Why Working Out Isn’t Working Out with Darryl Edwards – Part 2

In part one of my conversation with Darryl Edwards, we explored his journey from ill health to celebrating his body with playful movement.

The second half of our conversation was just as fascinating, but we turned our attention to how we might cure an illness which is plaguing us worldwide and has done for many years – racism and the injustices that arise from it.

Our conversation was open and honest. Frankly, these are the conversations we all need to start having if we want to rid the world of racism, and create a genuinely fair and just world. If we can do that, we will all see the benefits.

Read on to learn more about Darryl’s experiences of racism, what’s changed and what hasn’t, and the reasons he feels optimistic.

The racism Darryl has experienced

It didn’t take long for Darryl to first experience prejudice based on nothing more than the colour of his skin.

“I grew up in a very multicultural environment – I wasn’t really aware of cultural differences, I knew there were certain things that were different to my neighbours, but I just felt like another human being.”

“It was when I went to primary school, at 5 or 6 years old, I do remember another kid using a racial slur. I went home to my parents and explained what happened.” With a sigh, Darryl recalled his parents explaining: “Son, this is what happens and it’s going to continue to happen and we’re not always going to be there to help you navigate this, but here are some realities you need to be aware of. Here is your history.”

Darryl left university with exceptional qualifications and was ready to apply himself in the working world. He recalled his parents saying to him: “Work hard, get your education, and you can do whatever you want…” but “doors were slammed in my face left right and centre.”

Darryl acknowledges that struggling to get work isn’t always about race, but when being promised a job over the phone and then being turned away when they saw his face, it’s hard to believe he was on a level playing field.

And it didn’t change as he found more professional success. He would be stopped just as often driving his Aston Martin as he was driving a beaten-up old Rover. Even to this day, Darryl finds himself being singled out by security guards in shops.

Things have changed…but racism has stayed the same

Darryl readily admits that we’ve made progress and the landscape has shifted, “It is easier for someone like myself to progress in many ways than it was before, no doubt about it.”

He sees this in personal interactions with friends, colleagues, and strangers, “It would be ludicrous to say that every white person I meet is racist. I certainly know if I went back 50 years, there’d be far more overt displays of racism. The National Front marched in front of my house when I was a kid. That doesn’t happen to me now, so there’s significant progress.”

But whilst individual perceptions of race, racism, and justice have shifted, there are still deeper-rooted issues that show no signs of abating – yet.

“What hasn’t changed so much is this systemic racism – the bias, the things that mean I am more likely to get stopped when I am driving my car, I am likely to be questioned walking down the street.”

Darryl has to consider when and where he goes on runs, after experiences of being stopped by police in the past, with incidents like this occurring “so many times.”

“There is loads of research out there that shows exactly the same CVs with the names changed” and, incredibly, the CVs that use foreign-sounding names perform worse than those with familiar names.

“It is not about an individual’s actions, this is about the fabric, the DNA of our history that affects us today.”

Darryl’s reasons for optimism in the fight against racism

Whilst Darryl is firm in his belief that racism is still prevalent and affecting us in our day-to-day lives, he is “optimistic”.

“I feel, on this occasion, this is the first time that I’ve witnessed more uncomfortable conversations.”

Darryl referred back to our conversation in part one: “It’s a bit like our health and wellness chat earlier, about embracing discomfort and the challenge of taking the difficult path. There’s more of that happening now… We probably wouldn’t have had this conversation a year ago.”

These conversations and people’s willingness to engage in them indicates a deeper consideration for the change that we need to make as a population.

Darryl believes it’s something of a moment of reckoning, “Those who will always continue to feel the way they do will probably continue to feel that way, those who have always wanted to champion this have got even more reason to feel as if it’s worth doing, and those who are on the fence are fed up of getting splinters and decide to follow what’s right for humanity.”

Can I set you a challenge?

You don’t have to accept it, but I’d love it if you do consider it.

Have a conversation like this.

Ask someone you know if they feel ready and up for a difficult conversation about race, about racism, and the part we all play in these systems that oppress people for completely unjust reasons.

Just a with our health, the only way we’re going to make the progress we so desperately need to make is if we start doing what’s difficult.

On the other side of difficulty is health, wealth, and happiness.

