Minter Dialogue with George King

George King is a young man on a mission. His calling is to run toward fear. In 2019, at the age of 19, he scaled The Shard in London, a 310 metre-tall building, without any strings or attachments. It’s called free climbing. For doing so, he was charged and jailed for 6 months, another experience in itself. He has done stunts and feats that are death defying. Literally, a life of ups and downs. He was also host of a TV show for Channel 4, George King’s Illegal Activities. In this conversation, we learn about his upbringing and mantras, the planning and execution of his Shard climb, his experience in jail, how he faces fear and his plans for the future.

Please send me your questions — as an audio file if you’d like — to Otherwise, below, you’ll find the show notes and, of course, you are invited to comment. If you liked the podcast, please take a moment to rate it here.

To connect with George King:

  • Check out George’s Shard Climber site here
  • Find/follow George on Instagram
  • Contact George here

To know more about George King’s feats and stunts:

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Meanwhile, you can find my other interviews on the Minter Dialogue Show in this podcast tab, on Megaphone or via Apple Podcasts. If you like the show, please go over to rate this podcast via RateThisPodcast! And for the francophones reading this, if you want to get more podcasts, you can also find my radio show en français over at:, on Megaphone or in iTunes.
Music credit: The jingle at the beginning of the show is courtesy of my friend, Pierre Journel, author of the Guitar Channel. And, the new sign-off music is “A Convinced Man,” a song I co-wrote and recorded with Stephanie Singer back in the late 1980s (please excuse the quality of the sound!).

Full transcript via

SUMMARY KEYWORDS: fear, climbing, people, risk, heights, george, part, life, Shard, work, building, moments, project, feel, extreme, younger, experience, evaluation, ego, flow

SPEAKERS: Minter Dial, George King

Hello, welcome to Minter Dialogue, episode number 558. My name is Minter Dial and I’m your host for this podcast, a most proud member of the Evergreen Podcast Network. For more information or to check out other shows on this network, go visit

Minter Dial  00:04

Well, well well, King George or George King. In your own words, who is George?

George King  00:13

So, I’m an extreme athlete, I specialize in climbing buildings and jumping off them. My most notable ascent was The Shard in 2019 and of which I served a six-month prison sentence for doing and yeah, since then I have traveled the globe trying to conquer as many urban heights as I possibly can. And I do not see myself stopping there is a big list of buildings which were when I take off one another one pops up so there’s always been an Everest created somewhere so I’m on this never-ending journey of trying to conquer as many urban heights as I can.

Minter Dial  01:05

Well, I’m thinking that Burj Al Arab must be on your list?

George King  01:09

Yeah, legally, will be the best spot.

Minter Dial  01:13

So, yeah, there’s there are different judicial systems out there, right. We’re going to probably get in get into that. But you know, George, I got in touch with you after I heard your intervention in a hub dot this community and I was fascinated about what you’ve been doing. I checked out your films and even though I’ve, let’s say flown airplanes, I mean, I’ve actually piloted airplanes without real pilot license. But I have this terrible fear of heights and watching a video of you claiming I my hands get sweaty. So, let’s just unfurl this big package, which is the Shard which obviously put you on the map, age 19, 310 meters, you climb the Shard? What was it that sparked what was the most important thing for you about doing that climb?

George King  02:13

Yeah, so when I was younger, ever since I can remember really, I was obsessed with the idea of doing something big. So, I created a list. And at that time, it was the youngest to climb Everest, the youngest to swim the channel, the youngest to do this, the youngest to do that. And I just had to do something of meaning something big. And upon that time, I was on a school art trip from Oxford to London, and I was in the coach and I saw the Shard. And I simply just wrote it on the list. I didn’t think much of it, I didn’t think to look at it, or check it or think to climate or whatever, I just put it down on the list, climb the Shard amongst all the other many different, different things. And it was when I was 18, when I was living in London, that I decided to do the first Rakhee. And I just thought I’d turn up and I looked at I thought this is absolutely possible. And then that next year was just a whole year of trial and error preparation training, working towards that goal. And simply it was just, it was a dream. And I needed to make it a reality. There’s it’s hard, it’s often a hard question to answer fully. The question of why. But it was, it was a dream. And I just needed to make that a reality.

Minter Dial  03:44

So, I guess you’re 18 years old as you you’re studying. And you know, a couple of documentaries about you they show the absolute assiduousness that you use to use disguises to not be visible on pattern recognition software. And, but and you had your roommate, or how many other people were ever aware of what you were doing, or did you have to have total secrecy? I mean, your parents? 

