participate.

Lewis Howes:               I will part…. Well, it depends how long it is. If it’s under ten miles…

Rich Roll:                      It’s not going to be under ten miles. Think about how much your audience would enjoy you preparing for something like that.

Lewis Howes:               Yeah, I just got to lose more weight, though. I’m just a big guy. How many miles would it be?

Rich Roll:                      I don’t know. The thing is, there are a lot of people who are doing that.

Lewis Howes:               But they’re not you. It’s not your experience. You would have your fans that would come every year. Do it once a year, it doesn’t have to be this monthly thing and travel round the world doing it, but do it once a year, where it’s an event and an experience. Kind of like what Jesse did, Jesse Itzler did.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, Jesse Itzler, he’s doing this new thing where he runs up the mountains and all that kind of stuff.

Lewis Howes:               Would you do that, or no? Or something like that?

Rich Roll:                      No, but he’s coming over to talk to me about it, I think next week or something like that. But I’m keen.

Lewis Howes:               I had a friend who did it, and he was like, “It was painful and challenging, but also a really cool experience.”

Rich Roll:                      Right. I think it was in Kellington, the first one that he did. You run up and down the mountain until you’ve achieved the elevation of Everest. Yeah, it’s cool. So, I think it’s a good idea, Lewis.

Lewis Howes:               That would be fun to do. I will support it and check it out, first, see how the first year goes, and then.

Rich Roll:                      Alright, well, if you’re watching on YouTube, leave a comment below and let me know what you think that would look like, or, you know, hit me up.

Lewis Howes:               I think it would be amazing, because I know you’re doing retreats now, which is different.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah. Those more like transformational…

Lewis Howes:               Yeah, but imagine creating a transformational race, experience, a journey. I’d be open to doing it.

Rich Roll:                      Right. Okay. Be very careful about your words right now.

Lewis Howes:               I’d be open to doing it. There’s nothing else that I’ve wanted to do, like the L.A. Marathon, my buddy Matt, he’s like, “Let’s do it every year,” and I’m just like, “I just couldn’t care less.” But if it was something that was different and unique, like a journey, just the long endurance stuff is hard for me.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, but that’s what attracted me to ultra endurance to begin with, because, as difficult as those challenges are physically, they’re really spiritual odysseys. And at that point in my life, I was looking to connect with myself. I was looking to learn more about who I was, and what made me tick, and when you train for these super crazy long races, you’re just stripped down to your core, until there’s no… It’s almost like an Ayahuasca trip, all the artifice, all that shell that you walk around with, your masks.

Lewis Howes:               You feel naked.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, and you’re confronted with yourself in a really profound way. And I learned so much about myself as a result of doing those, but on the other side of that, it’s like, “Okay, I learned those lessons, do I still need to go and do it?” Like, yes, no, I don’t know. You know what I mean?

Lewis Howes:               Well, I think yes, and no. Yes, you can keep doing it, because there’s always another evolution of where you can grow into, and I think when you stop experiencing pain, a certain type of pain, I think you become very complacent in your life. And you become lazier.

And that’s why what you do do, is, I think, inspiring to me. Because I try to do something every single day that’s painful. Like, lately, I’ve been getting up at 5:30am. I don’t want to do it. It’s painful. I’ve been lifting in the morning, it’s painful. I don’t like it. I’d rather sleep in, you know, ten hours a day. I’d rather not do it.

But I feel so much more productive when I inflict some type of pain in my life, every single day. Something I don’t want to do, uncomfortable, and that’s why I think you inspire so many people with doing these long endurance races at the age you’re at, and running circles around people my age.

Rich Roll:                      The thing, though, that’s so funny, is that, like, I’ll share on Instagram Story, “Oh, here’s workout I did today,” and people will be like, “That’s so inspiring, you got me out of bed,” and I’m like, “Actually I just prefer to do it, I choose to do it, I enjoy it,” you know what I mean? And yeah, it’s painful, but that’s how you connect with yourself, and that’s how I feel alive, by pushing myself in that way.

Lewis Howes:               I think you’d be more impactful in the world when you have something, a challenge, every couple of years that you’re tackling. It doesn’t have to be a 50 mile Balkan Sea race or whatever, you know, that crazy, but something that you’re just doing, I think you’re going to be more impactful in the world than if you’re just, “Hey guys, here’s what I did ten years ago.”

