Todd Sampson in a scene from the TV series Redesign My Brain.
Todd Sampson in a scene from the TV series Redesign My Brain. ABC TV

Ad guru puts his body on the line for science

TODD Sampson wants to expand your mind.

The Canadian-born TV personality and advertising executive returns in a second season of his documentary series Redesign My Brain.

In season two, the T-shirt-clad adventurer explores the latest neuroscience related to the challenges of the modern world, including attention focus, awareness, adaptability, anxiety and fear.

"We carry around in our heads arguably the most sophisticated, magical organ in the known universe," Sampson tells APN.

"We walk around with this incredibly complex piece of matter and we spend very little time thinking about it. That's what the show does; it puts a spotlight on brain science."

Sampson combines all of the skills he learns throughout the three-part series in a final challenge, walking on a wire 21 stories above central Sydney.

"I won't give away the ending but it doesn't go according to plan," he says.

"People who walk at heights really pull together all of the mental skills I've learned over the two series. You have to manage a constant fear of dying and injury but you also need intense focus."

Sampson used meditation and visualisation to help train for the death-defying feat.

"We're born with the fear of falling; it's innate," he says.

"I used to say over and over again 'fear's a yellow light and not a red light' but the moment I got on the wire everything would go away.

"I had to visualise the walk in my mind and then I had to meditate on that. Wire walking in many ways is moving meditation. It's the most focused you're ever going to be."

Sampson, who is the co-creator of the Earth Hour initiative, hopes to inspire brain health.

"The number one thing I hope people get out of it is the fundamental premise of brain plasticity," he says.

"Anyone no matter their station in life can improve their brain; it's not fixed. We can improve it throughout our whole life."

Redesign My Brain season two premieres tonight at 8.30pm on ABC1.



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