“Everything is possible,the impossible simply takes longer.”
What is happiness for you?
Happiness changes with time. I think my happiness was very egoistic until I was 30-35 years old, after that, happiness switched. The focus was only on me, because I needed to understand where I was. Now I’m more comfortable with myself, happiness is about making other people happy. It’s like at Christmas – it’s more fun to give someone a gift than to receive one.
That’s why happiness is sharing. And success?
Success is very individual, and it also changes with time. For me, success is when you do something for yourself, but it makes changes for others. For example, if I have a really good restaurant; people love the food, I make money, and third, it inspires other people to make the quality of the food and the sustainable quality of everything better. I think success should be based on your own personal gain, because if you aren’t happy yourself, you can’t make other people happy. It’s also about giving other people the chance to share your knowledge.
How did you decide to be a coach and go all over the world giving lectures?
I think it began when I started my adventures back in 1994. For example, when I was kayaking from Stockholm to Africa, people asked me: “How long did it take?” – “Six months”. “How many hours did you kayak every day?” – “12 hours.” “Did you want to give up?” – “Yes, every day.” “But you didn’t?” – “No.” “Why not?” – “I don’t know.” I started thinking about why I hadn’t given up and I realised I have a lot of motivational strategies for myself which people are curious to hear. I believe the impossible doesn’t exist, we’ve created the word to explain things we don’t understand. 500 years ago, everything inside this room was impossible. An iPhone in the 13th century, or electricity in the Stone Age… Maybe in 500 years time, all our dreams will be standard, because the impossible is always changing. It’s important to understand that everything we do is possible, you just have to find the right solution. So these things encouraged people to change their mindsets, and that’s when I started coaching and giving lectures. I need to show people that if I can do it, anyone can. If I can climb Mount Everest, anyone can. What we must understand is that the power is within ourselves.
You say the difference between humans and animals is that we have dreams and make plans to reach our goals. Do you think people could live without goals or success?
Happiness is built on 3 things: having something meaningful to do, something to look forward to, and someone to share it with. For example, a dog’s vision is what it’s going to eat and where it’s going to sleep. What makes it complicated for us is having huge dreams, we’re never happy because we can’t always achieve them. We need to understand how to be happy in the present, with what we have, and if you don’t have what you want or what makes you happy, try to change. Life is about change, about evolution, and evolution means getting better all the time. Why is EXPLORING important? Why do we need to step outside our COMFORT ZONE? Well, going back to evolution, in order to move forward, you need to step outside your comfort zone. If I tell you to run five metres, that’s within your comfort zone and you can do it. But if I tell you to run a marathon, it’s outside your comfort zone and you have fears: “Will I look ridiculous when I’m running?”, “Will I not make it?”. But that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome those fears, it means you have to step outside your comfort zone. Exploration is not a geographical journey, it’s an inner discovery of your own true potential. Every time you step outside your comfort zone, you learn something, even if it’s a failure or a mistake. Inside, you are always going round in circles, asking “What if…?” If you never do it, you’ll be 90 years old, looking back on life and asking yourself the same questions. I love the concept of karaoke. People who can’t sing get up and sing on stage in front of other people. I know people who are business leaders, superstars, actors… They’d never sing karaoke, because it’s outside their comfort zone, but they can go to a business meeting in front of ten thousand people. People should do things that make them feel uncomfortable in order to understand it wasn’t so bad.
So, risk is necessary to reach a goal?
You can’t reach a summit in your personal life, love, relationships, business, adventure… if you don’t take risks, calculated risks. If somebody asked me, “Would you be afraid to stand on top of a building with a parachute, and jump off?” I’d say, “No, I wouldn’t be afraid”. “Oh, do you jump off buildings?” – “No.” “Have you ever jumped off a building?” – “No.” “So, why wouldn’t you be afraid?” – “I wouldn’t be standing there if I wasn’t willing to do it!”
You work coaching people all over the world. You train them to solve problems under EXTREME STRESS and to think differently… As a personal coach for world leaders, how would you tell them to face the present environmental situation and poverty in the world?
THE MAIN THING IS THE WILL TO DO.
We have all the solutions, but the question is, are we willing to change our standards and our mindsets? I was discussing the difference between WANT and NEED with the girls earlier: You want 200 pairs of shoes, but you need maybe 20? It’s a mixture of what you need and what you want. The world leaders must understand that we must take things back to basic levels. Leaders should be ROLE MODELS and live a life that people could look up to. If you stop investing trillions of dollars in the military every year, you can solve the world’s energy problems, poverty problems, the whole planet… The question is if we want that, but it’s up to the leaders.