George King  04:14

Yeah. So, at that time, I essentially lived a double life from my parents, I kept everything from them. Mainly in fear that they would, I didn’t want them to have anxiety. And it was better to tell them afterwards. That way is done and they know I’m safe. But if I say look six months from now, I’m going to climb the tallest building in the country. Well, that could be six month’s worth of induced anxiety. So, I made sure not to tell my parents before. But really, at the time there was only three to four people who I told I wanted to keep it a secret. It was important for me to keep it a C Secret because I was incredibly paranoid that my dream would be compromised. And if someone’s tells this person, that person tells that one you never know, who’s how far down the line is, as someone who was actually connected to the Shard, and could they, you know, put a restraining order from me entering close proximity. So, I was very paranoid about my project getting discovered. So, I had three people who were helping, and that was it.

Minter Dial  05:30

An amazing amount of preparation, presumably, even just in the preparation, you learned a ton. How much of the fulfillment actually happens up until the day? In other words, is it only about the thrill? Or how is there really actually some deep-seated satisfaction of doing that secret planning and getting it all right ahead of time.

George King  06:00

So, at that age, I thought, the shining glory would be the finish. And I realized afterwards that that was not the case. Because the most depressed I’ve ever been in my life was one to two weeks after climbing the sharp because that was such a, such a goal I had for such as you know, since 13 years old. So, I was kind of left lost kind of, there was no direction anymore. Where’s the course. And now, I’ve learned as a 24-year-old, it’s, it’s never the arrival, it’s always the journey. It’s the process. It’s the, it’s, it’s the anticipation, it’s the apprehension, it’s the it’s the planning, the training, the visualization. And then once it’s done, it’s there’s enjoyment that’s frilled, don’t get me wrong, but that frill only lasts for two to three days, and then go planning into the next project. And, and, yeah, so I’m very much in love with the process more than more than the arrival, the frill doesn’t last for too long.

Minter Dial  07:10

It reminds me of a conversation I had with the inside center who played for France 100 caps. And he said, the worst day of my life was the whistle blowing on the last match, he represented France. And, and whereas he felt probably, but he wasn’t able to enjoy that whole process, that journey was always about, unlike Agassi, he says, you know, when I became number one, but I realized that, that that by itself doesn’t bring you fulfillment. And I’ve had on my show, another extreme athlete, Dan Egan, who basically invented in the 70s, extreme skiing. So, he did the most ridiculous things, including going to Russia and, and being stuck for something like 40 hours by himself in a crevasse where he thought he was going to die. And this notion of risk. So, you said you wanted to do something big? You’ve done something big, wide? Do you need to do bigger or more?

George King  08:24

Well, the question that I bear, the question is like, how far can I go? I want to test my limits. I want to see what I’m capable of. It’s just I want to see where the potential is. Can I continue to improve? Well, if I can, then why not? And how far can I go? And it’s these questions, which make me want to continue doing it. But there’s also the understanding that it when the difficulty increases, also my skill level increases with it. And that’s an important point on risk is that I don’t necessarily see myself as a professional based jump or climber, I see myself as a professional risk evaluator. I evaluate risk for a living. I see its rewards, I see its costs. I see, okay, the reward is higher than the cost. Okay, let’s look into the dangers. Let’s look into the hazards. Let’s look into all these parts, and then I can make an evaluation. Is it worth doing it? And if it’s not, and I need a few more years, then I’ll make that decision. If it’s simply a no go based on whatever factors anything from legal to technicalities, then I won’t do it. But yes, I risk evaluation. It’s just such a massive part of what I do.

Minter Dial  09:50

So, with Dan, in the conversation, he’s more or less my age. I can’t remember if he actually little older but as you get older you or abilities change. And there are things like your awareness of your abilities and the ego that also can maybe warp some of your impressions of yourself, for example. And of course, you’re 24. So, you’re still way into your prime, you’ve got many years left. So, it’s not exactly relevant. But how do you know how you’ll be at 40? You know, or at 50? Will you say, well, I’ll just I’ll go for 10% less. Because you know, I’m older. How do you see yourself adapting according to the evolution of your life?

