YEL 041: Lessons From Temple Grandin – Why Your Sob Story Could Be Your Greatest Victory

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  • October 29, 2017
YEL 041 Temple Grandin

This episode is dedicated to Temple Grandin, who has taught me so much in such a short space of time. I look forward to learning more about you Temple, and sharing your remarkable story with the world.

This episode is proudly brought to you by the 100 Not Out Meditteranean Longevity Experience in Ikaria. Join Damian Kristof & myself for 10 days in 2018 on the little Greek island known as the island where people forget to die. 

Watch the 3-minute entertaining video here

Life Purpose – Lessons From Temple Grandin

As you may know from previous episodes, I recently completed reading a book called Mastery by Robert Greene. Through the book, Greene refers to masters from all eras (including Darwin, Mozart, De Vinci, Michaelangelo) and a select few contemporaries.

One of the contemporaries he refers to regularly is Temple Grandin. Now if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably never heard of Grandin. And I must admit, as I read her story I wasn’t overly inspired by it. Perhaps it was that she was a career academic or had worked in the cattle industry that bored me, but the more I learnt of Grandin and her story the more enamoured by it I became.

What tends to happen when I read books is Wikipedia gets a workout! I wiki anyone I don’t know to learn more about them. I’m currently watching Schindler’s List and I’ve learnt so much about Oskar Schindler and Amon Goeth thanks to not only the movie but to Wikipedia.

But back to Temple Grandin. Learning more about Grandin in Wiki, I saw that she had done a TED Talk, and after seeing that I saw that a movie had been made about her life and achievements, and that it featured one of my favourite actresses in Clare Danes (so of course it had to be a good movie!)

It was better than good! The movie was another example of how a perceived affliction or challenge in life can actually be the source of your greatest victory. I don’t want to give Temple Grandin’s full story away – you can watch the trailer or her Ted Talk below to find out all about it – but what I will tell you is this. Grandin is autistic and instead of being institutionalised when she was younger (which was the normal “treatment” back then for autistic children), Grandin’s Mum raised her firmly like any other child.

Grandin went on to work WITH her autism (muck like Einstein and Edison among others are thought to have been “on the spectrum”), using it to her great advantage to the point where it was clear she was the biggest visionary in the livestock industry.

Temple Grandin’s achievements in life are simply remarkable – not just for livestock but for autism and for the belief that your greatest sob story (consider how much sympathy people get for their life events or circumstances) can be the source of your greatest victory.

Ask yourself – how can I use what’s happened to me (both good and bad) to propel me to a new level in my life? You’ll be amazed, if you really consider what’s happened in your life, that each and every moment (again – no matter if you label it good or bad) is a step forward in the beautiful unfolding of your exceptional life.


With the sitting epidemic only becoming more and more prevalent and in my face (don’t worry SUP exponents – I have a MOVI Workspace arriving early next year), I’ve determined that I must move even more during the day.

So, as you may know, I’m already doing a 100 push up challenge. I’ve added a 30-day squat challenge to my day, as I simply feel the need to move my legs more (and not just in a walking type of way).

You can see how many squats I’ve been doing. I simply divide the total amount by 10 and do 10 sets throughout the day 🙂 Takes 30 – 120 seconds per set so time is really no excuse 🙂

Lizzy Williamson is also really awesome with these short bursts of movement. If you haven’t checked her out, Lizzy’s 2-minute moves are also on Instagram.

I strained my ankle playing footy with the kids a couple of weekends ago so I haven’t been running. I’ve been doing some core work and also some yoga. I do love doing these Sun Salutations with Adriene, and it’s only a 12-minute routine.

With the weather awesome here in the Byron Shire, I’ve also made an effort to duck down to the beach or the Brunswick River for an afternoon dip. I was chatting to a friend and said there were no excuses for me – it’s a 4-minute drive to the beach, I hop in the water for 5 minutes and am home 4 minutes later. 15-minute turnaround. Bang. Seriously, no excuses. It’s so fascinating how many excuses we can make around movement.

Social Life

Some great social time this week, particularly catching up with Rosie Garner, who you can find out more about over at We caught up at the Brunswick Heads hotel which is a great pub, good vibe, and right on the beautiful Brunswick River.


Breakfasts have become even harder to prepare in the morning with Tommy just getting a bit much in the kitchen. He wants to be up on the bench near the sharp knives and so on, and whilst I can do a pretty good job at juggling, no one wants an accident!

So I’ve started preparing a chunk of breakfast the night before. I cut up my eggplant, kale, mushroom and broccoli in advance so that I don’t have much cutting to do in the morning. Only a few days in and I’m loving it 🙂

Love & Relationships

Tommy has been teething like crazy and so my beautiful wife’s sleep has been more interrupted than normal! However, we’ve still made a big effort to spend some quality time together each night and have even watched a few movies (uninterrupted) together lately! One of them was Temple Grandin, another was the Grammar of Happiness (a documentary).

We’ve also worked together on beautifying our home with up to date family photos which has been a great exercise to do together as it forces some beautiful reminiscing. It is a wonderful exercise to look back on life, particularly when you have the photos and videos to add depth to the memories.


I’ve been listening to a variety of podcasts lately. As always, Sean Croxton and Quote of the Day has been great when on the fly. Mark Howard and The Howie Games has been satiating my love of sport and personalities (his interview with Bruce McAvaney and Tim Cahill were both world class). I must also congratulate Damian Kristof and Brett Hill on the re-launch of The Wellness Guys. Some new production elements in there and some wonderful content!

As CEO of The Wellness Couch part of my role is bringing new content and podcasts to the network. Let’s just say that we have a range of new podcasts joining between now and Christmas, which I’m very excited to share with you 🙂


Sarah’s super statement came in during the week and it was nice to see a healthy appreciation over the last 12 months. As soon as it came in I updated the Pearce Family Net Worth statement. It took me no more than 60 seconds. I can’t emphasise enough the importance of financial clarity. All I have is a spreadsheet that lists our assets and their value and our liabilities and their value. Value of assets minus value of liabilities is our financial net worth.

Note, it’s not a value on our SELF-worth. It’s a value on our financial net worth. Remember there are people in Africa right now who have more self-worth and are wealthier than the depressed billionaire.

Spirit & Soul

I think this area of life gets covered off in what I’ve already shared about Temple Grandin (and in what I’ve watched so far in Schindler’s List). Nothing is good or bad in life, it’s just thinking that makes it so. Your soul can deal with whatever challenge you face, as long as you give yourself permission and the belief that this is EXACTLY where you need to be right now.

It’s only the ego that makes labels of things (such as “good” and “bad”). What is good for one is bad for another, so neither one is correct. Autism was not BAD for Temple Grandin, it was the MAKING of her. She was made that way for a reason that includes the humane treatment of millions of animals and serves as an inspiration to the autistic people of this world and their families, educators and communities.

If that’s not spiritual then I don’t know what is.

Remember the message of this podcast. Don’t let your sob story BE your story. Everyone loves a rags to riches story, but if you’re stuck in the rags chapter of your life with no belief that there is a riches to it, it’s time to start redefining your life. If it’s about your parents, your partner, your health, people who have done something to you or others, it’s time to redefine what it all means.

Start with the question “what’s good about this?” and see where your answers take you.

Have faith that NOTHING in this world happens to screw you. You are loved and supported at all times. It’s simply up to you whether you believe that or not.

Have an exceptional week,