Welcome to the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast with Chris Plough
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Introducing Chris Plough
Chris Plough is todays guest on Join Up Dots.
He is a man who not only has an amazing demonstration of facial hair, but also has an amazing passion for life, adventure and enjoying himself.
He calls himself an adventurer, entrepreneur and a storyteller and is being truly authentic to what he was put on this earth to be.
But his life hasn’t always been one that sounds like every boys dream.
Travelling through foreign lands.
Chatting with unusual strangers.
And living a life on his own terms.
How The Dots Joined Up For Chris
In his own words he says “As a small child I wanted to be an explorer – to discover new, far away lands.
But as I grew up, these dreams began to fade and were replaced with bank accounts, mortgages and dull conversations.
Then a series of tragic events changed the course of my life.
A few months later, I was riding across Mongolia in an ambulance. I had, in a small way, attained my childhood dream.
From that inflection point, my life has been on a different path.”
He poses the question that is perfect for a show like this that has a tagline like “Connecting our pasts to build our futures”
“What would it be like if, even for an instant, you could step into the shoes of your childhood dream?
What if it is possible – and we’ve just convinced ourselves that it isn’t “feasible” as we’ve grown older?”
What would it be like indeed?
So what is it about humans that seem to need a series of tragic events to start looking closely for the true course of their lives?
And does he see the first part of his life as one of wasted opportunity, or just an apprenticeship for where he is now?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots, with the one and only Mr Chris Plough.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Chris Plough such as:
How there are two points to life that have total freedom: one when are you so rich that you can do anything, or so poor that it doesn’t matter.
How we are so scared to do stuff that pushes us out of our comfort zones no matter who we are, but we need to do it to grow to our full potential.
Why Chris avoided dealing with the death of his family by setting himself on the path of career burnout, until he knew that it was time to change direction.
How having a badly performing vehicle to do an adventure in, really ramps up the boys own adventure you get amazingly.
Why the word “Yes” is so powerful in life and takes us into new experiences, but the word “No” frees up time for us to say “Yes” more.
Connect With Chris Plough
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Audio Transcription Of Chris Plough Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling join up dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK David Ralph
David Ralph [0:26]
Yes. Hello there. Well, this is Episode 300. Can you believe and let’s have a round of applause. Yeah, not too much about that still. Episode 300. We’ve hit 300 shows. Episode 100 was amazing. Episode 200 was astonishing. An episode 300 is going to blow everything out of the water. And it’s all goes downhill from here, I promise you. Well, actually, that’s a lie, because I’ve recorded those shows already. And they’re pretty good as well. So keep with us, because we aren’t going to try to drive you on to a life on your own terms. And that’s what today’s guest has, because he is a guest who’s not only got the most amazing demonstration of facial hair I’ve ever seen, but also has an amazing passion for life, adventure, and enjoying himself. He calls himself an adventurer, entrepreneur and a storyteller. And he’s been truly authentic to what he was put on this earth to be. But he’s like, hasn’t always been one that sounds like every boy’s dream, traveling through foreign lands, chatting with unusual strangers and living a life on his own terms. In his own words, he says, as a small child, I wanted to be an explorer to discover new faraway land. But as I grew up, these dreams began to fade and replaced with bank accounts, mortgages and dole conversations. But in a series of tragic events changed the course of my life. A few months later, I was riding across Mongolia in an ambulance, I had, in a small way attained much how to dream. From that inflection point, my life has been on a different path. Now he poses the question is perfect for a show like this, that has a tagline connecting our past to build our futures? And he asks, What would it be like? If even for an instant, you could step into the shoes of your childhood dream? What if it is possible? And we just convinced ourselves by isn’t feasible as we’ve grown older? What would it be like in deed? So what is it about humans seem to need a series of tragic events to start looking closely for the true course of their lives? And does he see the first part of his life as one of wasted opportunity? Or just an apprenticeship for where he is now? Let’s find out as we bring on to the show, to start join up dots with the one and only Mr. 300. himself. Mr. Chris plow. How are you, Chris?
Chris Plough [2:37]
I’m fantastic. Thanks. I have to say, I think you just gave me goosebumps by reading all of it. It’s quite amazing to hear it third. And to be perfectly honest with you.
David Ralph [2:48]
Well, I’ve got a bit of a crush. I’ll be honest, I’ve got a right to have a manly crush, but you’ve got through you. I heard you just before the show that they’re thinking of replacing Harrison Ford, Indiana Jones five, you’ve got you’re gonna be a shoo in heaven. Yeah.
Chris Plough [3:04]
I wish I wish Absolutely. I think that I’ve got the facial hair down. I’ve got the lifestyle. But man, I’d have to kind of to wear a do pay. I don’t know if they’re gonna go for that.
David Ralph [3:13]
Just keep the hat on. That’s all he does. He’s just he’s got he’s got no hair on his head at all. But your your life is, you know, we’re obviously going with delve into it. But your life is an amazing turnaround, isn’t it from what I’ve been looking at you and I’ve been virtually stalking through your different online platforms. For many years, you were really like the rest of us You were internet sensible responsibility doing the right thing. And now it’s, it’s both of things, you’re still you know, you’re you’re chairman of your own company. And you’ve got that kind of things. But you balance it with enthusiasm, passion for the craziness. And that’s a beautiful thing to do, isn’t it?
Chris Plough [3:55]
I think it’s it’s more true to and be more authentic to who we are meant to be like, which you said in the beginning there about a bit of my story of, we all have this childhood childlike wonder, right? We all want to be these amazing things. We grew up to be firemen, or astronauts or explorers, whatever it might be. But it seems like the older we get, the more we we seek security, we seek safety we seek, we water it down, if you will. But unfortunately, I don’t think that you get what you pay for there, I don’t think that you necessarily get the security that you think you’re getting, you essentially put your destiny in other people’s hands. And it can be a very difficult trade very, very difficult position to put yourself in
David Ralph [4:35]
you. Well, you’ve cut to the chase young man, you are a professional because you you’ve taken us right to the core essence of what join up dots is about whether it’s risky and nowadays being an employee, or is it riskier? doing your own thing? Can you go into a job every single day? And then suddenly they put their hand on your shoulder and say, Sorry, we’ve had a bad run of things you’re out? Or is it better to live a life on your own terms and create your own account somehow?
