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Joe De Sena On True Resilience, Choosing Your Hard & Why Discomfort Is Oxygen

By January 3, 2022January 10th, 2023No Comments
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Episode #652



We all have big dreams. But are you willing to pay the price required to make them manifest?

There’s a big difference between those who quit and those who commit.

At the core of that difference is one’s ability to tolerate discomfort.

Discomfort is the price we pay for resilience.

And resilience is the foundation of growth.

Few grasp and practice this truth better than Spartan Race founder and CEO Joe De Sena, returning to the podcast to usher us into the new year correct and jumpstart our new year’s ambitions into action.

Joe last graced the studio in December of 2020 (RRP #567), a conversation that probed his absolutely fascinating backstory and left us with powerful insights on the limits we impose on personal possibility.

Continuing in the spirited annual tradition we have here to launch the new year with an uncomfortable kick in the pants, I thought it fit (literally) to invite Joe back for a more focused elaboration on the truths, mindset tools and motivation to translate ambition into positive results.

For those new to Joe, he’s the entrepreneurial mastermind behind Spartan—the obstacle course racing series that became a global phenomenon, and the evil genius behind Death Race—perhaps the most absurd sufferfest ever conceived.

He’s also an absolute endurance freak. Example A: in a mere week, Joe completed the Vermont 100 mile run, Ironman Lake Placid, and the Badwater 135. In addition, he crushed 50 ultramarathons and 14 Ironman events in a single year (a certain kind of insanity that must be some kind of record). And he’s the kind of guy who, on a whim, once ran from New York City to Vermont.

“Discomfort is like oxygen. True resilience is the reward on the other side that keeps us coming back for more.”


Joe’s most striking talent is his facility for motivating the best out of people—a skill committed to print in his new book, 10 Rules For Resilience, which is a guide to developing mental toughness.

Today we deconstruct resilience in all its forms—why it’s crucial to growth and how to cultivate it.

We also go deep on discipline, courage, and discomfort. The importance of personal values in adhering to your goals. How to navigate failure. And why your reaction to challenging situations defines you.

And finally, we explore the importance of imbuing these principles into our parenting.

Joe is a force of nature—a bullshit-free and 100% authentic lunatic. But his heart is huge. His experience-based message is powerful. And paired with practical tools fundamental to shattering stagnation.

The visually inclined can watch our exchange on YouTube. And as always, the podcast streams wild and free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

May his words propel you to craft your own challenge for this impending new year—something extraordinary.

So let’s dive into it 2022 headfirst. Or, as Joe is fond of saying, fire, ready, aim.

Peace + Plants,

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