The Marty Smith Podcast: Colin O’Brady Discusses New Book, Summing Mt. Everest Twice and Getting People Out of ‘Comfortable Complacency’

The boys are back with another episode of The Marty Smith Podcast, and man is it a doozie. This week, Marty and Wes are joined by 10-time world-record holder and holder and endurance athlete Colin O’Brady, who shares his story of summiting Mount Everest twice, rowing across the unforgiving Drake passage, and walking solo across Antarctica for 56 days.

Before they dived into O’Brady’s wild, inspirational journey, Marty opened up about his upcoming plans this week. On the docket, he’s scheduled to be a boat captain of a bachelorette party, interviewing the Randy Rogers Band, and potentially battling against Jay Cutler in the semi-finals of a corn hole championship. Talk about an in-house rivalry.

Later, he delves into seeing Luke Combs with NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Atlanta. However, he decided to cancel his trip after realizing his schedule was too packed. Of course, good ole’ FOMO immediately struck, and Marty decided to “reverse course” and made the trek to ATL.

Then, the boys introduce O’Brady, who’s currently riding high off the release of his new book, 12 Hour Walk, which was birthed thanks to the revelations he learned during a literal 12-hour walk he took amid the lockdown for COVID-19. Previously, he became a New York Times bestselling author for his first book, The Impossible First. During the interview, the guys chatted with him about his life story and what’s next despite already accomplishing what some consider the unimaginable.

Colin O’Brady’s lowest moment would pave his path to greatness

As O’Brady describes, he came into this world “in a somewhat unconditional context.” As the son of an Eagle Scout, he grew up hitting the trails in Portland, Oregon, with his family. According to O’Brady, spending time outside with his family “laid a foundation” for his future life-altering expeditions.

After college, O’Brady wanted to explore the world. Strapped with little cash, a backpack, and a surfboard, O’Brady wound up on a rural beach in Thailand. Little did he know, the moments on the beach would prove to be his most telling and life-changing. As he describes, he was left with third-degree burns all over his body after he decided to jump a flaming jump rope. Doctors told him he would probably never walk normally again. However, his mom took a different approach.

His mom would prove to be his saving grace. “She came into my hospital room with this huge smile on her face and this air of positivity.” Although he was at the lowest point in life, his mom asked about his future plans.

She asked him to “visualize anything,” and he described seeing himself at the finish line of a triathlon. Fast forward three months, and thanks to his mom, O’Brady can walk again and enters the Chicago Triathalon. Like something out of a movie, O’Brady races just 18 months after doctors told him he could never walk. And the kicker? He wins.

For Marty, his mom’s part in the story struck a chord within him. “Your mother’s influence and your passion for not allowing you to settle… it just speaks so loudly and with so much resounding volume of a parent’s influence on a young person.”

The unforgiving mother nature as O’Brady’s biggest opponent

For O’Brady, his journey was never about beating someone’s record or his personal best. Instead, for him, it’s always been about overcoming life’s greatest opponent: mother nature.

“When you’re out there pulling a 375-pound sled solo across Antarctica, I’ll tell you who the judge is… it’s mother nature,” O’Brady tells the guys about some of his most brutal matches in some of the harshest conditions.

Despite summiting Mt. Everest not once but twice and braving arctic conditions alone for days on end, O’Brady is now looking for his next thrill or something he describes as his next ‘Everest.’

“It’s become more of a spiritual journey for me. What am I capable of? And moreover, with the new book, it’s how I can transmute that to inspire people at scale.”

The power of unlocking your ‘reservoir of untapped potential’

He continues: “What I’ve come to realize is that every single human walking this planet has reservoirs of untapped potential. The most important muscle we have is the 6 inches between our ears.” The most detrimental harm to us as humans, as he describes, is something he calls comfortable complacency.

“People are so afraid to take any sort of risk or accept any sort of discomfort in their life. They’re just sitting in this zone of comfortable complacency,” he says.

During the interview, Colin O’Brady also revealed his take on death. As someone who’s lost friends during these life-threatened excursions, he’s been forced to reconcile the question: are you afraid of dying?

“My bigger fear is not living,” he says with a pause. “My bigger, actual fear is not living.” Then, he adds: “I want to be an old man one day, but I want to be an old man who can say I lived.”

We don’t want to spoil the rest of the interview, so make sure you listen to the full episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Also, be sure to pick up Colin O’Brady’s new book here.

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