Barker Brothers

TED Talk Tuesday #252: Conquering the impossible

When considering the impossible, we often envisage something so colossal that it appears unattainable.

But what if we told you that two local and passionate South African brothers are about to embark on an unfathomable journey, proving that with determination, passion, and the right mindset, anything is possible?

CN&CO clients and insurance brokers, Rhett and Lloyd Barker, are an unstoppable duo preparing to take on the (in)famous Marathon des Sables (MDS) in April 2023.

The brothers are no strangers to athletic quests, having participated in multiple running and cycling events, including the Argus, Cape Epic, Ironman, Otter Marathon, and Comrades. This time, however, they’re taking on the MDS – often dubbed the most brutal foot race on Earth.

Not only will the brothers be participating in this grueling six-day, 251-kilometer ultramarathon across the Sahara Desert, but they’ll also be raising funds for Qhubeka, a charity that provides bicycles to deserving underprivileged children in Africa.

A brothers’ pact

Their journey to MDS started in May 2022 when Lloyd persuaded Rhett to join him in this outlandish challenge. Despite the initial shock of it all, Rhett acceded, and preparations for the race commenced.

Months of rigorous training, research, and meticulous planning followed, with the brothers seeking intricate guidance from seasoned MDS participants, expert coaches, and physiotherapists. Together, they’ve overcome injuries, adapted their schedules, and have gradually (and literally) gone the extra mile during their runs.

“Doing the Impossible” by Aron Anderson

Rhett and Lloyd’s unwavering commitment to their goal mirrors the inspiring message of Aron Anderson’s TED Talk, “Doing the Impossible.”

Diagnosed with cancer at a young age, Aron lost the use of his legs but refused to let that limit his aspirations. Despite his physical challenges, he has completed numerous extreme sports events and expeditions, including skiing the South Pole, coming second at the Ironman World Championship, and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Aron’s message is one of perseverance, resilience, and the power of a positive mindset.

He urges his audience to embrace challenges and view them as opportunities for growth. By setting seemingly impossible goals and relentlessly pursuing them, he believes we can overcome our limitations and achieve greatness. Aron emphasises that our attitude and determination, rather than our circumstances, dictate what we can accomplish in life.

Watch the TED Talk here:

We’re behind the Barker brothers

Counting down the days to the MDS, the Barker brothers’ ultimate goal is to inspire others to confront and conquer seemingly insurmountable challenges for a meaningful cause.


TED continues to spread ideas and help us all be better critical thinkers. Watching, listening and talking about TED Talks is a popular pastime for many in the CN&CO community. We visit regularly to clear our heads, have a laugh, learn or get inspired.

TED Talks open our minds, spark new ways of thinking and can lead to some very interesting conversations and business opportunities. Each week we pick a favourite and publish it on a Tuesday, because we like how “TED Talk Tuesday” sounds. It’s also a way that the CN&CO team play their part in spreading ideas and helping to make the world a better place. This week’s TED Talk was chosen by Gianluca Tucci.

Gianluca brings a touch of Italian flair to everything he does. His eye for detail, superior organisational skills and rare ability to nag relentlessly (in the nicest possible way) help to keep the team on track and on target. Say good things to him about Juventus and you’ll have a friend for life.