Chris Plough [5:01]
Well, and honestly, I’ve always felt that in life, there are two points when you have ultimate freedom. It’s either when you have nothing because you have zero to lose there, there’s there’s nothing worth wasting, because you can just do whatever you want. And the consequences are, are minimal, or it’s when you’ve set yourself up so that you have enough so that again, the consequences become inconsequential at that point. And I think that for me, and what I found for a lot of people is if you can take that destiny into your own hands, whether it’s being entrepreneurial, or being an entrepreneur, really creating your own position within a company where you have a large amount of control, that both of those situations help to put you into that latter position where then you have much more freedom, much more latitude to do the things in life that you want to do
David Ralph [5:45]
that there’s an old song by Janis Joplin called me and Bobby McGee, do you know that song? Yes, I do. And there’s a line in it. And I remember being in a taxi in New York, and the taxi driver was playing it. And you know, when certain the you’ll be watching a film, and it’s like, it’s talking to you somehow, or there’s a line of a song, and it just sort of resonates. And the line of the song was freedoms, just another word for nothing left to lose or something like that. And it really struck out of me in that. And I thought, you’re absolutely right. If we did lose everything, would we have more possibilities and opportunities? Bam, we’ve got presently where we’re basically trying to hold in and squeeze tightly to what we’ve got, is it better to almost have a blank canvas again, to move forward or start from a position of Fortune comfort? Suppose what you think,
Chris Plough [6:39]
I think that in many places it can be a better place to start from is is almost zero, or moving into a an area or a realm where you start the beginning again, I think for a few reasons. Number one is it’s humbling. It’s humbling to be the beginner, the novice again, and to have to just scratch your way up to have to learn to be able to seek out so many people who could mentor and advise you. But also, I think that there’s this core drive that you have, that when you don’t have anything, you push yourself harder, and you try to scratch up and put in so much more work and effort than you do when you attain a level of comfort. That comfort I think can be almost hypnotic, it can almost kind of load you into this sense of malaise, almost maybe maybe, or at least less urgency.
David Ralph [7:27]
Well, we don’t believe in swearing on this show. But the the C word in this show is comfort. We think that that’s the the killer of all dreams. And I was in that for years and years and years where I would be having very passionate, enthusiastic conversations with people about what I wanted to do. But oh, wait till my Christmas bonus comes in. And then Oh, we got something in summer. Oh, I’ll wait for that. There was always something just around the corner. And I look back on it now. And none of it was worth waiting for. It really wasn’t. Now I’m doing this. loving every second of it. I look back on it. And I think what a wasted opportunity. Where could I be now if I’d started maybe two or three years earlier, or whatever? So comfort is a dream killer, isn’t it?
Chris Plough [8:12]
Yeah, it absolutely is. And something you said there I think is really interesting, though, which kind of aligns a little bit with my story. So even when I became an entrepreneur and started, you know, really taking control of what I felt my destiny, I still was chasing a false dream. And for me, it was I thought there was a certain number that if I had X amount of money, or it was worth X amount, that everything would work out like that was what I was chasing, and it was completely inauthentic. It was, it was the same thing of I’m going to wait to live my life until I have this number is I’m going to wait to live my life till I get this bonus still have this vacation. So I think that, that you really need to be careful no matter where you are in life to to really push things. But the part that you then lead off from there, which I think is really interesting is you have started a couple years earlier, or did you need that time that that pain kind of builds up over that that time of difficulty to really thrust you forward? Was it a learning experience? Or could it have been cut out,
David Ralph [9:12]
then well, that’s the key thing, isn’t it. And that’s one of the things we touched on a lot in join up dots is are the the bad times the good times and the good times the bad times. And when you look back on it is it those moments when you think I should have done it earlier, but then you weren’t quite ready for it. It has to is like a boiling kettle, isn’t it, but it gets to a point where it will start boiling. And then that is kind of what you have. And most of the time you just simmering and you just simmer, simmer, simmer, simmer, and then somebody will come along with 10 takes you into that boiling point. And then that’s your moment. And that’s when you’re ready to go. And certainly for me, it was just a huge, big woman who came into my life who was a boss, who was a complete cow. And she was just dreadful, dreadful, dreadful to work for. And that took me to that boiling point when I had to do something about it. But the many years I was simmering, but to emphasize your point, everything that I’m doing now I can actually tie back to those three years when I was going through the motions, or the ability to record shows and make videos and express myself was pretty much built in that time when I was at my unhappiness. It’s interesting to think about that.
Chris Plough [10:22]
Yeah, absolutely is and it’s the same thing with with my story and starting my company. The the impetus for that was the fact that I worked for a startup and a place that I loved. I had ultimate freedom within this startup, even though it wasn’t my company, it was somebody else’s. And then it was acquired by another company and became a place that I much like you just hated to work at. It was just, you know, it was torture, I was there for six months and in hated every moment of it. And then later in life, even the shift I had towards freeing myself up and going on these adventures that I dreamed of forever. It was caused by a very, extremely painful if into my life. And so it almost feels like sometimes you’re thrust into these positions. And it’s something I’ve been talking a lot to other mentors and stuff that I have on. People who meditate a lot of Buddhist monk friend of mine is, is you know, is it possible to force people to make these large shifts in their lives without this enormous impetus for pain? Or, you know, is there maybe a slower way to go about it? I really think there is I do believe that there are ways to maybe it’s not as dramatic or as fast. But I think that it’s possible to without hitting that critical point.
David Ralph [11:38]
I don’t know. I think you’re right. I do think you’re right. But I’ve had a kind of blessed life. It’s been very pleasant to my 44 years. Yeah, okay. I’m going Graham, and I’d like to be but other than that, you know, it’s pretty damn good. But I have these conversations on a daily basis when I’m talking to people, and they tell me, really terrible stuff. And I go, that was the moment that really started taking control of my life. And I look about and quite often the thing. Was my life not bad enough, should shouldn’t have had moments. Because it is isn’t it is pain and pleasure. Do we migrate towards pleasure to get away from pain. And I do think that more often than not the real Uber successful people are the ones that are rallying against something, they’ve got something burning inside them, they’ve gone beyond that capital stage. And they’re ablaze. And I think more often than not, it’s getting away from something bad is making them unhappy, or unfulfilled.
