“People say people don’t change and that’s bullsh*t”.

If you’re looking to transform an aspect of your life, Rich Roll is the prototype to follow. If you want to know his detailed story, check him out here, but I’ll give you the Cliff Notes.

Rich grew up as the classic American guy. He was an especially good student and athlete, landing him several NCAA championships as a Swimmer at Stanford. Upon graduation, Rich went dove head-first into work and was on the fast-track to becoming Partner at his Law firm. On the outside looking in, it appeared that Rich had it all.

On the inside, he was miserable. His lack of purpose led him deep into drugs and alcohol. By age 31, alcohol had ruined friendships, killed his ambition and landed him in rehab.

Though sober, he faced another major obstacle several years later. On the eve of his 40th birthday, he was left in crippling pain just from walking up a flight of stairs. The very next day, he decided to turn his fate around.

12 years later, Rich seems unstoppable. He has been a top finisher at grueling competitions like The Ultraman and Epic 5, has several best-selling books and one of the world’s top podcasts.

So, how the hell did he do this? Rich broke it down into 5 steps on a recent Millennial Momentum Podcast episode.

Major Event

Rich’s major breakthroughs all came after a major negative event, after hitting rock bottom. He could only go up from there. Find a place in your life where you’re struggling and know that you can turn things around.

Do What You Love

What was Rich’s first step when he realized his life was off track? He did what he loved. For him, this meant that he would run, he would hop on his bike and he would begin writing. He quit his high-paying job. He wasn’t sure where this would lead but trusted that his passions would get him to where he wanted to be.

Ask For Help

This is especially tough for most people, myself included. We were somewhat shocked to hear Rich defer that these major accomplishments were not accomplished through self-will as much as they were a team effort from his friends, coaches, and family. He may have been modest, but I think there is a huge value to having a strong team at your side.

Mood Follows Action

“It’s actions, not how you feel about the actions, that change your life”.

It doesn’t matter that you don’t want to do hard things. Hard things suck. But doing hard things is how you take your game to the next level.

Here’s an example: you typically start your day later than most people. You sleep in. The only reason you’re not a “morning person” is because you say you’re not. Set the alarm an hour earlier. The first 5, 10, 20 days will be brutal. You’ll want to throw your alarm clock (or phone) out the window. But do it for long enough and you’ll become that “morning person” you’ve always envied.

Mood follows action.


Greatness takes time. Just because you went running for a week doesn’t mean you’re ready for a marathon. Neither was Rich. It’s been 21 years since he’s been sober and 12 years since he’s dedicated his life to fitness. It’s about getting 1% better every day. Compound interest is one of the most important things in the world. Put in the work today and watch your results grow over time.

Originally published at medium.com


  • Tom Alaimo is a obsessed with helping others reach their full potential. He works in B2B sales and runs Millennial Momentum, a blog & podcast focused on millennial personal devleopment. When not writing or podcasting, you can find Tom playing tennis, running endurance races or reading a good book in San Francisco. For more info, check out millennialmomentum.net