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, yeah, of course. Yeah, I totally agree with you. And in many ways this book is, most of the stuff in here I did a long time ago.

Lewis Howes:               I think you should do it. I’d be interested.

Rich Roll:                      Alright. Alright. I’m going to put something out there.

Lewis Howes:               I’m going to watch the first year, and then maybe do it the second year.

Rich Roll:                      Like I said, be very careful.

Lewis Howes:               I know, it would be an extreme wannabe, yeah. We talk a lot about exercise, meditation and diet, both of us, the guests we have on. If someone is looking to improve their life and transform their life and they wanted to get started with one aspect: diet, nutrition, physical exercise or mediation. Which one do you think should be… Obviously each one of them are equally important, but if you could only start with one, for whatever reason, which one do you think is the most important to start with? Meditation, nutrition, physical activity.

Rich Roll:                      It’s hard, because they’re so intertwined with each other and it’s hard to parse one from the other, so I’m reluctant or reticent to say one versus the other, but if you’re forcing me to do that, I would say, “Focus on your diet first.” I think, changing your plates and cleaning up the vibration of what you’re putting into your body, is a portal to the soul.

And if you are intentional about that, and you really focus on trying to eat real foods as close to their natural state, you know, in my case, I eat a 100% plant based diet. If you’re not ready to take that entire leap, just try to eat mostly fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and beans. Things like that. I think that that will be a catalyst for future growth in those other areas.

And that was my experience. I wasn’t ready to meditate or return to becoming an athlete or any of those things, I started with changing my relationship with food, and, I think, when you change that frequency of what you’re putting in your body, it impacts you on every level. Not only emotionally, spiritually, et cetera. And it is a catalyst for progressive growth from there.

So, I would start with that and then the more you kind of refine that, then suddenly you get interested because you suddenly have a sense of vitality. You’re like, “Oh, I feel like going out and moving my body! I haven’t felt like that way…” and so the fitness will naturally follow and then you’ll be, like, “Wow! My body feels good and I’m taking care of it in this way, how do I attend to my spirit and my emotions and my mind? Well, I guess I’ll start exploring the world of meditation.”

Lewis Howes:               Yeah. I was watching this thing on Netflix called, Chef’s Table. Have you ever heard of this? Do you ever watch it or no?

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, my wife is obsessed with it.

Lewis Howes:               I watched it for the first time last night, and just happened to turn on a recent episode of it, so, a woman, who’s a monk…

Rich Roll:                      Oh, in South Korea.

Lewis Howes:               Is that where it is?

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, so she is a genius.

Lewis Howes:               It was unbelievable, it was amazing!

Rich Roll:                      I forget her name, but she is basically in an anonymous Buddhist monastery in, I believe it’s in South Korea, and she’s a food magician. Totally plant based, but she grows all her herbs and her own foods, and it is the most artistic, beautiful food that you’ve ever seen. And her approach to it is so mindful and with so much grace that it is impossible to not be inspired, and the food that she prepares in this monastery, I guess, and you would know, because you just watched the episode.

Lewis Howes:               She calls it temple food, which is like this spiritual food for you soul and your mind. I believe it’s a 100% plant based, I’m assuming.

Rich Roll:                      It is, yeah.

Lewis Howes:               But she kept calling it “temple food” and how it’s going to infuse your body with this spiritual awareness and enlightenment. And they even had enlightened tea with this special flower thing. And there was a New York Times critic, food critic, who said he went to this whole launch that she had and he said, “It was life changing. And then I had to go to Korea,” or whatever it was to experience it for thirty days and learn about it.

Rich Roll:                      That guy’s name is Jeff Gordinier, that New York Times writer, and he did a story on me and my family that was in the New York Times called, Vegans Go Glam. It came out a couple of years ago. And when he came to our house to interview us, he had just come from that experience. And he was like, “I got to tell you about…” and he told us the whole story, and I was like, “Okay,” but I didn’t really get it, until that Chef’s Table episode came out and I was like, “Oh, now I get it.” But he wrote an incredible piece for the New York Times about her and her work, that I’m sure people can find online.

Lewis Howes:               Yeah, that’s interesting. But food does something to our physical makeup.

Rich Roll:                      There’s no question about it.

