RJ Singh shares how he overcame a life of violence, crime, youth detention, jails and alcohol addiction and created his ultra habits framework.
RJ Singh is a corporate director, ultra-endurance athlete, self-mastery mentor and devoted family man. His mission is to lead by example and share the #ultrahabits needed to achieve peak performance in all areas of life.
With a rare magnetic personality that naturally draws you in, he can’t help but inspire his audience. Maybe it’s deciding to run a marathon, start waking at four AM to improve productivity, or adopt a no-excuses attitude, RJ is someone that leaves a lasting impression on everyone he meets.
RJ’s journey involves overcoming violence, crime, youth detention, jails and alcohol addiction. With the support of strong male mentors, he got on the path to sobriety and self-mastery. Through his own experiences, he developed his pioneering framework; #ultrahabits that empowered him to rebuild and master his mind, body and spirit and lead to limitless possibilities.
RJ passionately teaches this ultra performance way of living to his community through social media, speaking events, mentoring, and his podcast Ultrahabits. He equips his audience with the tools they need to harness and unleash their absolute best selves.
Stephen Box 0:01
Two habit specialists walk into a meeting. No, thankfully, this is not the start of a bad joke. It's the start of a great conversation.
The right habits puts you in control of your health, relationships, mindset, and more. But most people lack the tools to stick with those habits long enough to see results that is about to change. Welcome to the unshakable habits podcast with your host habit change specialist and speaker Stephen Box. Join us each week as experts share their stories, experiences and insights and give you the tools to build unshakable habits so you can live life on your terms. It's time to take your habits from unsustainable to unshakable.
Stephen Box 0:56
Welcome to the unshakable habits podcast, I am your host, Stephen Box. And today I am joined by executive performance coach and founder of ultra habits, RJ Singh. RJ Welcome to the show, man. Thanks for having me, Mr. unshakeable habits. I feel like we might have some things in common, right.
RJ Singh 1:21
maybe just maybe, maybe slightly, we'll probably have to look hard to find them though. Right? Yeah,
Stephen Box 1:26
I mean, now, what's gonna be really interesting is to see where we may be different a little bit on our approaches, because I know everybody has their preferred format for stuff. But at the same time, there's more than one way to get things done. So I'm going to be really interested to see the things that we're in alignment with and the things where maybe we disagree a little bit. So can be a lot of I think,
RJ Singh 1:48
I think context determines a lot of the process, right? Oh, yeah. And so our context might be different.
Stephen Box 1:57
Yes. So we're gonna dive into that. But share with me, what made you get into habits what why did you found ultra habits.
RJ Singh 2:09
Interestingly enough, I actually didn't know I was obsessed with habits until it got unpacked through a multiple day coaching session with a business strategist that I was working with. And she actually identified that at the base of my values, were the love of habits, I actually didn't know. I didn't have a word to it. And I guess what was unpacked through that session was that through the implementation of strong processes, habits, and behaviors, I had been able to transform my life. And one of the most valuable things that came out of the session with with this woman was that she actually put language to that process.
Stephen Box 3:03
Yeah, it's it's incredible how just putting words to it, I actually had a similar experience in western UK and my passion for it was reading the book, The E myth. I don't know if you've ever read that or not. But it's all about systems. And they have somebody explain it in that way. It just clicked for me because I was like, that's what I do. I'm a systems guy. And then I kind of realized, that's what habits are habits are just behaviors that fit into a system.
RJ Singh 3:35
That's really interesting. So there was a guest that I had on my podcast, his name was Dan markovitz. And he's a serial contributor to the Harvard Business Review. And he's a lean manufacturing guy, Six Sigma, black belt guy, right. I'm not a process driven, operational guy at work. I'm quite abstract. But I, I kept reading his articles over the years and resonating deeply with his stuff. And when I had him on the podcast, what I realized was that the reason that I loved his optimization practices in lean methodology was not necessarily the application for business, but for personal life. Right, like so. A lot of systems that are relevant to business or manufacturing, or whatever processes we have out in the world are so relevant to our lives and optimization of ourselves. And it was interesting that I resonated with his material on a personal level, even though I don't necessarily move and groove that way in terms of my work. Yeah.
Stephen Box 4:47
Yeah, it's weird because I think in different parts of our life, maybe we approach things from a slightly different perspective. And it goes back to what you said earlier. It's about the context. When you're a word Do you have certain objectives, certain things you're trying to get done. So you have a style that fits those objectives. in your personal life, you may apply a completely different style to it.
