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Rob Konrad: Conversations

Rob Konrad: Conversations

Author: Rob Konrad

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Engaging and captivating conversations with extraordinary people from all over the world. People that couldn’t be more diverse from each other – but have in common that they make an incredible impact on this world, in their own unique way. 

Whether it’s people that shape the future of our planet through science, thinking, and taking action; whether it’s people that inspire others by overcoming their very own hurdles, traumas and demons; or whether it’s people that inspire others to do good for themselves and others:

In each of my conversations, I try to uncover as much of their story in order to see things through their eyes. I delve into stories that can inspire, touch, but also provoke you. I ask the questions you wish you could ask, and with time, attention and candor try to learn all about their motivation and what got them to where they are today – their successes, but also setbacks and challenges, to get the full story.

Each conversation is full of lessons to be learned, from all over the world; a source of inspiration, motivation, innovation, courage and change. 

 Episodes
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When she was 14 years old, Shannon Martinez was raped at a party by two men who took advantage of the fact that she was intoxicated. Overwhelmed with self-hate and anger, her life spiraled downwards - and she joined a violent right-wing extremist organization, where she would channel her rage and emotions against anyone who was "different". Luckily, after several years in this supremacist organization, she was saved by a family who took her in and helped her to deal with her trauma - and showed her that there is a perspective for her beyond violence. Now a mother of seven children, she is passionate about building empowered families and communities and believes that we all have the power to enact profound and fundamental change in our lives.Shannon Martinez is now developing community resource platforms aimed at inoculating individuals against violence-based lifestyles and ideologies. She has worked in at-risk communities teaching and developing dynamic resiliency skills, for school systems, nonprofits, and community organizations and has participated in programs organizations such as the UN Office of Counter Terrorism, the National Counterterrorism Center, Hedayah, The Center for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence, UN Women, and the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.  Her story has been featured globally, including: The TODAY Show, NBC's "Left Field," the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Associated Press, the Washington Post, Marie Claire magazine, Quartz, Al Jazeera America, and Georgia Public Broadcasting’s “On Second Thought" program. She has been a commentator on such news outlets as HLN, CNN, Canada One and BBC radio. Shannon Martinez has also assisted in training law enforcement officers, building programs for educators, and collaborating with tech companies like Google and Twitter. Watch the video of our conversation, get the show notes and full transcript here: https://www.robkonrad.com/podcast/conversations/017-shannon-martinez
In 2014, Devin Person decided to re-invent himself and create for him what he calls the "best possible reality". And part of that reality was to become - a Wizard. In a freak coincidence, after the initial decision to become a Wizard, a side effect of a medicine he had to take turned all of his hair white...As the "Subway Wizard of New York", he new brings magic into our lives, and in personal sessions and seminars helps people to create a better reality for themselves. In this entertaining conversation, we talk about what Wizards do, what it takes to become a Wizard, how a Wizard can help you in your life - and much more. Watch the video of our conversation, get the show notes and full transcript here: https://www.robkonrad.com/podcast/conversations/016-devin-person/
After years of physical and mental abuse in a chaotic and violent home, being bullied at the almost 40 schools he went to in his youth (due to the constant relocations of his drug-addicted parents), and battles with depression and self-harm, Aaron Stark reached a point where he could no longer take it.He decided to get a gun and do the unspeakable - take revenge on a world that seemingly had forgotten him.Luckily, before the unspeakable could happen, Aaron was saved by simple acts of kindness - by a colleague who understood that Aaron needed emotional help and support more than anything else. Aaron left his abusive home, got his life back on track, and how he shares his story of hope and transformation with the world.His TEDx talk, "I almost was a school shooter", has been watched over 8 Million times, he is now a mental health and anti-gun activist, husband and proud father of 4.In this deeply personal and emotional conversation we talk about bullying, what goes on in the mind of someone willing to take his life and those of others along with him, what we can do to prevent school shootings in the future - and much more….Join the conversation now! For a video of our conversation, more background info about Aaron, show notes, a full transcript of our conversation and links to your favorite podcast players to listen to the episode on the go, visit:https://www.robkonrad.com/podcast/conversations/015-aaron-stark
