Sebastian Junger: Award-Winning Journalist, New York Times Bestselling Author of Tribe, War, A Death in Belmont, Fire, and The Perfect Storm, and Co-Director of Restrepo
There are people in this world who experience and endure almost unbelievable events in their lifetime. This week’s amazing guest, Sebastian Junger, is one of them. Sebastian shares graphic details of his undiagnosed, life-threatening aneurism that burst, causing a 90% blood loss – all internally. He is an award-winning journalist covering major international news stories as well as a documentary film-maker. He has been nominated for an Academy Award. He also has an amazing grasp of human and military-related psychology. In addition, Sebastian is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of The Perfect Storm, Fire, A Death in Belmont, War, Tribe, and Freedom. Sebastian Junger is the founder and director of Vets Town Hall, with the purpose of increasing communication and understanding between veterans and civilians in their communities. In this episode you will hear: If you can’t out run ‘em and you can’t out fight ‘em, you’re gonna have to out think ‘em. When things get physically hard, you gotta figure out how to turn off your mind – don’t let your mind negotiate with you. I was a lackluster student in college, but writing a thesis is the most exciting thing I’d ever done. I made a mistake and hit my leg with a chainsaw. There are really dangerous jobs out there with a mortality rate of combat soldiers. The majority of veteran suicides are primarily Vietnam-era veterans. It may not be caused by a combat issue as much as it could be life issues. While working as a journalist In Liberia, I was accused of being a spy. They came to get me and I hid on the roof of my hotel, with the embassy 300 yards away. In combat, you’re proactive. You have urgency. You can affect the outcome. There is a moral burden in killing the enemy. I had an undiagnosed aneurism – a deformity - in my Pancreatic Artery. It ballooned out & it burst, causing me to bleed out into my own abdomen. I lost 90% of my blood, and as I was dying, and my dead father showed up above me – trying to comfort me. If you can’t defend yourself and your community, you’re not going to be free for very long. The trick for human freedom is to be militaristic enough and organized enough to defend yourself against an enemy, but also create an equitable society at home. Humans don’t survive in nature by themselves – they need other people. How do you return a warrior to society? You can leave the front lines, but eventually, it’s gonna find you. We walked almost 400 miles and most nights we were the only people in the world who knew where we were. There are many definitions of freedom but surely that is one of them. If you can separate your body & your mind, you can do almost anything. My daughter once said: “Daddy, I’m small, but I’m huge when I stand in the light.” Public accounting of what it felt like to serve your country overseas can be very cathartic.
1 hr 14 min
Best of TNQ - Will Chesney: Retired Navy SEAL K9 Handler who helped take down Bin Laden, Author of Best Selling Book “No Ordinary Dog”
In this week’s podcast, you will hear the incredible story of the mission to locate and kill Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade center by one of two dozen Navy SEALs, Will Chesney, who was a K9 handler in that operation. Will’s dog, “Cairo”, was instrumental in helping to successfully accomplish the mission. After that mission, only one name was made public: Cairo’s. Will’s story is one of an irrevocable tie to his dog, as well as straightforward talk about his personal struggles with depression, migraines, chronic pain, and memory loss. In this episode you will hear: On SEAL Team 4, I got the trifecta: Com, Sniper, and Gen Tech. I loved it. Being part of that mission was like being part of a movie. When you’re going through a tough time, don’t quit. Reach out to somebody. There’s so many good people out there. There’s so many modalities for help. Try something – give it a good shot – if that doesn’t work, try something else. Get on your knees and pray to God every day. Try to do good things. Help people out. How many times do you get to go home? How many minutes do you get to spend with family? Don’t live to regret not reaching out to your family more. You can go away at any time. If you don’t keep up – if you don’t perform. If you’re not an asset, but a liability – you’re fired. When I got to the point that I was a liability, after so many great guys and years of my life - to walk away from that - that was amazing. This is my family. The biggest thing I got from all my experiences is my connection with God. I love dogs, and I’ll take on that [dog handling] responsibility to save a friend. Everybody that had something to do with that mission: from the intel to almost dying in a helicopter crash, was incredible. Even with all that, the way things flowed was incredible.