Chris Plough [12:37]
Maybe about I think maybe it shifts it throughout life as well. I mean, I can tie back quite honestly, a lot of my earlier just enormous drive, I had just just this I had this burning sense within that I had to accomplish, I had to do I had to succeed, I can tie that back to always wanting to please my my father, my biological father who wasn’t around, I know that I you know, always had this thing where I was always seeking approval or validation, especially from men or father figures in my life. And so that was a huge push to put me forward. But as in recent years, as I’ve come to realize that that was a driver of mine, it’s shifted. So instead of like that pain being the driver that takes me forward, it’s much like you It sounds that that it’s the passion of the projects that I want to do, or the effect that I want to have on people that becomes a much stronger driver. So I’ve come to believe that pain and pleasure Yes, they’re both drivers. But but but pleasure or passion seems to be the stronger or at least more sustainable of them. And I think it’s possible to get to that passion or pleasurable driver, without necessarily having to hit rock bottom in your life
David Ralph [13:45]
is weird, but how life just changes? And a few months ago, if somebody had said to me, yeah, I was talking to my friend, a Buddhist monk, I would go wow, that’s weird. But now, you’re saying that and I just accepted it as Okay, yeah, everyone’s got it. These monkeys a friend, do you kind of look at your connections now and think that they’ve come into your life for a reason.
Chris Plough [14:09]
I’ve actively sought them out. But it comes down to people that I just feel I have a connection with more and more of my network. Instead of being one type of person, it’s turning into maybe a similar core, where we have similar core beliefs, but expressed in many different ways. So what I mean by that is, I believe that the the core aspects of your personality that leads you to be an artist or an entrepreneur or to seek self enlightenment, I think that honestly that that core is the same, and it’s just expressed in different ways. So as I look at my friends, or my network is that I’m building out there in all these realms, I’ve got artists, I’ve got entrepreneurs, I’ve got interesting people who are seeking self enlightenment, I’ve got strange weirdos who just make my life so incredibly interesting, right. And I find that they are all valuable. And I don’t know if they’ve come into my life for a reason. But I have kept them in my life, because I find them inspiring, quite honestly, even you know, I joke around about having some some very weird and odd friends, but they are the ones who typically have the most freedom in life to make choices, and just go on a whim to do things that that even you know, I’m fearful of. And I learned from their experiences and go look, you know, what barriers I putting on myself, regardless of where I’ve gotten to in life, and how much further Can I go, and I love having them there to show me that path.
David Ralph [15:38]
And these key points to you now, knowing that in many ways, you’re still playing within your comfort zone, you look at other people and go, Wow, the things that they’re doing, but that kind of scares me somehow.
Chris Plough [15:49]
We always we always play in our comfort zones. And so like somebody will come up to, you know, cuz I drove that motorcycle through Siberia in winter up into the Arctic Circle, and I’ve had some these great adventures, people come up and say, I could never do anything like that. But that’s not the right way to look at it, I think the right way to look at it is, is in a kind of a relative aspect ratio, like, I had built myself up to the point where that was out of my comfort outside my comfort zone, but only a certain amount, I knew that I could mitigate the risk, and I felt I could survive. For somebody else at a different point in their life, or me at an earlier point in my life, it’s it’s a much smaller adventure, it’s a much smaller risk, that is an equivalent change from their comfort zone. So we all play within our comfort zones. And I think that it’s up to us to continue to find the experiences or find the people who push those limits out and out and out. And always play on the edges. Because otherwise, same with me, I could do nothing but play within my comfort zone and some of these adventures that I enjoy doing. But where’s the learning in debt? Where’s the growth and debt?
David Ralph [16:50]
the fascinating thing about you, Chris, is this is the first time we’ve connected. And within 16 minutes or 17 minutes, whatever this show is already, I think, myself, Why wasn’t he doing this? earlier? Why wasn’t he riding across Mongolia, because just hearing you talk, the passion exudes out of every poor, and it’s, it’s kind of madness, really, but it’s so obvious that you should have been doing these kind of things, but you weren’t?
Chris Plough [17:17]
Well, but expressed in different ways, I guess. And I think it’s because early on trying to figure out what path is right for me. So, you know, I grew up doing really well in school, because that’s what we’re supposed to do. And you know, going down that level of effort, then I ended up taking a very different path and moving out several thousand miles away to Philadelphia, to live with a girl that I fell in love with, who lived across the country, and I barely knew. So, you know, that was a very dramatic change, went from there to running out of money dropping out of out of college, having to work for a while, you know, joined a startup, but then I had comfort and the thing that scared me was I’d always loved theater. But I’d really never put my money where my mouth was. So I went back to school for theatre, right. And so that was pushing the envelope in that way. It was great. I learned a lot of skills there that prepared me for where I am today, though, ultimately, that wasn’t, you know, the destination that I was I was destined to follow, I guess. And then I ended up starting a company. Same thing like that was a new endeavor scared the bejesus out of me, I didn’t know a whole lot about it. And I learned along the way. But that one that was also again, a bit of a false path, but a learning path, I’ve learned so many tools in each of those paths that have led me to where I am today. But that one was after success and money and other false idols that just weren’t right for my life. So and I have no doubt that I will look back at my life in five years. And I will look at my myself that I am today. And I will just I will rebel and how silly I was and how much I didn’t understand and and how much I was still, you know, floundering about this path. And that’s okay. Like, if I can look back at my life every year, and look back at the younger self and go, you silly little boy. Come on, there’s so much you could have learned and than I’m doing right by, at least by my philosophy of continuing to move forward and continuing to to learn and do new things. It is it’s fascinating on so many levels for all of us because
David Ralph [19:11]
I’m as you’re talking now, I’m reading the introduction that I read out, and about riding across Mongolia in an ambulance. And I think to myself to do that, you know, the the idea of adventure and exploring and discovering new faraway lands is really in me. And when I go on holiday or vacation, I’m always the one that gets a car and just drives off to see what’s around, you know, but the big adventure is the crazy adventures, I think to myself, yeah, I love to do that. But I don’t, I don’t do that. And I was looking at you talking that are listening to you talking, looking at those words. And I think to myself, what would stop me now just get going to Mongolia and driving around in an ambulance. Nothing really is there. But we all put these limiting thoughts in our minds why we can’t do stuff?