The Curiosity Show was - and still is - one of the most loved science shows that ever existed. Hosted by Dr. Rob Morrison and Deane Hutton from Australia, it was syndicated to 14 countries worldwide from 1972-1990 and sparked the interest for science in millions of kids worldwide, myself included. The famous curiosity show intro still rings in my head, and the fact that the Curiosity Show YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/CuriosityShow ) reached 100'000 subscribers in a short time is proof that there are lots of people who still remember the good old days of experimenting in front of your tube TV set, building cardboard yo-yos, watching Rob talk about the "mysterious isochronous curve", the self-starting siphon, the ames window and more. I'm really honored by the opportunity to talk to one of my childhood heroes about science, how we can support out kids to spark their interest in experimenting and exploring the world, and about what's wrong with today's education system. Join the conversation now! For more background info about Rob and the Curiosity Show, show notes, transcripts of our conversation links to your favorite podcast player, visit:https://www.robkonrad.com/podcast/conversations/014-rob-morrison
February 5th, 2007, is a day that has forever changed the life of Charity Lee. It is the day she learned that her 4-year old daughter Ella was murdered by Charity's other child, Ellas 13-year old brother Paris.It's a situation that's beyond comprehension for any parent, and it's a situation that raises questions like:Is it even possible to forgive your own child for taking the life of your other child? How do you deal with a situation like this? How do you manage to find hope, to find the strength to continue to live on?Charity did forgive her son, who is currently serving a life sentence in prison, and visits him on a regular basis.Charity has since founded the ELLA Foundation, an organization to support people with mental illnesses, juveniles in the prison system, and supports victims of trauma - but that also supports those who might be in prison for life for causing this trauma.An intimate, deep conversation with an incredibly strong and inspiring woman that has overcome the unthinkable and found strength, hope, love, and passion again and now helps other victims of trauma to do the same.Listen to the episode - and join the conversation now!Watch the video of the conversation, read the show notes and the full transcript here:https://www.robkonrad.com/podcast/conversations/013-charity-lee
In the early 1990s Dr. Rick Strassman, was granted approval to conduct research with one of the strongest hallucinogens, DMT. At the time he was the first scientist in over 2 decades allowed to test the effects of psychedelic drugs on live subjects, and his results were groundbreaking and led him to call DMT the “Spirit Molecule”.But after he completed his research he still felt that a major question had been left unanswered: Could the vivid hallucinogenic experiences caused by DMT possibly be more than just hallucinations? Rick started to notice that many of his subjects had strikingly similar experiences, regardless of the life experience, culture, or religious background of the person taking the drug.These experiences are often described as “more real than real”; they’re different to what people experience on other psychedelic drugs.Could it be that DMT doesn’t simply TRICK our brain into dreaming up another reality - but is actually the key to “tuning” our brains in to another reality? Rick was compelled to ask if DMT, in fact, enabled us to see aspects of reality beyond the horizon of what we can usually perceive?Determined to join the dots, Rick ventured into researching the similarities between DMT experiences and the prophetic states described by people throughout history - and particularly in the Hebrew Bible.In this fascinating conversation, Rob and Rick deep-dive into the results of his research, discuss the validity of his underlying assumptions, and go on a journey that explores the boundaries of our understanding of the human brain and spirituality.Listen to the episode - and join the conversation now!Watch the video of the conversation, read the show notes and the full transcript here:https://www.robkonrad.com/podcast/conversations/012-rick-strassman
There are ordinary teenagers... and then there's Laura, who at 13 years of age, ventured to become the youngest person to ever sail the planet - alone, without support boats or checkpoints along her way.What followed was a lengthy legal battle that included Duch authorities, wiretaps, her parents losing custody over Laura and much more... but after a lot of media coverage and public outcry from people including Richard Branson, a Dutch court finally decided in her favor, and the record-breaking attempt finally began on 21 August 2010.Laura successfully completed the solo circumnavigation in a 12.4-meter (40 ft) two-masted ketch called “Guppy”, arriving in Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten, 518 days later at the age of 16.She’s the author of the book “One Girl One Trip” and subject of the documentary “Maiden Trip”. She now is a motivational speaker and professional captain.Listen to the episode - and join the conversation now!Watch the video of the conversation, read the show notes and the full transcript here:https://www.robkonrad.com/podcast/conversations/011-laura-dekker
Dr Aubrey de Grey doesn’t just believe that ageing, and the suffering that comes with it, can be slowed down - he believes it can be undone altogether.What’s more, he thinks we are merely a few years away from making the scientific breakthroughs that will enable the medical field to put an end to death related to ageing - for good.His independently funded non-profit, the SENS Foundation, is at the forefront of radical research that combines the problem solving approaches of technology with geriatric medicine.In this conversation he talks to Rob about his refusal to age gracefully, the biases of modern science, and why he won’t waste his time thinking about whether or not God exists. Listen to the episode - and join the conversation now!Watch the video of the conversation, read the show notes and the full transcript here:https://www.robkonrad.com/podcast/conversations/010-aubrey-de-grey
