Guinness world record holder talks conquering the summits and seas of life

In a college lecture entitled “The adventure-driven approach”, Guinness world record holder and BYU alumnus Martin Frey spoke to students on Thursday, November 10 about how his adventures around the world taught him the importance of endurance, problem solving, and keeping a positive attitude.

Frey is the first person to summit the tallest peaks on each continent and sail all seven seas. Throughout this 11-year journey, he found the technical and mechanical problem solving skills he had learned and developed at BYU, Harvard, and his career, enabled him to take on new challenges. He explained that to take on new challenges, one has to step out of their comfort zone and take a leap of faith.  To do this, he urged students to have a good attitude.

“The most important thing that we can take with us on any adventure, whether it’s in our career or our personal life or an outdoor adventure, is our attitude. It’s more important than safety gear. It’s more important than oxygen. It’s more important than all the things we like to take.”

Frey recounted his journey to reach the summit of Denali, the highest peak in North America. He talked about the importance of playing the mental game and not letting mental anxiety get you down. Out of the six men that started that journey, only he and his friend Steve made it. A few months later, Steve passed away and Frey set a goal to make it to the last six summits, always keeping his eye on his goal.

“The idea that no matter how hard it gets and as we go through our business or even our academic career, keeping our eye on the summit, even when we can’t see it, becomes another important take away,” he said.  

Mount Everest was one of Frey's biggest and most difficult journeys, taking him 51 days to reach the top. He learned the importance of team work, but also that sometimes you have to do things on your own. 

“You can climb your own path and not be lonely,” he said. “We don’t have to be dependent on our peer group and all the other things we rely on, the social media, to stay connected. Breaking away and doing our own thing becomes ever more important.”

When asked about how he improved his mental stamina, Frey explained he had to adapt to the mountain, accepting that he couldn't force his way up. If the weather was bad, the team would have to reevaluate their plan for the day. There will always be storms in life that require making adjustments. Challenges will arise, but he told students to persevere and never give up their sense of hope.

Frey also spoke about the importance of finding a process for daily renewal, staying laser focused on your goals, and celebrating individual and team successes.

Once he had reached the seven summits, he took to the sea and incorporated his family into his adventures. Through sailing, he learned how to deal with uncertainty and had transformational experiences by stepping out of his comfort zone. He encouraged students to look for waves to catch in their future careers and to learn how to align their careers and their personal passions with those waves.

“We are capable of so much more than we think we are. We have levels of reserve and levels of determination that we typically don’t even touch, so first step outside your comfort zone and be willing to take and test your faith. See what you’re made of. “

To end, he shared three things people get hung up on as they try to go forward: they can’t see where they are going, they only see obstacles, and some know exactly where they want to go, but don’t know how to get there. To help with those things, he urged students to jump in, make their way through the fog, and to keep challenging themselves along the way.

 “I know each and every one of you has the resources, the capability, and the talent to be successful. To not only provide for your families, but to make an impact on the world for good and I hope each of you is successful in your endeavors and that you rely on the Lord as he carries you forth.”

To learn more about Frey's adventures, visit 7summits7seas.org.

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