Chris Plough [19:55]
Oh, absolutely. And it could be for, you know, fear of our lives for fear of losing money. Often it’s fear of what are people going to think of me, you know, that for me, that was a strong fear that I had excited started this business. And my reputation was the business early on before it had grown very much. And if I was seem to be this Cavalier guy who’s going to risk his life and limb to go across Mongolia, you know, I worried that then everything else in my life would dry up when the converse is true, you know, you start to explore something that you have passion for and that passion starts to exude from you and you attract people rather than push them away. So I think you know, for anybody listening really the core of it is knowing yourself well enough or at least being brutally honest with yourself enough to say what is your core fear? You know, mine was lack of approval and validation from from things earlier my life looking like a failure. And you know, just being perceived as somebody who’s untrustworthy were huge fears of my that kept me from doing some of these things for so long of my life when I really didn’t have to hold back i by all other measures.
David Ralph [21:02]
Let’s play some words. This is Jim Carrey I play this literally every single show because it really does always come to the point of the conversation but basis right police Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey [21:12]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [21:39]
Now, I’m listening to that, and you’re Jim’s dad, and your Jim as well, you kind of have done both.
Chris Plough [21:47]
I see both sides of that tremendously. And, and even today, so I had wanted to start off a podcast about conversations with people for so long, because I from my theater days, I love the the perfect aspect. And I love getting to know people. And I put it off for a year and a half, simply because I had the comfort of having my own, you know, company and, and having that financial success, as well as going on all these other adventures. But what really scared me was to put the rubber to the road and try to follow this particular passion and put it out there and risk people not liking it risk people telling me it was horrible risk people, you know, not accepting it. So throughout our lives, I think we continually play in both of those roles. And it’s just amazing when you’re one
David Ralph [22:38]
why did why did you care about? Because at the end of the day, what so many people doing stuff, but your voice is a very small noise, isn’t it? My voice is a very small noise. And I know when I started this show, I couldn’t wait to press launch. When I got close to pressing launch. Yeah, that was a bit scary. But it certainly wasn’t as scary as when the show started getting successful. That was my true scary bit. And I looked at it but oh my god, I can’t keep up with this. This is this is out of my control. What What made you feel bad, because you’re very eloquent. You’ve got huge passion, your conversation list, you’ve got everything you would need to create a successful show you.
Chris Plough [23:19]
I guess so. But I guess for me, again, for me, I believe a lot of things rolled into this self worth and validation thing from from early in my life that have have only recently really gotten some traction and addressing. So if I was going to do something, if I was going to go to Mongolia, if I was going to I know if if you asked me to street down the street, right? None of those things are a core expression for me, they they’re things I want to do. But if you don’t accept those, you’re not rejecting me. Whereas things that are closer to my core closer to I guess vulnerabilities, if that any sense, it feels like a rejection of those can be a rejection of me. And I really had to work very hard to separate those two things out that if somebody doesn’t like an art or something I create. They’re not saying they don’t like me, and I just had the two so messed up and intertwined.
David Ralph [24:15]
So So how did you end up then going to monkey? Well, I suppose first question is why Mongolia with all the countries on earth? Why did you choose because I’ve seen it many times, I remember watching the Ewan McGregor, Charlie Bowman, the long way around when I drove across in on motorbikes. And Mongolia is kind of like grassland there’s nothing there for many, many, many, many miles. What was it about Mongolia that attracted you?
Chris Plough [24:40]
Oh, so where it all began is probably a little less heroic than they might otherwise be thought. But I was working at a company. And and I guess have to roll back just a second. The difficult part of my life that happened is at the end of 2007. Due to an action, I lost both of my parents. And I mean, like anybody, it’s it’s almost unfathomable how you deal with something like that. And my way of dealing with it at the time was just to shut it away, bottle it up, almost pretend like it didn’t happen, and never really deal with that grief of those emotions. And since I had my own company going at the time, I just went so hard into the company of working at 9100, sometimes 120 hours a week, just just massive amounts of hours per week in the company to avoid dealing with it. But I lead myself to a point of burnout. And I threw this Halloween party year before I went to Mongolia. And a friend of mine just told me about this group called the adventurous he says, Look, they do these absolutely insane things. They they’d like, you know, drive, electric vehicles, you know, 10,000 miles from the UK to Mongolia. And I think you’d really enjoy it, you should look them up. And I was still at the point of my life there. Whereas like, yeah, someday, someday I’ll look at it someday when I have enough money or freedom or whatever we tell ourselves. And then as I got further and further into that year, I just started to hit this massive point of burnout. And I wanted a way to get away I wanted a way to escape. So to be perfectly honest, you that first adventure that I went on that trip driving Canadians from UK to Mongolia when it was to have fun, yes. But man, a lot of it was just to be able to run away from the things that were going on in my life. And I’m just so fortunate that the genesis of that journey was so much different, it wasn’t a run away. It ended up being this journey where I had so much time is a lot of like, you know, button seat time driving, there was so much time that I ended up facing all of these emotions and issues that I had bottled away for so long. And so I came out of the journey with a very different perspective on life, but also then feeling emotionally cleansed. And then did you do it on your own? No, no, I had two friends that with me. So what we were supposed to happen. We were supposed to get an ambulance. And then the there’s a thing called a Mongol rally and a bunch of people will will drive up to Mongolia via whatever path you want. So you know, there’s a lot of split up a lot of meetup, etc. Our journey to being a little different though. So I got an ambulance out of the US and tried to ship it over to the UK, and found out that it had been used at one point in life as a SWAT vehicle. And so they wouldn’t let me export it out of the US. So last minute, I got jumped on eBay and I bought another ambulance that had been retired out of Scotland and was able to pick it up in England. And we started two or three weeks late on the journey. So like almost the entire trek to Mongolia. We did solo just on our own because everybody else was so far ahead of us
David Ralph [27:42]
the same Why choose that?
