Welcome to Lessons From The World’s Best; created to entertain you and to offer practical, relevant and maybe even life-changing lessons for your journey in sport, work and life.
Professor Paddy Upton interviews some of the world’s best athletes, in open, honest and vulnerable conversations about the story behind their stories. These are never-before-heard, courageous conversations about what drove their successes, as well as the uncomfortable truths about their fears, failures, challenges and personal experiences, both on and off-the-field.
13. Jonty Rhodes: Setting The Covers On Fire
Ex-South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes is still regarded as one of the greatest fielders of all time, having played in 52 Tests and 245 One Day Internationals for his country. He also represented South Africa at hockey, including being picked in the 1992 Olympic squad.
Since retirement, Jonty has coached professional cricket teams around the world. He has become an avid surfer and biker - joining local motorbike clubs for outrides on tours of particularly India, and on his tours around the professional cricket world.
In this episode, Jonty speaks candidly about the gifts sport gave him, how he succeeded against some of the odds and of his life lessons along the way. He also shares insights into his close friendships with the late Hansie Cronje and Shane Warne. And lots more...
12. Shaun Tomson: World Champion. Wise Elder.
Shaun Tomson is a former World Champion surfer, one of the pioneers of professional surfing, has been called one of the most influential surfers of the century, and is a successful businessman, author and evangelist for finding your purpose, commitment and positivity in life.
His life has seen him achieve the highest of highs- in being a World Champion, and possibly the lowest of lows- in tragically losing his happy, healthy 15yr old son, to a prank gone wrong. He co-produced and featured in the award-winning surf documentary ‘Bustin’ Down The Door’, which remains one of the iconic sporting documentary films. His book, the Surfers Code, in which Shaun shares 12 commitments to his purpose as a surfer, has translated to hundreds of thousands of people writing their own 12-part code for their own life.
Shaun is a masterful story-teller. He describes the elusive flow state (the ‘zone’) as beautifully and poetically as any. And has possibly experienced it more than most elite athletes. He is passionate about helping people find their purpose, and about helping others to be an even better and healthier version of themselves.
Shaun’s life experiences, his hunger and humility to continuously learn, and so much more about him, translates to him being something of a wise elder. The result is an insightful, thought-provoking and easy to listen to conversation.
Hawaii North Shore 3.00
Dreams to Reality 5.30
Surf safety in the early days 13.30
Scariest moment 17.30
The Tube-Rider 20.30
State of Flow 25.00
Competition vs Soul Surfing 33.00
In the Zone 39.20
Pro Surfing in the 1970s 42.20
Bustin' Down the Door 48.30
The Surfer's Code 52.00
"Paddle Back Out" lesson for all 56.00
Surfing Today 1.12.10
New book "The Surfer and the Sage" 1.14.13
Tragedy and the lessons 1.21
The Poem 1.31
The Big Question 1.34.42
11. Oscar Chalupsky: A Very Rare Breed
Multiple International athlete and World Champion Oscar Chalupsky is a once-in-a-lifetime high-performance machine. Few will ever be like him, but almost all of us can learn some valuable lessons from the man.
Whilst still at school, he played South African schools water polo, was a springbok lifesaver, became the youngest Springbok canoeist, played provincial schools rugby, was the South African Iron Man champion, and South African ocean kayak champion.
He went on to become 12 times World Champion paddle ski or ocean kayak champion, winning his 12th title at the age of 49, 29 years after winning it for the first time.
Throughout, he was an amateur athlete who also worked full-time and built successful businesses. In the year South Africa was banned from participation due to apartheid policies, he took up golf, and a year later had a scratch handicap. For aspiring golfers, he shares how he did this, whilst remaining married and holding down a full-time job.
In November 2019 and at the age of 56, Oscar was diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer and given 4-6 months to live. Today (April 2022) he is still running, swimming, kayaking, working and competing against the world’s best, whilst taking this cancer, plus a more recent diagnosis of skin cancer, head on and with a glass of wine in his hand.
This is one hell of a conversation with Oscar Chalupsky.
