Turia Pitt is an extraordinary human being with an extraordinary story to share with the world.
Turia Pitt: Life Is So Precious – The Whole World Needs To Hear This!
Speaker: Turia Pitt
Get her amazing books here.
Interview and Film by E.T Rouleau
Transcript: Turia Pitt, Life Is So Precious
My name is Turia Pitt. I’m an athlete, author and mindset coach.
In 2011, I was badly burned during the Kimberley Ultramarathon. I spent a couple of years in and out of hospital, I had over 100 operations, and I really had to rebuild my life from the ground up. And when I think back to that experience, I’m really proud of not only how I handled myself, but how I was able to galvanize myself and rebuild my life to a spot where I think it’s even better than it was before.
Turia on being driven:
I’ve always been a pretty driven person. I mean, in high school, I had three after-school jobs, and I always volunteered for things, and I always put my hand up to do things.
And I think that’s just because, even before my accident, I had this idea that life, it’s so precious. We only get one shot at it, and it’s not like a video game where you die, and you get another chance. We don’t get that opportunity in life.
And I think, sometimes I get stressed because I think I’ve only got a certain amount of time left on this earth to make an impact and to do everything that I want to do. And I get overwhelmed because I think that I don’t have enough time, but then I remind myself, just relax, take it easy, take the pressure off, and just focus on doing the small steps that you can do today.
So I think I’ve always been really driven to get the most out of life. And I think it’s a pretty important reminder for all of us to not take things for granted and to remember that each day that we get, it’s really a gift.
Turia’s advice to anyone going through hard times:
If I could give advice to someone who’s at a really low point, it’s that sometimes when you think about the end goal of where you want to be, and you’re at a really awful place, that idea of rebuilding your life and recovering can seem very overwhelming and almost insurmountable. So what I did is I used to focus on just getting through one day at a time, and when I got through one day, I’d pat myself on the back, and I’d say well done, Turia. You’ve made it through another day. And then when a day was too hard, I’d break it up into hours, and I’d say you’re still here, it’s another hour passed, you’re still here. And I think just, again, take the pressure off.
Be kind to yourself, be easy on yourself. You are a human, and it’s okay to have feelings, and if you’re going through adversity, just take the pressure off and just take it really slowly, day by day or even hour by hour.
Turia on where she finds her strength:
I always get asked where I find my strength from, and I think people assume that I’m a super naturally motivated person, and every morning I jump out of bed, and I can’t wait to seize the day. But I think it’s important to take the pressure off yourself, as well, and not have that high expectation that every single day, you’re just going to smash things.
So I always say to people that motivation, that’s the spark that starts the fire, but really it’s consistency that keeps the fuel burning.
So I remind myself that whatever it is I’m doing, whether that’s training for an Ironman or working on something new in my business or writing a book, I have to let go of this idea of needing to be externally motivated and just focus on consistency and just doing the small things that I can do every day that get me closer to where I want to be.
Turia on what it takes to really achieve your goals:
Yeah, I think when you’re talking about motivation, first of all, you’ve got to have something that really excites you, that gets you out of bed. Just something that you’re working on or a marathon that you’re training for. And more than that, you’ve got to have a really crystal clear and really compelling reason for WHY you’re trying to achieve that.
Are you writing a book because you’ve always loved literature, and you want to share a story with the world?
With me for Ironman, I wanted to do that because I wanted to prove to everyone and to all of the naysayers that not only was I as fit as I was in the Ultramarathon, but I was fitter.
So it’s really important to not only have something that you’re working towards, something crystal clear and something tangible, and on top of that, you have to have a really crystal clear REASON for wanting to achieve that goal.
So they’re the two things you always need when you’re achieving a goal. And that’s what gets me out of bed most mornings.
Turia’s take on pushing yourself:
I think what’s always drawn me to doing endurance events has been it’s a space where you can really challenge yourself, and you can really test yourself, and you really find out how much you can cope and how much you can endure. And I think, especially in our lives these days, they’re so comfortable. You wake up, you open the fridge, you pour your breakfast, you watch TV, you open your car, you drive to work, you sit at a desk, you type on a computer, you’re in an air-conditioned office. And you never really get a chance to test yourself well or to stretch yourself. So that’s why I like things like endurance events and freediving and surfing because they’re all places and opportunities where you can get outside of your comfort zone and just test yourself a little bit more and see just how resilient you are. And I believe all of us are incredibly resilient. All of us have the tools within us to cope with all scenarios, but we just never get tested so we never get to see that we do have it in us.
