Lifelong Friendship with Hemad Fadaifar
I’m excited to share a new episode with my best and oldest friend, Hemad Fadaifar! He’s one of my favorite people on this planet and we decided to hit record right after our back-to-back birthdays.
Hemad is the type of person that changes the dynamic of a space. He’s likable, smart, competitive, extremely funny and highly adaptable, among other qualities. He shows up and people just smile. He inspires you to become better. He brings an organic presence of love, fun and strength.
This episode is packed with all kinds of stuff including friendship, business freedom, choosing less, conquering the mind, challenging our comfort zone, mountains, food, competition and more. This is a glimpse into what Hemad and I chat about regularly. We also cover his extraordinary experience winning and fulfilling a Dos Equis challenge.
It’s my favorite episode to date simply because it’s Hemad. I’m a better human from having his lifelong friendship 🙂
- The 4-Hour Workweek (book)
- Kapil Gupta: Conquering the Mind (video)
- Atmamun (book)
- Hemad & Ali cold plunge (video)
[00:00:00] Ali: Welcome back folks. Ali here, The Power of Space. I have an extremely special guest, Mr. Hemad Fadaifar, who is among many things in life my best friend. So we go back very, very, very deep. In fact, I was thinking about that this morning. You're one of the first friends I think I created in context of knowing what a friend was, cuz I was five or six years old.
Aside from that though, Hemad just had a birthday, which is really interesting, which happens to be a day after my birthday. So this recording in itself is overdue just because we've talked so many times in person like, yo, we need to record this, or this should be a podcast.
I'm excited. I'm nervous for this because a lot of times I interview people that are kind of in my world or came in via connections, network, uh, the professional side, whereas you're one of the, the closest people in my life and one of the deepest people in my life that I still have a very strong connection with. So I will leave it with that and digress and say, welcome. And how would you like to introduce yourself today, Hemad?
[00:01:14] Hemad: That was beautiful. Thank you. Um, gosh, this is interesting, isn't it? Because I feel like you're nervous. I'm sweating cause I want to knock this out the park for you and I know what you're gonna say about that, you, you know, we have these conversations all the time and that's just...
[00:01:35] Ali: Wait, wait. What would I say? What would I say?
[00:01:37] Hemad: There is no knocking it out the park.
[00:01:39] Ali: Okay, cool. Cool.
[00:01:39] Hemad: I know you a little bit. Um, how do I wanna introduce myself? Hemad Fadaifar, I just turned 37, feeling 27. Um, yeah, just entrepreneur, older brother, Ellie's best friend, just living the dream, kind of, you know? Mm-hmm. Something you said brought up, uh, you're like the first friend that I actually remember, and when I see old photos, I vaguely remember this. You're the first friend that I can remember. So it's cool to be here doing this.
[00:02:11] Ali: Totally, man. Yeah, that's exactly what I was trying to describe is that when I look at pictures, I'm like, oh shit, I remember like being on those ice skates or jumping off the couch playing charades when we were just young with our younger brothers. So yeah, we have that very deep friendship that I'm honored to have.
And I was laughing. I had to control myself before we hit record because amongst other things, you have this amazing quality to make people smile and laugh, which is a powerful tool that I don't think a lot of people have. And I think it's so healthy for our souls just laughing and being in the presence of someone who wants to bring that light in. And I had to contain my laughter. Cause before we record, I was like, yo, are you ready? Like, did you use the bathroom? Did you drink some water? You're like, yep, I got water, gatorade, apple, carrots, like what?
[00:03:07] Hemad: Red emergency button. Yes.
[00:03:09] Ali: Your red emergency button? Yep. Oh, that's so good.
[00:03:13] Hemad: It's funny when you say Hemad, you make people laugh? And, and I've spoken to you about this before, but it's nice to, to talk about it here. I love making people smile and I love making people laugh. And I always ask like, why? Where did that come from? Mm-hmm. My answer as of today, as of right this moment, is having Hesam, my little brother, as my audience. He's one year younger than me. We're inseparable. Having someone there constantly. I feel like I've had an audience my whole life. I try to make him laugh, trying to make him smile, always trying to kill him when we're playing sports, but when you actually think about who am I today and why, when I think about who I am today, I can directly correlate it to exactly how I grew up.
You know what I mean? Like moved around a lot when I was younger which means you have to make friends over and over again. Mm-hmm. Yep. So what does that create? These skills, those skills that we use today. And so when you say, making people laugh or making people smile, that resonates, that hits home. And I've thought a lot about that, like why? Mm-hmm. And that's part of the reason.
[00:04:17] Ali: So, you're very likable. You're also highly adaptable, I've observed. And to your point, there must be these nuggets in your history where, like you said, like, ah, we had to move at certain times in our past. And I feel like it's always been so easy and fluid for you to make friends, in fact, to a place where maybe you've, you have so many friends and even balancing that could have its own challenges.
[00:04:42] Hemad: Totally. There's layers. I don't know. It's tough sometimes having so many friends. It's interesting you bring this up. I have a hard time texting people back sometimes. Mm-hmm. And we've talked about this. Even us, best friends, close as heck, we have to check in on each other. Like, hey, when's the last time you called me? Mm-hmm. It's crazy. Trying to hold space for all of your friends. It's difficult. It's hard. So these days, you know, Drake says _"no new friends",_ I agree with that. It's kind of crazy. It's like, there's only so much of me to go around and you try to please everyone and make everyone happy and it's challenging. So it's definitely one of those things that I've had to do growing up. I think it's a survival, defense mechanism, you know, being adaptable to your point.
[00:05:30] Ali: Totally. Yep. Okay. Moving on, the question on this show amongst various questions is, where are you creating space right now? What comes to mind?
