Akshay Nanavati, Author of “The Other Side of Fear” – High Speed Low Drag Podcast

Akshay_Nanavati (1)This High Speed Low Drag Podcast features an interview with Akshay Nanavati.

Akshay is a Marine Corp veteran, adventurer and author of the upcoming book ďThe Other Side of FearĒ.

Akshay is on a mission to run in every country in the world but at the same time he also runs a location-independent business at Existing2living.com where he teaches the neuroscience and psychology of how to design your ideal lifestyle.

Click here to listen to Akshay Nanavati’s interview on Stitcher

Click here to listen to Akshay Nanavati’s interview on iTunes

HSLD: Can you take a minute and tell us a little about yourself?

Akshay: As you mentioned, Iím a Marine Corp veteran but before that I actually squandered a year of my life away in drugs and alcohol and the marines was my path out.

Since then Iíve gone on a lot of adventures all over the world such as mountaineering in the Himalayas, skydiving, ice diving, cave diving, you name it. Iíve been fortunate to experience a lot of the world.

I also run my business helping people through 101 coaching. Iím also writing a book because I really think that 101 coaching has a powerful impact and Iím helping people through their problems and help them create their ideal lifestyle which I am fortunate enough to have for myself.

HSLD: When you do decide to make these runs in different countries, what does your daily schedule look like?

Akshay: In any country that is essentially more than 30 miles, I run it in more than one day.

I spend my day running about 25 to 30 miles and then going on the next day.

Thatís pretty much how my schedule will look like in any country I find myself in. Iím also looking to build my way up to cover about 50 miles a day consistently, especially when I start doing the bigger countries such as America and Canada.

HSLD: What is your success quote?

Akshay: One of my favorite quotes is from Darren Hardy. He is the publisher of Success Magazine and the author of ďThe Compound EffectĒ. He says

ďEarning success is hard. The process is laborious, tedious, sometimes even boring. Becoming wealthy, world-class and influential in your field is slow and arduous.Ē

Itís not a traditionally inspiring quote but I think itís the most true quote on success and itís somehow inspiring if you choose to see it that way. I love it as I think it is the most accurate quote on success and I find it to be something I really focus on everyday on my journey.

AboutHSLD: Letís get into your military experience and talk about a time when you were in the Corps. Tell us what was your pivotal moment in your military experience?

Akshay: When I was in the Marines, I volunteered to go to Iraq every chance I got. I wanted to go serve.

When I got out of drugs, I wanted to go in to combat because I saw it as the ultimate test. I saw it as bringing out the best and worst in humanity so I really wanted to go.

In 2007 I lost a friend who I had always volunteered to go with. One summer I was traveling and he happened to go. I didnít get to go with him and he died out there.

That really crushed me and I felt guilty the whole time.

Finally I got my chance to go after three months of his passing.

My pivotal moment came two months into Iraq because when I went it was 2007 to 2008 so it was closer to the end of the war.

There wasnít much happening in terms of firefights all the time. Having done all of the risk-taking sports that I do, my tolerance for adrenaline was significantly higher than the average person.

Many Marines reported like they were feeling that their life was in danger on our different missions but I didnít feel that way. I was upset and angry at the world because war wasnít what I imagined it to be, as naÔve as it sounds.

Two to three months into the war I was on a mission with my friends and our platoon and our group was hanging out together.

Thereís nothing like that camaraderie in the military and it was those moments of pure joy that made me realize that I can choose to look at this experience and whine and complain or I can make of it what I want it to be.

I had 5 months left in my deployment so I could choose to look at the positive or ultimately choose to retreat into myself further and further. Had I done that, I think I would have come back home a very different person.

That really shifted my perspective on life in the military and everything.

HSLD: Letís go to the transition out of the military. What failures, obstacles and challenges did you face and what lessons did you learn?

Akshay: When I came back I went back to college. I had one more year left as an undergrad in Southwest University in Texas.

Coming back to college actually presented a significant set of challenges. Most of my friends in school had already graduated at this point. Thankfully I had one friend and he really helped with my adjustment.

It was tough to adjust to the complexities of civilian life again. I was meeting girls again for the first time in seven months and while that was a great feeling, there were also complications that arose from that.

Then there were other facets of civilian life.

People really seemed to complain about small things and that was a challenge for me because I had just come back from Iraq where people didnít have food and water sometimes.

I ended up drinking a lot and it got excessive and every time I did it, I would want to go back to war because I missed the simplicity and camaraderie.

Coming back to the civilian world also brought back some of the guilt that I felt when my friend died. Survivorís guilt is something that a lot of veterans experience and I had that.

Coaching   Existing2Living

HSLD: Letís talk about your life as a civilian. Tell us about one AHA moment that youíve had as well as the steps youívetaken after this AHA moment that allows you to turn it into success.

Akshay: My AHA moment happened about a year after I got back. I had a corporate job which I really hated.

I constantly wanted to go away and do something more meaningful in my life. I knew that sometime in April 2012 I would quit and I was planning to go skiing 350 miles across Greenland.

An experience like this in many ways replicated that life that I had in combat. Life was simple. There was one thing to focus on everyday and you had to build camaraderie with your team because you are suffering together.

The lesson that I learned from that was that I can choose to replicate the same simplicity, the same camaraderie, the same structure by choosing a path in life that would appeal to me. And thatís essentially what I did.

Akshayís Lighting Round Answers:

  • What was the most difficult adjustment that you had to make in the civilian world?: When I first made the transition, I struggled with missing the camaraderie in combat more than anything else. I found it hard to connect to other people in college, save for this teacher who had also been in combat. I missed the structure and the simplicity.† † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † † †
  • What business advice would you pass along to those who are making the transition right now?

This advice actually came from one of my mentors Jack Canfield who is the author of The Chicken Soup of the Soul Series.

He said that there are three traits that are important to success. First is immense clarity and focus in the goal. Second is to take responsibility for your life without blaming the environment and the final one is to build habits for success. †

This is where the military training and replication comes into play. You almost want to remove thinking in the process and make what youíre doing automatic and make them into habits.

  • What is the biggest generalization that youíve had to overcome in the civilian world?

The biggest one would have to be the idea that Iím messed up in the head because Iím a veteran.

While I appreciate the concern that the civilian population has for veterans but this idea that because youíre a veteran there is something wrong with you and should be pitied is something that I have had to face and take with a grain of salt.

  • What is the one book that you would recommend to our listeners?

One of my favorites that has great overall ideas of success is called ďThe Success PrinciplesĒ by Jack Canfield.

Another one that is really specific for veterans is called ďWhat Doesnít Kill UsĒ which talks about the revolutionary science of post traumatic growth.

Unfortunately, weíve had to wrap up our interview with Akshay but for those of you who want to connect with him, you are more than welcome to go to his website http://existing2living.com and reach out.

Our talk with Akshay certainly left an impression. More than anything, it is to remember that we all get to choose our response to what life throws at us and that it is okay to have that fear.

Struggles and adversity are not bad things and when we learn to embrace them and choose our response to them then we will succeed.

Click here to listen to Akshay Nanavati’s interview on Stitcher

Click here to listen to Akshay Nanavati’s interview on iTunes