Turia’s perspective on life tests:
I think that’s one of the really good things about my accident is that I got tested beyond what any normal human gets tested. And that doesn’t happen to most people. And so I went through that experience where I had to rebuild my life completely from scratch. I couldn’t even walk, I couldn’t brush my hair, I couldn’t wipe my ass. So I was in that low point of my life. And I found the tools within me to learn how to get out of bed and start walking, how to bend my elbow enough so I could feed myself, how to brush my hair. And I think because I went through that experience, I realize that not only am I resilient, but it also makes me thing that all of us are resilient. All of us are capable, all of us are strong, all of us have to much mental toughness. But we never get tested, we never get uncomfortable, we never get outside of our comfort zone so we believe that we don’t have it in us, that we’re not capable. But I think that’s bullshit. I think we’ve all got it within us, we just never test ourselves.
Turia on negative thoughts:
I’m human and, of course, I have negative thoughts. In a race, I’ll think this is hard, I can’t do it, it’s too much. When I wake up in the morning, I think all right, I’ve got a really big day, I don’t know if I wanna do it. We’ve all got these two voices inside of us. And you’ve got that negative voice who says, oh, you’re not good enough, you’re stupid, you’re ugly, you’re gonna fail. But we’ve also got that other voice, that empowering voice and that voice which tells us that we can do it. And so to try and drown out that negative voice, every morning without fail, I do my gratitude practice.
And gratitude is a tool that I use every day to short circuit those sort of negative emotions. And the awesome thing about gratitude, you can’t be grateful and angry at the same time. You can’t be grateful and bitter at the same time. If you’re truly grateful, that’s the only experience that you can have.
And I think, as well, so often we’re always focused on what we don’t have in our lives and what’s not going right for us and what people haven’t done for us. And I think when you flip that and think about what it is that you are truly grateful for in your life, whether that’s your family, your kids, your health, your home, your job. When you start your day in that place, that’s a way more motivating place to be in. So that’s what I use, specifically to short circuit negative emotions, I use gratitude.
Turia’s morning routine:
So I always get asked about what my morning routine is. It’s pretty simple. The first thing I do in the morning is actually the first thing I don’t do, and that is, I don’t look at my phone. ‘Cause when you do, you get into that habit of just scrolling through, and you get messages and emails and alerts. And all of a sudden, not only are you starting the day off stressed ’cause you’ve gotta do all of these things for everyone else, but at the same time, it’s not a very inspiring or motivating place to start your day off.
So the first thing I do is I don’t look at my phone. The second thing I do is I grab my son, I pick him up, I put him on the living room floor, set him up with some toys. I open up the blinds because sunlight helps us wake up. I make a coffee, I sit down, I watch my son play. I marvel at his tiny little fingers, and I reflect on the miracle of life, and I think of three things specifically that I’m really grateful for. So today, I was grateful for my partner, who got home after 10 days, and he’s really working on something that’s important to him. I’m grateful for my son, for all of the joy that he brings to my life. And I was grateful because I had a lot of exciting things that are happening with my book behind the scenes. And I think that’s such an awesome place for me to be in, that not only are people interested in my book, but they wanna buy it, and they wanna read it. And after that, I ask myself a really simple question, and I ask myself what’s the one thing that I could do today that would make today great? And if you ask yourself that, you’ll notice instantly your body start to react biochemically to that question. And for me today, when I asked myself that, I thought I’m gonna go for a surf with my family later today, yeah.
Turia’s 3 most valuable life lessons:
I guess if I think about my three most valuable life lessons, the first one would be…
Everything in our life comes down to our mindset. And I really believe when you master your mindset, and you master your self talk, that anything is possible.
I think the second life lesson, I guess, would be that I tell people just to forget about motivation, forget about this idea that you have to be externally motivated by some external source. Forget about that and just focus on being consistent. And the third life lesson, I guess, would be to really start using the tool of gratitude because it’s so awesome. It’s free, it’s easy, it’s quick. But if you start your day off being grateful and showing gratitude, that’s gonna instantly transform how the rest of your day turns out.
And when I think about the legacy that I wanna leave behind, I guess it’s just, in hospital I read books by people who had overcome adversity. I read a book by Sam Bailey, who’s a farmer, and he had a bad car crash, and he became a quadriplegic. And he managed to rise above all of that, and now he’s the first quadriplegic in the world to fly a helicopter. And so I read his story, and it really made me think if this typical Aussie bloke can rebuild his life, then I can, too.
So I think for my legacy, it’d be awesome that when people hear of my story, they think, well, if Turia’s been able to rebuild her life, and if Turia’s been able to do an Ironman event, then that means maybe I could quite my job. Maybe I could learn a language, maybe I could do a half-marathon. I think if I inspire people to take action in their own lives, I think I’d be really proud of myself.
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I’m reminded that although my dream was shattered by someone bearing false witness against me, I can still achieve that dream in a different way.