RJ Singh 5:10
I feel that and I find that so my corporate life, I'm an executive in corporate land, I'm head of growth. So effectively sales. There's a process there, a lot of people don't realize, but a lot of that process has become intuitive and easy. For me. Where I find process relevant for life is actually feel my life is far more complex, because it requires the integration of different channels. How do I effectively integrate wife, children, all under for two businesses, ultra endurance running, meditation, podcasting, you need systems as you'd appreciate? Yeah.
Stephen Box 5:57
Yes. And, you know, I can relate to that on so many levels, because it's the same way. You know, I spent a lot of years in management and sales myself. And you know, now I have in my own business for the last decade plus and dealing with a lot of the same thing he just mentioned, it's always been for me, when it comes to work. I understand what's going to happen. I can anticipate things I act preemptively on things. So the systems work, because I can kind of outline all that stuff. And I can anticipate stuff. Only very, so often, when things happen outside of my expectations, they kind of throw the system off a little bit. But when you're talking about personal life, you're talking about dealing with family and friends and all this other stuff, man, there's just no guarantees at all. There's no predictability. You can't have these rigid systems. And I've seen people that have done this. I've had clients that like this, they try to treat their home life. Exactly like their work life. I'm like, that's that's the way to get divorced. That's that's what that's
RJ Singh 7:08
Mm hmm. Again, this context dictates meaning and how we operate, right?
Stephen Box 7:15
Yeah. So what have you found that their habits have done for you in your life? You said, it's really helped you make a lot of changes in your life. So what give us some examples of both?
RJ Singh 7:29
Yeah, so for those that don't know, I wasn't always a habit orientated or healthy person, like I grew up in California, I became a ward of the state, very young, in and out of trouble in and out of jails, juvenile halls, youth facilities, ultimately, adult jails, and prisons. And by the age of 25, I was an extremely dysfunctional, psychologically warped, unhealthy physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, individually, I was living a life of crime, I made money fast, and I made money the wrong way. And everything you could say, I was habituated, because irrespective of whether we realize it or not, habits are agnostic. They're like, what I mean is you can have bad habits as well. And I was completely habituated to the bad, and the unhealthy. And, um, I left the United States in 2008, came to Australia, through some chaotic events. And I landed here, and I swore that I was going to change my life, I swore that the geographical shift was going to yield some new forces within my life and my being that would enable me to just miraculously change. Yeah. And within two and a half years, I was I was, I was a I was wrecked. And this time in an unfamiliar place, no relatives, no family, no friends. And I, I hit a rock bottom, like a massive rock bottom, I had been through a lot of worse things, and never hit a rock bottom, but I hit an emotional low. And there was this serene moment where I realized I could no longer live this way. I just, I just, it was subtle, but a profound, I give up. Yeah. And that was a moment of psychological transformation. And over the next 10 years, I started to re orientate myself, through to positivity, through business, through fitness, through spirituality, through better eating. And within all these channels, whenever you embark on any pursue, you start to gain insights. You start to do things develop practices. And through that you form habits and you reform habits, you know, and that's kind of how my journey into habits started.
Stephen Box 10:15
So you mentioned you kind of had this point where you hit this this low point. Do you remember? Was it a specific event that kind of pushed you there? Or was it a combination of things?
RJ Singh 10:31
Towards the end of my drinking, here in Australia, I was no longer living a criminal life when I got to Australia to work, which was interesting working after never working and being in a completely different country. And within the space of January 2008, I'm in California Bay Area doing what I'm doing. And now in March 2008, I'm in an apartment in Brisbane, Australia with a tele sales job. And I don't even know how to make an egg. Like I'm completely ill prepared for life, you know, three years or two and a half years later, when I have my rock bottom, whatever it was 2010. I had three DUIs accumulate, accumulated three DUIs. I was now at a place in my drinking, where every night I went out, I would have a drink or two, and I come home battered and bruised, because I would just pick fights, I was angry, I was, I was looking for attention, I was looking for validation. And the only way I could find it was through rage. I was breaking down randomly crying through the night crying in front of I was just it was it was absolutely total emotional and spiritual bankruptcy and breakdown, which then on the back of these three DUIs, which was external pressure. So the internal pressure, and now this external pressure of going to jail in prison here in Australia, after leaving the United States that come here, and thinking I was going to do something better, those two things, created a breakdown, which could have ever either lead to suicide, or transformation. And lucky for me, suicide was never an option. So there was only one way from there. And that was up.
And I've remembered the moment. I'll never forget the moment and the feeling when that happened.