I’m not superhuman,
I just never give up
I don’t know if you have watched the documentary about minimalism. What do you think about this?
Being minimalistic is also a question of what we need and what we want. I’ve just moved from Stockholm to France and I put everything in a warehouse. Now I’ve been without everything for 6 months, and I’m like… What do I actually miss from those hundred boxes I had at home? I have a lot of stuff. I’ll need some things later, for example, my bicycles, my sleds, my climbing gear from the Himalayas, but some things I won’t. It was a bit of a wake-up call. I put my home into boxes, now I live without those boxes and I still feel fine. I actually feel a bit better, because I don’t have the boxes, therefore I don’t worry about them. If that’s the minimalistic point of view, I’m getting there, yes.
You were invited by DEEPAK CHOPRA, a writer and doctor, to discuss dreams, motivation and the meaning of life. What would you highlight about him?
Deepak’s a friend of mine. He’s an interesting character. He mixes health and medicine together with the spiritual part, and he uses a lot of motivational YOGA MEDITATION for health purposes. He believes you can treat diseases with will-power and focus. You must understand that the medical companies are a big industry. They say you should take this pill for a headache – it might help – but that doesn’t mean that drinking tea and going to bed early wouldn’t do the same. Nobody advises you to do that because nobody makes money with it. Many people say that if you take this pill or drug, you’ll get to a level that would take you 5 years of meditation to reach. I’d rather do the 5 years of meditation, without taking drugs. In this case, you’ll reach it in a very natural way, so I do think that that Deepak is partly right. A lot of medication is a placebo, and what Deepak teaches is that we have all the answers in nature, in plants, that we need to look more at nature and at ourselves than using medicines to achieve happiness and cures. If you go out into the forest, everything has YIN and YANG, black and white. If we have the disease, there’s a cure, we’re just looking in the wrong places.
Do you think it’s important to LEARN FROM OUR MISTAKES?
I hope that when I die, I’ll hold the world record for making mistakes! The more mistakes I make, the more I learn… The only real mistake is not daring to make mistakes. It’s important to understand that in order to reach the next level of understanding, of happiness, of everything… we need to take risks. You may fail or you may win, but if you don’t try, you’ll never find out.
What is the CONTRADICTION of HUMANITY in your opinion?
The earth wouldn’t have any problems without humanity. When I die, I’d like to have left something behind that makes this planet a little bit better, because with time, if 7 billion people do the same thing, we’ll advance, but right now we’re going backwards. Humans are part of nature. Once we understand that, we can achieve balance with nature and become part of the ecosystem.
WIN BEFORE YOU START… This is an expression you often use in your lectures, so do you think it’s important to VISUALISE the GOAL before starting?
Yes, I do think so. If I have a meeting where I’m going to sign a contract, I visualise myself signing the contract. It’s a law of attraction. If I want a house in France, I see myself in that house. I see myself going to bed there. If I can’t see myself reaching the summit of a mountain, and I think it’s impossible, I can’t do it. It’s important to visualise yourself reaching the goal to be able to achieve it. If you have a disease, it’s your mindset that’s important. I have friends who were told they had one year to live, and despite what the doctors said, that was 20 years ago and they’re still alive. We can overcome so much just believing in ourselves. Will-power is much stronger than we can ever imagine.
Who do you admire, and why?
I admire everyone who steps outside their comfort zone. I admire the younger generation that is fighting for things we’ve messed up. I admire people who still smile, even though they have nothing – I know people who have everything and never smile. I admire people who use less to do more. I ADMIRE PEOPLE WHO MAKE CHANGES.
What’s your favourite book?
It changes all the time, but for example, “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. Since I’m studying Buddhism, also a lot of Dalai Lama interviews. He says that people can live without religion, but not without love and compassion. That must be the base of everything, if you don’t have love and compassion, it doesn’t matter what you believe in. I’ve just started reading “Sapiens“ and I’ve been told it’s going to be one of my favourites.
We want to thank you for your contribution to the Hospital “Costa del Sol”. What do you think of Marbella?
I like Marbella because it’s very international, lots of people from all over the world together in one place, but you still have the old Spanish traditions… The weather’s good, the food’s fantastic, but the best thing is the people.