If your idea of a wise man is someone clad in a long flowing robe with scraggly facial hair, staff in one hand, continuously spewing words of wisdom, think again.
Motivational speaker/author Skip Archimedes is anything but that. He strikes one as more of a celebrity athlete, what with his good looks and tanned, muscular physique.
Sporting a bright tank top and shorts, the 41-year-old former gymnast peppered this interview with life lessons and revelations he has gained over the years, with anecdotes about gymnastics, life coaching and West End.
Archimedes, a two-time British champion gymnast, broke his spine while training at the height of his competitive gymnastics career. Doctors were convinced Archimedes, wheelchair-bound, would never walk again.
But 18 months later, he was up and running and, get this, earned his second gold medal!
Today, he travels around the world helping people with their physical, emotional and spiritual health. In Kuala Lumpur recently for a motivational talk, Archimedes took some time off to share his story and a few life hacks with Star2.com.
You went into depression after you were told you would never walk again. What was your turning point?
Six medical experts came in and told me the same thing, that I’d never walk again. They said: “We’ve seen this injury before, people don’t recover from this.”
I hit depression and went into a dark place. Then I heard about Bruce Lee and that’s all I needed. I heard that he had broken his back and he came back fitter and stronger. I started to study him. I started to study the people he was studying. It allowed me to uncover the power of the mind, body and spirit and this is what I teach people now.
What would you say to people who are cynical about attending motivational talks?
If they’re a sceptic, all they’re doing is rejecting something based on their current belief system. So one of the things I ask people to do is leave all their belief systems at the door, and at the end of it, if they want to pick up their belief systems, they’re there for them to take.
What happens is I take them through a journey where mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically, they become activated. Most people don’t go back and pick up their old belief systems.
As a motivational speaker, what do you do when you’re feeling down?
When I was doing a show at West End, you’d see me at lunchtime hanging around with the kids. And the adults would say to me: “Why are you hanging out with the kids and not us?” I said: “You honestly want to know? The way I hear you lot keep talking about other people, I don’t hear you saying that many good things.”
Either that or they would be really funny or really depressed and angry at people. Children, on the other hand, just have fun.
You see a child who can be in pain and everything is going wrong. But the second you find something of interest to that child, they will let go of all the pain and focus on something positive instantly. Adults will drag a whole bunch of problems with them through life. Children are the best teachers.
You’ve worked with Andrew Lloyd Webber. Tell us about that experience.
I got a call from my agent saying Andrew Lloyd Webber is doing the Phantom Of The Opera sequel Love Never Dies in the West End so I went there, did my thing and they loved it. But he never has anybody on stage that doesn’t sing. I said: “Guys, I’m an acrobat. I don’t sing.”
My belief system then was I couldn’t do it because when I was in school, me and my lads thought singing was for girls. So if we had to sing songs in school, we would mime them. I had negative associations with singing.
I started training with the musical director and before you know it, there I was on stage, doing all the acrobatics on stage, but also singing live. On stage. At the West End.
Can you recommend a healthy snack?
Take some raw nuts, soak them in water. This gets rid of the enzyme inhibitor, allowing your body to pull nutrients out more effectively. Then put them into the oven on a low temperature and leave the door open.
What’s the best way to beat stress?
Meditation. You’ll find most people get inspired when they’re on the toilet or in the shower. Why? Because you are relaxed. Go out for a walk, take off your shoes, reconnect with nature and focus on something completely different.