Stephen Box 12:36
So So what was that moment like for you just
RJ Singh 12:41
that the moment was in my room in my apartment, standing there, realizing I could no longer live like this, my shoulders just dropped. And there was this moment of the weight of an elephant rising off of my chest. Because I knew at that very moment, I would no longer struggle with the choice in the Battle of Am I going to have a drink or not. Because it was no longer an option. At that moment, it was no longer an option. And because it was no longer an option, the weight of the world was literally lifted off my chest, and I made of call to a friend. And I knew where to go, I got involved in the recovery community early on, even in my using and drinking as a young person, you know, I was in and out of 12 steps and, and I knew what I needed to do to get sober. I knew where to go, you know? And that was it. It was it was a moment when when you hit a rock bottom like that. There's the reason it's such a gift, they call it the gift of desperation in recovery, is because you can't actually give it to anyone. You can't wish it upon anyone it has to be received. Yeah, and no one really knows how it's received. But immediately, the shackles were off my arms and my legs when that happened.
Stephen Box 14:12
Well, it's it's interesting that especially what you said that, you know, it's it's a gift. It's something that has to be received, because I think you kind of hit on. We talked about things like 12 step programs, right? It's something where if a system in a system works, works, but just like, you know, when I'm teaching people habits when you're teaching people habits, we're teaching people, these systems, these processes for putting those habits in. If the person doesn't want to change, if they don't believe in their heart that they can have the change, then they can't get it, which is why a lot of times my approach is I always start people off really small things. It's to build the confidence because I see so often people they try to take on the big monumental thing, like you say, when you first went to Australia was this, like, okay, I just, you know, got to this new country, I don't know anybody, I'm completely new here, I had, you know, this life where I was going to jail and doing everything else back in the US. And now I'm going to come over here and magically, I'm going to turn my life around overnight, right like this. I mean, the thing is, that's not even uncommon, that's pretty common to what most of us think we're going to do, you know, somebody decides they need to lose 20 pounds, all sudden, they're gonna, you know, wake up at five o'clock in the morning, even though they usually get up at eight. And they're going to get rid of all the junk food in their house, and they're gonna eat healthy, and they're gonna drink a gallon of water every day. Like, they're, they're gonna watch a rocky movie and like, start drinking raw A's and chasing chickens or something mean, you know, just like, that's not realistic.
RJ Singh 15:56
Yeah, in 12 step, we talk about, you know, you have a lot of burning bush moments and come to Jesus moments out there, and I'm not talking about that, you know, in recovery, we talk about the spiritual development via the the educational variety, or means. And what that means is, many of us don't have a come to Jesus moment with change. Like you said, it's this small educational piece where we commence a path, we feel the winds, we start to get a feedback loop for our environment, that we're doing the right thing, we start to build a new sense of identity, which is huge. I had Anthony trucks on my podcast, who's an NFL, ex NFL player, and his whole thing is identity shift is an intrinsic connection between identity and habits, because your habits will ultimately support your identity. And when you're embarking on a transformation is, you know, effectively, what you're doing is you're reshaping your identity. And that's not going to happen overnight. A lot of people have a burning bush moment, but most don't. That and just on that that's why the 12 step community is so successful. It's because it's a community. Yeah, it's so it's a community, with a strong system in the community reinforces that system via meetings and conversations and sponsors and all that stuff.
Stephen Box 17:25
Yep. So I think one thing that people I hope can take out of that is, and I know this is especially true for us, guys, we tend to be a little bit proud and think we can do everything on our own. If you want to successfully change whether that means hiring a coach, getting a best friend to hold you accountable when joining an organization, whatever the case is, you need a support system. For sure. Absolutely. I mean, nobody does this alone.
RJ Singh 17:59
You need a tribe, man. You know, I'm not a fitness instructor. But I do fitness, right? Like I'm in it. It's a big part of my life. And people want to I mean, everyone wants to lose weight bla bla, people know I'm an ultra runner and they're like, all you know, I love the run, blah, blah, blah, but it's not my body. I'm like, dude, ultra running for me is my expression because it suits my body type running that for suits me you find what works for you and then find your tribe. Yeah, that's why the power of a good gym, a community driven gym, with people that are actually asking when you walk in how you go in the celebrating the wins. Sometimes these gyms are a little bit more, you need to pay a little bit more for a PT and a community. But it's totally worth it. Because if you don't have that discipline, to go into a big box gym and be motivated and inspired on your own, you're going to require that community, that strong support group that's actually helping you when times are tough.
Stephen Box 18:57
Yep. It's easy to stick with things when things are going well. That's it. Yep. So let me ask you, man, if you had somebody sitting in front of you right now, that was in the same situation that you found yourself in, when you were at that lowest point? What would your advice to that person be?