Interviews with Game Changers

I have had the opportunity to interview the worlds leading minds on business, health and mindset. You can read the highlights of my podcast interviews by clicking here

Read Game Changers Now

Podcast

The Scale Without Burnout podcast is for business owners who want to learn how to devote equal time to their business, body, relationships & mindset to bring their life into balance.
Get weekly tips and feel empowered with Business Psychologist and host Andrew Sillitoe

Listen to the Podcast

Why Working Out Isn’t Working Out with Darryl Edwards – Part 1

Play isn’t just for kids – it’s one of the most effective ways we can craft healthy habits, happier lives, and productive workplaces.

Darryl Edwards is proof of that. Darryl is The Fitness Explorer – an international speaker, coach, nutritionist, author, and health commentator. But Darryl wasn’t always the picture of health – his journey to whole-health wellbeing started in the early 2000s when he was told he was on a crash course to major health conditions and a potential early death.

Since then, he’s learned how important play is in creating a healthy mind and body. Darryl was kind enough to join me to discuss some of the things he’s learned, so that we can pass them on to you.

Why we need to start sooner rather than later

Darryl only came to his realisation about the importance of mental and physical wellbeing when he received some startling news in an annual health check.

“I got told that I wasn’t well. I had pre-diabetes, one step away from Type 2, chronic hypertension, elevated risk of cardiovascular disease, a really poor cholesterol profile.”

But illnesses like this don’t appear out of nowhere. The truth is Darryl’s lifestyle had been slowly creating these conditions over the course of years.

“We feel bulletproof for a significant amount of time while these conditions are slowly creeping up. In my 20s, I partied hard and worked long hours…It meant sleep deprivation, it meant eating on the go, it meant that time in the gym was an impediment. We could lose millions of pounds with me not sitting at my desk.”

“I put my health and being to one side because I didn’t feel the impact of those things. I felt fine on a few hours sleep and drinking Red Bull for breakfast.”

Self-development is a long-game, though, and Darryl realises now that we have to get started before we are forced to start. It’s why he’s so passionate about spreading his message of wellbeing.

Starting is the hardest part, but it doesn’t have to be huge

“There are ways you can very quickly start on this path of improving your health,” believes Darryl.

And none of them require you to “live like a monk or a nun” – which is welcome news.

The best way to start, according to Darryl, is by “taking a small step down a path that feels sustainable to you, that you can maintain… Once you do that, the scope of that change may widen to incorporate other areas.”

But making significant changes to the way you live your life and treat yourself isn’t a quick fix or an overnight project.

“There is no silver bullet, there is no one thing that will make all the difference,” explained Darryl.

“The cumulative effect of improving your diet a bit, getting more physical activity in, thinking about your sleep quality, reducing unnecessary stress… You add all those things together and it’s like compound interest.”

But it all starts with one small step in the right direction. Don’t try and get started on perfecting every facet of your wellbeing at once – that’s a recipe for burnout and a feeling of failure.

At the other end of the spectrum, Darryl “would definitely guard against trying to focus on perfecting one thing,” like 30-day cleanses or other short-term, intensive programmes.

Starting small means starting smart and sustainably – ticking off small wins as you go along and setting sensible goals.

Where does play come into this?

Before we go into why play is crucial, I think it’s important to use this moment to share a brilliant explanation Darryl gave:

“Play is not a subservient of work. It isn’t superfluous, it isn’t something that should be sought out as an exception to getting the serious work out the way.”

Play is not something that is reserved for children on their lunch breaks at school.

“As adults, we assume play is fun,” Darryl said as he explored this misunderstanding. “That is not the entirety of play – that’s the smallest fraction of play that exists for children when they are given the option to free play.”

“When you free play, you seek out challenge, difficulty, and what is going to be really risky. You calculate risk because there’s a significant reward if you achieve that objective. You’re not seeking out the easy stuff to do, you’re seeking out the things you may have never done. You’re working out ‘I wonder what will happen if I do x or y’.”

Clearly, the power of play extends far beyond just having fun.

“Play should be elevated in far more areas of our lives. It can help improve performance, it can foster creativity, it can increase and improve human social connection, and build teamwork.”

“All the things we are trying to achieve professionally as individuals and collectives benefit far more from a play-based state to delivering those objectives than we do a hard-working state.”

And play is a great addition to our physical activity regimen, too.

“We have higher levels of positive hormones through play. If you’re doing the same activity but doing it in a playful way, you get even more of that feelgood factor. If you’re doing it with other humans, these levels increase even more.”

