057 – David Shurna – Defying All Odds


It doesn’t matter where you come from, what your family is like, nor the circumstances you find yourself in today—you are absolutely capable of climbing your personal mountains.

In this episode of the Primed Mind Podcast, David Shurna of No Barriers shares how you can break through and find purpose and strength, no matter what you’ve been through.

No Barriers is a nonprofit organization which empowers people to redefine life after adversity and trauma through a combination of a six-month online course and challenging outdoor expeditions, like kayaking the Grand Canyon or climbing the tallest mountain peaks.

Through their work at No Barriers, David and his team given new hope to disabled veterans, who defy all odds and rediscover purpose, community, and vision for their lives. They also empower others who have been through traumatic events, and they equip teens and their teachers to handle the challenges life brings.

Struggle and hardship are universal in the human experience—how do you respond to it? Do you allow your past to limit you? Let this episode inspire you to break through!

Time Stamped Show Notes

[00:00:00] Welcome to this week’s episode with guest David Shurna of No Barriers!

  • [00:01:41] David loses shoe in Malawi to a hyena and then realizes the vision for his life

[00:03:10] No Barriers—the adventurous nonprofit empowering people to overcome adversity

  • [00:04:52] Cultivating new hope, purpose, and community in disabled veterans
  • [00:10:16] What does the No Barriers curriculum look like?
  • [00:11:37] The rope team philosophy—everyone climbs to the summit together
  • [00:14:12] The transformative emotional healing of No Barriers courses and outdoor expeditions

[00:15:26] Equipping teens and teachers with purpose and confidence to face life’s challenges

  • [00:18:33] Teaching kids how to cope with globally shared trauma

[00:20:40] David shares how you can get started with climbing your personal mountains

  • [00:25:13] Alchemy—transforming your adversity into optimism and vision for the future
  • [00:28:56] You choose how you respond to your circumstances in life—what defines you?
  • [00:31:04] Where can you find out more about No Barriers and the book?

[00:32:16] Wrap-up—thanks for checking out this episode!

3 Key Points

  1. No matter your life story, you are capable of overcoming adversity. Erik Weihenmayer of No Barriers was the first blind person to summit Mount Everest—something he once never thought would ever happen for him. Are you held back by what you’ve told yourself is possible?
  2. To get to the top of a mountain, you’ve got to take the first steps. Begin your journey with vision and purpose, which you’ll uncover as you train your mind away from doubt. It takes time, and you can start simply by countering rumination on the negative possibilities with alternate outcomes.
  3. Adversity is a universal part of the human experience, but it’s how you respond to the things that have happened to you that determine your future. Born into slavery and crippled at a young age, the Greek philosopher Epictetus chose to overcome the challenges of his life and became a revered thinker and teacher.


No Barriers Website:

The Book:

No Barriers Instagram:

No Barriers Podcast:

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