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#142 Steven Kotler - 10x National Bestselling Author, Executive Director at the Flow Research Collective, and Leading Expert in Peak-Performance

by David Clancy and Ciaran Dunne
October 18th 2021
00:39:24
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Today we spoke with Steve Kotler - 10x National Bestselling Author, Executive Director at the Flow Research Collective, and Leading Expert in Peak-Performance.

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coming up on sleep eat perform repeat. 30 years of studying peak human performance has taught me over and over again. We are all cable so much more than we know but the reason we don't know because human potential is invisible especially to ourselves. That was our guest for today. Someone who were honored and humbled to have on the show steven Kotler sponsoring today's episode is caved a dot org. Cave day leads daily group focused sessions for a worldwide community over zoom. Cave day is like a group fitness class for your work, a train guide, these check ins, deep work sprints and energizing brakes join the world's most focused community today. Not only that, but sleep eat perform repeat listeners can sign up for a free seven day trial and 50% off your first month with promo code separate S E P R all capitals at cave day dot org. Good one. Welcome to Sleep Eat perform repeat with your hosts, David Clancy and Karen done. This is a podcast about high performance.

What we're striving to achieve is to figure out what makes high performing individuals tick, why they do what they do and why they are successful, enjoy a journey of stories, lessons and learnings today, we spoke with steven Kotler 10 times National bestselling author, executive director of the flow research collective and leading expert in peak performance. He is one of the world's leading experts on human performance and flow science is the author of nine bestsellers including the Art of Impossible. His newest book, the future is faster than you think stealing fire the rise of superman, bold and abundance. It's work has been nominated for two Pulitzer prizes translated into over 40 languages has appeared in publications such as wired, the Wall Street Journal and the Harvard Business Review Today. Steven tells us what his typical day looks like, how dogs compared to humans, white environmentalism and the cultivation of empathy starts at home. We speak about passion, purpose and missions in life. The passion recipe and more curiosity, autonomy and mastery are dug into to drive motivation as part of the ultimate stack neurochemistry is unpacked as is filtering checklists, flow, science and a captivating story about a trip to Italy.

We all have the tools at our disposal to be peak performers. Steven helps us understand how we can leverage these good boy steven Kotler, Thanks very much for spending your friday morning with the two of us here over in Ireland. How are you getting on? Well thank you. How are you guys doing? Okay? We're looking forward to the weekend. This man is off to a rugby match shortly. But what's your typical day look like? Are you going to be rolling out of friday? It's the same day I have every day I wake up, I write for four hours, I hiked my dog through the mountains. I come back, I do this kind of work for a couple of hours, I take a nap, eat lunch, I go get a workout in and then I write till seven or eight at night, get into a sauna and watch some football and go to sleep like that's what I'm gonna do. Is it true that in preparing for the book behind us, your new book, you 100 days skiing consecutive? That's no, no, that's for uh not for the book behind you.

It's for my next book. And I did, it wasn't 100 it was 88. My goal, I was trying to get to 86 which was double what I had done in any prior season. And I was simultaneously trying to learn how to park ski, which is uh freestyle skiing. So it's jumps rail slides, all that stuff, which is supposedly quote unquote impossible for anybody over the age of 35 to do. And definitely over the age of 50. And but there's a bunch of new kind of learning theory and neuroscience and peak performance, aging and all that stuff that says otherwise. And I just decided to run a giant experiment and see how far could I could get in a year. Has kiko ever gotten the skis kiko has not gone on skis and his propensity to bite people not named steven or my wife. I can't even bring him into the back country when I go skiing because you rarely go into the back country alone and I'm worried whoever I'm skiing with, he's going to, they're going to start skiing and he's going to chase them down and you know, I'm going to have, you know, he's £150 dog, you know, you don't want that big dog, you don't want that happening to you.

And he could run, he look he looks like a polar bear and he runs, you know like a polar bear. So where where are you in the line between animals, dogs and humans? We've kind of read some posts about in the past and kind of how they differ. Honestly, I don't think there is a line and I think trying to draw that line is ludicrous and it justifies here in America the euthanasia of 8 to 20 million dogs a year depending on how fill full shelters are and what I mean by that is and I've written extensively about this in small small furry prayer covers a lot of this. If you look at the average dog and we know we know this from a significant amount of neuroscience. Starting with that book right there right behind me, affective neuroscience by Yak concept dogs have all of our all the same. They share the seven primary emotions that all mammals have. They also have all the same social emotions that humans have only theirs are more developed than ours. They're better aware socially than humans.