[00:05:42] Hemad: My business comes to mind. Mm-hmm. And so I have an online business. I run it with my girlfriend and we live together. And where I try to create space, like right now I'm in my studio and...
[00:06:00] Ali: which you call the space right?
[00:06:03] Hemad: The Space. It's called The Space. So when I go to the space, when I go to the studio, Barbie will sometimes say like, you know, should I come in or do you want your space? I'm like, I want my space. And she's really good about that. She knows I need my time. Also, the gym, you go to the gym, your headphones are in, you're in your own little world. And, these things are important.
I feel like I've lacked a little bit of space regarding reading, some personal time, just because I'm so kind of obsessed with the business and we're renovating our home. So it's tough to find space, but that's what comes to mind when you say, where are you creating space? I'm creating space here at the space.
[00:06:46] Ali: Hmm. That's cool, man. So to give people a little bit more context, you run a business called The Loom House with Barbie. You guys do really awesome work in terms of like staging these spaces with rugs and furniture. And then my perspective or my filter is you're a little bit more high-end, like you sell unique stuff, different variety of rugs, especially for designers and collectors and people who just appreciate nice things.
Tell me a little bit about what does being an entrepreneur mean? Like, why do you do it? Because you have so many talents. I've told you this many times, I'm like, dude, you could make a killing in the sales world, doing things for companies that you believe in, but you've intentionally chose for years to kind of keep it small, keep it tight, and I wanna know why.
[00:07:38] Hemad: The entrepreneurial journey for me started right outta college and my views on it were different after I read the book, _The Four Hour Work Week._ If anyone's anywhere near our age and they're in the entrepreneurial world, you've heard of _The Four Hour Work Week,_ Tim Ferris. Cuz we thought it was money, money, money. And then we can go do everything and anything we want and buy everything. And then you read_ Four Hour Work Week_ and you're like, oh, you don't want to be a millionaire. You wanna live the life you think a millionaire lives. Mm-hmm. Which they're on a slope skiing right now.
They're kicking back and doing whatever they want. They're free. That just made me view freedom and business in a whole other way. So circling back to your question, what entrepreneurship means to me is doing something that you think is important in the world, serving others while serving yourself and life on your own terms. I mean, that's why you're in it.
Mm-hmm. I work very hard, just like all the other entrepreneurs out there cuz you're building something for yourself. Right. It's funny cuz I, I feel like I work more than some of my friends that have more traditional jobs and I don't say that as a badge of honor. I'm highlighting it's a lot of work, but enjoying it is that heartbeat that I think, makes entrepreneurship desirable.
[00:09:05] Ali: Right, right. Yeah. I heard freedom, I heard lifestyle design in there. I heard that it doesn't always feel like work. And dude, I feel that from you because we've talked about business on different levels for many years and I've never really felt stress from you, from your business. Like maybe occasionally, like the whole Etsy thing where one of your main channels kind of got shut down, which is a big deal, that would cause anyone stress.
But outside of that, I've never really felt from you, like, oh man, the business is weighing me down and I've felt that big time in my businesses. So I'm kind of giving you some props that either you manage it or hide it really well or you just don't incur it even though you do put work in.
[00:09:46] Hemad: You know what comes to mind when you say that? Hmm. It's a quote that I've been sort of obsessed with lately, and it is not wanting it is the same as having it, or, better than having it. Um, I don't want, at least I tell myself this, and it, for the most part, it's true. Like people want big businesses. Great. That comes with big money, big problems, big everything. Mm-hmm. I like lean, I like fast, you know what I mean? I can make way more money and I know that will come with way more stress. I like kinda keeping it small, not needing much and just enjoying it. I think that's where the lack of stress comes from.
[00:10:32] Ali: Mm-hmm. Yeah. I believe that. I've seen that from you. So that's a great quote. This kind of dovetails into something I wanted to bring up because, it came into our world recently and just rocked me in all kinds of ways. And it's something that we get to jam on when we're hanging out or climbing mountains, et cetera.
[00:10:54] Hemad: You're piling and I cannot wait to hear what this is.
[00:10:57] Ali: Do you know what it is? The topic.
[00:11:00] Hemad: I have a hunch.
[00:11:00] Ali: Oh, you have a hunch. So let's go back like two to three years ago. I'm just gonna like create a little story here. You have an annual visit, you come over. And we're just doing what we normally do, which is just clown and hang and we're just with each other as as best friend, which is what I love. I told you that recently, like I never, ever feel like I have to work to be with you. And that's a beautiful gift for me to have as part of your friendship.
And you bring up this guy named, Kapil Gupta. And I'm like, oh, that sounds interesting. Like is he a thought leader or something? And you just look at me like, you just gotta hear this dude.
So you put on this conversation, which happened to be with another guy named Naval Ravikant, who was in my world recently. So I was like, wait a second you have something with Kapil and Naval? I was like, we have to listen to this now. So this is one of those like, oh, the timing, this is just what the universe wanted to happen right now.
And after listening to that for me, I realized why you were like, you just have to hear this because Kapil, the way that I've absorbed and filtered his words, his knowledge, his wisdom is, it's hard to describe. In fact, I had to pull up some notes I created to explain to people what I've learned from Kapil and applied to my life. And here are a few of the things, then I'm interested in what you've learned.
So some of the stuff I wrote down after hearing some of his talks, reading most of the books that he's made available, cuz he is kind of a recluse. That's what's really interesting about Kapil Gupta. It's hard to get to him because he's not a Tony Robbins. He doesn't go out and perform and make himself widely available. But he has written these books, which are usually written in this interesting narrative where he's kind of talking to a student in a like student master role, which is really fun to read. It's interesting to read.
