Perseverance, with Adrian Hayes

November 13, 2019 Kim Forrester Season 4 Episode 4
Perseverance, with Adrian Hayes
Perseverance, with Adrian Hayes
Nov 13, 2019 Season 4 Episode 4
Kim Forrester

Adrian Hayes is a British record-breaking adventurer, author, speaker, leadership and team consultant, and sustainability campaigner. A former British Army Gurkha Officer, his many adventures include conquering Everest, K2, and the North and South Poles. On this episode, Kim Forrester and Adrian talk about the importance of perseverance, and discuss how we can become more tenacious when faced with overwhelming challenges, and audacious goals.

Show Notes Transcript

Adrian Hayes is a British record-breaking adventurer, author, speaker, leadership and team consultant, and sustainability campaigner. A former British Army Gurkha Officer, his many adventures include conquering Everest, K2, and the North and South Poles. On this episode, Kim Forrester and Adrian talk about the importance of perseverance, and discuss how we can become more tenacious when faced with overwhelming challenges, and audacious goals.

Intro:   0:03

Intro:   0:03
Welcome to Eudaemonia, the podcast that is all about flourishing. Plug in, relax and get ready for the goodness as we explore the traits and practices that can help you thrive in life ... with your host, Kim Forrester.  

Kim Forrester:   0:22
Adrian Hayes is a British record-breaking adventurer, author, speaker, leadership and team consultant and coach, documentary presenter, and sustainability campaigner. A former British Army Gurkha officer who also served for two years in the Special Forces, Adrian has conquered Everest, K2, the North and South Poles, the length of Greenland by kite ski and the Arabian Desert by camel, amongst a lifetime of adventure. He has set two Guinness World Records and has authored three books, including the newly released One Man's Climb: A Journey of Trauma, Tragedy and Triumph on K2. It's an honour to be chatting with Adrian today to talk about the importance of perseverance, and to learn how we can become more tenacious when faced with overwhelming challenges and audacious goals. Adrian Hayes, it's an absolute delight to have you here with us in the beautiful British Club, here in Singapore. How are you this evening?

Adrian Hayes:   1:20
I'm not too bad considering the jetlag, Kim. It's ... you get over it. But, anyway. I'm quite lucky because I sleep badly anyway, so if don't get a night's sleep, I'm actually okay with it.

Kim Forrester:   1:30
So you will persevere through the evening then. First of all, it seems to me that perseverance is a compound trait. So I was thinking about perseverance, and it occurred to me that it's probably made up of things like faith, courage, perhaps pure stubbornness. If you were to breakdown perseverance into its smaller parts, what would it look like to you?

Adrian Hayes:   1:51
So I'm putting the question thinking about the times ... and I'm gonna put it to my expedition work, now. Because I've got many different hats: as an expeditioner, as a speaker, as a leadership personal coach, as an author, and various other things as well. But if I look at ... in fact, not even just the expedition side of things. I've had a few projects or tasks, where I have had to pursue one recently, but not too much recently, in personal life, which took five years. Now you've gotta have, I think, first of all, the clear goal. And I'm very big on goal setting. I dissect goal setting down to its component parts, strip it bare and get the rubbish out. You've got to be very, very clear why you are doing a goal. I ask myself, 'What exactly am I trying to achieve here?' That's the goal. And then the second question, 'For the sake of what?'. And then strip down that. 'For the sake of what? For the sake of what? For the sake of what?' Really strip down the persona, the bravado, the what you want to appear to the world, and get to the real nut and bolts of why you're doing something. If you've got a clear goal and you're committed to it, and you're quite honest about the reasons you're doing it, the perseverance comes naturally with it. You will see that goal through to the end. So that's the first component part. I think the second one is putting up with the setbacks. Every goal, if you've got a goal that's too far, too lofty, it sometimes let's people put it off. Like losing weight. You know, I'm gonna lose 20 kilograms of weight. Well, that's too big a goal to go for, and it's hard to persevere when you're not getting there. So you've gotta break them down into the interim goals; the smaller goals, step by step. And that allows you to get up from setbacks. And the third component part, I would say is, identifying pain. You know, pain and these ... You know, and there's a lovely quote. It was written by an athlete once. 'Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, an hour, a year, five years, but quitting last forever', that's it. So pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever. So that's how I would break down perseverance into three parts that mean most to me.

