Here is the full transcript of athlete and entrepreneur Joel Runyon’s TEDx Talk on Cold Shower Therapy at TEDxLUC conference.
Thank you. Today I’m going to share with you guys about cold showers. How they can change the way you look at fear, change the way you approach being uncomfortable, and even change your life.
First, I was introduced to the idea of cold showers about two years ago. I was supposed to meet a friend of mine named Nick Reese in Portland, who was a friend of a friend, a really successful entrepreneur online and did really interesting things. I met Nick in a bar and immediately introduced myself. I told him what I was up to. I just quit my job and I was taking a better job, a bigger job with a better pay, more money, more opportunities, better people to learn from. And eventually one day when I got done with that job, I’d quit it and start my own business.
After listening to me blathered on for about five minutes, Nick took a step back, and he looked at me and said, “So Joel, why wouldn’t you start your own business already?” I was a little bit flustered. I looked at him and said, “You know what, I don’t have the money. I don’t have the time. I don’t have the knowledge. I don’t know the right people. I’m just not ready.”
He listened to my excuses for a little bit and then asked the same question, “So Joel, why wouldn’t you start your own business already?” At this point, I was a little annoyed, because it didn’t seem like he listened to me for the last 2 minutes giving him my really good reasons, really valid reasons and stories on why I hadn’t started my own business yet.
So I repeated them to him. I hoped that they would get through to his head this time. And then I wrapped it all up with “besides, I just really don’t know what to do anyway.” And Nick looked at me, and he said, “That’s not the problem. You’ve already known what you need to do. You just need to go ahead and do it. What you’re scared of is you’re scared of being uncomfortable. And if you want to get used to being comfortable, all you have to do is to take 30 days of cold showers, and you’ll be fine.” And he left it at that.
We went on to other topics of conversation. And then I went home that night, and thought about what he said. And the next morning as I got up I decided I was going to do it. I was going to take 30 days of cold showers. So I got in the shower, and almost instinctually I turned the water hot. But then I remembered our conversation the previous night and decided to turn it to cold.
And as I started to turn it the opposite way, all these thoughts and all these feelings started rushing up inside me, about why taking cold showers was a very terrible idea. This is not going to be fun. This is going to be really cold. Who cares what Nick says? This is stupid. Why are you doing this anyway? And I almost didn’t do it.
But I had already committed to taking 30 days. So one way or another I turned it to cold, jumped in the water, and I screamed like a little girl. It was cold. It wasn’t fun. And I didn’t like it on a little bit. After 5 minutes of being in the cold shower, I jumped out, toweled off, and 30 seconds to a minute later I was fine.
The next day I went to do the same thing. And as I jumped in the shower and turned the knob to cold, all those thoughts and all those feelings started rushing up inside me again, “This is a bad idea. This is really dumb. It’s going to be really cold. Do you remember how bad it was yesterday?” But I did it anyway, turned to cold, jumped in and screamed like a little girl. After 5 minutes I jumped out, toweled off, and 30 seconds to a minute later I was totally fine.
As I kept doing this for 30 days over and over and over again, I started to realize something really interesting, that all the excuses I was telling myself in the shower, before I turned the knob to cold, were the exact same excuses that I was telling Nick in the bar in Portland about why I couldn’t quit my job. And they were the exact same excuses I was telling myself in my life about all the different reasons why I couldn’t do the things I really wanted to do.
And as I started to think about that, I started to realize that all the stories and all the reasons and all the excuses, because that’s what they really were, that I used in the shower to convince myself not to take a cold shower, those weren’t the thing that kept me back from taking a cold shower. The thing that kept me from taking a cold shower was my decision not to be okay with being uncomfortable.