Chris Plough [27:46]
For two reasons. One was we decided to film the entire thing as well. So it became a mobile kind of editing studio. But the real reason is because it was loud obnoxious, right? And if you’re going to be an American doing something like this, you have to be a little louder, noxious
David Ralph [28:01]
and well people sort of like riding around on there. I don’t want to have horses as Posey MongoDB I’ll miss a camels FM I’m about horses going oh my god I’ve just seen an ambulance come over that hill what was it looks from the Mongols
Chris Plough [28:16]
get shocked looks you get people who are are driving in every once while I any quick vehicle like a land Land Cruiser the total Land Cruisers and such. And they they either look at you like like shocked because they can’t believe that that you know you are there you your white skinned, you’re in an ambulance and other people look at you going you’re so stupid. Why would you ever choose such an ill equipped vehicle to try to make it across, right because we went through so much of Mongolia that some of it was hilly and in the flatlands grasslands. Some of it we went up into the mountains, it started snowing. When we finally started going into the Gobi Desert, this massive rainstorm blew in. And for the three days it was nothing but a huge mud bog trying to get through through Mongolia, which was horrible and ambulance never taken ambulance through my blog, because you just end up getting stuck over and over and over again. But but it makes it fun, doesn’t
David Ralph [29:13]
it? I remember going down to my daughter’s wedding and she got married down in Italy. So we all had to traipse down there. And I thought to myself, I’ll do a drive. And the week beforehand, I had my car serviced. And I was going to hire a car and I thought, well, what’s the point I’m cars just being serviced, it’s going to be perfect, brilliant. So I get in the car, we drive all the way through France, and we get down into sort of the Alps. And then suddenly, the car just breaks down. And we realized that if we we managed to get it going, but if we could keep it at 2000 ribs, we could nurse it along. And if we went up to 62 miles an hour, and we was on motorways with the Italians banging their horns and sort of trying to get past it. So anyway, we get to the wedding, it was a bit stressful, and the marriage took it away, and I wouldn’t give it come up back unless we paid like 2000 euros and I wasn’t gonna pay 2000 euros. So we went undercover and got me car out and basically set off the border, it was all very dramatic. And looking back on it, it was lunacy now because we had a car that just was ready to break down at any time. And if we went on the motorway and we broke down, it was going to cost us a fortune because I had to come and tow you off, and then you have to pay for it. So we decided to go over the Alps. And why we did this. And it was me and it was my dad, he’s in his 70s we went higher and higher and higher. There was no mobile phone signal, there was cars absolutely queued up behind us for miles. And we’re trying to drive up the Alps going less than 2000 waves keeping at 62 miles an hour. We couldn’t turn the car off. If we went to a petrol station, we had to leave it on and try to fill it up while it was on without them knowing and always kind of bizarre stuff. And but I look back on it now and I think wow, adventure. You know, that was something that I look back on. And I I’m proud that we managed it. But it was just lunacy. And you going off in a rubbish crappy old ambulance that was beyond lunacy. Wasn’t it? Really? that that wasn’t it? It wasn’t a situation that was forced on you. You actually chose it.
Chris Plough [31:19]
It chose it. Yeah. But so just listening to the passion in your voice about that story. Right, like stories that we have. They’re not built from times that go perfectly well. They’re built from the adversity and the pain that we go through. And and the fun times, you know, and just being a bit absurd about it? Absolutely. I think that there’s a having an ill equipped vehicle is good for for multiple reasons. Number one is like you amp up the challenge, right? So you really have to make sure that you are mentally prepared to do this. And like you said, Do you have to drive it in certain ways for for certain amounts of time, you can only go within certain specifications, you know, our ambulance near the end, we did the last 1200 miles with zero break in the ambulance because we had lost the primary brakes and we lost the parking brake. So we had nothing but the gearshift or you know, it was a standard transmission to be able to slow us down. No starter for the last thousand miles. So it was always parked on hills and push starting at the end of the day, we cracked the frame, we had the suspension break through the the undercarriage, and had to fix that with parts from a stretcher and some straps that we had, like, but all of those things became problems that we had to solve that are incredible memories. But then also, it forces you to interact with other people because there were times the ambulance broke down where it was something more serious like it was we had a fan belt go or we had an electrical fire underneath the hood. And we couldn’t fix that ourselves. And it forced us to go even further out of our comfort zone and interact with people that we might have not otherwise. And, and for me, that becomes a large joy in this and all of my journeys. Whether it’s the Mongolian journey India, Siberia, there’s a similar thread there in that you end up interacting with these locals who have so little compared to what we have like a pittance attempt, sometimes even less than that of what we might have in our life from a financial security perspective or anything else. And they are willing to do anything, they’re willing to drop anything, they’re willing to help you in any way they can. They’re willing to run down into the stores that they have and bring out whatever food they just meager amounts food they have and share it completely. And for me like there’s just this rejuvenation of, of my faith in humanity that comes as a result of that. And every time I get back from doing that, I think to myself, okay, so how can I? How can I have those same ideals? How can I help people just as much? Whereas I think a lot of times modern society forces us to close down a little bit. And well, we don’t need to help that guy on the side of the road because he has, you know, AAA or he somebody will help him out. Yeah, right. So so I think that having these these horrendous vehicles is beneficial on on many different ways, not only just for the story in the adventure of it,
David Ralph [34:03]
did you have these adventures, to find elements of yourself that you weren’t aware of, because it seems that they’re very cathartic. And when you actually out there, you discover aspects, but maybe subconsciously, you blocked away, but you like it, when it suddenly comes to the 400%.
Chris Plough [34:19]
So the first one again, I went into not necessarily expecting that, but from the results of the first one from what I felt was getting down to my core self, because you throw away all of these, these pressures that we have in life that are almost man made, or self made or false. It’s like, you know, if well, if I don’t answer this email in time, somebody’s going to get mad at me. Or if I don’t, you know, pick up my phone every time it rings. Or if I don’t check Facebook, we have all these weird, like pressures in our life, when really the core pressures that matter are, you know, food and shelter and taking care of those that you care about, like really basic core more instinctual pressures. And those are the ones that came out in the adventures. And so as I get closer to those, it also felt like, like you’re saying, like different aspects of my subconscious or different aspects that I had had repressed also started to flow up and become conscious become present. And each one of those journeys, I have absolutely learned different things about myself both both good and bad. And by learning the bad stuff, you then also are then better equipped to start to deal with it.