Kim Forrester:   4:00
However, immediately you start talking and I'm thinking, 'Yes, we can have lofty goals and we can be very clear about those goals. But if they're not authentic to us, if they are goals that we've adopted from our parents, or from society, then do you feel that we'll be able to persevere to the same degree? Do you feel that authenticity is kind of imbued somewhere in authentic perseverance? 

Adrian Hayes:   4:25
Yeah, I mean if you're talking about goal setting, I'm sometimes asked by ... I do a presentation and someone's really inspired by, you know, the videos, the music, all these things, and then someone - I've said this story a few times. Someone asks me, 'Mr Adrian, I want to climb Mount Everest.' And, I'll say to them, 'Well, that's great, you know. Great you do. But you know, first, I'll ask that question: why exactly do you want achieve it? For the sake of what? For the sake of what? Strip it down. And then I'll ask him, 'So can I just tell you, how much physical fitness do you do right now?' And they might say, 'Nothing at all! I smoke 40 cigarettes a day. I drink probably five pints of beer, you know, a day. Some of this. And that comes to the authenticity. If you set a goal that's in line with your ... with the values of who you are, you'll probably achieve it. If they're out of line with those values, the stark truth is, you'll probably fail. And where I get this thing is, we are ... my favourite topic of conversation these days is the social media epidemic for attention seeking, recognition, respect or fame. If you are doing some of these things for that - fame, respect - you perhaps won't have that perseverance that's needed. It has to be authentic, I fully agree with you. It's gotta be in line with who you are.

Kim Forrester:   5:32
And so let's take it one step further. An authentic goal - you need to know the, 'What is it for?' I love that. Is it better if we're being pushed by a sense of failure, or pulled by a sense of accomplishment? Or am I getting that completely wrong? Is it actually about him being inspired in the moment? 

Adrian Hayes:   5:51
I wouldn't say inspired in the moment because, again, if you just get a quick-witted thing, 'Quick, I want to do this', again, is that really authentic? You know, that example of someone who asked me about this ... Health and fitness, for instance. And I'm only just concentrating on these things right now. But it is an integral part of my values; always has been. Now you can ask why that was. I could be authentic about it: as a teenager, as a child, I struggled. I struggled with huge low self esteem, embarrassment, low confidence levels. I was a middle child, you know, 'unloved, unseen, unheard', but I found I was actually quite ... I loved the fitness side and I found I was really good at it. And it got me, you know, Special Forces selection, Army and all these mountaineering things since I was 16 years of age. So,  it was authentic. Health and fitness, for whatever reason, became a part of my values. And I will always be part of that. So again, you know, that is going back to the authenticity. If I set a goal that is in line with my values, I'm just repeat myself, but it's an authentic reason. So I don't think ... it's not a spur of the moment thing that 'I suddenly want to do that'. Look we've all read pictures, some people get shamed, you know. Perhaps the weight side; they're overweight. And one day they decide, click, and that's it. They're gonna lose all this weight. So it does happen. But, you know, I think in the majority of cases, it's got to be something that's been inbuilt within yourselves.

Kim Forrester:   7:20
Do you fear failure as you are entering into a journey, or adventure, or project?

Adrian Hayes:   7:26
I don't fear failure, but it hasn't come easily to me. You know and that, again, that's a setback. You have failures on the way and some of these failures - and I'm not just talking about expeditions - some of these setbacks, let's call them setbacks, along certain challenges I've faced, do send you into a pretty low place, And I think it's when you're in these low places, you've got to sort of slightly detach from the particles- as I say the bits and pieces - and slightly have this higher elevated vision. I sometimes the quote everything happens for a reason is often used, and I do go with that quotas. Well, there's There's usually a reason for something. But there's another court alike, which is things happen. It's up to us to find the reason on that. That's amore proactive response because that everything happens for a reason. You know, we just step back and, you know, I just let and their things wash over us. But things happen, right? You know, the S H I t hit the fan, right? We're in this place. What is the reason that and that's sometimes might take a few hours. It might take a few days. Might take weeks, months. It might take five years, took to find out that was the reason for that, and that's what I try to it is that it's hard for humans at the end of the day, but on these setbacks are trying to sort of think about this reason behind this, even if it's hard at the time

Kim Forrester:   8:57
you have persevered through some incredible adventures. You've conquered mountains and deserts and Greenland and both Poles and many people. Many my listeners will probably say, Will you be? That's Adrian Hayes. He's obviously just good at this kind of stuff. Were you good at persevering as a child? I've got two teenagers, then Not necessarily great it stick ability. Were you perseverance as a child, or is it something that you have actually grown into?