They are better at reading social nonverbal social cues. Face reading, they're better at reading human faces than humans are. They also have the intelligence depending on how you're measuring of between a three and a five year old child and they're also capable of a lot of very, very high level conceptual thinking. Great book by Douglas Hofstadter, who wrote Olestra bach, The book he wrote after that is called surfaces and essences. And it's about analogy as the primary driver of human thinking and human intelligence and towards the end of the book, he spends a consider amount of time talking about all the analogies that your dogs can think in and there's 60 70 these are, these are higher, this is higher level cognition. So essentially by saying there's a line, I don't know what you're drawing the line with, but if you're measuring by consciousness, emotions, sensitivity to pain, intelligence, empathy, all the so called vaulted human emotions, willingness, take care of the sick and the old, like all that stuff, everything we value.

Um dogs, either they performing the same as kids or they're performing better. So I always tell people were like, oh, I have to take my dog to a shelter. I said, well 90% of dogs that get dropped off at shelters are euthanized and would you take your three year old child to the shelter when you were tired of them. So like that's what you're doing. No absolutely no difference by any measuring stick, any rational person would use what has to happen and what's the main drivers behind us not giving that perspective to animals. I know you did great work. So I'm an advocate for what I would call empathy for all, which is empathy for all animals. Plants, any systems and whether one of the there are a couple of real big reasons. So you asked what can be done. And it's really funny. I always say uh environmentalism starts at home and it most likely starts with like the plants in our gardens and the animals in our lives.

And the reason is quite simply this really basic neuroscience says, hey, the brain takes in a a ton of information every second. It's too much for the brain to process. So we filter huge amounts of data out of our brain just to live in the real world every second. It's a use of elusive thing. So one of the reasons most ico psychologists, psychologists who study the relationship between humans and the natural world believe that we're in the middle of a giant environmental crisis is when you live in boxes and you stare at boxes and that's your day. The brain will naturally start to filter out all those things that don't impact your survival. Like the natural world. The reason I say empathy starts at home and special plants and animals in our lives is to kind of cultivate empathy. I'll give you a simple example from my life. So my wife and I are on an animal sanctuary, do hospice care and special needs care. And when we first started doing this work, I had shifted over, I've been working with humans and I started working with animals instead and we work with the worst case scenario. So we worked with a lot of feral animals.

I would get bit all the time. We luckily worked mostly with small dogs with big problems, but still I would get bit, my wife would get bit, I would get barked at a lot of these dogs had emotional issues and really hated men because they had been tortured by men. So like I would get bit, I get chased like literally like I walk to my office at the border, get this would happen. I'd wake up in the morning and every barked at, you know, on a good day when you're laughing about it, it's funny. But on a bad day when I'm, you know, piste off and suddenly a dog bites my ankle or I'm hungry or I'm tired or right, Like the urge to kill that dog is very real like to get really bad. And I started thinking about the dogs in my life as if they were my family? So when one of my dogs had a nutty, I was like, okay, well if my brother was having the same nutty, what would I do? Right? Like what would I do if that was my brother? That was the sort of cognitive shift. Once I started thinking that way, it changed, it literally changed something inside and I unlocked an entire new level of empathy. And here is the interesting thing that happened wide and this is what we're pointing out.

So until that point, my wife has been doing dog rescue for 15, 20 years and she is a like a world renowned diagnostician for canine ailments and whatever. And she would see things in the dogs should be like, well salty is obviously, you know, a little mouth in paris and he needs a dental and he's got bacteria load and that's and like she would like, I thought she was making shut up for years, right? I was like, there's no like she's just making this is like all this isn't real. And once I sort of switched my perspective, it was this one dog, Misha, that particularly girl be crazy. And once I started treating me as if it was my brother having a nutty all of a sudden perception open and I started noticing all the things my wife was seeing that was leading to her diagnosis and it was literally I was blind to it. So the stuff that makes animals more human, like and worthy of our empathy, we actually can't see until we start to develop that empathy for animals were sort of blocked out from it.