David Ralph [35:23]
It is fascinating, though, isn’t it about when I suppose it takes us full circle back to the freedoms just another word for nothing left to lose that when it gets down to the real simple, you haven’t got anything, most of us are actually quite happy. And most of us actually like that ability of, of surviving, I saw a program it was on the BBC. And it was David Beckham, the football player. And he was going through Brazil, on a motorbike with his friends to two of his old school friends. And I went on there, and they decided that they wouldn’t have a camera crew, they would just film it themselves. And they were go over. And it was amazing how famous he was. But even in a Brazilian rain forest village, he would go in there and like our back and back him and he was just famous everywhere. But he drove through. And he got to this point in the middle of the jungle where he broke down, and like couldn’t go anywhere. And he was sitting on these mountain bike or his motorbike or whatever. And he looked and he said, You know, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t know what was in front of me. And I didn’t know what was behind me. And I don’t have to be somewhere. And he seemed like he came alive. Now you would say that David Beckham has got everything in his life. But that simple realization that there was no one telling him, David, you’re going to be here in the next hour, or knowing what was tomorrow, and he’s mobile phone wasn’t working, he was just totally isolated. That seemed to find a core essence in him that probably he had lost. And he realized actually about it wasn’t the trappings of success that really made him come alive. It was those simple moments.
Chris Plough [37:04]
Absolutely. And it’s those quiet moments, I think that sometimes that that core person that we are or those core passions will then start to express themselves. Whereas if we stay busy, you stay in the day to day life, you stay, you know, doing nothing, but you know, enjoying amazing TV, and I love TV Game of Thrones is awesome. But you know, but if you do nothing but consume this stuff in and busy yourself in every moment, you don’t really hit it. And then I think that there’s another aspect to it as well, at least there has been for me of this confidence that you gain, right. So I hope to someday I want to be able to do an adventure that’s from Arctic Circle to Arctic Circle. And you know, at some point, I’d like to see both poles of the world as well. But for me that even that one seems like a bit of a far off journey. It’s like, you know, what would I need to survive? Do I actually believe I could viscerally survive a trek to the polls. So going through Siberia, for me was is a kind of a preparatory adventure, even though it was stretching, you know, stretching my limits, as it was, of being able to learn what it’s like to survive in such a difficult, harsh, horrendous temperatures and conditions. And so I’ve come away from that, with this confidence of knowing if I were ever to get stuck in that situation, again, be it here in the US due to some freak snowstorm or because I want to go on with these adventures, I have the skills I have the ability to survive. And often just having that knowledge having that confidence then leads into other areas of life as well. So you know, Beckam surviving and going down there and making his way through I’m sure he even he, you know, came away with a different confidence then he started with
David Ralph [38:42]
Is it about taking the promo, Ashley, I’m gonna play some words, they say it better than me. Listen to this, you,
Rocky Balboa [38:49]
me and nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can play, keep moving forward. That’s how when it is done.
David Ralph [39:05]
Beautifully said rocky so it was a when you in some Siberia and it’s freezing cold and your morale is is lowest. And you think to yourself are Why did I do this. But then you keep on moving forward. Because you know you had to is is that really what we should experience is it as rocky says it’s about taking the punches and getting stronger because of it.
Chris Plough [39:28]
I think it’s a balance, quite honestly. And if you had asked me two years ago, I would have told you hands down, that tenacity and endurance are two of the best skills you could ever have in life. But coming through Siberia, and then going through some other experiences of my life more recently, I think that it needs to be tempered a bit. Because I do think that you need to find a way to walk that fine line of of having tenacity and being willing to push yourself through things that other people won’t and having that resilience, but at the same time, understanding when to ask for help, sometimes understanding when to throw in the towel because you’re doing nothing but harm yourself. You know, in in the case of Siberia, of course, quite often it’s well, there was no choice, right? You either keep moving forward or you accept the inevitable. And you you know, I’m not willing to accept the inevitable so you keep pushing yourself forward. But in other aspects of life, it has to be a balance there. You really need to find that and I think it’s different for each person.
David Ralph [40:24]
I do find it fascinating both at once again, at our core, we crave adventure, don’t wait. I think everybody craves adventure. I think it’s the the mundane. It’s the rut, it’s the routine, whatever you call it, that we all find ourselves in. If push comes to shove, people would like to escape from that, but they don’t want to they stay in it. And that’s why they stay in rubbishy jobs about they could easily get out of that’s why they stay in rubbish you relationships. But it’s not it’s not comfort, I don’t know what it is, is it just routine that routes us into that spot?
Chris Plough [41:00]
I think we get little bit and so I’m with you, I think that this need for adventure, this needs to explore, express yourself learn, I think these are core to being you. And I actually think that they go down potentially to a biological level. That’s why the human race has adapted and adjusted and flourished the way it has on this particular planet is because at a core level too many of us, that’s the drive that that takes us forward. But I do think that we get load, we get lulled by these comforts, we get lulled by the stories of you know, growing up of will make sure that you have the secure job, make sure you take care of that. And then if you want to do anything else above their sure feel free. But that never leaves anytime. The problem is is that our comforts become all consuming. You know, if I want to sit down right now and do nothing but watch Netflix, there is more Netflix out there to watch than I will ever be able to consume in my life. I could just like, like drowned in that comfort, right in the same way that somebody could drowned in a cubicle in the same way that, that you can, you know, drowned in a relationship. That’s good enough, man. It’s it’s not, it’s not what you deserve. So we all do that. And I think that you just need people in your life or events, or sometimes even just the simple self awareness to just knock yourself out of it. It’s not easy, it’s uncomfortable as heck, but gotta knock yourself out of it.