Adrian Hayes:   9:26
I would say that when I set my mind to a goal, I could be very determined about it. In fact, I would say - with some of these expeditions- so determined, so driven to see it through that the blinkers come on. And that can appear to be selfish; it can appear to be - not self centred, because it's not that - but it's self preservation. You've got to put the work in. You've got to put that mindset to go through it, so I think it's been with me for quite a long time. And I'm going back to teenage years ... and training on this, and various things, and other projects. But if there's a goal, if it's a challenge, that perhaps I'm not interested in, then I'll, yeah, I'll sort of fade away. I'd be like everyone else. But again, it comes back to this: if you're authentic - you said it, authentic - with a goal, you know the reasons you're doing it, you're committed to it, you're prepared to put up with the pain, prepared to put up with the sacrifices, you break it down into interim goals, and it's part of who you are, then, yes, everything's possible.

Kim Forrester:   10:35
That's what I wonder. I wonder if it's perhaps not that you were particularly willful or obstinate, but rather that you chose goals that you were aligned with. And I put to you that maybe everybody on the planet has a goal that they would absolutely push through until they found; until they accomplished. And perhaps it's not so much having the will to push through, but finding the goal that will actually pull you forward. 

Adrian Hayes:   11:05
Yeah, we've all ... I think most people have goals. And looking at the past living, present living and future living, now, most of my meditational coaching people, in the sort of personal development world, and a lot of studies say that living in the present is the way we must be. And, you know, that brings greatest happiness. And I agree with that. But I think without the future, if you're just living in the present, then what's there to live for? You know, let's just ... well, let's just drink things that's bad for us, smoke things that's bad for us, and eat thing that's bad for us, all the rest of it. It doesn't matter. So I think that future side is is quite important. Where I'd say - and again, I think most things come back from the childhood and teens - perhaps it was my degree of comfort of having these future goals. Or of struggling as a teenager. Polar explorer on my wall - that was escape. You know, that's escape from the struggling world we lived in, and that was my goals. But I think most people, we've all got these goals, but a lot them in the clouds. Most people. And what I did ... and they're dreams, they're dreams: 'I dream of a new house, and I dream of travelling around the world. I dream of this sort of luxury yacht sailing the Red Sea', whatever it is. What I think I did was, pick them out the clouds and make them concrete goals. And I wrote them down. I wrote them down as a 12 year old boy - wrote down these goals and they all came true. So, there's a power to writing these things down. I think most people are ... perhaps it's safer to leave them in the clouds. It's a little comfort factor. 'If I won the lottery, you know I do this', and all the rest of it. Well, you know, if you really do want something - determined about it - for instance, let's call the nice big house. And I don't necessarily think a big house makes you any happier. It's materialism. It's consumerism. It's just a big house. I've lived in some very big houses and it really didn't ... it was actually little bit unfriendly. But if the house is your dream, for whatever reason, rightly or wrongly, if you're determined enough to get to it, then you will put your mind to that. Other things will be sacrificed: social life, fitness life, everything. You will work to get it. Again, it goes back to getting that dream, picking it out, making it a concrete goal and putting all your efforts into being it. You know, they've said if we all want to be millionaires, we probably could. If we're determined enough. But I think most people just prefer to leave it in the clouds. It's a safe place; it's just nice and comfortable. But actually taking it and doing it is quite frightening for a lot of people.

Kim Forrester:   13:33
But we also have to be very careful about the kind of goals that were setting for ourselves. I love that you brought up winning the lottery, because a lot of people have a dream of winning a lottery. It's completely out of our control whether that happens or not. And and I feel, every year, people set New Year's resolutions and I have observed the amount of people who make a resolution that actually engages the hope, or the luck, or the synchronicity of the world around them to make that happen. Rather than saying, 'Right, this year I'm going to get that particular job, or this year I'm gonna win the lottery', surely it's important for us to set goals where it's all about us and our tenacity, and our skills, and our willfulness.