George King  10:42

I guess is something I have to work out at the time, it’s hard for me to make an inference now. I hope that I will make the right decisions at that time, but of course, there’s always the unforeseen. It touched on ego and ego such an such ego evaluation is such a big thing for people who do the sorts of things I do, because usually, it’s the ego which kills. So, I yeah, I’ve always got to really keep my ego in check. Because often, that is people’s demise is that is getting, or at least not focusing enough when there’s a project which is easier than their threshold, but can also risk their life. So, for instance, I can, climbing a crane is a relatively easy thing for me to do. But there’s still the risk of death there. But I’ll have the same level of focus climbing a crane as I do climb in a building. And, and that is often just checking my ego, making sure that I am aware of that. But yeah, it’s hard. It’s hard to see how I’ll adapt in 10-20 years time, but I just hope I’ll make the right decisions when I get to, yeah.

Minter Dial  12:08

I’m just interested to get into your mind as you think through these things you imagine. And this, at the same time, you also have this ambition. Clearly, you’ve been driven by this need, this part of your dream was to do something big. And it’s fascinating to look at this cross section between ambition, ego, risk and fear. And it feels like a very dynamic part. Because if you don’t have any ambition, and bore what happens, ego needs to exist, it being egoless is a bad idea. So, the opposite isn’t necessarily good. And then there’s this dynamic between risk and fear. And my observation, George, about our society in general. And the parenting as a as a facet of it, as well as education is there we’re trying to eliminate all risk of failure of pain, hardship. How is it that you are into diving into risk and you know, possibilities of pain?

George King  13:22

Yeah, it’s something which I’ve had from such a young age. I was counter phobic, and I think which scared me I felt compelled to do from a very young age, I was extremely curious about fear, and what that feeling was, as a 24 year old, I now understand neurochemically what fear is, and adrenaline and what these kinds of hormones are. But when I was 910 years old, I had no understanding of these things I just knew feeling. And I knew there was a feeling which made me maybe quite sharp if I controlled it. And then if once I was released from that fear, I felt sort of a euphoria. And I wanted to understand that. And I used to go on long runs. And I just I asked the question to myself, like how far can I run without stopping? And then I started exploring pain through that. And, and, and then and then so I discovered these emotions. And from a young age, I realized that these emotions were not negative. They were positive, they’re positive effects on me. And I just continued to go down that road. So, for me, it was curiosity for a young age. A lot of people don’t have that curiosity, or at least when they feel something uncomfortable. They don’t really want to sort of lean into it. But I based off my experience is the absolute riches of life live in the outside the comfort zone, and that’s where the just the beauty of life is. And it’s unfortunate that yes, like you say, parents feel the need to protect kids and not let them sort of go too far astray. And, but it’s the whole, the whole beauty of life is just, it’s far out of the comfort zone all the time.

Minter Dial  15:23

Yeah, because at the end of the day, there’s this death thing, which is probably way out of everybody’s comfort zone. And some and everything kind of leads is in a diluted version of that fear of death, it’s fear of failure, feel fear of a bit of ridicule, and, or, or fear of pain. These are all sort of micro or smaller versions thereof. And so, we live in this society, where, as I like to say, and I told you about this before we got on there, which is adventure without risk is not an adventure. And importantly, a life without adventure is not a life. But we’ve got this sort of society which is swearing us off whether it’s because of insurance, or because we only have one kid, or as opposed to 10 In the old days. And we were trying to avoid any infraction or any problem. I think Brave New World from Aldous Huxley speaks volumes to the type of society we’ve created. And if you don’t have the experience, of going through that pain, like you said, the Everlasting run, or the doubts that you faced when you’re at the top of that building, at a Shard, anyway, the way you describe it, there was this moment, that was huge, and you had to go, you had to traverse it. If you don’t have that experience, then you’re not going to develop the resilience. And so, what do you say? I mean, you’re obviously not presumably wanting to encourage everyone to go try it climb the chart? I mean, others have followed you since. But and what do you say to them, by the way?