Young Oscar 3.30
Mindset during a race 13.00
The Molokai 17.30
Brain Training 22.40
The Science Behind the Sport 25.00
Entrepreneurial Mindset in Sport 29.40
Out of the Box 33.00
Pushing the Body 34.50
Winning (12th) Molokai 37.50
The Switch to Golf 42.30
1992 Olympics 48.30
The Diagnosis 51.50
Message to Cancer Patients 58.10
What's Next? 1.02
The Big Question 1.07.40
10. Harbhajan Singh: Authentic & Unapologetic Warrior
Indian Cricketer and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh started out as a young kid from Jalandhar, with big dreams, an abundance of passion, a love for fun and had a huge work-ethic.
His international career spanned 18 years, during which time he became one of the world’s leading wicket takers. Bhajji the cricketer was a warrior and fierce competitor. He is someone who chooses authenticity about political correctness, and being outspoken and passionate above mute diplomacy. This mix, along with his high work ethic, huge heart, love of having fun, and an unbridled passion, both on and off the field, saw him being one of crickets genuinely successful and colorful personalities.
His career spanned highs and lows, and his fighting spirit saw him rise again and again after getting dropped, injury, surgery, having his bowling action repeatedly questioned and falling foul of controversy.
In this chat, Bhajji is characteristically outspoken, unapologetic and whole-hearted as he speaks about his career, his philosophy on performance, on life, and his passion and current dedication to helping feed, house and uplift others. He is direct, authentic, funny and pulls at heart-strings. At one point, he rendered me quite emotional, which was no surprise - he doesn’t do dull.
Young Harbhajan 3.00
The Doosra 6.30
Being Your Own Coach 9.45
Attitude As A Competitor 11.10
Career Highs and Lows
Message to Young Players 15.50
Fame and Publicity 18.30
Playing Australia 21.20
Passion and Belief 24.25
Being Yourself 27.45
Social Media 31.20
Biggest Challenge 38.20
Belief Over Statistics 45.00
The Foundation Tera Tera 53.40
Journey from Jalandhar 1.03
Saving The Soil 1.08
2011 WC Memories 1.11.20
1.16.30 The Big Question
9. Allan Donald: White Lightning
South African fast bowler Allan Donald (White Lightning) was one of the quickest and most awe-inspiring bowlers of recent decades. As scary as he was on-the-field, he is equally a friendly and consummate gentleman off of it.
Allan shares generously about the stories behind his stellar career. He opens up about some of his duals against the world’s best batsmen that remain stuff of legends. He shares how his career unfolded alongside that of close friend and captain Hansie Cronje, and the devastation of Cronje's involvement in match-fixing. He also opens up about the infamous run out between him and Lance Klusener in 1999 World Cup semifinal, and the impact of it on him personally. This and so much more.
Such is the respect for Allan’s knowledge and experience, since retirement from the international game, he has been appointed coach in numerous teams and leagues around the world, including in five different international teams. In 2019 he was inducted into the International Cricket Council Hall of Fame.
Young AD 2.55
Training devices 7.45
Internal motivation 10.50
Army life 14.15
SA comes out of Isolation 17.30
County cricket 23.50
Contest with batsmen 29.15
Hansie, the captain 37.10
1999 World Cup 57.40
Advice on failure 1.15.55
Current role in Bangladesh 1.23.00
8. Shane Watson: Imposing, Fierce and Sensitive
Australian Cricketer Shane Watson is one of the most imposing and impactful all-rounders of the modern era. He played 14 years for Australia, and amongst numerous accolades and records, was Australian cricketer of the year seven times, and spent a record 150 weeks as the world’s number 1 all-rounder in T20 cricket.
This outwardly tough and fierce competitor on the field shares how his gentle and sensitive nature needed to be hidden and was constantly at odds with the tough and uncompromising ‘Australian way’. He discusses how he over-trained due to a hunger for success and perfection, and how witnessing the on-field death of a team mate Phil Hughes, killed by a bouncer to the head, caused a year of anxiety, fear and below-par performances. He shares in-depth detail of how he overcame this, and explains the mental game secrets he discovered towards the end of his career. He tells of the extra and unique things he did to stay ahead in his game, how he managed his mental health and wellness to extend his career, and how the IPL changed him and brought an end to the decades-old ‘Australian way’.
Shane is also an international commentator, podcaster, serial entrepreneur and family man – the combination of which makes him an intelligent, insightful and fascinating podcast guest.