Adrian Hayes:   14:18
Yes and no. I would say, you know, I set goals for my daughter as well, who is a most important part of my life right now. But let me go back to New Year's resolutions - complete waste of time. Absolute waste of time. New Year's Day we all get carried away with the euphoria of New Year's Eve. 'Let's do our New Year's resolutions.' If you knew the procedures I go into goal setting. It's a process, and I can tell your listeners because they might find it fascinating. So, I started when I was 12 years of age, writing it down. I didn't write them every year in the early stages, but I have since I was probably early twenties. Wrote them every year, but I've refined it. But I have a review of my year, between about the 10th and the 20th of December. And you know, the whole world  -  the energy of that time of the year - it's Time Person of the Year, it's sports personality of the year. It's all this reviewing energy, and I have my own review. So I sit back, you know, 'What was the essence of this year?' And I'll do it in a couple of months' time. 2019, what was this year about? What did it end up there? And I'll go back: what I did good; my rewards; my things I did well; what things I didn't do; my learnings. Another thing, I have a session with some fellow coaches. We have a pod call and we'll go through it and we'll brainstorm. We'll get that out of the way. And in between 27th of December and the 31st December - so before the New Year's resolutions, all that rubbish - I go again about the goal setting, and I set a theme for the year. 'This is the year of this', and it's like planting a stake in the ground. And that is 'This year is about this.' And if I wander off this thing, I'm sort of like a tether and it pulls me back. 'This year's about this.' And that's the stake. I break it down into personal goals, professional goals, being goals. The professional and personal ones are broken down by quarters. I use the, you know, the sun, the Earth's orbit around the Sun, you know, the energy systems of the Equinox, of Solstice. There's a little bit of a - you know, end of June - a little bit of relief, 'Right summers here.' You know? 'Well, how are we doing this six months?' So, it's a real process. And again, review it with some fellow coaches and get this thing. So by the 31st December, my whole year's plan is written down. It's there. And the other thing - and I've often used this. Sometimes we've said, you know, 'What's your five year plan, where do you see yourself five years?' I haven't got a clue. Well, I know roughly where I'm going. But I don't think, particularly in today's world, we can really plan that far ahead. You know, it's so uncertain, the world today, and there's an uncertainty. We just don't quite know. But I think a year, 18 months, we can. And that's a manageable chunk. Again is using the Earth's orbit around the Sun, the energy systems, the energy of December, the energy of the New Year, the energy of September - September has always got a big buzz, you know, the last quarter of the year - and it's using that, nature to its fullest, of tapping into that and getting your, sort of, life on a future footing. But not so far in the future that it's, sort of, out of our hands.

Kim Forrester:   17:05
You have proven to yourself that you can persevere, that you can attain the goals that you set for yourself. Not many people have that kind of certainty in themselves. And I do wonder if many people actually shy away from setting audacious goals because they are afraid that they don't have the tenacity to see them through. Do you feel that that could be a problem for many people? 

Adrian Hayes:   17:27
Yeah, I suppose it could be, because again, you know, maybe I've just become ... perhaps it's part of who I am, and the values I hold, and having set these big goals in my teens and wrote them down and sort of achieved these things. But the perseverance side is ... I don't know. I mean, maybe the military did sort of help as well. I mean, you know, military training you're taught perseverance. It becomes ingrained. I mean, I went to Sandhurst, did two years of Special Forces. At Sandhurst our brain was taken out and planted with all that thing, then put back into our cells. And so perhaps, it's a bit of things on that side as well. Look, I'll take the question, though, with a bigger picture of who we all are. If all of us is capable of changing yourselves, all of us are capable of being better persons. Learning ... I mean, I've got this mantra, 'Life is for learning'. It depends how badly you want it. So if perseverance is a bit weak to you, how badly is that to you to being a happy person? At the end of the day, we're all after being happy, fulfilled, life worth living, all these things. How important is it to you? You know, weight loss is a big thing. I talk about, you know, drinking and smoking. How many people have struggled to quit smoking? How many people struggle to stop drinking? I drink a little bit, not much, but I can hold it a glass of wine or two a week. That's it. I don't need it anymore. I've never smoked, but that's part of who I am, because I got this ... you know, my body is the most precious thing I'll ever be given. I've only got one liver, two lungs, two kidneys and everything else, so look after them. Because, whatever you believe in, you know, this is the only - unless you believe in reincarnation - this is the only body I'll ever have. So I treat this like gold dust. Not everyone sees it like that. But, I think it helps for you to experience things in life. I worked, I trained as a paramedic and I saw ... and I worked in hospitals, I did post mortems, I worked for the ambulance service. I cut up postmortems lungs of a smoker. And I saw for myself, my eyes, the tar-stained lungs of a smoker. If I wasn't put off smoking by then, then that sort of made me aware. So that's about education; about experiencing yourself and exposing yourself to the realities of life. And that perhaps gives us that drive.