George King  17:09

Well, it’s anyone who’s done similar things to me is totally their decision. I can imagine that they’ve been doing, maybe they’ve been doing extreme things, their life, and maybe my certain directions inspired them to go down that direction. But I can’t imagine I would inspire someone on the street to suddenly decide I want to climb a building. It’s there’s something inside of you something very deep rooted inside the view to do extreme, sort of cutting-edge extreme sports, where your life might, everywhere your life is at risk. So, I don’t think people copy me is what I’m saying. I don’t think people who climb buildings have seen what I do and copy me, I think it’s something they’ve already done or done something similar. And then maybe they’ve gone down a similar sort of direction as me. Because before me, there was Adam Robert, the French spider man, and he’s 55-60. And he was obviously way longer than I’ve been alive. But I will never say I’m inspired by him. I never did the things because of him. I just went down a path which I ended up do climbing buildings. So, you know, if someone is, you know, a bit younger, or same age or whatever, I wouldn’t say I’ve caught they’re copying me. I think they, they’re on their own path as well. But yeah, to your other point. Yes, I don’t aim to inspire people to take risks, which could end their life. I think my point is, establishing a passion, a gift, some kind of passion. And then taking that passion outside your comfort zone. And then outside your comfort zone, you start to see it sort of formulate into a purpose. And then the rest is history is just it’s just finding that passion and taking it taking it somewhere very deep and very dark and seeing what what comes what comes over.

Minter Dial  19:17

This notion of accepting the darkness is quite powerful. If you look around your peers, certainly I have Children your age. It’s rare to see people who embark on a challenging their fears and risking everything. To what extent do you feel like there should be more risk allowed in our society?

George King  19:43

Oh, absolutely. Yeah, totally. I think it should be. I think there should be a whole change in mindset on the perception of risk. Because like I say, the riches of life are out inside your comfort zone, and I mean, what’s the worst can happen, which can happen really, you know, like, for as long as a logical decision to make the risk, and your life isn’t on the line, and you just want to take a risk at starting a business or take a risk and, and making a decision is, there’s what’s the worst which are going to happen. I think a lot of people get restricted by the apprehension of the unknown, and the fear of the unknown. But I feel if you were to lean into the unknown, you’re bound to find something out about yourself for the situation.

Minter Dial  20:38

It feels like we’re much more driven by the fear of missing out.

George King  20:42

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, totally. It’s a big one. Yeah. FOMO. Yeah.

Minter Dial  20:48

So, the challenge is, the FOMO is driven by what others are doing, what you’re talking about, is trying to find what I want to do.

George King  21:00

Yeah, and that comes from within you that everyone’s got a path, I believe, everyone, everyone’s got some kind of gift. I think their mission is to identify that gift, turn it into their passion, and then make it into a purpose. It’s every, every person I’ve met in my life, I’ve analyzed, or at least sort of got a perception that there is some kind of strength there. And I guess people sort of, sometimes they’re not, they’re not open to that, like you say, their fear of missing out, they want to be accepted. So, they stick with a group that seems like the safe option to be with a group. But if more people were to see their strengths, and to triple down on them, I think, yeah, I think the world would be a different place, I think.

Minter Dial  22:00

One of the center — I mean, there are many things that struck me about your journey so far — but one of the sentences, which I also has talked about with Dan, who was obviously on some kind of similar track with you, which is getting into flow, and submitting to the process, it’s a very sexy type of idea and I have had moments of tasting that type of flow, I was an athlete, I started trying to, and I still am. And, and, and that that excitement, where you just sort of see things faster, or, you know, when you hit a tennis ball, instead of the size of a tennis ball, just being in your hand, it feels like you’re hitting a of basketball, it’s so obvious, where ever you see the little dimensions of it. Whereas for others, it’s sort of like a where, and it’s a miracle that ever goes over the net. So, submitting to the process and getting into flow how important is that for you on a daily basis.

George King  23:07

Oh, on a daily basis is fundamentally important, because what the flow state is for me, and by the way, flow state is doing things which risk your life is an immediate flow state, because you’re forced to if you if you do not focus on that one particular moment, you have the potential to die, but I also believe in certain situations like right now, there is an element of flow, because I am just sort of going as it is, and, and I having these states where, essentially, I am very present in the moment. And there is no yesterday there is no tomorrow is just now to have those moments during the day is so important for me, because I think that’s the very essence of what a human being is, when they strip away all the insecurities or the vulnerabilities or and you just strip it back to something very pure. The now the moment and, and to have those moments during the day is just so important. Otherwise, my mind will just wander off into all kinds of different insecurities and what maybe this person could judge me like that. And what would I do and that my mind will go in all sorts of places, but to have moments of flow, if it’s writing, or it’s speaking to someone on the phone or it’s running or it’s climbing or it’s jumping or it’s packing the parachute to have those moments during the day is just I needed have to have.

Minter Dial  24:38

It seems that we as a society are doing everything to deconstruct the past and are so worried about the future. We’re never present for your colleagues, your people, your peers, rather, my is where I wanted to get to. I do. Do you have conversations that sort of roll into Hey, listen Dude, stop worrying about the future? Or how do you get people to embrace risk without necessarily having to go for or you don’t even find their passion? Your age? What is it good? If someone says to you, Hey, listen, I don’t have any passion. I don’t know what it is. How do you unlock it?