1 hr 5 min
Have you ever tried shooting not one, not two, but three rifles? Then add in the seemingly impossible task of hitting multiple targets… While cross-country skiing!!! If you’re 3-time Olympian “twin biathletes” Lanny & Tracy Barnes, it’s just another day at the office. In this week’s episode, you can get a glimpse into their world of hunting, shooting, and skiing, and their pursuit of excellence as they represent the Red, White, and Blue on a global awareness scale. In this episode you will hear: We did see early success, but it wasn’t because we were any good; we just stuck our head down and gutted it out through the race. If one of us is doing well, the other can do just as good, because we’re exactly the same. No matter what, don’t give up. If you’re gonna dot it, then go all the way. With your biggest competition and your best friend competing with you every day – pushing you every day - you can get to a higher level. The Olympics is the most intense thing ever. When Lanny fell ill and didn’t make the Olympic team, Tracy, after being announced as having made the team said to their coach, “I decline my spot on the Olympic team.” It was the easiest decision I’ve ever made. When we combine our forces, it’s that much better. I can put in my best effort, but together, we can make amazing things happen. We live in the best country in the world. Even in losing, the thing we learned most, is that we didn’t quit… even if we came in dead last. The “Never Quit” mentality is “Train the Brain.” We can sum up our entire career in these words – “We pursue hard.”
1 hr 16 min
Now here’s a guy who’s not hesitant to speak speaking openly about his dark years – his addiction to heroin, then make a dramatic switch from heroin addict to successful businessman. In this week’s TNQ episode, Aaron Singerman shares the unlikely story of his life, his troubles, and eventually his accomplishments, and the importance of empathy for others going through difficult situations. Aaron and his wife, Darielle are the founders of Redcon1, the fastest growing sports supplement brand in history, positively changing people’s lives, and took their company from 5 to over 150 employees. They also founded the Redcon1 Foundation, making a positive impact on families of the Unites States Military heroes. In this episode you will hear: My life has not been easy, but it shaped me. The mistakes I made are all my own. If I had joined the military, I probably would’ve been kicked out because I wouldn’t have been able to take orders. Darielle: Boarding school was a great thing for me. I was a Heroin and cocaine intravenous addict. 98% of intravenous heroin users never come out of it. It was easy to get OxyCon because doctors were getting incentives to prescribe it, and I became addicted to it. Sometimes the best thing in business is to simply walk away. I had parents that told me they loved me. Redcon1 has always been purpose-driven – especially serving the military. I spent every ounce of effort and time I had into writing articles for fitness magazines for free. The drive to believe in yourself is very unique. It’s not about the goal as much as it is enjoying the journey & getting to the next level. People focus too often on the negative. They look at the door that was closed and feel sad about that, versus looking for the next open door. Embrace humility.
1 hr 53 min
In this week’s podcast, you will hear from inspiring Gold Star Wives, all whom have lost their husbands in battle. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will learn what these amazing ladies are doing with their lives – serving other military families and humanity, while bringing hope and strength to everyone around them. Don’t miss this one. It’s well worth the listen. In this episode you will hear: • When tragedy hits and men give everything, you see what it means to be an American. • If you wake up every day & say “I can’t” – you won’t. And if you wake up and say “I can”, you will. • If you want your life to change, what are you gonna do today to make that change? • Turn sadness into something positive. • Now it’s my role to not quit for him, because he didn’t quit for us. • Heroes are keeping us safe in this country. • In a weird way, the loss of our husbands bonded us women. • When powerful people go through such a loss, they can improve the world. • Our main focus is: We love our country. • Some of the funniest stories are born during our lowest moments. • We can either to give up, or get up and live for him. • When what you thought your life was gonna be like is no longer, you’ve gotta figure out who you are, and what you’re gonna do. • With time, pain will slowly find a purpose. • There is hope. You will be happy again. You will smile again. • Find purpose in your pain. • You get so much by giving. • Life doesn’t prepare you for some things. • We’re making sure to honor these men and women who gave up their tomorrow so we could have our today. • We stand tall in the memory of our husbands. • Find gratitude in every day – find one thing positive in each day. • 60 seconds of unhappiness is a minute of happiness taken out of your life. • Breathe in positivity and exhale negativity. • It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself when you write down that which you’re grateful for. • How we deal with tragedy will either define us as humans or redefine us as humans. • We are the authors of our story. No one else can do that for us.