Kim Forrester:   19:55
Is there a benefit in pursuing a smaller goal that you feel that you could get to the end of? 

Adrian Hayes:   20:04
Yeah, as I said at the beginning, if you set a goal that's too lofty, that's too out of reach, the temptation to give up is overwhelming. And for right reasons, too. Because you've got to set those smaller interim goals. Forget the, 'I've gotta lose 20 kilograms this year.' You know, what's something per month, or something per quarter? So yeah, very, very much. I think smaller goals over a manageable period of time is a much more healthy way. And when you see the rewards coming in and you tick off a little goal, you know, give yourself a pat on the back. 'I've just done this thing', and that gives you that momentum and sort of motivation to, sort of, keep going. I always thought that job searching was one of the things, which I'm sure every one of us have done at some stage. When you get into action, when you actually get into action, a programme, you start writing, you start calling, you start ... you know, you get some leads. I always actually said, if you're looking for a job, the best thing to do is to not ask for a job, ask for help. And I get hundreds of CVs; people send me every week, I get hundreds. If someone's personally asked me, 'Adrian, do you mind if I ask your advice?' You know, to help on something. You know, we're all human beings. 'Oh, this person's asked, alright.' I'll always answer him or her and help them out. But I can't answer all these other things. So smaller goals, but getting into action just breeds a sort of little motivation. And it's one little lead; one little, 'Yeah, I'm willing to see you.' It's a small little goal on the way to one particular sort of objective.

Kim Forrester:   21:35
So accomplishment probably feeds perseverance in some way then?

Adrian Hayes:   21:38
Absolutely. Yeah, and that goes back to the interim goals, the smaller goals, that you can set and tick off.

Kim Forrester:   21:43
Now, you have served in the British military, and including in the Special Forces. You've travelled to the most extreme parts of the world. You've written three books. Once you have the ability to persevere in pursuing one type of goal, Adrian, like climbing a mountain, does it automatically convert into other areas, such as completing a book? In other words, are you great at persevering at everything or are there some things that you still struggle through?

Adrian Hayes:   22:14
I think the trait does branch across different areas of one's life. I would say one thing I didn't say before, which was compartmentalisation. I'm very good at that. I say I'm good at it - let me just rephrase that. I'm actually, I do it. Which again comes back to the blinkers on - what I said earlier. It can be a little bit all-consuming, self consuming. But I think the bigger the goal, the more you need to do that because is just not the time. Or if you dilute it too much, you will end up, sort of, just not achieving anything. I think it does, again, I think if it's important enough to you, it does carry across all areas of one's life. And I'll give you one example. I mean that the hardest challenge ... and I know we've spoken a lot about physical goals in this interview. And people, perhaps some people listening, are 'Oh, he's just physically, you know, fit and he loves physical challenges.' Well, let me just put something else on it; a personal challenge, which was a five year battle through, I'll just say family courts. A  five year battle through a family court with constant setbacks. I mean and I just persevered. And frankly, it's the hardest challenge I've ever had in my life. It beats K2, North Pole and Everest put together. The hardest challenge I've ever had in my whole life. But I just persevered because I believed what I was doing was right. And I just put up with these setbacks, which had me in tears. I was you know, I just wept on many stages because of the setbacks. But you just pick yourself up and just keep going for it.