RJ Singh 19:21
Yeah, it depends on what was that if it was specifically drugs and alcohol, which was really my kryptonite at the at the at the, at the base in the root of all my external crime and law breaking and all that stuff? Really, that was all a manifestation of my addiction. So if I was talking to someone specifically about addiction, who wasn't ready for change, I would say to them to keep close in keep engaged in conversations with people that have come out of addiction. Because when you're willing and ready, the more reference points and the more illustrated examples you have around you, of people that have done it, the more likely you're going to buy in a good example of that is in the recovery community, we see a lot of people that have kids, their kids come in early to recovery. Well, why is because as soon as they start going down that slippery slope, they have a parent who's been sober for 30 years, and they know exactly where to go and what to do. Because they've already been exposed. What for me, I've been going to recovery, AA, and all that since I was 16. So I already knew even though when I wasn't ready, all those earlier years, I knew right where to go, you know, for someone that's immediately ready. Now they are at that breaking point, that jump off point, I would say lean into it. Lean right into it. expose yourself. Because on the other end of that discomfort, and and perceived fear, that's where the growth is. Yeah, that's where it's at. You got to lean straight in.
Stephen Box 21:14
I think that's great advice. Because I've seen this a lot. I've even seen in my own life, where the hardest things are the things that you're giving yourself a bunch of excuses about. Right? And well, you know, I've had this circumstance where I've had this circumstance, right, what has happened to me, and it's always something external, is not into, we can say, you know, what, maybe there are some external things, they had an impact. But ultimately, I chose how to react to those things. And I've made poor decisions in the way I react. And only I have the power to choose how I'm going to react going forward. And until you can internalize that and accept responsibility for your situation, it's nearly impossible to change it.
RJ Singh 22:05
110%. And I think what people don't realize is that the human ego is such where it will actually look to preserve an identity, even an identity built on victimhood, or dysfunction. Because a preservation of an identity that is not working, is still better to the ego, than the fear of nothing. And so what we'll do is we will give ourselves justification, because it kind of feels good to continue to be the victim sometimes, or it kind of feels good to talk about woe is me, and how hard was my life? Because it gives me that identification, you know, that we all strive for?
Stephen Box 23:02
Yeah, it gives you clarity, right? It's, you feel like you have an identity, you're not you're not having to search for it. I think it's also easier for a lot of people to kind of fall down that path. Because let's be honest, if you don't have to blame anybody, but if you can blame everybody else, and you don't have to blame yourself, and now becomes super easy to not feel like you're failing.
RJ Singh 23:29
Yeah, many don't realize that. A significant path to freedom is Extreme Ownership. It's actually the inverse. Yeah. You know, the the stoics know, this people that that that study stoicism, notice that it's about really owning your part in everything, which in turn, allows us the opportunity to be truly free.
Stephen Box 24:02
Yeah, it's, it's really interesting to realize that a lot of the fears that you might have about letting go who you are and taking that responsibility, because let's be honest, when you're in that situation, that is a scary moment to have, right? Like, okay, I'm willing to let go this entire identity that I formed. And as one of my mentors, says, All behaviors are your either an expression of who we want to be or who we want to appear to be. Or they are solving a problem. So when you're talking about changing your behavior, when you're talking about accepting responsibility for what's happening in your life, what you're really doing is you're letting go of all your solutions. And that's a scary moment in this field, You get on the other side, did you realize the freeing the how freeing it really was?
RJ Singh 25:04
I think that go there is to realize that our solutions only got us to where we're at. Yeah, right. Yeah. Like our best thinking is got us exactly where we are. And we cannot. I think Einstein said, we can't use the same thinking that created the problem to solve the problem or some shit like that. Like, like, there's some real strength in that.
Stephen Box 25:29
Yeah. Yeah, one of my guests that I've interviewed a couple weeks ago, he won the world championship of public speaking. And he had a coach who had been to the semifinal round, but he had never made it to the finals before. So he had never won. And so when they got to the semi finals, and he won at the semi finals, his coach takes them after the contest, he walks them over to another guy who's won the world championship before and said, I've taken you as far as I can. I can't take you somewhere that I've never been. And he handed them off.