Lewis Howes:               Yeah. I mean, you transformed your physical body and your energy transformed when you transformed the foods you ate.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, and I don’t want to sound like a crazy woo-woo Hippie, but I believe that…

Lewis Howes:               Well, you sleep in a tent, in Malibu, so you are.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, so that’s a whole other thing. We’re not going to talk about that any more. When you take high vibration, live foods into your body, it’s going to have an impact that’s different from taking in something that is dead, and heavy. It’s my direct experience, an N of one experiment.

Lewis Howes:               Yeah. It’s so funny, though, that there’s other people, there’s this guy, Mark Bell, do you know who this is? He’s got a podcast and he’s on Instagram and YouTube. He’s a big body building guy. He used to be really overweight, not overweight, just a big, massive guy and he’s leaner than ever. He’s still huge and strong, but he’s on a carnivore diet, which is all healthy meats. But he looks healthier and younger than ever, and leaner than ever.

And I’m just, like, “There’s so many diets out there,” but I’m a big believer in a plant based diet, and ever since moving to L.A. I’ve been surrounded by you and my other friend Bill Glazer who’s just been vegan for a while. I go to more vegan restaurants and I just start to eat more vegan foods, but it’s just like a switch. I have to find the switch to be able to turn it off, about meat. And it wasn’t until I watched Okja, did you watch it?

Rich Roll:                      Oh, yeah, Okja, yeah.

Lewis Howes:               It wasn’t until I watched Okja, where I actually had an emotional connection to meat, but it only lasted for about a month, and then, I don’t know, I can justify it some or other way. Those other doctors who talk about how meat is good for you when you have certain types or whatever, so, it’s challenging. But you gave me some good advice. You said, “If you’re going to eat meat, at least don’t eat dairy.” That’s what you told me, I think. It’s like, dairy is one of the worst things, in your mind.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, cut out dairy and limit your meat intake, if you’re not ready to go 100% plant based. So, right now, even if you’re the most informed and diligent consumer and you’re poking around the internet, it can be very confusing. There’s so much debate, and acrimony when it comes to this conversation that we’re having about what is the optimal human diet.

But I think all or most of the experts and certainly the ones that I respect the most will agree upon one fundamental fact, which is that a diet high in fibre, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, these things, is really the path forward, and when you kind of look at the Blue Zones and the people that live the longest and the happiest, these are people who are eating a very small amount of meat, at most, maybe some fish. And their diet basically consists of what I just mentioned.

So I think there is wisdom in that and we want to over-complicate it, we want to be reductionist about it, it’s this, not that. So, for anybody who’s listening, who’s struggling because they are confused by all of that, like, if you’re not ready to cut meat out, just make it a side-dish, and make the main entrée tons of vegetables.

Lewis Howes:               Right, right. You are a recovering addict, right? How long were you an alcoholic for?

Rich Roll:                      So, I was an alcoholic, I probably had my first drink at about seventeen, and I got sober at thirty-one. I am a recovering alcoholic. Alcoholism took me to some pretty dark and dire places. At age thirty, thirty-one, I was somebody who had really squandered a lot of potential and opportunity, you know, when I was a senior in high school, I got into every college I applied to, I was…

Lewis Howes:               And Olympic hopeful, swimmer.

Rich Roll:                      I don’t know that I was good enough to be an Olympic hopeful, maybe with the emphasis on hope, you know. Probably a practicality. I was a world ranked swimmer, I swam at Stanford in the late 1980’s. We won two Institute Championships when I was there. I was a benchwarmer though, let’s be clear about that.

And alcoholism really destroyed my potential as an athlete, it undermined every aspect of who I was, it stripped me of all my ambitions and potential, and by the time I was thirty-one, I was a pretty broken human being. I was alienated from my friends and my family, I was the guy who just never showed up, and would lie to you and I was sleeping on a bare mattress in a s**y apartment with no furniture in it, about to get fired from my job, I had two DUI’s and I just could not stop drinking. I could not stop drinking.

Of course, I knew I was an alcoholic, and I just had that moment of clarity one day, that you hear about with people that are in recovery, where I was like, “I just can’t, I can’t live this way any more.” I ended up going to a treatment centre in Oregon where I thought I was going to go for the 28-day deal that most people do and I ended up living there for 100 days, which is kind of a long time.