Kim Forrester:   23:59
That strikes me as the kind of endurance that most of my listeners will feel familiar with. Right? Not everyone has climbed a mountain or gone to the poles, but we've all had to get up, day after day, to deal with something that is deeply emotional and incredibly challenging emotionally. What was it that you were plugging into every morning? On the times that you wept, what was it you were plugging back into that got you up and kept you going? 

Adrian Hayes:   24:28
Well, I think, I said early, again, that in the setbacks sort of looking at the reason for us. You know what ... You know, in that moments of despair. In fact, I'd say one more ... just looking for a reason behind it. But also, there's a quote. I love this. 'From our greatest despairs comes our greatest learnings.' It's hard to look at it at the time, but when you speak to people who've had terminal illnesses, people who've had terrible accidents, and things of tragedies have happened, some people succumb; will end up in depression. Some people will end up resorting to drink or to drugs, or whatever it is. But if you can realise - and sometimes it takes years later - that there is learning in the darkness, and that perhaps keeps one going. It kept me going - that there's learning behind it. And I think there was in this particular case.

Kim Forrester:   25:17
What's really vital there, that you've just spoken about, though, is the act of persevering is kind of underpinned by the sense that, at sometime in the future, this may make sense to me. Or in sometime in the future, I will see how I have benefited. Do you feel that ... you say living in the moment, being present, is incredibly good for us. But having perhaps a faith, or knowing, or just hope that there's something in the future, do you feel that's really vital as well? 

Adrian Hayes:   25:49
Yeah, and I you know, I don't speak about the deeper stuff too much. I think it's everyone's own personal, whatever they believe in or not believe in. And that's up to them. It doesn't really matter to anyone else what that is. In my personal view, I may upset a few people. But, you know, I think we all live ... apart from striving for happiness, which most of us are, we do have that hope and hope is a powerful sort of weapon to use in the darkest times. But, you know, sometimes ... I've spoken about blinkers on. I've spoken about compartmentalisation. I've spoken about that determination, that perseverance. Sometimes there's a detriment to that. And it's when you put the blinkers on and you compartmentalise so much that you fail to see the bigger picture. And I think that's where sometimes it can become unhealthy.

Kim Forrester:   26:44
Let's talk about that. Let's talk about when people stick to a personal pursuit, whether it be mountain climbing or, perhaps, a job or a relationship, well beyond the point where it's actually healthy for them. How do we know when we are walking away for our own benefit, as opposed to 'giving up'?

Adrian Hayes:   27:07
Yeah, I suppose the relationship's perhaps the best one. And I've got a very simple thing: not all relationships are meant to last. I mean, ideally, they'll last. But you think about our lives - we have business colleagues, we have school friends, we have friends, we have partners. Most of the partners, obviously, some people are lucky enough to have one for life. But in general, people come and go through our lives, you know? So not all relationships are meant to last. So that's one. But I think it goes back to we, perhaps, get tunnel vision. And maybe that's where I contrast 'the blinkers on', which I think is a very good trait. Blinkers on; shutting all else out to go for this goal, whatever we've put on ourselves. Compartmentalisation I think's a very positive train. I don't believe in multi tasking. I think you know, people say men can't multi task. Well, there are scientific studies about that, you are taken away from these things. So, I think compartmentalisation, in general, is a positive thing. But tunnel vision, for some reason that word tends to me to bring up a little bit negative. It means you cannot see outside the tunnel. So the blinkers, you can always take the blinkers off and have a little look outside and see what's going on. The compartmentalisation, you can always go into, tap into the other areas of the brain. But the tunnel vision, you're stuck in this tunnel and you cannot see the wood for the trees. And I think that's where people get it wrong. And the simple case on K2, which is, you know, the world's second highest mountain; it's the subject of my new book, One Man's Climb - which incidentally, I was asked to write by the daughter of the guy who got killed, okay? And I think he became tunnel visioned about reaching that summit at all costs. And he and his son - and experienced mountain guys, by the way. We're not talking, you know, tourists. A highly well-known mountain guide and his highly experienced son. I think the mountain guide became tunnel visioned on it and just couldn't see outside that obsession. And this is where I suppose obsession becomes, again, another negative trait. So compartmentalisation, determination, perseverance, great. But tunnel vision, no.

