William Trubridge has excelled in an environment where 99.9% of the world’s population would not dare to go. He is the epitome of someone who is in complete control of their mind as well as emotional and physical being, displayed through his achievement of being the first person in the world to break the 100m depth barrier underwater on a single breath of air. He is a 15-time world record holder and current freediving world champion. William is also the main subject of a documentary entitled “Breathe”.
My Definition Of Success | The ego is only interested in results and acclaim, but success should never be about satisfying the ego. I think it has to be a more subconscious form of fulfillment. You may look back on periods where you really struggled and maybe didn’t meet your own expectations and realise that those were the periods when you made the biggest gain in terms of your own discipline or character development – you were the most successful in other words.
My Highlights | The biggest highlight has to be the 100 meter “Project Hector” dive in 2010. It was the first record that I have done to draw attention to an issue of marine ecology that I feel strongly about (New Zealand’s critically threatened Hector’s and Maui’s Dolphins). I had never heard of crowd-sourcing, but developed something that was basically identical in order to fund the record attempt. However I would have been made bankrupt had the attempt been unsuccessful, so there was a lot riding on that one dive, and you have enough pressure at 100 meters without adding some more on at the surface!
My Key Talent | One area I might be strong is in a certain mindfulness in training. It’s never enough to go through the motions with training, or any activity: you have to be mentally present, watching for any feedback, analysing what’s happening so you can improve the efficiency; speaking to yourself in order to motivate yourself onwards. The more we get to know ourselves the better we can shape our own characters. Find out what works for you in order to discipline the devil on your shoulder who is always trying to talk you into taking the easy way out. Find out what you need to do to inspire yourself. Develop these techniques and you’ll be ready for anything.
Critical Skills | One that comes to mind is to constantly try to remind yourself that you are always a student. By having the open mind of a complete beginner you can learn so much more, no matter how experienced you are. This goes for general life as well – the know-it-alls will gradually get overtaken, while those listening quietly with the mind of a student will absorb more.
Performing At My Peak | Diet and sleep patterns play an important role in this. Eating a mostly plant-based diet free of simple sugars and processed foods is important for me to maintain consistent energy levels under high workloads. Sleep has to be sufficient and regularly patterned. In training, rest days are as important as the training itself, as this is when your body responds to the training stimulus by making adaptations. The same could be said about the mind: it’s when we’re sleeping or resting that the mind cleans it’s cluttered desk and puts everything away in the right compartments so that it can be accessed more efficiently.
Resources I Use | I use music a lot for inspiration, as I often couple it with visualisation exercises. We can invest positive energies into music as a form of psychological anchor, and then tap into this energy at a later time by listening to that music again. I even used it as motivation once: when a track I had been listening to was starting to really grow on me I told myself that I wouldn’t listen to it again until after I had set a world record. This created a motivation to ensure the record attempt was successful, and a nice reward at the end of it!
The Best Advice I Have Received | This came to me in a dream I had of one of my oldest childhood friends who I hadn’t seen in years. It was one of those dreams that seem more vivid than real life, and make you contact the person afterwards to see if they have discovered telepathy. In the dream he told me, “Stand in your dream.” It was when I was just beginning freediving, and I believe I was able to follow his advice.
If You Want To Grow Rich | Re-examine your values. I think that wealth as an end-objective can only be the result of a greedy personality, and will ultimately never lead to fulfillment. If you want to be wealthy in order to effect positive change in the world then that’s a different story: there wealth isn’t the end-objective, just a utility.
The Legacy I Want To Leave | I would be very happy if people were to care more for our oceans because of something I’ve done or said. ‘Planet Earth’ should really be called ‘Planet Water,’ since that’s what covers 70% of its surface. This water is its lifeblood and contains the majority of all ecosystems. We can live our lives with little or no contact with the sea, but we are still dependent on it in every way. Most people don’t think of themselves as in any way aquatic, but we do have a great capacity to adapt to being underwater, and freediving demonstrates this. If there is a change towards thinking of the seas as our home also then we will have greater respect for them and take better care with how they are treated.