This is not surprising. This is like the same. There's a big version of like ever gone to a rainforest. You show up and everything's green, you can't see a goddamn thing, you have no idea what you're looking at in like a week later your brain goes, oh look, it's 700 different shades of green and that thing you thought was a tree is actually a snake, right? Like suddenly you start seeing like everything that is in front of you and the rainforest gets very freaky because you're like snakes, insects, weight, everything wants to kill me, and it was totally invisible to you. This is the same version of that, sort of like, times 10. So what I think it starts with, if you really like, are interested in just playing with this, you can run an experiment in your life and start thinking about the plants and animals around you as equals. Just start thinking about them as equals. Run the experiment for a couple of weeks, see what happens to perception. So, I mean, like that's the that's the practical answer. I mean, on a macroscopic level there's a, you know, a million things that need to happen, but I'm a fan of, you know, the establishment of re wilding and mega languages and giving huge portions of basically land back to plants and animals, passion and purpose, steven wright.

You you've written a fair bit about it and you you talked about it for the elegant, massively transformative purpose and you you kind of outline three of them and we talked a lot about the latter already, how do you get to a point when you really figure out what those three are? Yeah. So, well, first of all, I have a tool for everybody that you guys could have. If you go to www dot passion recipe dot com. Everything I'm about to say, which is also in art, impossible book over your right shoulder. We this was so useful to so many people. We I was just like, let's give it a like, I'm sick of absolute this question, let's turn it into like three videos, free tutorials, free workbooks. And so that's what we did. And that's what's available at passion recipe dot com. But the place to start is um with just a couple of basic principles, passion and purpose are examples of intrinsic motivation. There are tons of intrinsic motivators the way. So, okay, we have two kinds of motivators. We have extrinsic, this is stuff in the real world, we're going to work hard to get money, sex fame.

And then we have intrinsic motivators and we have this had tons of them, spite as an intrinsic motivator, right? When you have coaches like bulletin board material, that's spite as a motivator. Well, there are five really big ones, curiosity, passion purpose, autonomy and mastery. There's a most potent intrinsic motivators. And when I say most potent, what I really mean is they produce the most feel good neurochemistry that gets us up off the couch and chasing down our goals, right, motivation is nothing more than energy for action. So the big deal here is two fold one each of these is designed to be built into the next, There's a sequence to how we evolved, they evolved to come online and people where people go wrong especially today is that passion and purpose have taken on. There's a lot of virtuous signaling around them. There's a lot of they mean a lot more now than ever before and there's a lot of social stuff that comes with it.

Some really good, like, yes, we like your passion and purpose for the world is better for the world, but some of it is about feeding There you go and a bunch of that stuff, right? So it's become very complicated mystified, and this is a very simple, like, what is it neural by what is passion and purpose? These are things that humans do. So there's science underneath it quite simply passion and purpose matter because we get more feel good performance enhancing neurochemistry out of them. It's very, very selfish from a performance standpoint and it doesn't have to be so mystical once you understand what you're trying to do. I'm not saying that, like trying to feed the hungry is bad for the world, right? Or won't get you laid on friday night when you talk about it in a bar, right? Like it's fine for those things too. But from a performance standpoint it matters because curiosity, the most foundational intrinsic motivator, what is it? It's a little bit of the feel good neurochemical dopamine, and a little bit of the performance enhancing neurochemicals, Norepinephrine, right? That's what curiosity is.

What is passion? Passion is nothing more than the intersection of multiple curiosities? One curiosity, powerful motivator. How do you know, what do you get from curiosity? Focus for free. Think about how much energy you expand, paying attention to stuff that you're not interested in, and think about not spending any energy on things you're curious about. The brain uses 25% of all the body's energy at rest. We're trying to pay attention to something we're not interested in. It's a lot more. That's crazy. That's a £3 part of our £160 body. That's getting one quarter of everything we eat and drink at rest and then more we're trying to do something like pay attention to like a bad lecture or a dull book, right? Like a lot of energy. So, anything that gives us focus for free, huge energy savings, that's great for peak performance, which requires lots of energy, curiosity is a little bit of focus and energy for free. But if we can find where multiple curiosities intersect and how to do that is what's available in the passion recipe or in the book, but like figuring out where they intersect and what you get is passion and passion is a lot of dopamine and a lot of norepinephrine passion, by the way?