Kim Forrester:   29:15
How do we know the difference? How do we know when our blinkers have lead us into a tunnel?

Adrian Hayes:   29:21
It's a great question, because I don't think we do know. We can't see it. But I think that then comes to actually asking other people, and getting other people's views. People whose motivations are for the good of yourself, not for their own self purposes. And, you know, having that deep chat with people, 'What do you think about this?' Sometimes our partners, perhaps, are too close to us to give an objective viewpoint. But if you've got a trusted colleague. You know, trust is a huge thing. You know, it's a fantastic trait that you have with people ... but asking them their opinions.

Kim Forrester:   29:58
How about feedback from our own bodies, our own emotional bodies? I know that we often get feedback in our emotional bodies when we are in situations where we're better off walking away. Do you feel that we should pay attention to that kind of feedback and does it help us understand when it's time to actually step out of the tunnel?

Adrian Hayes:   30:19
I think our bodies are remarkable things. The bodies will adapt. I mean, I take the equation: you go into space, basically, the body is just ... your legs dissolve. You don't need legs in space, so they end up like Mr Blobby. Go to altitude, blood is sent to the core's. Fingers are important, but the body thinks one step ahead. It doesn't think you might need these fingers for tapping on an iPhone. And the same with with coldness, you know. So the body will give you signs. And I know, again, 'You've got a tap in your body.' I mean, it sounds quite so heuristic, but you've gotta know your body very, very well. Notice when things aren't quite working. Again, it's this whole awareness and consciousness side of knowing when things don't feel right. Or even take gut instinct. What is gut instinct? Well, it's an energetic thing. Depends on what you look at it. But, you know, if you really tap into that, what's that sort of saying? It depends how, where you are of your body. So I think that sort of thing is perhaps taking you out a tunnel vision side. And I also think, when I'm questioning things, I go for a walk in nature, and I look up at the sky. And it's just ... it gets us away from the screens, because I've got, you know, a massive battle with screen time. The whole world ... the way the world is moving to being addicted to our screens. But get into nature - and you don't need to be climbing to the top of Everest or anything, but just go for a walk in the woods, or on the plains. I live in the New Forest in Hampshire. It just gives me a different perspective, that's all. Just to again, a little ... I don't know, you just get to think a little bit more out of your own little tunnel vision side of things.

Kim Forrester:   32:02
So, outside of being an adventurer and a very physical accomplisher, you also partake in a lot of economic, social and environmental sustainability campaigns. Indeed, your advocacy for greater consciousness and mindfulness, as well, is a huge part of what you do. In these areas, you're actually fighting against pretty entrenched systems and ideas. How do you persevere in this work? Is it the same kind of perseverance as when you're out climbing a mountain. 

Adrian Hayes:   32:39
Yeah, look, I'm passionate about sustainability, and it's probably the most overused yet misunderstood word in the English language today. I think 75% ,80% of the world's problems are because we don't understand the concept. And, very briefly, everything we do in our lives will fall into one of three pillars: our economy, our society, or our environment. What people don't get is that, whatever you do in one of those three pillars will affect all the others. And you can't solve problems in one without looking all three together. So imagine these three circles coming together. That interlinking bit in the middle, that's sustainability. So when you understand that you think, 'Ah, yes' - the sort of fingers click and the key drops - that that's the reason for this. So you are, you know ... climate change, for instance, is very big, very topical these days. Now the problem ... and it's very fashionable for polar explorers to be climate change advocates and all that. I'm not. It's a serious problem. The earth is warming, but climate change is only one part of that whole environmental circle. There's a whole other things out there that you've got to look at; the whole things together. Resource depletion, deforestation, antibiotic resistance. Everything comes together. And also the way we're looking at climate change campaigns, we're looking at one part only of that climate change, which is to reduce carbon emissions. There's a whole host of things in there. But if you put the whole society and economy together, you've gotta look at all these strings. And the big ones that nobody will touch. Economic growth. Arrgh. And it's not about stopping growth, but economic growth is one of the big elephants in the room, and the second one is the numbers on our Earth. And that's what we need to be addressing. But of course they're so toxic, people don't address him. But when you address that, you can get that sustainability on route.