George King  25:19

Yeah, I think you need to spend a lot of time alone. I think a lot of reasons why people don’t find their passion is because they’re with people a lot. And people judge them and they sort of conform to other groups. But often when people simply ask me, like, how do I find my passion, I always say, if you have the time, and you have the money, go travel around Europe, or go someplace for one month or two months alone, no one with you totally alone. And, and just think about it, and work it out. And it will come because everyone has something they like that everyone has something they love. Everyone has a gift, and everyone knows what those things are. But they are often I think swayed by other people. I think peer pressure is such a big influence on people’s decisions in life. And I think a lot of the times, I’m a very extroverted person, but I forced myself in isolation a lot of the times to work a few things out. And, and it’s proven very, I mean, it’s proven hard, but beneficial for me a lot of the times.

Minter Dial  26:35

So, I want to get a little bit more into what’s going to be happening for you in the future. But this is go back to your experience in prison. There’s someone some part of me says this is a morbid question. But being imprisoned, where your liberty Your freedom is completely taken away from you. You’re surrounded by people who are, you know, convicted criminals. That’s why they’re there. What was that, like the first day, the first moments you walked in?

George King  27:07

Yes. So, I, it was pretty terrifying. I mean, sensory overload, I am able to control my mind in high pressured situations. But in this situation, it was there’s so much unwritten rules within prison, and body language and actual words, which you only learn to develop, having spent time within those environments. So, going in for the first time, you don’t know it, there’s no one sort of holding your hand saying this is how you do this is where you go for that. You just got to work it out. And whilst you’re trying to work it out, there’s, there’s murderers there, there’s stabbings, there’s, there’s drugs, there’s just chaos, and you’d sort of put into the world, the jungle, and you got to work it out. And part of Yes, it was sensory overload and terrifying. But at the same time, I part of me enjoyed it, I enjoyed the chaos of it all the chaos was just, it was I, I loved it in a certain sense. Because I mean, like it’s hard to explain, really, but it’s just, I felt like I was just in the epicenter of some kind of chaotic, there was some kind of something about the chaos of it, which I kind of I craved with curiosity. It was just, just curiosity. And, and I guess in those certain ways, it was, I did like it. But at the same time, there was a lot of fear on that first day, and I didn’t sleep the whole night for sure.

Minter Dial  28:53

I’ve written a book and done a film about prisoners of war of the Japanese. And they’re, you’re in a different judicial system, you’re, you’re unable to understand the language, because Japanese, of course, has a different vocabulary, which I understand was in the prison. And the idea, which I’m hearing from you is that there’s a novelty thrill of discovering this danger, because that, you know, at some level, it felt dangerous. And you had, as you said in some of the interviews you experienced, or you saw people killing themselves and or being stabbed. And so, there was some legitimate danger. And I have to imagine that there was also a feeling that Well, I did trespass I deserve.

George King  29:43

Yeah, well, no, I didn’t. I didn’t feel like I necessarily deserve to go to prison, but I didn’t. I wasn’t I wasn’t. I was never feeling sorry for myself because I actually, I actually made the prediction before climb the Shard that I could go to prison for six months. I remember saying I get to my friend. And that’s because I, there’s an injunction on the building, which means that your contempt of court by climbing the building, so I was aware of these things. So, it was never a moment of feeling sorry. Oh, look at poor me, you know, feeling sorry for myself, like I knew what I was getting myself into. And I was totally willing to accept this as a consequence. So, yeah, I was Yeah, I was accepting of it. Yeah, yeah.

Minter Dial  30:29

And I think it goes back to this notion of planning your experience, as in, you’re aware of the risks, you’re, you’re aware of the fear that’s going to come with it. And, and that sort of preparation sort of helped you? What do you think of the idea that we’re going to eliminate contact from rugby?

George King  30:51

I think it’s ridiculous. Yeah. It’s like, it was basically taking the most primal and primal part of rugby out of rugby. And it’s what are they going to do with the next tape contact out of boxing? It’s just, it’s ridiculous.

Minter Dial  31:10

You spent a few you did a few series in a documentary a channel for it fascinating experiences, because you seem to explore other universes. Like, you know what it was drag racing or car, Midnight’s and Bristol and stuff like that? What? What are you doing now? And how are you earning your keep? Because climbing buildings is not a salaried type of business.