RJ Singh 26:16
That's interesting. I don't know if I necessarily agree with that completely. I think that I think that a lot of coaches are able to get their students far beyond where they got because they have the benefit of experience, but also understanding what they might have lacked. And is well, not I mean, Michael Jordan, Michael Jordan, may not have been able to Michael Jordan may not be able to have done what Phil did his coach with the balls, if he was the coach, even though he's probably one of the best players of all time. Right. So I see what he's saying. I see his point. And it's quite, there's a lot of humility there. Yeah. Um, but I think that he's being potentially a bit hard on on himself as a coach, because there's also that the talent thing, like you may understand the systems and processes, but not have the actual talent. You know, maybe his protege has more talent. You know what I mean? Yeah, I think,
Stephen Box 27:31
I think in this context, that's kind of where my thought process had actually went when he was telling the story is, because now you're talking about somebody that's trying to do the exact same thing as you. It is a talent thing. So he's saying he's more or less saying like, I don't know what it takes to win at the next level, right? Because I can never get there. Whereas, where if you talk about, you know, Phil Jackson analogy, Phil never tried to go out and tell Michael Jordan how to play basketball. Field top, Michael how to think he taught Michael how to deal with what was going on on the court, like Phil took case winner with him everywhere for the X's and O's, right, because I feel I don't know the field has ever actually drawn to play on a whiteboard and his entire life, I'm not sure if he has or not. But from a mental standpoint, his ability to get people into the right frame of mind can bring personalities together. That's why he's one of the greatest coaches of all time. That's why he has so many championships, because feel understood that Phil was a master in that area. So that's how I kind of view that one. Just like he says, slightly different perspective. But I do agree with what you're saying too, though, that you don't necessarily have to be capable of getting somewhere to be able to get somebody else there. But I think it may be in that one instance, or if you're talking about the exact same skill, maybe? Yeah, I think you need to understand the context very well. Yeah.
RJ Singh 29:04
Right. You know, you, you have to understand the context very well. I mean, you know, if you put it in the context of getting sober and the 12 steps, that's why they say other alcoholics are the best at helping other alcoholics get sober. Yeah. Because they know exactly what it takes to deliver long term sustained sobriety, and how to navigate life. So it's all contextual, I suppose.
Stephen Box 29:33
Yeah, I mean, I think it definitely is, is dependent upon the situation. And the interesting thing about it is regardless of whether you get a coach who can take you all the way to the top, or they can only take you to a certain point, and then you get another coach who can take you to the next level, or whether you have that person that can take you all the way to the top themselves. The key point here now, I hope that people don't miss this is that you need the coach because what you don't have is personal knowledge, having given
RJ Singh 30:11
you the frameworks or lacking the framework so lacking and the knowledge of the unknown is you can't just navigate that and create your own frameworks on the fly. It doesn't work like that. And you were 100%. Correct there, huh?
Stephen Box 30:34
Yeah, hey, here's where I think having some experience in understanding things too, is like, I have a framework I use my framework is three parts. The first part is you create a vision. Second part is you create the skills that will help you get to that vision. And then the third part is you take repeated actions to build those skills. It's all about skill mastery. So that's the framework. Now the thing is, you could come to me for something that I know nothing about whatsoever. Right? Somebody could kind of me say, for for marathon or ultra marathon running. Now, in terms of the actual running part, I could probably get you some pretty decent results. Somebody like you who is run ultra marathons would probably be able to get them even better results, even though I have tons of certifications. Because you have experience in doing that I've only ever run a 5k running is not my thing. So for me, I don't have that experience to say, Hey, this is actually what's going to happen when you're running an ultramarathon, right, you have those contextual experiences. But in terms of Can I help the person dial their nutrition in? Can I help them make their workouts more effective? Can I help them reduce their stress levels? Can I help them with their time management in their productivity? My framework can do all of that. So the only thing that I can't necessarily help that person do is build the specific skills they need for that activity.
RJ Singh 32:07
Yeah, yeah. Yeah, totally. I get that. And that's why I think is a coach, a broader coach, you then you, you then work with specific coaches or individuals that can help your clients. There's a network there, right, for instance. And it's an interesting point you brought up for instance, I've had running coaches, some of the best in the world that are runners. I've got a PT now who's a young kid, really into science and data as young guys are, and he and I do a lot of other work. And he takes the wider context of my life into account kids, blah, blah, blah, business. I'm running much better. I feel with him than the running coaches, because the running coaches were just focused on mileage. And they were only looking at my life through their own context. I don't have the opportunity to sleep at noon. These guys do double sessions. They get to sleep during the day. I've got businesses to run. I've got kids, I can't do that shit. Yeah. So I'm fatigued. Come race day. I'm like, I'm like already tired. Right? It's just been it's just been day in day out grinding with no wider consideration. So in many ways, maybe being too close. Yeah. And having too much. context. Makes you tunnel vision. Yeah, interesting, right? Yeah.
Stephen Box 33:47
And you know, it's funny. My wife and I were actually having this exact same conversation. But medical professionals. When you go to a specialist sometimes, although there might be another part of your body that could impact that area that they specialize in. They don't even look at it. Like they literally zero in there. And they're like, well, I can't figure out what the problem is. And all they had to do is go two feet over and there's a problem right there. But they never see it because they were so laser focused on their area of specialty.
