Todd Sampson talks brain power at AIB alumni event
On Thursday, August 10, Brisbane-based AIB alumni and students learned tips for boosting their brain power from Todd Sampson, the award-winning documentary-maker, television presenter and businessman.
For over 10 years, Todd was the CEO and then non-executive chairman of advertising firm Leo Burnett. While he sits on the Board of Directors of both Fairfax and Qantas now, adventure filmmaking is undoubtedly his passion. He wrote, produced and hosted the award-winning documentary series Redesign My Brain, as well as Discovery International adventure-science series BodyHack, and most recently Life on the Line. He’s also the co-creator of the Earth Hour initiative and is a regular co-host on the popular ABC show The Gruen Transfer, which made him a household name in Australia.
On his move from business to filmmaking, Todd explained, “I have the best job in the world. I travel to some of the most exotic, extreme cultures on the planet, and live with their people to understand how they’ve adapted their minds and bodies to cope with the environment they are in. Then, I package up that information through a filter of physiology and science, and communicate that to millions of people around the world.” It certainly different to CEO life, but he’s sure that chapter of his life set him up for where he is now.
At the Alumni Networking Event in Brisbane, Todd shared with the AIB community how they can boost their brain power using practical strategies and techniques. When we sat down with Todd to discuss his tips, he recapped, “The body’s main function is to serve the brain – healthy body, healthy mind.” He, therefore, recommends a solid night’s sleep every night, meditation and a healthy diet with regular exercise for optimal brain power.
“Probably one of the most important things you can do is sleep. You need eight hours, and I don’t care who you are. I know people say Margaret Thatcher got four, but it doesn’t matter,” Todd insisted. While we sleep, our brain consolidates memories, develops plasticity and refreshes, setting us up for optimal performance the next day.
Todd also feels passionate about the power of meditation. “Whether you’re a high-performing athlete or in the corporate world, meditating can lift your ability and performance.” Todd meditates every morning and before every stressful situation, and counts his fitness regime amongst his meditation techniques.
It’s no surprise that Todd maintains a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise. “For brain health, 20 minutes of brisk walking is good. I recommend weight training to everyone – male and female, young and old. It’s good for your muscles and your back, and will help keep you strong as you age.”
On the diet the average person keeps, Todd explains, “We eat way too much food. The worst advice you can give a child is to eat everything’s that’s on your plate. Eat until you’re full, not until it’s finished.” He believes in the power of intermittent fasting, maintains a low sugar diet, and abstains from meat and alcohol as they’re not things the body needs.
Todd also reflected on his diverse career experiences at the Alumni Networking Event, sharing the following advice for AIB students and graduates, “Treat each individual task as the one you are going to be the absolute best at, even if that is cleaning floors until you find your next job. If you are the absolute best at cleaning floors, I guarantee you’ll get another opportunity. And then when that opportunity opens up and you become the absolute best at that, another opportunity will open.”
Todd is a great example of how passion and dedication translate to an impressive career, and we’re grateful to have benefited from his insights.