“It Could Always be Worse” - Joe De Sena

Joe De Sena is the co-founder of the Death Race and Spartan Race. He completed the Iditarod dog-sledding race by foot and he’s a very strategic businessman. 

Joe De Sena is easily described by many as a maniac. Not only has he done some insane races and stunts, he’s created popular races that are made to break people. He lives by the phrase “it could always be worse”. When asked how he first got the idea for the spartan race he talks about his life on Wall Street, “you lose $30K, $40K in minutes screwing up an order or having customers tell you they are no longer going to deal with you”. He adds that this was intensely stressful and he wanted to “get back to the core of life”. He then signed up for a dog race that he completed on foot. He wanted to get away from the stresses of Wall Street and back to the place where all he wanted was food, water and shelter. Doing these challenges has helped him refocus on the things that matter and not get caught up in material things which he was doing while on Wall Street.

Joe’s races allow people to test their limits and what they will do to survive. While at first this might seem unhinged, people actually pay him to do these adventures because it comes down to really seeing how strong you are and what you can get through. There are Olympic gold medalists that have struggled to finish. He believes you shouldn't need caffeine or alcohol and that you “should sweat like you’re being chased by the police daily”. 

If we think about our daily lives and our stresses, we might realize just how superficial they really are. We might worry about what other people think of us, what we wear or if we responded to a work email correctly. We aren’t worried about where we are going to eat next or if we’ll have shelter. Joe’s whole purpose for his races is to get us in that mindset. Away from all the stresses of everyday life and just survive. It gives you a new sense of what is actually important, and that it is not material things. 

Next time things are getting stressful or challenging at work or school, I challenge you to remember that “it could always be worse”. Using that mindset can help you tackle many of the things that before you weren’t able to because you were too caught up in the day to day. 

Let us know what you think of Joe De Sena’s words to live by in the comments!

Ferriss, Timothy, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers HMH Books, 2016.

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