Ep49: Mastering The Mental Game of Focus | with Kevin Bull, ANW


Kevin Bull is an obstacle course racing athlete and an American Ninja Warrior superstar who has appeared on 5 seasons of the show, as well as other competition shows such as Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge. During the day when he’s not crushing ninja courses he’s the general manager of DojoBoom in Thousand Oaks, CA. And he is also a huge inspiration to the many people involved in CAP, or the Children’s Alopecia Project, an organization that promotes good self esteem in kids who suffer from the hair loss condition that he also shares.

What Kevin is perhaps too humble and shy to include in his biography is that he is an absolute badass that approaches every course and obstacle with zero fear or hesitation. He is most famously known for the upside down flip he made on ‘Cannonball Run at the 2014 Venice Finals in his first season as a walk-on.

Despite his ability to move through just about any ninja obstacle with ease, in our conversation today Kevin and I don’t talk much about the physical side of being an American Ninja Warrior (although we do dive a bit into the different types of training he recommends). Where we do dive deep is how to develop the mental game of focus required to be successful, how to attack obstacles progressively one small step at a time, and the reason why it’s so important to choose obstacles in life before they choose you.

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Here’s What You’ll Learn:

  • The influence and inspiration of Arnold Schwarzenegger on young Kevin and Zack
  • Attacking obstacles progressively one small step at a time
  • Kevin’s historic ANW Run and how he ended up there
  • Learning to seek out challenge in order to improve, “get comfortable being uncomfortable”
  • Tackling the mental game of focus, when others are just focused on the physical
  • Finding a way to get rid of the ego to get through intense challenges
  • Choosing obstacles so that when obstacles choose you, you’re prepared
  • Focusing on a variety of different types of training because ANW’s unique variability
  • Searching for your first steps to improvement when discipline seems impossible
  • Developing habitual mental and physical training in tandem so that they become inseparable
  • How Kevin’s experience with Alopecia allowed him to become a more confident person

Useful Resources Mentioned:

Kevin’s Historic ANW Run

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Guest Bio:

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Kevin is an Obstacle Course athlete appearing on multiple television shows, including 5 seasons of American Ninja Warrior.

He also manages DojoBoom in Thousand Oaks, CA and voulenteers with the Childrens Alopeica project to promote good self esteem in kids who suffer from the hair loss condition that he also shares.

Show Credits:

This episode was edited by Curtis Fritsch, and the show notes were prepared and published by Elyse Rintelman. The original music in the opening and closing of the show is courtesy of Joe Trapanese (who is quite possibly one of the most talented composers on the face of the planet).


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Zack Arnold (ACE) is an award-winning Hollywood film editor (Cobra Kai, Empire, Burn Notice, Unsolved, Glee), a documentary director, father of 2, and the creator of the Optimize Yourself program. Zack helps ambitious creative professionals and entrepreneurs overcome procrastination, depression, and creative burnout so they can get sh*t done and achieve the most meaningful goals in their lives...without sacrificing their sanity in the process. If you’re interested in learning how to better manage your time, your energy, and develop ninja-like focus, download Zack’s “Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Creativity (And Avoiding Burnout).”