And so some of the key insights, cause I've learned so many things, we have the power to become the God of our own lives. So after hearing him, I was like, oh yeah, it just landed in a different way. Cause I had heard that said other ways, but he speaks so direct.
Just, just truth. And boom, you feel it. At least I feel it. I'm like, wow. Another thing which wildly shaped my perspective or transformed my perspective, there is no right or wrong, good or bad. There simply_ IS_, and I've carried that through. I model that for my children. I hold space for that in a lot of context. Like, this isn't good or bad, it just _IS_. And there's consequences of it, of our actions, et cetera. That's huge. You know?
What else is good in here? There's no purpose to life. There's no grand plan to intellectualize your life, is to miss it completely. That's fascinating, right? Yeah. So it's basically, it's like if you're not paying attention to the journey, you're not living, that's a way to interpret that.
I have to give two more. Actually. _The first is that parents don't raise children, our children actually raise us. There's far more to learn from our children than we can teach them_. And I'm sharing that one specifically because that has been so true for me. Until I read into this, I did think my role was to guide and lead my children and teach them things. And now, dude, it's almost the opposite. Like I brag about how Everest and Sepia teach me things on a daily basis. And I'm very aware of that now. And the last one I wanted to share because it just really lands with my lifestyle, is_ nature has all the answers. It does not make mistakes. _
[00:14:31] Hemad: Ooh, ooh. Yeah, that's good.
[00:14:34] Ali: That's big for me. But what about you? You could build on those things, or if there's other stuff, because you brought him into my world and we have a lot of fun. Sometimes we get confused, we're like, we don't even know, what would Kapil say? Who knows?
[00:14:47] Hemad: So that specific video that I had you sit down and listen to was called _Conquering the Mind_. He's so direct, it's almost like he makes space for his words and he doesn't try to use too many words. He's very efficient because the truth is efficient. Yeah. He like sniper rifles words to your brain and you're just like, am I dead or am I still alive?
So two things that I learned from him that I love is less fluff. I'm a fluffy dude. I like fluff, I like story. And there is absolutely a time and a place for that in my opinion. But when it comes to some of these serious, like, hey, just sit down and let's just try to figure this out. The less fluff the better. Right? Mm-hmm. Okay.
So also how much we are influenced by societal norms. Mm-hmm. That has shattered me a little bit. He says that you can't really have truth when you start to involve another human being into your life, so clearly this is an internal game. This is going inward. Yeah. And, some of the things he says, it's so sobering that it's hard to bring into the real world and transition it into our world today. Which to give you some props you've done seriously so well to the point, like you've almost kind of made a life shift in your career, in your whatever.
Because that's what I love about you, is you listen to something and then you're like, yes. And then you buy his books, you do this and then all of a sudden you're like spitting it to me. And I'm like, dang, are you Kapil? You're not the first person that I've had listen to him. Right. Some people need to listen to him over and over to get punched in the face. Uppercut. Uppercut. And then once you're like, oh my god, my jaws on the ground.
So, um, yeah, society gets in the way of who we truly want to be. And I was thinking on this, and I wanted to make sure that we talked about this cuz this is just a normal kind of convo that we would have and I wanna say it while it's fresh, one thing I was thinking about back to like children, what they can teach us is, I was thinking the other day, like, what makes us human? You know, like truth is what kind of tethers us together, but when we're kids, we say the phrase like, hey, look at me. Did you hear me? Are you listening? Okay, my turn, right? Mm-hmm. Those phrases are what we hear from kids or what we say as kids, but they're what we feel as adults today. Yeah. Right. We just want to be seen. We just want to be heard. Right.
And that really resonated with me cuz I'm like, dang, kids say this stuff that adults feel all the time. And as adults we just wanna be seen. We just wanna be heard. Kids aren't afraid to tell you that. We kinda are. So that's our truth in many ways. So when you were talking about the kids, it kind of took me there.
[00:17:58] Ali: For sure man. Yeah. That is another thing that I constantly remind myself and share with people when they're curious about my thoughts on parenting, which was cultivated from Kapil in these conversations. Is that if there's anything I think is highly important for me and I think it's important because it allows for me to have the relationship with my children that I want.
It's to make sure I see them. And it's something that I got from him consciously or subconsciously, cuz I'm almost positive he wrote, _your job is to see your children._ And he has a whole other philosophy around attachment, which is really fascinating and that's where it can start to fuck with you, especially as a parent.
Like, what do you mean I'm not supposed to be attached to my kids? And as it relates to what you shared, dude, about the directness. I brought this book into the Front Row Dads community. I shared it and with some guys it landed immediately, just like me. They were in the right phase, the right season to read or hear this stuff and be like, oh.
With others it didn't. And they gave me really nice feedback. They're like, yo, I started that and put it back down, cuz it's heavy to your point. It's very deep. That's the thing, the words won't even work. I'm just gonna tell people. If you're interested, go read _Atmamun_. It's an awesome book. I think it's worth the quick read and if anything it'll give you a perspective, might give you some healthy fear, et cetera.
But yeah, I had to bring him up because not only has he given us some really cool stuff to discuss as homies, but like I said, he's impacted the way that I show up, the way that I parent, and I'm sure that we'll both have our own spin on this as we, you know, continue our journey.
So props to Kapil. Yeah, big time. Big time.
The other thing I wanted to ask you about, which kind of relates to this deeper inner work, but leaning back into some fun and some adventure, is mountains, climbing, pushing ourselves. So that's something you and I have had the pleasure to do together.