Kim Forrester:   34:24
So you'll meet a lot of people who, you start talking like that and they'll roll their eyes. Especially those, you know, in certain entrenched systems around the world. What makes you persevere through that conversation? Do you think you're chipping away at people's concepts and ideas of the world? 

Adrian Hayes:   34:41
Well, look, I'm passionate about the world we live in, and that came, again, from the childhood dreams. I'm passionate about wildernesses. I'm passionate about these ice caps, and mountains, and forests, and nature itself, and I want to keep them preserved. And, as I said, I don't like them being overrun by ... we have to ... people say about everything: the pollution, and deforestation, and resource depletion, climate change and car emissions. Well, you know, if you've 7.4 billion people on Earth, and it could you know - I don't want to be negative - but unless with that numbers, what is ... that's the consequence. So I think the world is changing. We're getting, as I said, one good thing about the Internet about, you know, people becoming more and more aware of things. So I think that the truths are ebbing away. But I think, you know, we've lost the thing ... the economic growth, we've forgotten what the purpose of growth was. And we've become growth for growth's sake. And I think Bhutan - one of my favourite countries in the world - we perhaps get a little bit of lessons from there. Gross Happiness Index, not Gross Domestic Product.

Kim Forrester:   35:44
Absolutely. There are wonderful, different ways that we can do things. Now, other than the fact that you're a tenacious man and you can overcome enormous obstacles, what else have you learned about yourself as you've persevered through life's challenges? 

Adrian Hayes:   35:59
Well, I think what I've learned about myself is that we're all pretty capable of enormous things. And I put two examples, and I often speak about this. I mean, there's been cases across the world, documented, where ... let's give an example. A small lady's child is under the wheels of a car and the driver's unconscious or something, and no one's helping, the child's screaming. And this lady 's managed to lift up the car with their bare hands, and all the rest of it. It's superhuman feats of strength. Or I take another one, where people have been diagnosed: six months to live. They've been cancer, sadly, cancer. You know, out of control, six months to live, a year to live. And these people have done the most incredible things in that time that they've had left on Earth. And I suppose the coaching world works by, 'Well, if we've got all this potential, do we need a crisis to unlock it? Or the tools and techniques, the models, the mantras, the lessons, the learnings - all this stuff - to unlock it?' And I think that's what I did when I got in the whole world of development, from the late nineties. It's just, well we've got this potential, let's unlock it. And, again, it depends of how much badly you want it.

Kim Forrester:   37:06
So my final question, Adrian. I'm incredibly grateful for your time so far. This is a question I ask all my guests on the Eudaemonia podcast. Can you recommend a morning reminder - so this might be a daily ritual, a practice, perhaps even an affirmation - that can inspire my listeners to persevere through life's inevitable challenges?

Adrian Hayes:   37:26
Yes, it is. Now, I know a lot of my personal development friends will say they do the meditation; the 20 minutes and 30 minutes. I haven't got time for that sorry, folks. But what I do, when I get up in the morning, I go outside and I walk for about a couple of minutes, breathe the air in, look up at the sky. Okay, I'm still alive, still healthy. It's all good. And then I go back, and then I go on my screens. So I think that two minute walk in the morning is ... that's a great affirmation.

Kim Forrester:   37:53
That's really powerful, before you even pick up your phone and have a look on Twitter. Adrian Hayes, if people want to know more about you, they want to perhaps get a hold of your latest book, where can they find you?

Adrian Hayes:   38:04
They can find my website and everything links to social media sites and the book. It's all there.

Kim Forrester:   38:14
Well, I am incredibly grateful for your time, as I say, and I wish you a very pleasant evening up here on the top of the hill in Singapore.

Adrian Hayes:   38:20
Thanks very much.  

Kim Forrester:   38:23
The ancient Greek philosopher, Plutarch once said, 'Perseverance is more prevailing than violence, and many things which cannot be overcome when they are together yield themselves up when taken little by little.' You've been listening to the Eudaemonia podcast. If you'd like to learn more about how to live a truly flourishing life, please subscribe and check out for more inspiring episodes. I'm Kim Forrester. Until next time, be well, be kind to yourself, and when life knocks you down, get back up and persevere.