Growing up, John Sevier Austin knew he was different from other kids. But what he didn’t know was that he had an incredible gift. One day John accidentally played a vinyl record backwards, and discovered not only that he quite liked listening to music backwards, but that he also found it pretty easy to sing along. This was the beginning of his long journey to becoming “Backwords Dude”, a YouTube sensation famous for being able to speak backwards - which is not the same as just spelling backwards - perfectly. In this episode of Rob Konrad: Conversations, John tells Rob all about this journey and all the personal and social struggles it involved, and how an astonishingly late diagnosis with Asperger’s syndrome helped him to overcome feelings of worthlessness and loneliness.Listen to the episode - and join the conversation now!Watch the video of the conversation, read the show notes and the full transcript here:https://www.robkonrad.com/podcast/conversations/009-john-austin/
Five years ago, shortly after giving birth to her son, Mason, Shanti Hodges put him in a baby carrier and went for a hike. This was the beginning of "Hike it, Baby"... Today Hike It Baby serves over 250 000 families and has over 300 branches around the world!It is a worldwide outdoors community that connects families through hiking, and empowers new parents to pursue adventure with their newborns strapped to them. In this episode of Rob Konrad: Conversations, Rob and Shanti talk about the profound impact Hike It Baby has had on families all around the world, and how Shanti grew the organization, in only five years, to a non-profit that has hundreds of thousands of community members across the United States, Europe, and Australasia. Shanti shares about the unexpected challenges of explosive growth, society’s problem with “inside culture”, and the many benefits of dirt.Listen to the episode - and join the conversation now!Watch the video of the conversation, read the show notes and the full transcript here:https://www.robkonrad.com/podcast/conversations/008-shanti-hodges/
“How do you become a pickpocket?” Bob Arno, a Swedish-born American entertainer, author, and criminologist gets asked this a lot. And if you had the chance to ask him yourself, in person, he would have your wallet long before you had your answer (you would get it back though). Recounting his journey from a career on stage as a comedic magician to using his expertise to help Europol crack down on crime syndicates, the “Pickpocket King” tells Rob Konrad everything he’s learned about the psychology of thieving. In this episode, Bob shares fascinating insights into the mindsets of thieves and victims, different varieties of street crime around the world, and how to spot – and get along with – street criminals. Plus, you’ll hear about a special wallet he’s had stolen and returned over 150 times, and a house visit to a genuine Mafioso.       “The best criminals… are fabulous social engineers” – Bob ArnoListen to the episode - and join the conversation NOW!Watch the video of the conversation, read the show notes and the full transcript here:https://www.robkonrad.com/podcast/conversations/007-bob-arno/
The first time Jamie Pool died, he was wearing a suit. That suit turned out to be the difference between his cardiac arrest going unnoticed by passers-by, and him getting medical help that would save his life. Jamie suffers from a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an often undetectable, but fairly widespread, genetic disease that causes unpredictable cardiac arrests. Today Jamie copes with his illness through the use of a subcutaneous device called an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) - essentially a defibrillator machine that is permanently attached to his heart. But over the last decade, Jamie experienced dying nine times - four of which happened on consecutive Thursdays! In this episode of Rob Konrad: Conversations, Jamie talks to Rob about near-death experiences, his thoughts on the afterlife, coincidences that feel supernatural, and having astonishingly good luck. He tells Rob what it feels like to die, and how he finds meaning in life without religious belief, and without being able to plan a future with any certainty. Listen to the episode - and join the conversation now!Watch the video of the conversation, read the show notes and the full transcript here:https://www.robkonrad.com/podcast/conversations/006-jamie-poole/
When Jessica Cox was born without both arms, her parents didn’t grieve. In fact, her father has never shed a single tear over his daughter’s life-altering disability. Instead, Jessica’s parents challenged her to be great.And that’s exactly what she did. Jessica is the world’s first, and only, licensed pilot without arms who flies unmodified airplanes with her feet.She is a motivational speaker who has inspired hundreds of thousands of people to overcome their own challenges and to find positivity and strength through their struggles.In addition to all that, she is a Taekwondo black belt, has received a personal blessing from the Pope, a scuba diver and a parachuter.In this uplifting episode of “Rob Konrad: Conversations”, Jessica tells Rob all about how she came to see her physical limitations as an opportunity to bring hope to others. You’ll discover how she cultivates fearlessness and uses her T.H.I.N.K principle to tackle seemingly impossible challenges. She’ll also answer a burning question many people are dying to ask her: if she could choose to have arms, would she want them?Watch the video of the conversation, read the show notes and the full transcript here:https://www.robkonrad.com/podcast/conversations/005-jessica-cox/ 
As one of the earliest Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight Champions, former King of Pancrase and Thai Boxer, Bas Rutten has faced some pretty tough opponents.But none challenged him as much as his personal struggles, from chronic illness and bullying as a kid, to beating an opioid addiction, to strange happenings in his family home.In this episode Bas tells Rob Konrad a rollicking tale of learning to swing through trees, standing up to bullies, knocking many people out, coming out tops at a high school reunion, being a grandfather, and finding his way back to his faith.And he also happens to have some inspiring life advice to share....Watch the video of our conversation, get the show notes and full transcript here:https://www.robkonrad.com/podcast/conversations/004-bas-rutten/