You make at least an annual trip out here, sometimes more than one, and we like to go hit a fourteener or get into a challenging hike. Our most recent adventure was a cold plunge at 10,000 plus elevation. And for me it's so fun to have someone who I feel likes to do this stuff just as much as me, if not more. Whereas, even when I'm hiking with my family, like they're getting all the benefits and we are a better unit when we're in nature and we come back. But I'm not sure that Gabrielle or my kids love it as much as I do.
Whereas like, dude, when we're hiking, it just feels like, oh, this is where we're meant to be. Totally. And so I wanted to kind of pick your brain on that. I don't always ask you when we're done, like, how'd that feel? Why'd you do it? So I'm curious, like what is it about climbing mountains or testing yourself in a cold plunge? I feel like you're willing to get outta your comfort zone.
[00:21:01] Hemad: Yeah. The whole comfort zone conversation is something that is so important to me. And the fact is, I don't exactly know why. One thing that I love about you and our relationship is that you're one of the only other people that I know that will seek out not only discomfort but suffering. Mm-hmm. In a way that I would imagine most people look, you're like, what are you doing? Mm-hmm. I don't know how to explain it.
That's why I love watching this whole cold plunge thing. I hate the cold. I despise cold water. Like to get in it is not where I would be. I want to get in the sun. Yeah. But that moment where you're stripping down and you're like, Ooh, that water looks cold. And I know you don't want to jump in, but you jump in and here I am taking my clothes off. I'm like, oh my God. You're like excited. And I'm like, why am I doing this as I'm taking my clothes off and then jumping in and feeling it, I just feel like you just feel more alive. Yeah. When you're done suffering in a way or when you're done getting outta your comfort zone.
I remember writing a blog a trillion years ago when I read Tim Ferris and I was like, oh my God, I'm just gonna write a blog and I'm gonna travel the world and I'm gonna get rich. I remember writing something about getting outta your comfort zone. Mm-hmm. And visual that I always have, like a mountain is a good one, but one of the ones that I like, cuz I always think about our primal self.
I do relate a lot of things back to our primal state way back in the day. Our ancient ancestors, Everything we did back then was to survive, to live longer. And everything we do today is the same. It's just in the modern world and it comes out in so many different ways. Mm-hmm. But this picture of a campfire and the flame is going on, it's a chilly night and it's dark and this fire represents warmth. It represents light and it represents comfort. Mm-hmm.
Okay, and that's beautiful cuz you need that. But one thing that I always think about is, all the other good stuff that you don't know about is out there in the dark where it's cold. And I always think about uncertainty and discomfort make you grow. That's it. Mm-hmm. Yeah. And we're all here to grow. I just wanna grow and I feel like it's sharpening my tools. I feel like it's making me stronger. So every time I get uncomfortable, anytime I go and say, yeah, sign me up, I'll suffer, I know this is good for me.
So that's, I think where that comes from. How about you? I have to ask you, what about you? This is something that I admire about you and what is it about discomfort or suffering that you seek out?
[00:23:54] Ali: Hmm. Yeah, man. I align a lot with your answer. I think the simplest answer is the word growth. You just reminded me of a few things. One of my buddies, Jon Vroman, has been talking a lot about range and expanding your range, expanding your capacity for things. This could be feelings, this could be, intellectual things, knowledge, whatever you want. It's like we all have a relationship to range or capacity in different areas of our lives.
And as you said, when you push through the discomfort. When you push into the uncertainty, you just expand that range. Mm-hmm. You know more about the world, about yourself. And that's been really big for me lately, really tapping into self wisdom. Not as much about the external validation like you mentioned earlier, but like, what do I know about myself and how I see the world?
So growth it's hard to not say that because a lot of it does come around growth. And then where I was going as you said that in my mind I was like, well, shit, what's the point of plants? What are they naturally designed to do - to grow? If they don't grow, they die.
I just had an awesome podcast with another buddy named Rocky, where he was, he was reminding the quote, _a body in motion stays in motion, a body that that rests decays,_ or something of that nature. It's so true. I mean, nature demonstrates that. It doesn't mean you have to grow, like choose your own path. Choose your own journey. But if you don't grow in a way, you're kind of dying. Or you're just, decaying is probably a better word. We're all dying, but it's like growth gives us the opportunity to follow nature's pattern. I think. So I would come back to the answer you gave just with a little bit more context there.
[00:25:36] Hemad: Love it. Yeah. And mountains shoot. That's what it's all about I actually did listen to one of your podcasts. I don't remember his name, but I loved the metaphors and the symbolism. Cuz ,that's a lot of what I do with my business is it's all tailored around story, mm-hmm and storytelling and metaphors are a big part of that. And the metaphor you had like rivers, stars, mountains.
[00:26:01] Ali: Oh yeah. My buddy, Mike Wagner. Yes, yes.
[00:26:03] Hemad: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I love that.
[00:26:05] Ali: Mountains, rivers, and the cosmos. Yes.
[00:26:08] Hemad: Cosmos. Exactly. And then I remember talking to you about that for like an hour and we were going off and it all came back to Kapil Gupta. Truth. We're all gonna die . It just is. And we're like, oh my God. Ok.
[00:26:23] Ali: Totally. Oh man. Yeah. That is it. It's like there's this concept of mountains and climbing them and feeling a sense of achievement. Cuz I do feel that when I climb Fourteeners. But I also feel a different perspective when I'm up there. I feel disconnected from all the attachments. If we kind of pull some of Kapil's philosophy in.
I feel very one with nature, with the world, in that I just took a journey up this thing that's so much bigger than me physically and gave me this new perspective. I recall several times, like being at the top of Fourteeners and looking down and for moments being in this bliss of like, nothing down there matters. I'm just here with this right now. And so I think there's something about being on top of high mountains that gives me a presence I don't feel anywhere else. What about you?