David Ralph [42:21]
I get a lot of emails from people. And this is going to save me writing a lot of emails because I’m going to say what I’m going to say on this show. But a lot of them say to me, you know, what, what can I do to make my life exciting? What can I more often than not I say, go on Netflix or go to blockbusters or blockbusters isn’t around anymore, and get the Yes man by Jim Carrey and watch that film, and get the essence of what that film is about. Instead of saying no, or I can or I’ll do it next week, just go yes. And start having many adventures. And I love the idea of these mini adventures where it’s not the you know, going across Mongolia in an ambulance, it’s just going a different way to work or trying a different Starbucks coffee or something, just trying these different things to break up the norm. And I think that is, at its essence, what it’s about is breaking up the norm that we just get comfortable with. And it doesn’t have to be dramatic. It just has to be simple like watching the Yes man Jim Carrey and at the end of it go. Yeah, I know what he’s saying. He went from saying no every time to saying yes. And well look at how his life has changed.
Chris Plough [43:28]
Yeah, and can committing to it. I’m so glad that you brought up that the fact of going on these little adventures, because again, I think that, that people can get lost in the glamour of some of these these larger Adventures of Oh, that’s amazing. But I don’t know if I could ever do that. But that’s it, you hit it just right. It’s about having these small choices that we make in life. And the cumulative effect of making these small choices is is enormous. I just moved here to Austin, Texas, and I’m starting to explore around and it’s uncomfortable when you don’t know a lot of people. And you know, for me the Yes, that I’m saying right now is anytime somebody asked me out, I have to say yes. If I haven’t seen a place, you know, a bar and interesting area and town, whatever, then I go there even if nobody else is going with me. And I sit down and I view it and I talked to people, right? And all these things can be uncomfortable. But they’re they’re these little choices that then lead us towards greater gains. So absolutely like these do little adventures. Don’t wait for the big one to come around.
David Ralph [44:26]
To do you think yes is a forgotten skill, though? Because I know for years, I I don’t actually I invited this chap out one night, and we wasn’t expecting him to turn up. And he did turn up. And I said to him, I didn’t know he was going to turn up. I’m really surprised. I said, What made you come out? He said, saying no was too easy. And I thought that’s that’s it. And it really struck home to me. But saying no is too easy. It keeps you in the same position that you’re already in saying yes, is where movement occurs.
Chris Plough [44:58]
I think that yes is absolutely to it and know is as well, I think that those are two of the most powerful words there are right. So quite often we say yes to things that we don’t want to do simply because we feel an obligation or otherwise, which then ties up our time. So learning when to say no, because it’s not right frees up the ability to say yes to a lot of things. And then when I look at Yes, like if something if somebody asked me do something and my initial reaction is no, I didn’t look at that and go well, why am I saying no? Am I saying no, because it’s uncomfortable? Because there’s a little bit of fear not for my my safety, but fear for you know, unknown consequences, just a bit of fear of the unknown, then then that’s my point where I need to say yes, because that’s the point where you’re going to expand your comfort zone, you’re going to learn something new, you’re going to be in the moment, because it’s a new experience instead of just, you know, falling into the ruts that we’re in. So I really look at it. Why are you saying no? And why are you saying yes. And for me, that’s that’s the key indicator is balancing
David Ralph [45:58]
your life really important? Because I was just reflecting I remember you saying that, that there’s two points to total life, having all the money in the world that you can do anything or having no money, and then it doesn’t really matter. And you can do that. And the fact that you saw yes and no, as equally powerful. Well, I hadn’t I was just going Yes, yes, that’s the way to do it. But you’re absolutely right. No, gives you the time to say yes, is balanced an important thing for you.
Chris Plough [46:26]
It’s a focus right now. And I think that it’s a focus, because I’m so bad at it. So just be fully transparent out there. I am somebody who, if I put my mind to something, it becomes all consuming. And quite honestly, I tend to engrossed myself in it until it’s it’s run all the way through. And I have a lot of trouble with balance, like for instance, working, balancing life and work or balancing relationships and other things I want to do in life really difficult for me. So I think that might be why I’ve got that viewpoint at this point in time.
David Ralph [46:55]
Where is your viewpoint, so different men if we take you back in time, and we’ve already touched on the fact that that little Chris is very close to the big Chris now so that the kid who love the adventure, you found that playful element in your life that sort of really lights you up? But But where is your viewpoint what you aiming for for the next few years, Chris?
Chris Plough [47:19]
what I’m aiming for for the next few years is really to tackle the things that scare me. And to follow my passions. And it’s that sounds fairly normal. It’s a lot of people say, but I think that it’s the core of it. So you know, right now, things that I haven’t done nearly as much of because I’ve been traveling and going on these adventures so much like simple things like I haven’t had a long term relationship in five years, it scares the bejesus out of me to be perfectly honest,
David Ralph [47:49]
having one or that the fact that you haven’t,
Chris Plough [47:52]
were both like what is it like to have one because I changed so much like, I don’t know, the person, I’d be in one but also finding one for example, like, you know, like, I haven’t had to, to try to search that out in so long, because it’s a very different type of relationship you have when you’re traveling around on the road, right? It’s, it’s more than a comfort you find with other people more and it’s temporary instead of longer term. So for me, it’s it’s, again, finding those edges and exploring them taking the podcast and conversations as far and deep as I can go to learn how I can you know, better turn all the things that light beyond into things that enable my life and getting access to do the things I want to do. You know, I like I said before, I want to do this Arctic, the Arctic journey, you know, there are certain things that could better enable that learning how to survive in different climates, connections I can make along the way that make getting it easier, you know, financing, etc. So for me, the journey is just continuing that trying to be is as unfaithful as possible, trying to always push those limits and taking them forward. I’m at the point my life, again, hundred percent transparent where I see the future, so much less clearly than I’ve ever seen before. Like, I’ve always had this picture of I know where I’m going to be in five years, even if that’s not where I end up, I always had this really clear picture. And instead, where I’m taking things now is to be comfortable in not knowing exactly where it’s going to simply drive it in a particular direction and be willing to be flexible and adapt along the way and see what turns up.
