Q: You’ve said that in your early twenties, you were poor and living in Venice Beach, wondering what to do with yourself, when you went for a long run, and things just changed. Was it really that simple?
A: No, but it was that emotional. I was in a 400-square-foot bachelor apartment and couldn’t even pay my rent, and I decided to go for a runI was about 30 pounds heavier than I am now. I took a Walkman and played Heart’s “Barracuda,” and I ran on the beach as hard as I could. Today, I understand that I was making a radical change in my physiology, which affects your biochemistry, which then changes your mindset.
Q: On the cover of Inner Strength, your new book on what you call the six primal needs, you’re not smiling as wide as usual. You’re scruffier, a little darker.
A: That’s who I am today. I don’t think I’m dark. There was a photo of me on the hardcover of Awaken the Giant Within, and I had glued hair and I was pointing with my finger. It was so eighties. I think most people look back at those days with some traumaI know I do. When I turned 39 or 40, I grew a beard. And it hasn’t really changed in eight or nine years.
Q: What were you like in high school? Were you the sensitive guy that girls talked to?
A: I unfortunately was. They were all my best friends. By the time you get to junior high school and high school, you really don’t want to be their best friends anymore. You want to be a little bit more. But I was Mr. Solutionliterally that was my nicknameso if you had a problem, I had the solution. Especially if you were a girl, I was extra inspiredyou know, explained to you what was wrong with your boyfriend. But I also was aggressive. When I was a sophomore, there was a woman who was the senior-high song leader, and she was dating the captain of the football team. They broke up right before the Homecoming dance, and I was brave or stupid enough to ask her outand got the hell beat out of me. Three of the football guys. The nose-guard guy, I’ll never forget, said, ‘You’re not respecting your elders,’ and dropped his chocolate milk on me. Then he and these two other guys started kicking me.
Q: You’re a very intense guy. What do you do to come down?
A: I’ve played polo for about 10 years. I divide my time between four homeswhen I’m in Fiji, I scuba dive, and I snowboard at my place in Sun Valley.
Q: But how did you teach yourself to relax?
A: I don’t think I taught myself. I remember I went on a trip down the Colorado River one time with a group of friendsmajor celebrities and influential people like Pat Riley and Peter Gruber, who was with Sony at that time. We’re going down the river and everybody was hyped up, but I was so burnt into the ground. But Peter was just a new friend of mine, and I really wanted to connect with him. I thought, ‘You don’t know who I am.’ He had listened to my tapes, and the books had really turned his life around. But he didn’t have a cluethat’s not me. What I do onstage is my power. So, I was surrounded by all these Type-A personalities, and I thought, “You know what? I don’t care. I’m just going to enjoy being on this trip.” So I was, like, sleeping on a rock, I’ll never forget, on the side of the riverjust exhausted, just sleeping there in the middle of the dayand I woke up and looked up. Pat and these four other actor-type people and Peter were all just shaking their heads, and Pat said to me, “How the hell do you do it?” And I said, “What?” And he said, “You’re the only guy here who knows how to relax.” Little did he know…