[00:27:22] Hemad: I couldn't agree more. Also the perspective visually from a mountain. Mm-hmm. Um, looking down, not only is your thought, none of that matters. It's like I can't see any of it either. It's not in my vision. And similarly, I like maps and every once in a while I'll see a photo of the earth from outer space and I'm like, whoa, we are nothing. Yeah. Right. So I think part of being at the top of a mountain, it gives you such a, a wild perspective. And how often do we get to just sit there and just sit in nothing.
Last time I came, we sat at whatever Fourteener we did, and we were just sitting there and we just kind of let the sun hit our face. We didn't say a word for like five minutes and we just were, and it was beautiful. And then you bust out the Trader Joe's trail mix. And then I became like, come on.
[00:28:24] Ali: Yeah. Yeah. Side note, don't take Hemad hiking without snacks. These are the best apples. That's where you'll see stress.
[00:28:35] Hemad: You want Hemad stressed. Make 'em hungry.
[00:28:39] Ali: Okay, let's go there. Your relationship to food. You enjoy food more than anyone I know. Anyone. And you also keep a very nice physique. You care about your body. You always have. And you've been in previous seasons where you could have been a fitness model. Because I've seen some people that love food and they become kind of a prisoner to it, or they use it to escape, you know, to abuse. But that's not your relationship. Since I've known you, you love food. Why?
[00:29:13] Hemad: Yeah, that's a great question. Damn, you're gonna go with the hard ones. Um, well look, if you wanna talk about my relationship with food, you have to go back to when I was young, when we were kids, I was a, a big boy, and that's because I was sponsored by Mickey D's.
[00:29:29] Ali: Hold on a second though. You weren't big. You just had chubby cheeks and there's a difference. It wasn't like you were obese.
[00:29:38] Hemad: I'm gonna show you a picture of the bakery rolls. A bakers dozen. Like I remember seeing a picture of me and I don't know why back then I wore these cut off shirts that you could see, like my hips. It's just crazy. I might have well been wearing a cape, but I have pictures where I'm looking at the camera and my roles are looking at the camera and I was a big boy.
And obviously when you're a kid you just want dopamine everywhere. Mm-hmm. So you love the taste and you're eating, but growing up my relationship with food was crazy. It was always up and down and then I hit middle school and seventh, eighth grade and whatever. And then I started caring. But why do I love food?
Today I look at food very differently. Obviously. I look at food in many ways as fuel. Mm-hmm. I am strict about eating garbage because I just don't want that poison in my body. I just know how bad it's for you. And then nowadays I'm scrolling on an Instagram and I see, this is bad for you. That's bad for you. Don't do this. We've been lied to. And all of a sudden it's like, butter's good. Uh, olive oil's good, uh, and the seed oils aren't, and you know? Mm-hmm. So it's just wild that as you learn, you start to adapt, you start to change. But the short answer is I really try to look at food and like, I want to earn my food.
So when we go do a big workout or we do a Spartan Race, or we do a whatever, I'm like, I, I just worked hard. I put my body through the ringer. Now I get a chance to love my body. Mm-hmm. And, and I just try to feed it, you know. Clean, good stuff, but eating's fun, dude. What do you want? What do you want from me?
[00:31:17] Ali: No, I believe that. I dig it too, because I have a relationship with food as well. I'm still on the hedonic treadmill of always wanting a better a, a one, upping my meals and thinking about them early in the day so I can relate. I also think there's something here in our past, since we have Iranian history, Iranian culture baked in to how we were raised.
We lived in homes where food was a priority and it was almost like frowned upon to be hungry. It's like, we're gonna eat, we're gonna snack, we're going to eat well. Think about those awesome gatherings we had as kids with our families. Like there was always an abundance of food.
[00:32:00] Hemad: And I think it spans past our culture too, in other cultures. But obviously it's like the grandmas showed their love through food. Right. Because when you cook for your family or when I'm over you love to cook and then feed us. And as we're eating and enjoying it, it must make you feel good. Like, I did this for you cuz I love you and we're over here like I love you too. You know? And I think that's a lot of ways like you said, it's very important. It's the staple. It's one of the only times we all get together. Even today, Thanksgiving's my favorite holiday strictly because it's food, family, friends. The things that feed your soul and feed your stomach. So.
[00:32:38] Ali: That's a really good point, dude. It's like if you really embrace the experience of food, then it goes back way, way, way thousands of years, where it's like the intent is to break bread together regardless of your beliefs, your religion, whatever. It's like we're sitting, we're with each other, we're eating, and in the old days they earned it big time.
I don't think we earn it as much anymore, which is a whole different topic. But it's like there's still the act of preparing it, creating it, sharing it. So yeah, I, I suppose it's a mix of all those things. Just our history, our relationship to it, and then just the experience that we were kind of raised to, to honor it. So, all good stuff. Yeah.
I actually wanna shift back because while we're on the topic of getting out of our comfort zone, one of the things that's part of your journey, which as your friend, I find it really impressive, but I'm not as impressed by like the glamor of this. It's more that. Holy shit, Hemad did this. This was a hard thing, which is why I'm tying it back to challenging ourselves, getting out of our comfort zone is the Dos Equis Challenge.
So I know this took place several years ago, but I'm curious if you still remember it. If you want to give people some quick context and an overview, because it was a really extraordinary thing.
[00:34:01] Hemad: I don't just remember it, I relive that in my head. I think about it every day. Okay, cool. Wow. so I have always loved branding, marketing, you know, sales, whatever. So as a youngster, I followed Dos Equis, cuz I love their marketing and their advertising, the idea of becoming the most interesting man in the world, for whatever reason, resonated with me and I was like, that's what I want.