That means the physical activity we do in a play-state is ‘stickier’. We’re more likely to do it again and make it a sustained effort.

Those small steps referenced earlier are extended when we take them with playfulness.

Why Darryl believes we should all play more

If it wasn’t clear why play is so important at the start of this post, it should be now.

Darryl’s passion for play, and the science that backs up his belief, are abundant. I think he summed it up best when he said:

“If we have a play-based mindset, we remove barriers. We remove boundaries. We become more open to ideas. We are not thinking about what we can’t do, we are thinking about what we can do, so there are more opportunities.”

If you’d like to learn more about Darryl, check out his website Primal Play.

I highly recommend watching Darryl’s Tedx Talk. It’s one of the most powerful talks I’ve ever listened to!

If you want to learn more from Darryl, you can also grab a copy of his fantastic book, Animal Moves.

Interviews with Game Changers

I have had the opportunity to interview the worlds leading minds on business, health and mindset. You can read the highlights of my podcast interviews by clicking here

Read Game Changers Now

Podcast

The Scale Without Burnout podcast is for business owners who want to learn how to devote equal time to their business, body, relationships & mindset to bring their life into balance.
Get weekly tips and feel empowered with Business Psychologist and host Andrew Sillitoe

Listen to the Podcast

How to Create an Unbeatable Mind with Mark Divine

Do you want to learn how to strengthen your thinking and develop an unbeatable mind?

Mark Divine is a former Navy SEAL, New York Times bestselling author, and the founder of multiple million-dollar businesses. He’s also a lifetime Martial Artist and Ashtanga Yoga teacher with a passion for helping others discover and develop a warrior offensive mindset to help deepen their willpower, make better decisions under pressure, and focus on the mission until victory.

Mark has so many incredible lessons and insights to share and he was generous enough to discuss a few with me so that I can share them with you and help you to build a truly unbeatable mind.

Mark Divine on finding his purpose

Although Mark is fully aware of his purpose to be a warrior and help others build an elite mindset, it took him years to come to make that discovery. He grew up in a family whereby negative thinking was the main meal of the day and everyone expected him to join the family business. There were no other options and without knowing it, Mark had been intellectually and psychologically groomed into thinking that that was the only viable option he had.

He soon found himself in a suit and tie, living the same day over and over again. He was chained to a desk, but because he was an athlete, he actively sought opportunities to keep improving himself. He woke up early and ran six miles each morning and during lunch he worked out at the gym.

Then, one day he was walking home, and he heard shouts and screams coming from the second floor of a building. This caught his attention and he turned back to read the sign outside the building that said, “Seido Karate HQ.”

He walked into the building, went up to the second floor, and saw a 5.4 ft Japanese man with a stern expression on his face. Then, unexpectedly, he told a joke and burst into a fit of giggles. As it turns out, that man was Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura, the founder of Seido karate.

Mark signed up on the spot and started to learn not the physical side of martial arts, but he embraced the zen side of Nakamura’s teachings too.

Here are a few kind words Mark shared about Nakamura:

What I saw when I watched Nakamura was a human being, unlike anyone I’d ever seen in my entire life… he had power, humility, leadership, and he had a love for all of his students.”

Mark learned how to calm his mind and concentrate for a lot longer than he ever could before. Doing this completely transformed him and led him to discover his true purpose. He realised that he wasn’t living his story, he was living his parent’s story. He had to break away from that and find his purpose.

I asked… what is my calling? Ironically, I also learned at that moment that if you ask that question, you will get the answer.”

Mark learned to have the stillness necessary to hear the answer, which told him that his purpose was to be an elite warrior.

Your calling is never something that you do, it’s something that you be.”

Nature Vs Nurture

Mark embarked on a journey of self-discovery whereby he became comfortable being alone in nature. He didn’t fear the stillness and instead, sought it out. Being able to be on your own and being content with your own company is so important, especially if you’re into endurance training or sports.

Mark also embraced positive self-talk more in his daily life. Whenever something negative happened, he used to respond with sarcasm or turn to alcohol for comfort. He had to ‘override those patterns’ to change negative situations into positives and to transform fear into courage.

Any time I detected something negative, I zapped it mentally like a lightning bolt and redirected it into something positive or productive.”