RJ Singh 34:23
Yeah, no, it's it's crazy. I mean, my, my PT, we do running form, we focused on my gait. If we were to run, he can't run more than three or four K's holding pace from them, but it doesn't matter. Right, because he's technically sound and know in his knowledge, and he knows what great looks like he knows what good looks like. He's done the research. And then he's also like I said, taking the wider context. So if I had an issue with my back hurting, you know, when I'm running or my arms hurting, he's losing Looking at the way I'm, you know, my that my posture and things like that, where's my running coaches? Those conversations won't even come up. Yeah. Do you know what I mean?
Stephen Box 35:11
Yeah. Yeah, so it's definitely good. And I think that people maybe should realize that sometimes you need help from multiple sides because we talk about the context of understanding a situation. But there's also the the different perspectives that people have. And I think sometimes it can be good to get help in different areas. And like you said, That's why the best coaches, they do have a network, they have other people that they can refer to, that they can reach out to, and that they can bounce ideas off of, because just like you were just saying, you, you have a PT, you have a running coach, you probably have other coaches as well. I have a speech coach, I have a business coach, I have I I'm a certified trainer, I actually I haven't my my certification is technically called elite trainer. Because I hold so many certifications. I've established that level of expertise. And I still hire someone else to do my programming to take it off my plate. Because I don't feel like doing it. And I know that if I tried to do my own. Now I'm only holding myself accountable to me. But by having a coach, I'm now accountable to someone else. So the best coaches have coaches like you say Michael Jordan, by many people's standards is the greatest basketball player of all time. But he had coaches.
RJ Singh 36:46
Tim Grover, yep. Tim Grover. He's written a book called relentless. He was Michael Jordan's, effectively, PT, but became almost a psychologist. He also worked with Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade, and he was recently on the Tom bill, you podcast. And whilst I don't necessarily agree with he's 100%, performance orientated, to the extent of sacrifice of things that I'm not necessarily willing to, but I appreciate it. I can certainly appreciate it. And it's not a moral issue for me, I understand the type of people he's working with. But he effectively is is a personal trainer like yourself, but ended up getting involved in the psychology in the emotional context of his athletes, because you have to Yeah, right. Yeah.
Stephen Box 37:46
It when I started training, it was because I had my own 80 pound weight loss. And that got me inspired to start training. So I became a trainer. I did that for a few years, got some people results, but there were those people who aren't getting results. So I started studying nutrition. Alright, so now I'm doing fitness and nutrition, more people are getting results, they're still people who aren't getting results. So then I started looking at some of the things outside of just the way people exercise the way they ate. And I started seeing the interconnectivity, your work life, your family life, your stress, your spiritual health, your relationships, all of those things have an impact, even as some on something as simple as losing weight. And so I started learning more and more about behavior change. And now I'm at the point where the fitness and nutrition stuff is maybe like 1/6 of what I do, right? Because it's important, but it's like, if you just do it by itself, it's not a lasting thing. Like he says, you become a psychologist. It's a cog in a machine. Yeah. Because if you don't understand the mental game, like you said, Your coach, even though he's not a runner, even though he doesn't have that experience, he has you running better. Why? Because he's not after you getting the absolute best running time he's got after you read the absolute best running form and all this other stuff. He's focused on RJ the person.
RJ Singh 39:21
Yeah, that is why and I was having this conversation with my wife last night. I always struggle. As to whether or not I should be signed up for races, because when I'm signed up for races as I am now, and the last two races, I've been really sick coming into the races. Last one was challenging because it was a long it was about an 11 hour run halfway up to Everest in terms of elevation, and I was really sick, only a few weeks out, and I was training while I was sick and This time, the distance isn't is for my next race, but I got a virus, I got a flu. And what happens is, because the athlete in me, becomes so alive, I forget about the big picture. And then I'm not a professional athlete, and that I've got a whole ecosystem of a life that requires me to have the right energy, you know, be well, but I become completely imbalanced when I have a race on the horizon, you know, and so I'm actually is, you know, even with somebody that is focused on habits and sustainable living, I struggle to and as you know, it's through our own struggles and journeys, that we realize we can help others. But the context of what you're talking about is so relevant for me, because when I have races, I lose all sight of the effective integration and balance sometimes, yeah. Now, if I was a 23 year old, professional ultra runner, and running was at the center of my universe, it'd be a different story, wouldn't it?
