Death and Defiance, with Daniele Bolelli
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I don’t know which of the following words best describes Daniele’s life story: inspiring, or terrifying.
After moving to America from Italy, barely a year after giving birth to their baby girl, his wife Elizabeth passed away from a brain tumour.
“Death was a ninja who entered my house without being seen.” Daniele writes in his book, Not Afraid. If this wasn’t enough, he also lost a job he had been angling in on for years, and was on the hook with a new mortgage. Most of all, of course, he needed to take care of his daughter.
The way he responded is nothing short of a triumph of the human spirit.
In this interview, Daniele opens up about how all this became a turning point for him: “Before all of this happened,” he said, “I used to be very careful and play it safe. And then I realized that no matter how safe I played it, horrible things could happen anyway. So, I began diving into things will less hesitation than ever before.”
Maybe the best single word to describe Daniel is: defiant.
Nonetheless, he stayed so funny, down-to-earth, and authentic throughout his ordeals that one can’t but admire the character of the man. It’s no surprise, then, that in the footsteps of his late father Franco, he became a world-class modern philosopher and teacher – through his books, podcasts and entertaining brand of teaching.
In this conversation, we talk about family, death, life lessons from the martial arts, and what it means to be a “middle finger philosopher”.
This was legitimately one of my all-time favourite conversations, and I hope you enjoy it!
P.S.: In case you’re curious in the meantime, this is what the middle finger really means:
Link to the full interview here.