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Book:  Finding Ultra

Author:  Rich Roll

Purchase:  Print | eBook | Audiobook

Citation:  Roll, R. (2012). Finding Ultra : rejecting middle age, becoming one of the world's fittest men, and discovering myself. New York: Crown Archetype.

Three Big Takeaways:
  1. The American Dream is a mandated right to seek self-improvement. An open door to pursue potential. But along the way, personal responsibility has been exchanged for victimhood. Challenge is to be avoided. Comfort is king. Personhood has been reduced to consumerism. Our social currency is stuff - dictated by what we own as not who we are. The implicit promise? Happiness. Peace of mind, Contentment. This is perhaps the greatest lie ever perpetrated on humankind. Because stuff doesn't make one happy. (pg. xi)

  2. Gone was the long-held image of myself as the handsome young man I'd once been. At that moment, I was a fat, out-of-shape, and very unhealthy man hurtling into middle age - a depressed, self-destructive person utterly disconnected from who I was and what I wanted to be. In that moment I was overcome with the profound knowledge not just that I needed to change, but that I was willing to change. The trajectory of life often boils down to a few identifiable moments - decisions that change everything. I knew that moments like these were not to be squandered. Rather, they were to be seized at all costs, for they didn't come around that often. (pg. 2)

  3. The excuse that you don't have time is just that - an excuse. You do have time. It's a question of priorities. So turn the TV off at night. Shut down the Internet. Take inventory of how much time you fritter away on non-essential activities that unnecessarily crowd your days and squander your precious hours. Go to bed earlier. Then create a healthy boundary around your morning routine - this is your time and you are not to be disturbed or interrupted. If you invest in yourself and this process, I promise your life will change for the better. (pg. 241)


Other Key Ideas:​​​​

Right now, millions of people all across the world are suffering, imprisoned by the delusional promise of our displaced priorities. Never before he we been more depressed, obese, diseased, stressed, lethargic, medicated, unhappy, and unfulfilled than we find ourselves today. We salvage our pain with anything we can get our hands on, from unhealthy food choices and television and video games to drugs, alcohol, shopping, gambling, and relationships. (pg. xii)

Today finds us facing an unprecedented healthcare crisis. Despite spending over $22 billion a year on fad and diet weight-loos products, 70 percent of all Americans are obese and overweight. One out of every three deaths in America is attributable to heart disease, our number one killer. By 2030, 30 percent of Americans will be diabetic or pre-diabetic. And depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. Despite the fact that a majority of these chronic diseases can be prevented, we divest ourselves of personal responsibility and become willing indentured servants to the pharmaceutical industry, popping pills that do little to prevent or cure the underlying chronic illness that ail us. (pg. xiii)

I had assumed that my next girlfriend would be much younger than I was - living a simple life and unencumbered - with no baggage. But love doesn't work that way. Newly divorced and more than four years my senior, Julie happened to be a mom to two young boys. Hardly a simple setup. I would never have imagined that I'd insert myself into such a complicated equation. And let's be honest, I was hardly without my own baggage. Tread lightly, more than a few friends warned me. (pg. 93)

For years, I sought to excel as a husband, father, and entertainment lawyer, the idea of "eating healthy," hitting the gym, or getting some fresh air rarely occurred to me. What has time? There are just not enough hours in the day. I was no different than so many men I know and respect. And just like them, I had a bulging waistline to show for it. I was 208 pounds, not obese by today's standards - but I was almost 50 pounds heavier than my college years. I didn't feel great. I felt horrible. I found myself gasping for air while climbing stairs. The signposts up ahead spelled out the words "heart disease" and "death." (pg. 97)

I don't like to overcomplicate the eating part of my life, and I don't obsess. I don't prepare elaborate and expensive dishes. I don't weigh my food, count macros, or over think my proportion of carbs to proteins to fats. Why? Because getting overly caught up in such minute details leads to burnout. And burnout always leads to bad habits. The name of the game is sustainability. If it's not sustainable, what's the point? Not only does it have to work, it has to be user-friendly. (pg. 102)

It was time to evaluate how I spent every minute of every day. I scanned for wasted time, inefficient hours, and activities that failed to meet the litmus test of mission critical. Utilizing many of the tools in Tim Ferriss's The Four Hour Workweek, I made some drastic cuts, eventually creating a lifestyle template that forms the underpinnings of how I live and manage time today. (pg. 133)

On the mental and spiritual front, implementing a consistent meditation practice became paramount. Whether early in the morning, during a free half hour during the day, or even while out on a run, I strived to set aside a few moments - not a lot - to go inside. I became increasingly adept at gaining the upper hand when it came to persistent negative chatter. Meditation became a powerful tool that calmed my nerves, relieved my anxiety, and diminished the fears of self-doubt. (pg. 134)

In the early mornings, carve out private space and quiet time to probe your imagination. Only have ten minutes? Great. The point is to devote some precious morning time to quiet reflection - meditation followed by journaling. Make calm rumination a daily practice. Should an impulse arise that excites the senses, know that you are on the right track. Before the enthusiasm wanes, capture it on the page. Protect this time as sacred and be patient. (pg. 224)

Prioritizing life to service has changed everything. Today I approach my life as an act of devotion. Will fullness of heart and as much honesty as I can muster, I openly and transparently share the facts of my experience and in the books I write, the podcasts I produce, and the talks I give. Through my podcast, I proudly share the wisdom and experience of others I admire and respect, conversations that matter in the service to the betterment of others. These endeavors are not a side hustle. They are simply who I have become. Life itself as an act of service, my only aim to inspire, educate, and incite you to courageously pursue your extraordinary journey. To unlock your best, most authentic self. To self-actualize. I do all of this imperfectly. Like you, I'm just another flawed human being trying to figure it out as I go. I stumble as often as I walk. I do not stand alone. And I do my best not to judge the experience of others. The point is that I try. And try is all that I ask of you. (pg. 262)

When I started my show over five years ago, nobody was listening. In fact, the vast majority of people had no idea what a podcast even was, let alone any idea how to access one. But I didn't care. I searched far and wide to find the best guests. I worked hard to improve my conversational skills with each successive exchange. And every single Monday, without fail, I uploaded a new episode. I didn't concern myself with the results. I didn't pay too much attention to metrics like downloads. I simply fell in love with the process, my eventual success a direct result of embracing the journey without regard for destination. (pg. 264)

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