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

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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