1 hr 20 min
Matt Long: Bus Crash Victim, Retired FDNY, 9/11 Survivor, Founder of the I Will Foundation, Author of The Long Run
If you’re looking for an overcomer’s story, look no further than this week’s episode with Matthew Long, a life-long competitive athlete with the strength and endurance few have achieved, including qualifying for the Boston Marathon, and competing in Ironman competitions. As he was cycling to work one day as a New York City firefighter, he was run over by a 20-ton bus, literally spilling his intestines on the street, and requiring 68 units of blood in the first hours after the accident. It took a miracle, and Matthew’s never quit mindset to walk again, and eventually compete in the New York City Marathon. He has authored the book: The Long Run, and founded the I WILL Foundation to help people overcome by adversity and challenges caused by traumatic injury. In this episode you will hear: • This [accident] was supposed to happen to me. • The bike cut me right in half. • My mom was the one who was my pillar of strength. • I had 43 surgeries in a 5-month period. • I can’t image what he [the bus driver] felt like when he thought he hit a garbage can, and saw 2 legs laying out of the bus. • Even the homeless, knew who I was. • For 5 months, every night – dinner was served from a different firehouse in the city. • I went through 1 ½ years of dark thinking. • Within 3 years of the accident I ran a marathon. • I get after it every day. • Every tattoo should tell a story. • I always have to have something going on in my life physically – and a goal. • I can’t’ run anymore. If I run 3 miles, I’m in bed for 3 days because of my gate. My upper body ticks to the left. • You have to let go of the anger. • We don’t overcome shit. Adversity is something you have to learn to live with. • When you learn to live with adversity, you’re gonna be stronger and more powerful, and impactful than you could ever believe.
1 hr 18 min
Best of Team Never Quit - Char Westfall: Wife, Mom, Surviving Spouse of Navy SEAL Jacques Fontan, Author of A Beautiful Tragedy
In this week's episode, we highlight one of our most popular episodes as June marks the anniversary of Operation Redwing. Char's husband, Jacques Fontan, was one of nineteen servicemen killed when the helicopter he was in was shot down during Operation Redwing in Afghanistan (from which the film Lone Survivor is based.) As a result, she has written a book, A Beautiful Tragedy, in which she speaks openly about the anger and bitterness that experience birthed, and her battle to regain her life, to heal within, and to serve others in the process. In this episode you will hear: Jacques was killed when Char was only 29 years old. We heard car doors shut. And they came to the door in uniform. I remember asking them, “So there’s still a chance?” and he couldn’t answer me. I’ve accepted that Jacques is gone, and he’s not coming back, but he’s not going away. I wanted to find somebody that would allow me to still respect and honor Jacques, and not just put him away on a shelf and act like that never happened. With my faith and my love for him, I saw how he was there hearing me through the darkest and hardest times. With faith in God, you can be mad and you can have your moments. God wants to hear that. If, on social media, you see the name of a fallen, look them up and get to know them personally. That helps them to never die. Losing Jacques wasn’t beautiful but what I’ve been able to make of the situation and make my life from it is the beauty in it. There’s a lot to think about when you start to date after the tragedy of losing your husband. We all want to honor the men who paid the ultimate price, but we also need to lift up the women they leave behind. I was lucky enough to find amazing love twice.
1 hr 11 min
Q: What does a Marine Corps veteran, former police officer, former firefighter, motivational speaker, and international touring comedian all have in common? A: They all live inside this week’s most entertaining guest, Travis Howze. Travis has come from a horrific experience as a firefighter when nine of his “brothers” were killed in a building collapse. He volunteered for the recovery team that pulled the bodies from the smoking building, causing him to sink deeply into post-traumatic stress and alcoholism. After Travis’ incredible defeat of his PTS, he has had a successful career in comedy and authored Create Your Own Light, an encouragement to stay in the fight and to never quit. In this episode you will hear: • If you’re gonna laugh at other people, you’d better be able to laugh at your damn self. • I don’t think about all the things I went through in my past. It’s a huge form of therapy for me not to. • Every day is a grind. • There are “character-building” days – you gotta recognize it, you gotta work on it, and you gotta build on it. • I have an older sister, so I did a lot of Barbie doll shit when I was young. • We’re more comfortable around our type of people because we have experienced some of the same things. • Non-stop fuckery – I had to have that. • If you knew what your tax dollars really went to, you wouldn’t pay fuckin’ taxes. • I was a cop, when you could still be an effective police officer, and you didn’t have cell phone cameras ruining your life. You could actually go out and do your job. • There’s consequences to our actions, whether in law-enforcement or a civilian. • When the military deploys and they go over, they leave that shit over there. They bring some of that back, but they don’t have to live in the environment that fucked them up. • You can’t un-see, or un-taste, or un-smell a lot of things you go through in life.