Stephen Box 41:01
Right? Hmm. Yep. context matters, right? Hmm. Yeah, you know, it's very interesting. Because there's parts of your life that you do have to be super focused on. But usually, it's only for a short period of time. There's really not a lot of things that we have to be super focused on all the time. And I think sometimes what I see happen with people is I like to use the analogy of a dial, and that dial has a zero to a 10 level. And what happens is, each part of our life has its own dial, and maybe worked out really crazy and worked at a tin will all of a sudden, now your nutrition, instead of maybe putting in data for five, or it's at least halfway decent. You just turn the nutrition knob off, you turn the fitness knob off, you turned the meditation knob off, you turn, you start to turn to you know, maybe you dropped your family knob down to one, right where it's like you're barely paying attention to your family. That creates friction.
RJ Singh 42:17
Certainly does. And that's why a good habit is to I heard this we at my alma mater, where I did my MBA, we have a meet the CEO, where we get top CEOs from Australia come in and, and talk and it's business in life. And I think it was the ex CEO of ironically, McDonald's participante. She was saying that she has to reflect weekly, formerly reflect weekly as to how well she's integrated the different various components of her life, to make sure that the shit doesn't get away from her. She's not ignoring her husband. She's not ignoring our kids. Because it's this continual evaluation without beating ourselves up and realizing we're human and not going into one of the dangers of being habits. orientated is obsessive compulsiveness. Yeah, is in and we just need to make sure we're fluid, we're not rigid, and that we are gentle when we do reflect on how well we've traveled, and may realize that we've ignored certain elements of our life that we should be focusing a little bit more on.
Stephen Box 43:33
Yeah. Yeah, I totally agree with you. And it's ironic, at least I know, for me, I don't know if you teach the same thing or not. But one of the things that I always find a bit of irony in it, but one of the things I teach is, even though I'm teaching you habits, which by definition, are things that we do repeatedly, that we're usually not aware of, the biggest component of everything I teach is about awareness. So there's a bit of irony in there. But it's the point that we started to become unaware. That's when mistakes happen. That's when we stop being as focused on things. And it can start to slip and it's not in seal things have slipped to the point that we think started to negatively impact us that we notice.
RJ Singh 44:29
Huh? Yeah, that's why again, I think journaling is frequently as possible is so important because what it does is it enables us to hold the mirror up quicker to realize that slippage after an hour, two hours or a day versus three weeks. Yeah, right.
Stephen Box 44:52
Yeah, I've got one of my mentors, he said, My only requirement for myself I have is, I have to be on top of my game for 30 minutes a day. He said, Now, that doesn't mean I only work 30 minutes a day, it doesn't mean that, you know, there's not days that I don't do anything at all. or there might be other days where I'm like really focused for hours at a time, like, but my focus is I make sure that each day, I just have 30 minutes of focused work time.
RJ Singh 45:30
And yeah, I find whenever I'm very, I'm quite successful at closing work in terms of the sales context. And I think a big part of my success is that I know, within the sales process, when to really come alive, and become extraordinarily detail, hyper focused. And it's like this when, especially as you get towards these final pitches and presentations, and I peak in terms of focus for a period of time days. And go hard, focus close, and then all subside. Yeah. And I actually it's funny, you mentioned that because I kind of live my life like that. I it's like this, this this continual expansion. Yeah. locus and then I dial it down. And that's how I find it's best to, for me to sustain energy levels long term, you know, because I just can't be hyper focused all the time. I don't even have the attention span for that.
Stephen Box 46:47
But I mean, going we can even use your your ultra marathon running here is a perfect example. Right? Because you can't go at your peak pace for the entire length of that. I've tried. It's impossible. No, nobody can. I mean, even even the most elite of runners can't maintain their absolute peak pace the entire time. You have to learn to pace yourself.
RJ Singh 47:17
I found that competitive advantage also runnings an anomaly because you have variation of topography, typography. Yeah. Heat nutrition, which I've always never I never respected until the like the it took me three and a half years to finally respect the power of nutrition during a race. Yeah, not just being ad hoc. But it ultra marathons are really about managing your engine, your ego, your mindset, in a way that sees you with continuous sustainable output. It's almost the case of kind of out Yes, you it's better to be quick. It's always value in being quick. But in an ultramarathon, especially in the far distances, sex doesn't matter. Usually, at the elite level, usually men win. But in the mid level, women are beating men all the time, even at the elite level. Because with that kind of distance, sometimes men are worse because of their egos. Yeah, but you're 100%. Right. It's just about managing your state. ultramarathons are really good for continually checking in with your state. You have to where am I at? Where's my heart? Right? What's my output? What's my nutrition? Where's my mind that? Hmm.