Lewis Howes:               Wow. Did you feel like you needed to stay because you weren’t ready to leave and go back to the real world of temptation?

Rich Roll:                      What happened was, I got there and I started telling people how I was actually living and what I was doing, for the very first time, and the counsellors there were like, “Dude, I know you think you’re going to spin out of here in a couple of weeks, but we really think that you need to stay.” I very vividly recall this one guy saying, “You have a case of alcoholism that we only see in sixty-five-year-old lifelong drinkers. And if you don’t get this right, you’re going to go back out into the world and you’re going to die. I see it all the time.”

And I was able to hear that and I was very aware that my best thinking had me essentially in a mental institution, and as somebody who was that guy who has so much promise, it was a pretty precipitous fall, and I never wanted to have to go back. And so I thought, “I’m going to stay here, and I’m going to make sure that I get this right.”

And that’s what I did and then in the wake of that, came back to Los Angeles and my priority was to build the strongest foundation of sobriety that I could, and that was my number one thing, going to AA meetings and immersing myself in the community here, the recovery community in Los Angeles, and then trying to repair all the wreckage that I’d created as a result of my drinking.

Lewis Howes:               Relationships…

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, relationships, and just professionally. And really, I was like, “I used to be here, I fell this far, I got to get back up on top.” And in retrospect, looking back, I wasn’t really aware that at the time, I took a lot of that compulsive addict energy and I put it into my work. And I justified it by saying, “Look, I have this potential, I got to regain it. I have to repair this.” And it worked.

By the time I was thirty-nine, I had succeeded. I had repaired those relationships, I was a successful lawyer, partnership track, law firm, had a Porsché in the drive, all this stuff, but that’s when that existential crisis started to perk right up because I never really thought, “Is this what I want to do?”

It  was more like, “I need society to perceive me in this way, and this is what somebody of my education is supposed to do,” without ever really taking a beat to say, “Well, what is it that I want to do? What’s unique to me? What gets me excited and out of bed in the morning?” That was never part of the inner mental dialogue, and nothing that I ever really considered in a real way.

And that just played itself out as long as it could, until I had that second bottom on that staircase, which was very similar to that bottom that I had with drinking, where I realised that my life is unsustainable, I need to make some significant changes.

Lewis Howes:               When did you get married?

Rich Roll:                      I got married about seventeen years ago. No, actually, well, Julie and I have been together about twenty years. But we didn’t get married for a long time. So we got married, my daughter’s fourteen, we got married about fifteen years ago.

Lewis Howes:               So you met her after you went to rehab?

Rich Roll:                      I met her when I had a year of sobriety. Yeah. And I was celibate during that year, because when I left rehab, they were like, “Look, your relationship with women is very intertwined with your drinking, and we think you should hit pause on that, and take this time to really figure out who you are.”

And that was another thing I took seriously, and that was a very empowering thing, to be celibate for a year, and really kind of opt out of dating altogether, because you’re really then forced to deal with yourself. And at the end of that year I met Julie, and then that was it.

Lewis Howes:               Wow! Do you think you guys would have been together if you’d have met two years prior?

Rich Roll:                      No way! I would have been a wreck! And she was married! No, it wouldn’t have happened. And on paper, Julie was not the person for me, and I wasn’t the person for her, I mean, she was older, she was coming out of a marriage, she had two young boys. I was thinking my next girlfriend’s going to be five years younger than me and really just, no drama, no complications or anything like that, but, you know, the heart wants what the heart wants.

Lewis Howes:               Right. How has that developed in the last twenty years? Since you’ve known her?

Rich Roll:                      It’s been incredible. You know, prior to meeting her, I couldn’t sustain a relationship. I couldn’t be honest, I couldn’t be faithful and I was really scared to be in a relationship with her, especially since she had two boys. And, you know, we’re going on almost twenty years now.

It’s been incredible, and it’s been an evolution of trying to figure out how to cohabit with another human being for that long a period of time, it’s challenging. And I think one of the things that’s allowed us to continue to grow alongside of each other is that she is very independent and I’m independent, and I’m not looking for, it’s like, “You complete me,” it’s not that. We’re on our own journeys.