George King  31:37

It most certainly is. And so, public speaking is one of my main sources of income. So, I do talks to corporate companies and other sorts of companies where I have fear as the main concept, how to control it, how to utilize it to your advantage, with the background of my story. And I’m also currently writing a book on fear, which I am not sure when it will be released, but I can imagine early next year. So, yeah, the public speaking and a bit, and the media engagements on a bit as well. And it’s just a matter of trying to connect these dots. Sometimes, yeah, sometimes for certain projects, I will get a sponsor for certain building climbs. But yes, sometimes it can be a little bit difficult. Getting a sponsor on board based off the nature of what I do.

Minter Dial  32:41

Yeah, I’m sure they’re not too many Red Bulls out there.

George King  32:45

No, there’s not. And yeah, so even the big companies like Red Bull, which are sort of notorious for extreme sports, they often don’t want to push it too far. And they consider me pushing it too far. Whereas a recently had a sponsor called riot, who are vaping company who considered you know, de funded a project and then I had a teeth-whitening company couple years back, then a CBD company for years. So, there’s, there’s companies out there, but it’s not Yeah. It’s not easy. No.

Minter Dial  33:26

It’s not going to be insurance companies. So, George, you are 24, living in England, and got that speaking career. At the same time, I’m sure that you’re thinking what’s next. And I’m not asking you to reveal any scoops about what your next project is, unless you feel like that’s what it’s appropriate. But what how do you establish the next big thing is, is it doesn’t have to be 312 meters. In other words, one bigger?

George King  34:01

It doesn’t I think for me, a big part of it is the creativity behind it. I want to find projects and stunts which have never been done before. That’s a big part of it. So, I have I’ve got this list of very creative stunts, which I want to do in urban areas. I don’t want to go fully too much in detail. But I want to Yes, create put sort of transmit creativity into the stunts. Essentially what I want to do is be be a pioneer I that’s exciting to me, if a if I’m working towards a building and then someone goes and climbs that building, the house special that building now is to me has gone down because someone else has time to so I want to find these hidden gems around the world and some of them are very high and up in the clouds and some are not summer sort of a mysterious looking bridge with a train going past it in the middle of nowhere in nature and something about the scenery and how it can be filmed, and how potentially I could jump off the train with a parachute. Because there’s a lot, you know, these kinds of sequences, which, like, it’s endless with, with what can be done, and I have a big list. Well, you know, 12, there’s 12 main ones on that list. And then I have another list where there’s lots of others. And I will just based off logistics, I will just try and tick off the ones at the right given time. And yeah, and just try and be as be as safe as I can in the process.

Minter Dial  35:47

And so you have this list Lesedi is 12. Is it just a straight list? Or is it a list that has three boxes to the side? Elements of danger? How illegal it is, and consequences of how long jail? Well, I mean, I just wondering what else goes into the evaluation of that? 12?

George King  36:07

So, actually with the list, it’s, I have taught and they’re just the names of them. And then on other documents, I will have Okay, the title of the particular structure and then a whole page on the sort of evaluation of it. Some I haven’t even written a document on others I’ve gone to extreme lengths with calculations numbers, how far can my parachute fly based off different wind speeds across wind a headwind tailwind? What could be my contingency landing areas which might which one’s my main landing area? What high can I you know, so, some have got this whole you know, grid lots of different things going on. And then others are just get it, get it get this and one line? And you know, then I kind of just maybe come back to it a year from now or whatever, but ya know, just have to have to go with the with the flow in terms of that.

Minter Dial  37:06

Is climbing the single common factor? And would you consider climbing the Himalayas? Or, you know, whatever, some rock climbing? What are the things that go into this 12 That you said being the first and being a pioneer? But is that what is the scope? I mean, is the first person to ever fight 16 people in a ring, or whatever, I don’t know how to whatever that could be? Or does it have to be related to climbing in your mind?

George King  37:40

It doesn’t have to be related to climbing. Something which is I like the idea of urban areas as my environment. It’s, it’s a whole different world compared to climbing in nature. There’s a whole sort of factor to surveillance and trying to not get caught or at least getting caught and trying to mitigate legal reasons ill there’s a whole thing with urban areas, which just I’ve always been attracted to. So, it stands in urban areas. And that doesn’t have to be climbing. It can be whatever my mind feels is right. One of my great I wouldn’t say I’m inspired by many people, but Philip Petit is an inspiration. He is the man who walked between the twin towers with a tight rope. And although I’m not a tightrope walker, there’s something just very magical and artistic about what he did and I like that sort of thing. It doesn’t have to be the highest building it can it can be something creative and artistic as well. And I think yes, create creativity is the perfect crime.