Every human has all of the positive qualities accessible to us as people. We don’t need to learn them because they are natural. However, all of the negative qualities of being human such as anger, shame, guilt, and anxiety, are all learned over time.

How to integrate the power of visualisation

Mark believes that visualisation is very powerful, and it can help you to manifest good things in your life. While learning how to visualise properly, Mark adopted two key skills:

1. Controlling his breathing

Being able to control your breathing is so important. It can help you to de-stress and relax when you’re feeling uneasy or overwhelmed. The type of breathing that Mark practices are called ‘Box breathing’ (also known as square breathing). This is a breathing technique that involves taking slow and deep breaths. It is believed to heighten performance and concentration because you’re breathing in, pausing for a few seconds, and then breathing out again.

2. Feeding the ‘courage wolf’

The second skill that Mark worked on to help improve his visualisation skills was ‘feeding the courage wolf.’ This means taming the mind and replacing negative thoughts with positive counterparts. It’s about setting up vigilance for outside negative forces too, helping you to build a stronger mind that can fight off things like anger, shame, guilt, and so on.

Visualisation harnesses the power of subconscious minds. Visualising that you have achieved something that you desperately want and continuing to visualise it can help you to achieve it in real life. The law of manifestation comes into play when your thoughts and positive mindset can create your reality.

Everything in our life comes from some imagery. If you can take control of that imagery and create powerful imagery around your future, then you will create that future.”

Mark leveraged visualisation before he became a Navy SEAL. He visualised himself going to college, graduating, and becoming a Navy SEAL, even though the chances of succeeding were against him. Still, Mark continued to visualise it, and then, nine months later, the recruiter called to share the exciting news that Mark was accepted to join the United States Navy Sea, Air, and Land.

What it means to be an elite warrior

For an elite warrior, every day is precious. If you want to be an elite warrior, you must believe that each day that you’re alive and breathing is a gift. Each day is precious because you never know when it’s going to be your last.

Warriors do everything with total awareness. They don’t change their attitude or lose any awareness no matter who they’re talking to or what task they’re carrying out. If you want to follow the warrior path, you must also do everything with 100% awareness and excellence.

You must recognise that there is something new to learn each day. Each day brings opportunities to learn and grow and it’s up to you whether or not you’re going to seize those opportunities or let them pass you by.

Today is a self-contained life. Mark claims that there is nothing you can’t experience today in terms of humanity. You can either experience the worst of depravity or the highest level of joy and happiness, the choice is yours.

There is only one thing a warrior can control and that’s their own thoughts. They choose what thoughts are allowed to enter their mind and what thoughts can stay there. If you want to think positively and create an unbreakable mind, you must learn to control your thoughts.

The warrior must control the only thing he can control, which is the interior.”

How to know what goals you should focus on

If you’re like most people, you might have a long list of goals that you want to achieve. So, how do you know which goals to focus on?

Mark states that when it comes to defining what goals to focus on, you want to “use the rational mind, but you need to avoid the biases of the rational mind.”

Mark (and his clients) use a decision tool for goal and target selection called FITS, which challenges you to ask yourself these four questions:

  • Does the target or goal fit you and/or your team in terms of skills, capacity, and culture?
  • How important is this relative to the other potential goals or targets on your list?
  • Is the timing right?
  • Can you articulate and define the mission plan in simple enough terms that you have a reasonable chance of success?

Your answers to these questions will help you define your targets and goals. Through intentional breathing, mindfulness, and embracing what it means to ‘feed the courage wolf,’ you can create an unbeatable mind, whether you’re a professional athlete, CEO, small business owner, or still trying to find your calling.

Do you want to learn more from Mark about creating an unbeatable mind?

Find out more about Mark and the ‘Unbeatable Mind Academy’ here and read his incredible book, ‘Unbeatable Mind’ to help you forge resiliency and mental toughness to succeed at an elite level.

Listen to Mark’s podcast, the ‘Unbeatable Mind Podcast’ here.

Interviews with Game Changers

I have had the opportunity to interview the worlds leading minds on business, health and mindset. You can read the highlights of my podcast interviews by clicking here

Read Game Changers Now

Podcast

The Scale Without Burnout podcast is for business owners who want to learn how to devote equal time to their business, body, relationships & mindset to bring their life into balance.
Get weekly tips and feel empowered with Business Psychologist and host Andrew Sillitoe

Listen to the Podcast