Tom Bergeron has been a familiar, friendly face on American TV for decades. As the host of several popular shows such as America’s Funniest Home Videos, Hollywood Squares, and Dancing With the Stars – now in its 25th season – he has had his fair share of unexpected events happen on live TV, and he always seems to keep his cool.
But Bergeron sat down to chat with Dan Harris on a live taping of the podcast 10% Happier, and shared that he was not always calm, cool, and collected under pressure. He admitted that he had major anger management issues during his bachelor days. While the target of his ire was often himself or inanimate objects – such as the sheet rock walls of his rental apartments – he said it was his current wife, whom he was dating at the time, who encouraged him to change his ways.
Bergeron shared that during a date, his crazy temper caused him to punch the car door with his then girlfriend beside him. “And she wisely said, ‘If we’re going to have a relationship, that has to stop,’” he told Harris.
He said he enrolled in a Transcendental Meditation (TM) course the next day and has kept up the practice for 35 years. He said his anger has been under control and sheet rock has been safe from his punches ever since.
Bergeron, now 62, and his wife, Lois, who set him straight on the road to take up meditation to control his anger, have been married since 1982 and have two daughters together.
Meditation also helps Bergeron stay present during hectic and often unpredictable live tapings of the ABC show, Dancing With the Stars.
He said that, contrary to what many may believe, he does not feel the stress of hosting a 2-hour live show that is viewed by millions around the world. In fact, he described the show as the most relaxing two hours of his day.
He credits his daily meditation practice with his ability to roll with whatever may happen during the show.
“I trust that because of the practice, because of the investment of time and mental energy into being present, that I’m going … to somehow know how to roll with whatever happens,” he said.
Bergeron also took a few minutes to talk about his book, I’m Hosting as Fast as I Can: Zen and the Art of Staying Sane in Hollywood.
He described the book as a stealth book on meditation, veiled as string of anecdotes about his hosting career. The book is about the importance of being present in the now of your life.
Although Bergeron practices TM, he says he does not strictly follow its prescribed twice daily 20-minute meditation and said that everyone should find a technique that works for them. Whether it be mantra meditation, breathing, focusing on a flickering candle… the important thing is to develop a personal meditative practice to stay present, and learn to check the ego and better react to situations as they happen.
View the entire 10% Happier with Dan Harries live podcast online.