[00:34:27] Ali: And when was this? This was like what, five years ago? Seven years ago? When did I do this? Yeah, when did this take place? Like six or so years ago. Okay. Six or seven.
[00:34:37] Hemad: So I've always followed their advertisements, cuz I thought the most interesting man in the world. This is brilliant. Mm-hmm. So I follow them on social media and I came across, they were offering a grant to whomever would create a video and explain what would you do with $25,000. Mm-hmm. What would you do with a $25,000 grant given to you by Dos Equis?
And I'm like, I'm made for this.
[00:35:04] Ali: And this is in context, just to support you. This is in context of being the most interesting man or woman in the well, most interesting man in the world. This was a, a male focused challenge. Yeah.
[00:35:15] Hemad: No, not quite. It wasn't male focused, but it was, it was through the lens of the company that brought to you the most interesting man in the world. You can't just say $25K and and live on a beach. Exactly. Exactly right. So I, I don't know how, I just like came up with these ideas of, oh, I'm gonna challenge, I'm gonna challenge myself. The first idea was I'm gonna break a world record, like with a Dos Equis in my hand.
That was my, I was like, they're gonna love this. And so I toss it around. I think I, I kind of talked to you about some ideas. I talked to my brother about some ideas and I ended up doing what ended up being, um, like the _Eat, Pray, Love_, but the male version of _Eat, Pray, Love_. So I would go around and challenge my mind, body and soul.
Mm-hmm. Okay. I would challenge my body by summiting the highest freestanding mountain in the world, Mount Kilimanjaro. Then I would go challenge my soul by meditating in the foothills of the Himalayas with Buddhist Monks. And then I would go to Tokyo, Japan and challenge my mind, mind over matter, eating like crazy Fear Factor type foods.
That was the idea. I hired a guy on Craigslist to shoot the video. I didn't have that much money. I was like, hey, I'll give you like 50 bucks and my grandma will cook some Persian food. And he was like, yeah. So he shoots the video. I have all the shots in my head, and then we create this video and then I send it over to Dos Esquis.
And they call me back and they're like, Hemad, we loved your video and we're gonna take you to become a finalist. Mm-hmm. So it's nationwide competition. Three finalists. I'm one of 'em like amazing. They're like, there's two other videos, that we're considering.
Obviously everyone's saying they're gonna do something different and they say the winner is chosen by whoever gets the most votes in three weeks of their video. And I'm like, oh, okay. And I'm like, this is perfect. Great. So three weeks I have to like promote this, have everyone see the videos and vote for me.
I went on this campaign, I feel like I was running for mayor, I was bartending at a time. Everyone that came up to the bar like, can I get a Jack and Coke? I'm like, can I get your phone? You get a vote for me? And um, I call in all my favors rugby team, all my traveling from people I know over the world, whatever. And they call me back one week later and they're like, we're already looking into your trip. It wasn't even close. You won by a landslide. Wow. The one week, like, they're like, yeah. I'm like, what?
So, so that's the kind of story, long-winded story of me going and having this 25 day immersive experience of challenging my mind, body, and soul by summiting Mount Kilimanjaro. I took the longest route, the Lemosho route. It's a seven or eight day route. I did it in five days cuz I was on freaking cloud nine. And I, like, I was just marching mm-hmm, and, um, the whole Kilimanjaro thing. That's why mountains are so important to me. That place is so alive and that mountain is alive. I mean, nature is alive. Boy, she spoke to me and like, that was incredible. And, the people of Tanzania are like the kindest people ever. I thought Iranians were hospitable, man. It was, I was just the best time of my life.
And then I went to the Himalayas and meditating with a monk, Hmm, like five feet in front of you. I was like, I'm gonna go in and I'm gonna do a silent retreat and I'm gonna meditate until I'm start, uh, you know, levitating. And I'm like, just dumb. And he had me explain what my goals were and this and that. Look, I had everyone in the world freaking vote for me. They want to see this documentary or this video of me doing all this stuff. So I need to like, really put myself in these crazy positions. I need to like do a seven day meditation retreat and meditate for like 10 hours a day. And he just looks at me like, are you okay? Hmm. Like, you need to create some space.
Okay. So I'm like, okay. So long story short. He guides me through these meditations. I learned so freaking much. Meditating is so different than what I originally thought it was. That was the hardest part of my, my three kind of chapter trip. And then I went to Tokyo, Japan and ate insane foods like adoridon, which is like live octopus and like twitching prawns and just these crazy things that we look at as weird, but it's, it's normal in parts of the world.
But it was, it's crazy. I wasn't used to it. So it's like crazy. You're holding something that's twitching in your hand, you're like supposed to eat it. Oh boy. But anyway, that's the whole journey, so.
[00:39:50] Ali: Wow. What was the hardest of the three? Which challenged you the most if you had to pick?
[00:39:55] Hemad: Yeah. It would be the meditating. Okay. Because I'm an active dude and I was coming from the camp of like, I don't wanna sit down and read a book. I'd rather do pushups and sweat and move. Yeah. I really was so like, go, go, go. And, and this is just coming off of the Kilimanjaro journey, so I'm like amped up and, and here I am sitting in a meditation hall at 4:30 in the morning and I'm like, this is so hard. I can't stop thinking. Mm-hmm. And sitting still and, and just being quiet. And it's like all these things that were just challenging for me, but through the days there, it got easier. I read a book at one of their libraries that really helped me and just in case it's value anyone else, when you're meditating, they say, focus on your breath.