Our personal growth trajectories are between ourselves and our version of God, really. And I don’t rely on her to fix me, and she’s not looking to me for the same, and so we can come together and make magic and we work together, too. We write cookbooks together, we do retreats, so we’re professionally enmeshed as well as we are personally enmeshed, and as parents of four kids, I think it’s easy to allow a relationship to then be defined by what you guys are doing together in a career context, like all your conversations are about, like, “Okay, we got to… Did you e-mail that person back? And what are we doing about this?”

And so, we’ve had to be very diligent about making sure that we know when we’re working together and when it’s personal time.

Lewis Howes:               Yeah, that’s cool. And what has being a recovering addict taught you about compassion for others?

Rich Roll:                      Oh, it’s been huge, it’s been huge. All the tools that I’ve learned to navigate the world, began with what I learned in rehab and what I continue to learn in recovery. It’s made me much more compassionate towards other people because I come to understand that we all have our own pain.

When you’re in the recovery community, you’re constantly meeting people and hearing their stories. What it was like for them, what happened and what it’s like now. And you become very connected with that journey of how life can be very difficult. And I think, whether you’re an addict or not, we’re all walking around in the world with our masks on and it’s easy to just presume or project onto other people that they have it easy, or that they’re not having the same struggles that you are having, but in truth, I’ve come to understand and learn and really take to heart that you don’t know what people are going through.

And I’ve gone through a lot, and I’ve been in a very dark, low place, and so I don’t really judge other people’s experiences. And that’s a perspective I brought into the podcast, too.  Even when I have people on that I don’t agree with, or don’t see the world in the same way, I’m able to have empathy for them and I’m able to kind of find a way to respect wherever somebody is coming from.

Lewis Howes:               Yeah. Wow. What’s the big lesson that you try to teach your kids now?

Rich Roll:                      I think the big lesson, well, it’s multifold, but I think the core of it is teaching them that the most important thing… Well, as parents, the most important thing I want to instil in them is a sense of self-assuredness and self-confidence.

Lewis Howes:               Belief in themselves.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, belief in themselves, and then, with that, I try to encourage them to find something that they care about. And I don’t really care what that is. I just want them to have something that excites them, and then my job, and my wife’s job is to find a way to fuel that and support that, because I think that’s the engine that will propel an individual to success later in life, rather than saying you should have this career and you should have that career.

Whatever it is that they’re naturally gravitating towards, I try to pay attention to that and then find a way to be a support system for that. So, for example, my fourteen-year-old daughter started painting when she was four years old, five years old. She sold paintings to our friends when she was a little girl.

She moved away from it for a while, and then she came back to it. And then she decided, on her own, that she wanted to apply to get into the performing arts school here in Los Angeles, which is very difficult to get into. So we got her a mentor, this young girl who had gone to art school, and she worked with her for over a year, helping her learn how to paint, putting a portfolio together, she applied to the school, and she just got in. So, it’s super exciting!

Lewis Howes:               Wow! Cool!

Rich Roll:                      And the analogy is: it took me a very long time to find something that I cared about that I could invest myself in and my message that I put out in the books, and what I write about and the podcast and all of that is, like, “Find what is true to your heart and pursue that with everything that you have.” So, I have to believe that if that is true for myself and the people that I’m communicating with, that has to be true with my children as well.

Lewis Howes:               Yeah, yeah. What’s the biggest challenge of being a parent?

Rich Roll:                      The biggest challenge is understanding that you can’t control their environment. You have to allow them to have their own experiences and come to their own conclusions. Even if you know what’s best, your job is to kind of guide them gently in a direction that you see fit, but when they stumble, or they end up making a bad decision, you have to sometimes step back and allow that to unfold, without getting overly involved. Which is very difficult.

Lewis Howes:               That’s got to be so challenging for a control freak who wants them to be, like, “Do this!”

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, but like, I’ve learned from the way that I grew up, that it’s important to provide a little bit of space and freedom. And you can’t insulate them from the pain that life is inevitably going to deliver, so your job isn’t to make sure that they avoid that at all cost, but to make sure that they are loved and supported when something like that inevitably occurs.

Lewis Howes:               Yeah. And are your parents still around?

Rich Roll:                      Yeah. They live in Washington D.C. Yeah, they’re still together.

Lewis Howes:               What’s the biggest lessons you learned from both of them?

