James Dawson's Journey to Emotional Resilience Through Cold Plunging

Interview by
Dr. Chad Prevost
Dr. Shelley Prevost
Published on
May 3, 2024

In this episode

Chad Prevost and James Dawson discuss their experiences with burnout in startup culture, emphasizing the importance of self-care and setting realistic expectations. They also explore the intersection of neuroscience and personal growth, and share their personal experiences with cold water plunging. The conversation highlights the role of perspective and gratitude in shaping our experiences and relationships, and emphasizes the need for earned dopamine in avoiding burnout and building successful startups.

High Notes:

Entrepreneurship, burnout, and self-awareness.

  • James Dawson reflects on his entrepreneurial journey, from granola subscriptions to tech startup.
  • Early 20s startup journey.
  • Struggles with self-shame and feeling like you're not good enough.

Burnout in the startup world and how understanding work types can prevent it.

  • The evolution of psychology and mental health awareness, from Freud and Jung to current trends in Gen Z and millennials.
  • Safe spaces for venting and letting out emotions, as well as the limitations of past therapeutic methods.
  • Despite neglecting his own well-being, James succeeded in launching a cashflow-positive business from a napkin note, with a team of 10-15 people.

Burnout, productivity, and self-care strategies.

  • Chad Prevost and James discuss burnout and the need for strength-based leadership, emphasizing the importance of earning dopamine through meaningful work rather than relying on fake dopamine from media.
  • The idea of moving towards discomfort and how it can help alleviate pain.
  • James shares their personal experience with cold water therapy and how it helped take away their burnout-related pain.

The benefits of cold water plunging and reframing pain as a necessary part of growth.

  • Doing cold water plunges for over a year, consistently in winter.
  • Pain is a signal to address root issues, rather than avoid it.

Personal growth, trauma, and self-talk with a focus on ice plunging and breathwork.

  • Emotional pain rooted in self-relationship, seeking self-improvement.
  • Adler and Kahneman agree: trauma shapes our memories and stories.
  • Self-care and positive self-talk to overcome trauma.

Cold plunging, gratitude, and authenticity.

  • James shares their personal experience with cold plunging and its benefits for mental health, community, and personal growth.
  • Chad reflects on his initial hesitation to participate in cold plunging but ultimately found value in the experience, including community, nature, and confronting limiting beliefs.
  • The power of gratitude and its opposite, letting go, in a cold water challenge.
  • The practice of gratitude is inspired by Wim Hof and involves naming what one is thankful for and letting go of something unwanted.

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Our Discussion

Guest Speakers

James Dawson