It was hard for me to focus on your breath. So I read a book and the cheat was, count your breaths. Mm-hmm. Because when you're counting, you can't really think of anything else. Right. And counting doesn't take a lot of work. And you're still in the meditation. There was a time where I counted passed a hundred. And then all of a sudden, 101, 102. And I slowly stopped counting and I was like, in this other space mm-hmm. Like really, I entered a different place and it was beautiful. And I was so excited to tell my monk at the food hall.
I was like, you know when you meditate and you enter a different space and like, you're so alert. And he's like, no, it's different for everybody. Don't ever expect that to happen again. Not in a discouraging way. Right, but one of the lessons that the moment you expect disappointment will follow. Ah, you know, and I was like, oh, okay. So.
[00:41:38] Ali: That's awesome. I think your experience with the meditation being the most challenging is also a reflection of all of us. It's very clear that today the world is challenged with being still, with being with themselves. This is why meditation has become so trendy. It's like for centuries it was practiced in all different cultures and then it just became forgotten and we became this race that is literally racing from one thing to the next, et cetera.
So that's really cool, man. Yeah, and I think that your adventure there is so cool. I can't help but think right now, Hemad, that had you done that today, it would be a little bit different because you did it in the, like, I'll call it the pre dopamine hooked social media era. People were just getting into social media at that time, or at least just using it in a more understood way. Whereas now, like, not to inflate your ego, but it's like, had you done something like that now, it'd be interesting to see, and I'm curious if you want to do more like that, because I don't even know much about this world, but it's, it seems like we're hooked on watching people test themselves.
And we were just watching this cool show last night. It's with this guy named Hazen Audel and he goes into nature and does these cool things and it's pretty, pretty cool where they, they capture him and he is barefoot a lot the time. And he reminded me of you, or vice versa. It's just like he even has nice, long hair with man bun and I'm just like, oh, this dude is testing himself.
He's very rooted in being with the natural land and animals. Cuz he has a, a background in biology. But I was just thinking, I was like, man, watching Hemad do this because of your personality would be more fun. So, I'm curious does that world intrigue you?
[00:43:34] Hemad: Ali, you can inflate my ego anytime you want. It is one of the things that really sets me on fire, mm-hmm, is traveling, experiencing newness in real time. And if there's a camera there watching and documenting it all, hell yeah. Mm-hmm. I mean, we talk about traveling all the time. We talk about all of that all the time. It's, it's one of the thing, you know, boy, I wanna go right now. I'm about to book a ticket, man.
[00:44:01] Ali: Yeah. So, dude, you also strike me as someone who raises their game when they're being watched.
[00:44:08] Hemad: Interesting. Yeah. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Because I don't know. Does that mean I ultra care about what people think? Or does that mean um, I'm a good under this pressure that we put on ourselves, maybe, I don't know. I think whether I elevate my game or not, I'm just such a people person. Like I love human beings. So when I am with one, whether it's selling an awesome antique rug, or whether it's meeting a tour guide that's gonna have to put up with me and my questions for the next week.
I'm just so in the moment and maybe down to present. I mean, when a camera is on, huh, you're present. It makes you present, you know, like Yeah, yeah, yeah.
[00:44:55] Ali: It's a spotlight for sure. Spotlight. Yeah. Yeah. And I felt that from you for years. Like you do bring it all full circle, like you do have an extraordinary ability to hold space for people, even when you may not want to, or perhaps as you mentioned, like relationships give you energy by default.
But I've seen you hold space for people that are challenging and that's a gift because I do not have that gift. As you know, like, I, the introvert in me starts to shut down quickly. And my energy just dives when I'm in an environment where I'm like, okay, I've gotten enough, uh, more people can just deplete me. Whereas I feel like all of this like spotlight, testing your comfort zone, being in the presence of others, it just elevates you. Dude. Like you said earlier, it seems like it brings you alive.
[00:45:55] Hemad: It does. And thank you for the compliment, but for you, when I think about you and your personality and how you are, cuz I've known you for 30 something years now, it's like you have an amazing way of, and I'm not sitting here trying to compliment you cause I don't want to compliment you, but I have to, um, your work and how you serve people.
It's almost like you have to recharge. That's how I look at it. It's like, okay, I'm done with travel for now. I'm gonna go back into what I do best so I can come back out and serve people in, in my most powerful way. Mm-hmm. I think you serve people in an unmatched, powerful way. And it comes from, we were talking about this earlier, it comes from you caring about others.
Mm-hmm. So like, doesn't it always come back to others? Like, what are we here on this planet for? We cannot live without each other. We're here to serve one another and serve ourselves. And that's the piece that I think that's the journey I think you're on now. And I think it's so important to think about self. And sometimes people like me have to remember that because I'm so out. I'm like, okay, what about, what about in? So.
[00:47:04] Ali: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you man. I received that gift. I appreciate that. It also connects back to why I think Kapil fascinates us because he gives you that opportunity to really isolate and be with yourself and be like in tune with your core, the God within you, which to your point, you need to show up. At least I need to show up and serve others. So yeah, that's beautiful how that just all wove together.
All right. We are getting close to the hour mark. And what is left unsaid? Anything you wanna share as it relates to the topics just your birthday. Tell us that. Let's end there. Tell us a little bit about how you celebrated your 37th birthday yesterday.
[00:47:51] Hemad: Well, first of all, happy related birthday to you. I've said that 900 times in the last two days. Um, how did I celebrate it? It was on a Saturday. I celebrated it by spending time with people I love. The night before we had a family dinner. Food, family, friends. Here we go. Yeah. And then the day of my birthday, I actually came into my space to get some space. Mm-hmm.
[00:48:17] Ali: Did you do a cold plunge?