Rich Roll:                      That’s a good question. My father is a gentleman’s gentleman. Very successful lawyer in Washington D.C. and now he’s become an author himself, so we’re both writing books and we can bond over that. I think what I learned from him, and from my mom as well, who is an educator, is the importance of learning and education. That was something that was impressed upon me at a young age. Probably not in the healthiest way, maybe a little tick too much, but a respect for the importance of learning. Not just in school, but throughout your life.

Lewis Howes:               That’s cool. And what’s the biggest challenge you’re faced with right now?

Rich Roll:                      I think the biggest challenge that I’m faced with right now is learning what to say no to. Because my life is big…

Lewis Howes:               Opportunity overload.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, I mean, as you know, I’m sure you’re in this situation all the time, you’re on the receiving end of a lot of cool opportunities, and it’s because life was so hard not so long ago, like, now I’m in a position to take advantage of things that were not being offered to me then. And it’s all awesome! I want to say yes to everything, because it’s all super cool!

So the challenge is being clear on what it is that I’m actually doing and making sure that the decisions I’m making are driving that forward, rather than using those opportunities as distractions that ultimately prevent me from being as impactful or successful as I know that I can be.

Lewis Howes:               It’s instead of being good at lots of things, being great at a few things and staying focussed.

Rich Roll:                      Right, well, for example, somebody says, “Hey, we want to pay you a bunch of money to come and speak at this conference, and it’s at some really cool resort and we’ll put you up,” and all that, and it’s like, “Yeah, I want to do that!” And then you’re like, “But if I do that, then that’s all this time away and I’m going to fall behind in this other project that I’m working on, so, in the balance of things, what is the most important for me to do?” You know?

So, saying no, having boundaries, that’s difficult for me. And I’m a people-pleaser at heart, so it’s difficult for me to say no to anything.

Lewis Howes:               I hear you. I’ll make sure not to ask you for anything.

Rich Roll:                      No, you can!

Lewis Howes:               I’m just kidding! Before I ask the final few questions, I want to make sure you guys get the new book, or the updated book, Finding Ultra – projecting middle age, becoming one of the world’s fittest men in discovering myself. Very powerful, updated, expanded, a hundred plus new pages, nutritional stuff in there as well. Make sure you guys check this out. Very powerful story, journey, insights, all the things.

You got a new cookbook out, too.

Rich Roll:                      That’s right, so this second edition of Finding Ultra just came out, super excited about it and I appreciate the fact that you had it, it was there. This was sitting up there, like, I could see it in all your videos, and I was like, “How long is that going to sit up there before he swaps it out?”

Lewis Howes:               Keep the favourites.

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, thank you! I wanted to take the opportunity to rewrite it for the reasons I already mentioned, to bring it up to speed, but it’s about a hundred pages longer, it’s got a brand new prescriptive chapter that has all the tools and resources and the strategies that I employed to transform my life. It’s got a new foreword, it’s got beefed up appendices, it’s got a recipe section, there’s all kinds of bells and whistles. So, even if you read it originally and enjoyed it, there’s plenty there for you to enjoy the second time around.

And then, yes, on April 24th, we have a new cookbook coming out called, The Plant Power Way – Italia. We had, my wife and I wrote a book several years ago called, The Plant Power Way, and this is…

Lewis Howes:               That’s Italy, isn’t it?

Rich Roll:                      Yeah, Italia is Italy, Lewis! Ohio boy! This book is like, next level, 125 plant based recipes that, everything’s Italian, it’s been formed by these retreats that we do every year in the Tuscan countryside, working with chefs there and taking groups of people through a week long transformation. And we took all of that, put it in this amazing book, and super excited about it, yeah. It’s good.

The photography, everything, it’s like a coffee table book you’re going to want to leave out, you’re going to want to use it, these are very family oriented, family friendly, delicious, they’re going to fill you up. It’s not just salads, it’s all the good stuff that you love about Italian food.


Lewis Howes:               Wow! Sounds amazing. And I heard a rumour that if you pre-order a copy of that, you’re entered into a contest to potentially get a free ticket to the next retreat? Is that what I heard?

Rich Roll:                      That’s it! Wow, you did your homework! So, yeah, we just announced this contest. We’re going back to Italy in May 19th through 26th and we’re  taking a group of about thirty-five people. It’s sold out, but somebody, a woman had to back out for some reason, so we have this open spot and we were thinking, “Well, we’ll just sell it,” and then we thought, “Well let’s use this opportunity, this pre-order campaign to offer this spot to somebody who wants it.