On the first day of high school, Mirna Valerio went to hockey practice - and suffered. She was larger than the other players, and a lot less fit. Her coach, instead of telling her she was no good, encouraged her to keep going - and that’s why today Mirna is an ultramarathoner, speaker, author, and the 2018 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year.The name of Mirna’s first blog, “Fat Girl Running”, describes exactly who she is - a body-positive larger woman who lives to run (and when she can’t do that anymore, surf). In this episode of Rob Konrad: Conversations, Mirna tells Rob about the challenges she’s overcome to become a professional runner, the bullying she’s endured because of her body type, and the gratitude and compassion she’s discovered through changing her life and living her dream.And - she believes that anyone can do the same, without so much as jogging around the block.For the video interview of the conversation, show notes, full transcripts, links to Mirna's books, and more, visit:https://www.robkonrad.com/podcast/conversations/003-mirna-valerio/
When Christian Picciolini was 14 years old, he joined America’s first organized neo-Nazi white power movement and remained there for 8 years. He became a leader in the organization and recruited hundreds of others to join. He ran a record store specializing in music that promoted Neo-Nazi ideology and committed countless acts of violence and hate.And then…. he changed his life.This is the story of how Christian lost everything to radicalization, and then rebuilt his life on an entirely new foundation: make good happen.That is Picciolini’s personal mission statement, and today he works to help people of all ages disengage from extremist organizations on both ends of the political spectrum.In this episode of Rob Konrad: Conversations, Christian shares the powerful story of what drove him to join the movement and what eventually led him to leave, and how he regained his sense of purpose in the process.Listen to the episode - and join the conversation now!Watch the video of the conversation, read the show notes and the full transcript here:https://www.robkonrad.com/podcast/conversations/002-christian-picciolini/
When Harold Mintz met Gennet Belay, a stranger to whom he had donated one of his kidneys some months earlier, he wondered how that kidney could have possibly fit inside her. He was a 6’5” tall man, and she was a “tiny” immigrant from Ethiopia, that had suffered for years and years due to an increasingly failing kidney...But then she showed him the site of the surgery, and there it was: a little lump on the left side of her back, clearly visible under her skin – Harold’s giant kidney working perfectly inside its crowded new quarters...Harold was the first living person in America to donate an organ to a complete stranger, after a change in legislation allowed this for the first time ever.But what kind of person would even do that? In this episode, Rob Konrad asks him this and other burning questions, like: Was he afraid? Did he want to meet the recipient after the surgery? What if someone in his family needed a kidney down the line?Harold shares a deeply personal story of encounters and experiences that led him to an ethical revelation that prizes two things above all else: life and fun.Listen to the episode - and join the conversation now!Watch the video of the conversation, read the show notes and the full transcript here:https://www.robkonrad.com/podcast/conversations/001-harold-mintz/
What drives extraordinary people? That’s the one question that I’ve always been fascinated with.What drives outstanding athletes, adventurers, artists and entertainers?What drives exceptional scientists, great thinkers, those who give up their own comfort to help others, and those who dare to be different?What drives people who were affected by tragedy, illness, disability and violence, but who manage to not only survive, but to thrive and to inspire?What makes these people go further than most? What makes them push through the struggles and pain along the way? I’m Rob Konrad from Switzerland, and I always wished I had a chance to ask these fascinating people about their personal stories, and ask them all the big and small questions.So that’s exactly what I decided to do, and over the last months, I’ve spent hundreds of hours talking to people who shape this world through their actions and their thoughts; or who inspire us by overcoming their obstacles or traumas.They all have one thing in common: they are making an incredible impact on this world, and we all can learn and grow from their examples, to make an impact ourselves.Because I believe that’s what we all share: deep inside, we all strive to make an impact on our lives and the lives around us. But what we often lack is the inspiration or encouragement to believe that we can create change, whether that’s in our private life or within our organization.Now, you can meet these extraordinary people for yourself and be inspired – because every week I’m gonna share one of my conversations with you.I ask the questions you wish you could ask – which are often very personal, sometimes difficult, sometimes provoking.And you’ll hear about how they developed the courage and commitment to pursue their dreams or to help others. You’ll learn all about what got them to where they are today – their successes, but also their setbacks and challenges, completely unfiltered.I believe this is an incredible opportunity for all of us – to learn, to grow and impact lives.On May 1st, 2019 I’m officially going to launch “Rob Konrad: Conversations with extraordinary people”, there are dozens of episodes produced and waiting, and more are coming every week.So make sure to subscribe on this page so I can inform you when I launch the first 10 episodes, and send you some exclusive content that won’t be published anywhere else.I look forward for you to join me on this journey, and join the conversation – NOW!http://www.RobKonrad.com
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