In Trust podcast EP 23: Interview with Dr. Cecilia Flori on How to Thrive in Challenges

How do you excel when faced with extremely difficult challenges? How do you thrive in uncomfortable situations?

We’re excited to bring you this conversation with Dr. Cecilia Flori, quantum physicist, neuroscientist, elite ultrarunner, running coach, and all-around superhero. Cecilia loves to challenge herself in big ways on a regular basis and overcome hard things. 

In our conversation, we dive into the mindset and systems that have helped Cecilia tackle difficult questions in incredibly rigorous fields of research and also pick up running in her thirties and quickly become one of the world’s top ultrarunners. Along the way Cecilia offers some practical advice to anyone looking to make a career switch, dive into the unknown, or overcome their own difficult challenges.

If you’re looking for inspiration to help you tackle challenges in your own life, this conversation with Cecilia is for you.

Overview of Episode 23: How to Thrive in Challenges with Dr. Cecilia Flori

Talking Points

  • Cecilia’s journey from physics and philosophy to neuroscience and running
  • How Cecilia thinks about challenges and why she enjoys them
  • The systems and mindsets Cecilia has built that help her overcome hard things in both research and ultrarunning
  • The importance of giving back to others
  • Cecilia’s thoughts on how she built up the trust in herself to thrive in challenges
  • Cecilia’s childhood idea of a good time (hint: it’s doing logic problems) and why she got into physics
  • How Cecilia goes about making life-changing decisions
  • Cecilia’s advice to anyone coming up against a scary, challenging situation  
  • Cecilia’s upcoming plans, including representing Italy at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships later this year


“You really need to trust your ability to overcome difficulties. You have to trust that you can somehow make the change, or finish that race.” – Dr. Cecilia Flori

“It’s good to have experience as long as your experience doesn’t make you think of all the obstacles.” – Dr. Cecilia Flori

“You’re going to have bad days, or bad races, or bad moments in a race. You just have to keep motivating yourself. Keep a positive attitude and know what your end goal is and just focus on that end goal.”  – Dr. Cecilia Flori

“If that’s what you want to do, if that’s your dream, the important thing is to approach it with a youthful perspective, with an eagerness.”  – Dr. Cecilia Flori

“I have done hard things in the past and this is just another hard thing in the present, so I know I can do it.”  – Dr. Cecilia Flori

“In fear there is potential, and I think I like potential. Potential opens up a lot of doors.”  – Dr. Cecilia Flori

“I think when people don’t do something because of fear they’re focused on the wrong thing. At the end It doesn’t even matter if you succeed, what matters is that you’ve tried and in trying you’ve learned something and you’re not thinking about the fear of not succeeding – you’re thinking about what you learned in the process.”  – Dr. Cecilia Flori

“It’s this attitude of taking whatever comes and building on it and not really necessarily envisioning only the end result but also whatever you learn in the process.”  – Dr. Cecilia Flori

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