1 hr 9 min
Jeff Tiegs: US Army Ranger & Delta Force, Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency Expert, COO of All Things Possible Ministries
Jeff Tiegs is an amazing difference-maker. He uses his extensive experience in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency to counter sex trafficking in the United States. With over 25 years in U.S. Army Special Operations and combat experience and multiple tours in Afghanistan & Iraq, Jeff is applying that expertise in his endeavors. He is the Chief Operating Officer of Guardian Group, whose mission is to prevent and disrupt the sex trafficking of women and children while enabling partners to identify victims and predators in the United States. Jeff is also The Chief Operating Officer at All Things Possible Ministries, whose mission is to identify, interrupt, and restore those affected by trauma. In this episode you will hear: In the U.S., we are unbelievable consumers of prostitution, and what comes with that is minors. You’re on deployment every time you walk out of the house. One in four women is sexually assaulted or sexually abused. The sex trafficking crime is so open. It’s openly advertised. There are people that think we should defund the police. I think more reasonable people think we should reallocate funds and figure out ways to do this better. There are people out there who can augment what law enforcement is lacking. The [funding] money is gonna go where the people demand it. [Our organization], All Things Possible does everything from simple counseling to freeing sex slaves. Find strength in simply being alive. What comes off of your tongue – what you speak – is what you become. The term “Yahweh” is the sound of breathing. The mere fact that we, as humans, are breathing, we’re saying the name of our Creator every time we breathe. What is God’s name? The thing that gives breath to everything that lives. The first thing a baby says is that breath of life. One family, who lost their son on the battlefield, found relief in the fact that the last breath their son took was the name of our creator. Find strength, find solace, and find peace, in that simple act of breathing. If you’re alive, you’re saying God’s name, and He’s there to help to you.
1 hr 14 min
This week’s episode features Ryan Michler, Founder of Order of Man and all-around exceptional guy, whose goal in life is to restore masculinity and fight for the hearts and minds of men. Ryan’s podcasts reach millions of listeners each week. In this episode you will hear: Ryan Michler Quotes “If you’ve identified the hill you’re gonna die on; the battle you’re engaged in, don’t quit, because when you see how important it is, it would be impossible to throw in the towel.” “Men on the right path aren’t yapping about it. People that aren’t doing anything are the loudest, and if we don’t counter those conversations, it becomes a trend.” “We're never at a shortage of people telling us the bad we're doing.” “Plant your flag towards something.” “Think about why you’re doing what you’re doing.” “You can’t keep blaming your boss, the economy, your wife, or everyone else for your problems. Fix yourself.” “Sports, coaches, mentors, and the military, can help teach you what it is to be a man, especially when there are no male influences at home.” “I found solutions to my own problems, and then made a rewarding, fulfilling, and lucrative career out of it.” “We all screw our kids up in some ways.” “Introduce your kids to hardships. Teach them to bend, not break.” “Be a father, not a buddy to your kids.” “A lot of people experience hardships and it doesn’t make them; instead it breaks them.” “There’s nothing you can do about another person's attitude.” “People you influence will change because they see you changing, positively or negatively.” “When people listen to you, you better show up and pay your words and actions the respect they deserve.” “Tell the truth.” “Help kids in your community. Help reshape misguided notions of what it is to be a man.” “Question everything.” “You need some sort of qualifier for people who are invited in your circle.” “Be the solution. Not the problem.” “No one wants to hang out with someone with a “Nice Guy Syndrome.” “Redefine yourself. Try something new.” John Maxwell quote: “Every man, deep in his heart, longs for a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.” Marcus Luttrell quotes: “When the big boat goes down, make sure you’re sitting in the life raft.” “If you shut your engines down and you’re in the front, there’s gonna be train coming up behind you that’s gonna smack you right off the track.” Morgan Luttrell quote: “The ones who think they have enough forward momentum and do not widen their gaze, fail.”
1 hr 15 min