[00:48:19] Hemad: I did not do a cold plunge. No, Ali, no. I didn't have you sitting there like, get in the water. Okay. And then I went out for a nice dinner. And I went to bed at like 9:35 PM and it was glorious. Mm. I played basketball, uh oh, worked out, and then I came here for a little bit of some tidy up, some alone time, some me time. And then I went out, had a lovely dinner with my girlfriend and we just enjoyed ourselves. Then we went to bed and it was a perfect way to enjoy the day. Seriously. I got the things I loved in, and I tried to do that every day. I'm trying to live every day like, it's my birthday, man. Yeah. I, I feel that. What'd you do?
Well, before we talk about what I did, this is cool because you just shared a reflection of a lot of the things we discussed. There's a lot of self-care in there. There's a lot of connection. You also hit on something we missed. So, you are by far one of the most likable, adaptable, even humble people I know we've already talked about this. But what we didn't talk about is that there's also a fierce competitor in Hemad that shows up and it sometimes shows up when we're playing sports.
Would you agree? Like I kid you not, three, four years ago, we had this cool small little Brothers Olympics event. That was me, you, our brothers, then another set of brothers. And, while we were playing basketball and our team was beating yours. And there's a few other moments in our history where I've seen you and like you change.
So the lovable Hemad goes away and this like gladiator comes in and it's like, I'm going to achieve or win or whatever the game. And dude, I have to recognize that because it's this beautiful part of your personality where, like I said, it is this shift and when it happens, I'm like, oh shit, that Hemad is here now.
Are you looking at a mirror because you are the exact same way.
[00:50:22] Ali: Don't spin it on me. No, don't spin it on me. Don't spit it on you. Don't worry. Because I bet this Hemad showed up in rugby matches too.
[00:50:31] Hemad: Which Hemad?
[00:50:32] Ali: The gladiator. The gladiator. Yes.
[00:50:36] Hemad: Look, everything is contextual and we are so dynamic as humans that Jordan Peterson says something along the lines of like, the most dangerous monsters in the world, um, are, or what is the word? The most well-balanced or the most fearful or loved whatever human in the world is the one that has the capacity to kill, but doesn't. Mm-hmm. So we have the capacity to be so many different versions of ourselves. I definitely become a little warrior when I'm trying to win. Yeah. I think it goes back to you're testing yourself and like what are you made of? Like, you're gonna push yourself harder here or are you gonna let you know you're gonna run faster?
I mean, we lost cuz of Hesam anyway, but, definitely whenever the next Brothers Olympics is. I've been training for this. Yeah. So I'm looking forward to it. I've been. But you're similar too. And I love to see that side come outta you, but you have this really interesting way of, if there was like a cartoon bubble above your head of like, I'm so fierce right now, but somehow you can bring it back to like center very quickly. Do you notice that about you?
[00:51:54] Ali: Well, thank you. It goes back to this concept of range. Recently, yes, but I feel like when I was younger Yeah. And same context that the competitor would come out in sports, especially if I felt like something was unjust, which is just talking about Amir, my brother.
He really has that, that we've been paying attention to. He's one for justice. Cause when I feel like I've become the most flamed, it's like, oh, you're threatening my friends or my family, or you just did something in this match that is not cool. Like you're breaking the rules, you're cheating or you're trying to like pull a skeet ass move.
And so, yeah. But to your point, I do think I can calm it fast and it doesn't come out a lot anymore. So I think that's just a reflection because I've spent so much time softening in some ways or just being a lot more in tune with my, my heart, my soul. Whereas usually it's my ego that fuels that flame, that competitor that's like get outta the way.
It's so cool cuz you're right, we can both relate to that, that it happens in sports and it is a different version that most people don't see of us.
[00:53:08] Hemad: Mine still sprinkles in business a little bit, unfortunately. Yeah. I'll see some of my competitors. I'm like, but at the same time I'm like, there's enough to go around for everybody. Mm-hmm. You know what I mean? Yeah. Yeah.
[00:53:23] Ali: All right, brother, well that is a cool place to wrap. Oh, to answer your question, I had a very similar birthday as you. I laid low with my family. I actually really needed to rest and recharge. It's been a, a very active beginning of the year, a lot of competing priorities and projects. So it was fun to just be with them. We took a hike out in Red Rocks. So got some, some good nature in a nice dinner together.
And like I said, we can't ask for more than that. It kind of hits on all the things that we mentioned today, except for climbing a mountain and jumping in a coal plunge.
[00:54:01] Hemad: Yeah. I'm gonna leave it with one Kapil quote. Yes. It's kinda like the last one that you said about nature, but one thing that, it just resonates with me, I'm going to paraphrase, but he says that rain doesn't try to fall, it just falls. So nature is so effortless and the stark difference between human beings and nature is we want to control and nature just is, you know what I mean? That's one that really stuck with me.
[00:54:39] Ali: That is a good one. Yep. We'll let people sit with that. Cool.
Hemad, thank you. This is cool. It was overdue and it was everything we needed and more so I appreciate you for creating space for this. I appreciate you for being in my life and actually, I'm be able to see you in a week. By the time this airs, we might be hanging out in Denver, so.
[00:55:01] Hemad: Would love that. Hey, I love you so much. Thank you.
[00:55:05] Ali: Thanks brother. Until the next time.
[00:55:08] Hemad: Talk to you soon.
Ali is a creator who's passionate about coaching people through desired self transformation. That's a fancy way of saying he wants to help people do their inner work. He's a father, husband, podcaster, blogger, technologist and many other things that inspire him to stay curious and learn. He's also a huge advocate for nature, hiking, adventure, testing physical limits and experiencing the natural world.