So, it’s a woman only, because it’s in a shared female room, so it’s only available to women, but if you’re interested in learning more about that, go to my website, and I have a blog post up, that has a form to fill out and all that good stuff.

Lewis Howes:               So they got to buy the book and then fill the form out, I’m assuming. So, that’s for that. That’s cool!

Final couple of questions. This one is called, The Three Truths. I think I asked it to you last time, but I’ll ask it again. If this was your final day for you, many years from now and you’ve achieved everything you want. You became your greatest self, tackled everything, every challenge, any dream you had you made come true. Wrote all the books, everything.

But for whatever reason, you had  to take everything with you on your last day. So nothing could stay for us to have access to these books or the content you put out there It’s all with you in the grave and gone out there to another spiritual realm.

But you did have the opportunity to leave behind one piece of paper, with the three things you knew to be true about all your lessons in life, all your experiences, that you would share with the world. And this is the only thing that we would have to have access to your words and wisdom. What would you say are your Three Truths?

Rich Roll:                      Wow, man! That’s tough. Let’s see. You did not ask me this before, so this is new. I would say, live true to yourself, give freely to others, and love deeply. Not much more than that is important.

Lewis Howes:              There you go. Powerful.

I want to acknowledge you for a moment, Rich, for constantly showing up. I mean, you’re fifty-one, you put me to shame with your health, your abilities, everything, but your compassion towards humanity and wanting to just love on people in the sense of not judging people or making people wrong.

I think that’s one of your biggest superpowers, is your ability to lead through humility, while putting yourself through any type of challenge or adversity and just share your story, and I think the art of storytelling has been lost for a lot of us. We don’t think we are… Who are we to share our story publicly, and your ability to do it and continue to show up and share, even though it’s not perfect every day for you, is really inspiring and powerful, so I want to acknowledge you for that, man.

Rich Roll:                      Thank you, my friend. It’s a privilege and an honour to sit across from you once again. Mad love and respect for everything that you’re doing and what you’ve built here and the service that you’ve provided so many people. So, always good to see you.

Lewis Howes:               Appreciate it, man. Final question: What’s your definition of greatness?

Rich Roll:                      My definition of greatness is really probably a variation on what I would leave behind. To be great is to live in a way that has fidelity to who you truly are. Are you fully self actualised? To be great, is to live in that self actualised way, and to give away freely the wisdom that you’ve accumulated as a result of trudging that road.

Lewis Howes:               Rich Roll, the legend!

Rich Roll:                      Thanks, my friend. Appreciate it man!

Lewis Howes:               Good to see you!

I hope you enjoyed this episode. If you did, make sure to check out the full show notes, Check out the full video interview, all the links, the resources. Check out Rich’s book over there as well, and a big thank you to Rich.

Again, if you enjoyed this, take a screenshot on your phone right now of this podcast, post it over on your Instagram Story, tag me, @LewisHowes, tag @richroll. Let us know what you think. We’re pretty active over there, and if you send us a message, most likely we try to respond to as many as we can. So, check it out, over on Instagram, @LewisHowes, @richroll.

And also a big thank you to our sponsor, I’m telling you guys, if you don’t have a stand up desk yet, I’m telling you, it is a powerful experience and you’ve got to have the right chair and the right functional desk to really make it all come together.

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I hope you guys enjoyed this one. I’m super pumped and excited about this and if you did, make sure to spread some love out to your friends online. Leave us a review on iTunes, and, as always, let me know what you think about this episode, over on social media, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. And subscribe over on YouTube. We’ve got a quarter of a million people who have subscribed to our YouTube channel, it’s

And what I loved about the quote we talked about in the beginning, Jeff Bezos, said, “What’s dangerous is not to evolve.” If you’re not growing every single day, if you’re not challenging yourself, stepping up into a bigger goal, a bigger dream, then that’s what’s dangerous, is staying comfortable, staying in your comfort zone and not allowing yourself to progress. And it’s been inspiring to see what Rich Roll has done after fifty, to push the boundaries of human potential.

I love you guys, I hope you enjoyed this one, and, as always, you know what time it is: It’s time to go out there and do something great!

Music Credits:

Music Credit:

Joyride by Aarre Kedam

We were Infinite by Inukshuk

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