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Surviving the Amazon Rainforest | Yossi Ghinsberg (ep. 528)

Yossi Ghinsberg

John O’Leary welcomes Yossi Ghinsberg to the Live Inspired Podcast to discuss how we all possess the power to survive even life’s most unexpected challenges and tremendous seasons of change.

In the depths of the uncharted Amazon rainforest, Yossi Ghinsberg was tested to the extreme. After losing his three companions, and without food, fire, a weapon and bare to the bone, Yossi battled to survive for three harrowing weeks.

As the inspiration for the movie Jungle starring Daniel Radcliffe, Yossi describes himself as a philosopher of life and believes that nothing promotes growth more than an unexpected experience and unconventional thinking.

As Yossi shares his spectacular lessons of survival, you’ll find yourself inspired to expand your horizons, adapt to changing circumstance and rediscover your inner strength.

My friends, while Yossi is joining us from his home in Israel, you’ll leave this conversation feeling profoundly connected to his story, mesmerized by his attitude and with a refreshed perspective that in spite of the headwinds, the best of our days remain ahead.

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  • Growing up in Israel in the first generation after World War 2 shaped Yossi profoundly.
  • Yossi’s thirst for knowledge: The three books that Yossi always travels with are Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis, Dune by Frank Herbert and Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck.
  • Alfred Lansing’s Endurance ignited his imagination, specifically in South America and the Amazon Rainforest.
  • “The most powerful weapon on Earth is someone who is naive.”
  • Yossi’s mantra “man of action” encouraged him to do the right thing while navigating the dense Amazon for three weeks.
  • “Pain is about the body. Suffering is about the mind.”
  • By spending three weeks alone in the Amazon, Yossi discovered his self-worth and his adamant refusal to be labeled a victim.

Did you enjoy today’s episode?

You’ll love my conversation with Nando Parrado. In 1972 there was a historic plane crash; the only one in which the plane was flying at both cruising speed + altitude and had survivors. One of the survivors was Nando Parrado. In street clothes and without food, Nando survived the winter in the Andes. Hear my conversation with Nando on ep. 84 now.


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  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. The Eye of the I by Richard Hawkins.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. The freedom of dreaming.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. I already lost that item in the jungle. I am not attached to anything besides the relationships I have.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. I'll love the one I'm with.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. Be here now.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Make sure you have your own machete.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. The biggest happiness is to know we have meaning.