David Ralph [49:27]
And that’s how life is formed. I’m a great believer in that I always had five year goals, Bry year goals and all that kind of business. And I think it gave me a rigidity that wasn’t conducive to success. Basically, I think being more flexible, it makes you see around things easier. And you can see obstacles and you get it just easier to do it. And you know, we go back to the principle of water finding the easiest route through. But I think not having that that awareness of where you’re going, is ultimately a dream maker. I think now,
Chris Plough [50:02]
I think you work well. And I’ll tie it back into the trip to Mongolia. And just kind of realizing this a bit. Now. I think one of the things that made that trip to Mongolia, so magical aside that it was just this amazing journey was also when we did it, we knew we wanted to get roughly from the UK to some point, Mongolia, hopefully we’ll have a car. But we didn’t have a GPS, we didn’t really have a map, all we could find was when we start stopped off in Amsterdam, we found this little itty bitty book that had a whole map of all of Europe and and Russia and you know, showed a little bit of Mongolia. And all we had were dark lines indicated major roads, they weren’t even labeled. And so what we did is we used our compass to say, well, we think we’re in this town because we can see a sign. And we think that if we head south east for a few hours, we might hit a big road. And that big road might be this big line that we see here on the map. But it was all flexible and adaptable, I have to tell you, as a result of never being in the right place at the right time, quote, unquote, we had so many more fun experiences we met people we wouldn’t have met otherwise, because we were open to any plans that change. We weren’t stuck to this rigid rigid schedule, as you said.
David Ralph [51:15]
So would you say that you are a man that personally has switched off his own GPS now.
Chris Plough [51:22]
I’m attempting to do it in normal life, I’ve been very good at doing that in my adventures. As soon as I get an adventure, I can just live viscerally and live within the moment. But I have always had difficulty doing that in normal life. And so now I’m attempting to take those lessons and put them into my normal life and see how that works out.
David Ralph [51:39]
I wish you the success. It sounds hugely exciting. I’m going to play the words of the whole show. Now this is the theme of the show. And that’s why we called it join up dots and these are the words that Steve Jobs said over 10 years ago. Now,
Steve Jobs [51:52]
of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [52:27]
Now you’ve really been on the well worn path. So it doesn’t make all the difference what those words that he says.
Chris Plough [52:35]
It’s so again, I have goosebumps, it’s it’s speech, I remember. And each time he says it I it It affects me. I think that the key to it all, is that number one, I do believe he’s right. But number two, I think it’s in trying to remind yourself of that on a regular basis. And and that’s a part of how we’ve talked about already doing this, this conversation of, of keeping ourselves out of the ruts really, you know, saying yes, taking that alternate path whenever you can.
David Ralph [53:05]
So is that key point to the listeners out there is the key point to not know your path, not be worried when something is quote unquote, wrong in your life, because it’s part of life’s great tapestry is an experience, but you will probably draw on later on.
Chris Plough [53:25]
Yes, so if I had to kind of sum a lot of these things up, the way I would put it is essentially, I do believe that life is an adventure. It’s a path that we’re meant to explore. And I think that if you always end up in the same well worn pathways, that you will never end up with the experiences that you will look back on fondly. And that will spark yourself and others to want to enjoy this life. So any chance you get to really go off that path a bit and do something where you end up, you know, learning something, making a mistake, feeling silly, I think become memory become parts of our stories, I think ultimately to others also become inspiring.
David Ralph [54:04]
It helps us grow, doesn’t it as this conversation has I’m really don’t want this conversation to finish. But it’s got to come to an end. And this is the part of the show that we call the Sermon on the mic when we send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Chris, what age would you choose? And what advice would you give, we’re going to find out, because I’m going to play the theme. And when it fades, you’re up. This is the Sermon on the mic with the best
Unknown Speaker [54:38]
bit of the show.
Chris Plough [54:53]
So Chris, I’ve been through quite a bit of my life, I’ve been through a lot of adventures, a lot of amazing stories. I know how hard headed you are how difficult it is to learn from other people’s advice instead of from just listening to their words. But if I could bottle up the essence of the experiences I’ve had, if I could bottle up the whole visceral feeling and pass that on to you instead of just the words, when I would pass on to you is just the simple fact that regardless of the choices you make in life, that you are worth loving that you do not have to seek the validation of somebody who’s not there, you don’t have to seek the approval of others, you don’t have to worry about trying to attain some level of success that is false in your mind some dollar amount or some prestige or title because it doesn’t matter. And if you believe in yourself, you’ll be able to follow the path and your passions earlier, you’ll be able to get and become the person that you’re supposed to become. And if I could pass it on to you. We’d be better off.
David Ralph [56:00]
Chris, how can our audience connect with you sir?
Chris Plough [56:03]
Um, I guess the best place is if you want to get all my contacts, you go to Chris cloud. com. That’s ch ri es p l o u g h com. I’m also Chris plow on Twitter. And that’s where I interact with a lot of people. And then finally my passion project right now again, it’s podcasts. It’s all about conversations with uncommon people. It’s Oz nog and it’s not calm, Ozzy calm.
David Ralph [56:27]
And what does that actually stand for us? nog
Chris Plough [56:30]
blood? Yes, it’s a it’s gone. So backwards. It’s my little homage to Hunter S. Thompson because his life was based off of just go out there and do it and live it and you know, write about it afterwards.
David Ralph [56:43]
And certainly when you say Gonzo I instantly thought of the Muppets. You’re talking about somebody else.
Chris Plough [56:49]
Yeah, so there’s a thing called Gonzo journalism. And and the essence of it was, it was I believe might have been started by Plimpton. And then it became really famous with Hunter S. Thompson. But the essence it is is go through yourself holy into an experience, go live it viscerally do it and then share it afterwards. But don’t try to share it without having lived every facet of it.
David Ralph [57:12]
And obviously bizarre but I wonder if that’s why they called Gonzo from the epic Gonzo because he was always doing crazy things and jumping off. It might have been.
Chris Plough [57:21]
It might have been actually I’d be really if I could talk to Henson and find that out. It’d be amazing.
Unknown Speaker [57:25]
Yeah, I do
David Ralph [57:26]
my best. I see if I can get him on the show. See what we can do. Chris, thank you so much for spending time with us today or joining up those dots and please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Mr. plow Thank you so much.
Chris Plough [57:44]
Oh, thank you so much. I’ve enjoyed this conversation
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are wants to become. So he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to join up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on join up dots.