Stephen Box 48:44
It's also I think, marathon thing is a great analogy, because and I'm using this because I actually just had finished up my sports nutrition certification this week, we'll be graduating study that I did was actually on marathon for a marathon, right. And I basically do the nutrition programming for a marathon runner. And one of the things that was interesting in doing my research and talking with some friends that I know that do marathons is, I didn't know that. Most marathon training programs never take you past 20 miles. Hmm. And so everybody's like, you know, so the question is always like, Well, how do you get to the last 6.2 miles, right? You only train to go 20? And the answer is, because you've trained your body, you've prepared it. And so just like in life, if you want to get somewhere that you've never been, you don't have to wait until you get there to get there, right. You take all the steps you do the actions, you do the prep work, you respect the process. You put in the time, the effort in the work, and then when you get to that point, Your body, your spirit, everything will be ready to take you there.
RJ Singh 50:06
Man, bang on, I don't typically run on road. I've done some long events like seven marathons and consecutive marathons and stuff like that, like just because but road isn't my thing. But I had a good friend who runs on trails. And helps he's extremely technical. He's an engineer. But he wanted to run specifically, he's over four, he wanted to run a two hour 34 minute marathon. Like a weird time. He trained, he trained. He had an 18 week training block or something. But he trained himself to run and hold a pace. That on race day, when he raced in camera, there was wind factor and all that he hit to the number, his time because his body had become so climatized to running at a certain pace. You know, that 18 week block it and he didn't run, he didn't train all the way up to like you said he got up to probably around 20 miles but his body knew what to do. After 20 miles his body knew what to do for the rest of the that the 10 odd miles, right? Yeah, just what? Six Six miles? Sorry, so ultramarathon 50k. So, yeah,
Stephen Box 51:29
you're just you're taking us on up all the way already. So
RJ Singh 51:34
well, cuz we say marathons in the ultra community. We're thinking 50k, at least 30 miles. Yeah. So I always forget that actual real marathon is 26 miles, right? Yeah.
Stephen Box 51:44
Just Just keep in mind that you're talking to the guy who did 3.1 mile. Oh, look, it's all good. But I'm sure you could do more pull up for me. Yeah, it's, it's funny, man. Because I remember doing that 5k. And all I wanted to do, I look kind of see what the average time for a new person is. And I was like, Alright, cool. I'm setting my goal at 30 minutes. That's my goal. I just want to run I want to be able to run the entire thing. And I want to do it in 30 minutes. And I remember coming up on the finish line, and I saw the clock and I at this point, like my visions getting blurry. I don't even know what the second set of numbers is. I could just clearly see the distorted with a 29. And I just hit like this all out sprint. And I actually have the picture of it. I've finished I'm crossing the finish line. like 53 or so I'd like to wait about seven seconds. That's your version of break into. Yeah, so that's, that's that's my running story. I retired after that. I was like, I'm good. You gotta retire when you're on top row. Yeah, I'm retiring. I'm going out on top. I've won the championship. That's it. I mean, I had to give myself the trophy. But that's that's sometimes you have to celebrate your own wins. Right. That's,
RJ Singh 53:01
you know, Snoop Dogg said the other day, I saw some clips. He said, I like to thank me. You know, everyone's always I want to thank you today because I want to thank me for all the hard work I put it was brilliant. Brilliant. Love. So simple, but I've never heard it.
Stephen Box 53:16
I mean, I've heard Terrell Owens say I love me some me, but that seems slightly slightly different. So that's a bit. Yeah, it's a bit different. Way, man, we are reaching our time. And I know you do have some other stuff to go on do after this. I want to respect your time. If you want to real quick, tell everybody exactly what it is that you help people do and having it.
RJ Singh 53:42
Yeah, so my real focus is on the executive that is looking to develop habits in a integrated life with a focus on really what we call ultra performance. So we're not talking about mediocrity, or we're kind of just average results. We're looking at optimization of all areas of our life. And I really focus specifically on the executive context as per our conversation. It's the context that I really understand. We have a podcast, really focused on other executives, military, elite, professional athletes, and we talk about habits and performance. Everything you need to know about me is that WWE dot ultra habits.co. funding.
Stephen Box 54:35
Appreciate it and I will make sure that link gets put into your show notes and page as well. So that way people don't have to go scrambling for a piece of paper to write it down. Yeah, no
RJ Singh 54:45
worries. No, I appreciate it. Thank you so much for our time, Steven. Really appreciate the conversation.
Stephen Box 54:51
Yeah, absolutely. RJ man, appreciate you coming on to the show today and being willing to share your insights, your knowledge and your expertise. As well as your stories with everybody. Thanks, brother. I just want to quickly remind everyone that you can subscribe to the unshakable habits podcast by going to our YouTube page, unshakable habits comm slash YouTube or you can find us anywhere that plays your favorite podcast. This is Stephen Box reminding you that you are not made to be average. And that if you want to take your habits from unsustainable to unshakable, the first step is to take action.
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