Minter Dial  39:08

I like it. So, I want to spend the last piece just talking about fear and factoring in dealing with it. Let’s say for Mr. Joe Minter dial you know I’ve used virtual reality and seeing myself at the top of a building walking across a little strip which is absolutely fictive is just in my VR, and I still sweat is that is that a well how do you approach fear? How do you help people like me who are scared of heights? How do you help people who are wearing having corporate lives deal with this type of fear? I mean, it’s the average Joe and their fear what should we be doing?

George King  39:55

There’s many different methods to utilizing fear. I think one of the main ways which people can feel comfortable when approached with something which is fearful, is exposure. Like I said, at the beginning, must train fear like a muscle, you have to condition it. So, for instance, I knew I didn’t just turn up and climb the Shard, I climbed a tree, and then I climbed a higher tree. And then I climbed up a roof and I climbed it, this is this idea of incremental progression, which enables people to come comfortable with the fear. Otherwise, they get sensory overload. So, let’s say someone is fearful of heights, then there is no point in taking them to the top floor, you must take into the first floor, and then the fifth, and then the sixth. And if they can’t even get to the first floor, that show them a photo of what it looks like on the first floor, so that they’re just a bit mentally disconnected from it. And then that’s kind of transmit them a bit further. So, that’s a big part of it is this idea of exposure. Another part of it is mindset. So, people need to start perceiving fear, as a positive force to be embraced and not a negative force to be repressed. This the idea that fear is like fire, it can cook your food, or it can burn your house down depends on how you use it, a lot of people need to start seeing fear as this, this superpower this, this feeling, which can empower me to execute and be more concentrated and be in that flow state. So, a big part of it is the perception of fear as well. And then also, biology. You know, one way to instantly control your cortisol levels, your sort of innate fear is by understanding that, that breathing and the heart rate are very much interlinked, and they’re very much interlinked to fear. So, when someone is fearful, their heart is through the roof. But if you want to bring that heart rate down, and you want to repress hormones, such as cortisol, you can implement breathing techniques, certain breathing techniques, I have used my whole life and they certainly work. So, yes, combining those elements biology, the mindset, the exposure, you can sort of combine them. And, and it can, it can absolutely help not only bring the level of fear down, but to begin to start controlling it and using it as a positive force.

Minter Dial  42:36

What about meditation? Do you practice meditation mindfulness? Is that something you need to do wish to do wish to propagate yet?

George King  42:44

So, you’re sort of a visualization based meditation is absolutely something which I do. And it’s not as much it’s not like I sit on the floor with across legs and sort of vision it. But it’s, it’s, it’s kind of … I pace up and down, I feel movement sort of matches the frequency of my thoughts. So, for me what works and everything works differently for everyone. And that’s totally, totally up to the person. But for me, what works is pacing up and down my bedroom, for pace up and down my bedroom. And suddenly I feel the thoughts come in, I visualize I see what I need to do the next day with what and this and that, and it just works. Other people find different means ice baths are good. Because it’s a force, you’re forced into that state. And, you know, it’s sort of long duration exercise, like a long run as well, that really, that really puts me in that in that meditative state. So, yes, I do meditation, but it’s often combined with movement or some kind of action.

Minter Dial  44:07

In the work on fear, I wonder about two things. To what extent there’s a link between the fear that you have maybe for me, my fear of heights, and something in my past, is there necessarily, or is it likely that there’s a link between the sort of metaphysical fear that I have that dominates me it even makes me worried about watching you on a film that is linked to my past? Or and is it related to something that’s darker within me? What would you say to that? 100%?

