What to expect at TEDx

Posted on 06/10/2014 by Laura Barbante
Pool training MelbourneHSLUNA

Ant Williams competes in freediving, a sport where the athlete has to hold a single breath while diving deep into the ocean. Ant can hold his breath for over 8 minutes and he can dive -100m down in the ocean with no air tanks.

Ant is an Associate Director of Maximus in Melbourne. His early career has seen him work as a Sport Psychologist in motoGP, international rugby and across numerous dangerous sports. These days he helps build organisational capability and teach leadership with clients such as Estee Lauder, Telstra and Asciano.

We sat down with Ant to ask him a few questions about his up-and-coming talk at TEDx Melbourne OFF THE GRID.

What can we expect from your TEDx talk?

I want to share the importance of risk-taking in a society that is becoming increasingly risk-adverse. It addresses why learning to take risks is vital to self-discovery and helps build our resilience. To achieve something great in life we have to be willing to take positive, calculated risks. It’s not easy, or comfortable, but anyone can learn how to do it. I’ll be explaining why we need to reframe the negative perceptions we hold about risk-taking. As often our fear of a challenge turns out to be far worse than the challenge itself.

Freediving pushes the limits of human potential. To succeed you have to overcome intense discomfort and a fear of suffocation as you sink all alone in a deep dark ocean. 

As a competitive freediver I’ve learnt that bravery begins with belief. Belief that we actually have the ability to handle whatever comes our way. Once we begin to trust ourselves we become capable of achieving extraordinary things.

What led you to your current career?

Working with international sports teams is an absolute blast. But it’s hard to have a normal life when you are in a different country every two weeks and working around the clock. I moved in to organisational psychology 8 years ago with the belief that what drives top performance in sport must also be relevant to business. 

Why did you decide to take up freediving?

I’ve always held a great admiration for athletes who participate in high-risk sports. What fascinates me the most, is how top athletes stay completely relaxed and confident before attempting something dangerous. I wanted to know if I could learn how to become a risk-taker by applying what I knew about Sport Psychology to myself in the sport of freediving.

Finally, tell us your 3 favourite things about Melbourne:

1   Living by the best parks in Australia

2   The diverse make up of this great city

3   Surfing Bells Beach!