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Expected to die, today he’s inspiring others to truly live.

World-renowned inspirational speaker + national bestselling author John O’Leary wants to help you wake up from accidental living so you can do, be, achieve and impact more through your life.

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  • Every Thursday, John interviews an amazing guest on their story, successes, failures, lessons, and life to help you uncover tips to apply in yours.

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May 31, 2018

In 1972 there was a historic plane crash; the only one in which the plane was flying at both cruising speed + altitude and had survivors. One of the survivors was Nando Parrado.

In street clothes and without food, Nando survived the winter in the Andes. His story was told in the 1993 movie, Alive. He was played by Ethan Hawke.

Today, we’re joined by Nando. He is one of my heroes and the most courageous survivor I’ve met. Don’t miss this unbelievable story of leadership and drive in the face of dire adversity.


  • I was angry, but I couldn't feel pain or sorrow. In a survival situation, something is triggered to protect you because if you suffer that pain, it'd be too much to survive.
  • Winter in the Andes: There's snow everywhere. There's nothing and no one coming.
  • All the born leaders died, [so new] leaders emerged. It's the most fantastic leadership story ever told.
  • I tried to leave. I'd walk 8 paces and I'd sink all the way to my waste in deep snow.
  • What kept you going? "The only thing I knew was that I didn't want to die. I'd fight until I stopped breathing. My mantra was 'If I am breathing, I am alive.'"
  • You are formed by the experiences of your life. I was a typical guy, but the leaders of our team died. Something is triggered inside of you [to become a leader.]
  • Nando Parrado wrote his book Miracle in the Andes 30 years after the accident, as a gift for his father. "What my dad taught me when I was young saved my life in the Andes."
  • I decided to have a second life. When you understand that there is only one, you live in a different way.
  • Nando went to the glacier with his wife + daughters to honor his mother + sister. See the photo here
  • If you live your life thinking that, if you changed something from your past, your present would be better: That's insane, because it didn't happen. Live in your present.
  • Plan your future by living the best you can in your present.
  • There is life after tragedy. Go forward and be resilient. Realize that life will not be perfect.
  • People are afraid of losing things. I get it, but I lost everything when I was very young and I came back from that.
  • I'm not afraid of losing things. I'm afraid of losing time to live. 


1. What is the best book you’ve ever read? Books by Spanish Author Carlos Ruiz Zafon because, to me, a book is entertainment. A good time on a quiet night. He's poetic and simple.

2. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today? To be more timid, I wouldn't go into some situations that later I regret.

3. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be? Photos of my grandparents.

4. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be? Pico Mendez from Uruguay. He devotes his life remarkably to helping people. I would ask "How do you do it? How do you find the time?"

5. What is the best advice you've ever received? Never look back because the only thing you get when you look back is a bloody pain in the neck.

6. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self? Don't change anything.

7. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read? It was all worth it.


If you enjoyed today’s episode: Please subscribe, rate & review wherever you get your podcasts. See you here next Thursday!

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Kenia Pardo
almost six years ago

Thank you John for bringing amazing peopke to us every week. Nando is South American as I am and it fills my heart with joy because every time I understand more why you are my favorite person in the world.