George King  44:45

Yes, so there’s, it’s very interesting, actually, I read a few studies stating that if someone has an innate fear of let’s say, spiders, there is a possible chance that one of them their ancestors got bitten by a spider and the trauma as still remained in the DNA and been passed on to this length. And so, therefore, they have this innate fear of spiders. Another thing is, as you say, maybe trauma from your past. And this can often occur in all sorts of ways. But one way, for instance, is with heights. And this is not a personal story. But my friend told me this story about someone he met who was in fear of heights, and they couldn’t go two steps up a ladder. And part of their fear as he was spoken to, was that when he was younger, he had a traumatic episode, where was traumatic vision where he saw a construction site fall down, the scaffolding fall down. And he wasn’t really scared of heights, he was scared of whatever the structure he was on falling down. So, once he was shown that the structure was strong, he was able to climb up the ladder. So, that begs the question is not only sort of overcoming or controlling a fear, but asking, really, what is that fear? Is that fear scared of the heights, the void? Or is it the structure and a lot of people you know, the hub have these, these fears, but you kind of got to, in order to unravel it, you kind of do have to go and sort of look deeper, and to see what that root cause is, and then starting to really tackle that root cause. Yeah, yeah. It’s interesting because I try and focus myself mainly in fear in relation to performance, and emotional management. But there’s also a whole different thing to be said about psychotherapy, which I’m not actually qualified for, which kind of looks into trauma and certain phobias which I can have a go at, but it’s not it’s not like I think that those kinds of positions should be reserved for Psych psychologists who, you know, can really unravel them. But yeah, there’s there’s a lot to be said about really trying to understand what that what the root cause of fear is.

Minter Dial  47:29

One of the things that I observe and certainly have seen around me is the fear of letting go. And most commonly that conversation happens around the story of psychedelic drugs and where people say I don’t want to do it because you know, I don’t know what’s behind what happens. Have you ever tried encountered that what? What’s your story and are there is there something that you fear letting go off?

George King  47:59

So, yeah, absolutely consider myself a Psychonaut. I’ve experimented with LSD, Shrooms, all those kinds of things and as a not in a recreational sense, but initially a curious sense of curiosity then then I started to see where the sudden substances how it can really like it can reveal certain things you don’t want yourself to reveal yourself to it you become very honest. And yes, there’s I mean, there’s always an argument says like you can’t is there’s a way to use these kinds of substances there’s not a recreational thing it’s absolutely a means to a positive and if used properly. And yeah, they suddenly have helped clear the cobwebs and certain times in my life but it’s not something I do regularly and in terms of letting go yes, yeah, there’s the insecurities I’m sure which I have which I try to let go of. Yeah. Easier said than done. And I work on a for sure. Yeah, I mean, I can’t think of any off the top of my head but there are ones for sure.

Minter Dial  49:28

That is the journey, George, in my mind. That is the journey: figuring out your demons, figuring out the unsaid, the uncovered, figuring out who you are. George has been an absolute pleasure. I would almost say thrill to be able to talk to you to be so close to somebody who’s done such shit like this. I mean, so many amazing adventures and you’re on a tremendous path. You can’t say you’re my youngest person on my podcast. I’ve actually had a 19-year-old, but you’re certainly months younger than you bloody owl are the first extreme climber that I’ve ever had. And it’s been a pleasure. How can anybody track you down follow you? Or what are the links you’d like to send to anything you’d like to plug George?

George King  50:14

Yes, @Shardclimber on Instagram is my handle and I am receivable to any messages or requests. And yeah, that’s where you can find me and yeah George King on YouTube. And yeah, from there …

Minter Dial  50:36

Agent yet?

George King  50:38

Agent, no I don’t.

Minter Dial  50:39

Got to get you on. Hey, agents out there. You need to recruit George King. Yes.

George King  50:45

Yes, I would be certainly open to that. And yes, any requests for public speaking engagements? I would be open to discussing that for sure.

Minter Dial  50:55

Beautiful, George. Many, many thanks. Keep on going, sir.

George King  50:58

Thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure.

Minter Dial

Minter Dial is an international professional speaker, author & consultant on Leadership, Branding and Transformation. After a successful international career at L’Oréal, Minter Dial returned to his entrepreneurial roots and has spent the last twelve years helping senior management teams and Boards to adapt to the new exigencies of the digitally enhanced marketplace. He has worked with world-class organisations to help activate their brand strategies, and figure out how best to integrate new technologies, digital tools, devices and platforms. Above all, Minter works to catalyse a change in mindset and dial up transformation. Minter received his BA in Trilingual Literature from Yale University (1987) and gained his MBA at INSEAD, Fontainebleau (1993). He’s author of four award-winning books, including Heartificial Empathy, Putting Heart into Business and Artificial Intelligence (2nd edition) (2023); You Lead, How Being Yourself Makes You A Better Leader (Kogan Page 2021); co-author of Futureproof, How To Get Your Business Ready For The Next Disruption (Pearson 2017); and author of The Last Ring Home (Myndset Press 2016), a book and documentary film, both of which have won awards and critical acclaim.

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