Feel Better, Live More with Dr Rangan Chatterjee
#210 How To Rewrite Your Life Story with John McAvoy
CAUTION: This episode contains themes of an adult nature.
Before he came to see me today, my guest John McAvoy took a walk around Strangeways prison. For a former inmate, that might sound an unlikely way to start the day. But for John, it’s the sort of thing he does on a regular basis, to remind himself where he’s come from.
This is John’s third appearance on the podcast, but for those new to his story, he was a teenager raised into a life of organised crime. By the age of 18 he was one of the UK’s most notorious armed robbers and was sentenced to two life sentences. John spent 10 years in maximum-security prisons but during that time he transformed his life, describing his release as a ‘rebirth’.
Today John’s not just a record-breaking, Nike-sponsored athlete, he’s a man on a mission to make amends and make sure no other child goes that same route into crime. Through initiatives like his Open Doors campaign, to give young people access to school sports facilities during holidays, he’s inspiring new generations to rewrite their stories.
But it’s not just youngsters John’s experience and wisdom speaks to. He’ll be too modest to agree with me, but I hear a spirituality and philosophy in his words that we can all benefit from. Our deep and honest discussion covers John’s move to the Alps to live a simple life, rejecting the wealth he could easily command. We talk about connection, forgiveness, the importance of not judging people – and we even ponder the meaning of life.
I’m struck by how people like John, who have achieved incredible self-transformation, are the perfect figureheads to help inspire and create positive change in society. He’s a master of storytelling who uses his own, unique experience to give us access to new perspectives. I really hope you enjoy this conversation.
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