Think about romantic love, you've fallen in love how much attention you're paying to the person you're falling in love with can't stop thinking about them. That's literally doubling the norepinephrine network, That's the focus you're getting for free and that's how motivated they are. You can't actually in the brain turn off nor up and after and I don't mean anymore. We know this, right? If you turn it up, you get obsession and then actually you start getting mental illness, you get mania and schizophrenia. So there's a limit, right? There's a sweet spot for performance. But if you want more motivation, you need more feel good drugs. Then once you have passion, intersection of multiple curiosities, you attach it to something greater than yourself. Just a problem in the world you want to see solved. I want to see animals treated like humans, right? That's a problem in the world. I want to see solved and it's outside of myself, why does that matter? Because once something is not about you and it's beneficial to the world, you start, first of all you get some attention for it. So other people start paying attention to you that gives you oxytocin, but you also start getting endorphins and serotonin other pro social neurochemicals that feel good and enhance motivation more.

So the big deal with passion and purpose is huge amounts of feel good neurochemistry, lots of motivation. So thinking of them big tasks and big goals. I think one of the best style capturing the statements I've seen from the book is you're capable of so much more than, you know the way I always, I always phrase that there's three components here and the way I always phrase it is 30 years of studying peak human performance has taught me over and over again. We are all capable so much more than we know. But the reason we don't know because human potential is invisible, especially to ourselves. So before we go, talk about how capable we are. Let's talk about what I mean by human potential is invisible because it's easier, it's quicker one. We figure out what we're capable of by pushing on our skills to the utmost that first of all produces flow, which massively out levels are skills and suddenly were capable of a level of performance that we hadn't seen before, but we only do that and we have to do that over and over and over again. That makes human potential and emergent property.

It emerges by pushing on our skills to the utmost. You have like all other emergent properties, right? You can't figure out what they are until they actually emerge. That's like how complexity science works. That's just the laws of science. Second of all, at a really gradually like simple level and this isn't my research, this is mostly Adam grants work, but he's figured out that we have no idea what we're going to like or be good at until we try it, right? And this means even in like closely related skills. So Lebron James, one of the greatest basketball players currently in the game, tremendous athlete. Let's say Lebron's never played rugby. I could go to braun and be like Lebron, Do you think you're gonna like rugby? Do you think you're going to be good at rugby? And the research shows you can't answer the question. I mean, he thinks he's going to be able to answer the question. I'm an athlete. I'm going to know if I'm gonna like this, right? But the study after study shows no, we have no clue if we're going to like it, if we're going to be good at it until after we do it and until we do it and start pushing in our skills to the utmost, we don't really know what we can actually even do with it.

And the last part is that what we're capable of. That answer comes down to a bunch of stuff, but it really comes down to everybody is hardwired for flow, foundational property of all most mammals and all humans. Right? So anybody anywhere can get into flow provided certain initial conditions are met that's extremely well established. The universality and flow is optimal performance. It's a huge uptick in motivation productivity, creativity learning and a bunch of physical skills, right, huge. The numbers as you know, from reading are possible, are staggering there 500% above baseline for productivity, 470% boost in innovation and creativity and flip and so forth. These enormous, you know, heightened states of creativity that's available all of us and just simply by being human. So if we're talking about, hey, you don't know what you're good at, you don't know what you're going to like, you don't know how far you can take it.

And by the way, the state of peak performance that is going to help you take it there. It's not about 5% better. 10% better. It's a step function worth of change that's at your disposal. So when I say human beings are all, if you can figure out how to spend time and flow on a regular basis. There's also as you know, from reading iron possible, there's other skills, we've been talking about motivation skills, there's learning skills and creativity skills that you also have to work on with flow. But that's essentially a full suite of cognitive peak performance from a biological perspective. And this is available to all of us. It comes built in where human beings like all this stuff is innocent. It's in most mammals and definitely all dogs, by the way, some of this stuff is oddly creepily implants. So like just as a weird, just weird stuff. Plant neuroscience is a really hot field right now. They now know that plants exhibit empathy and practice altruism. They process information with all the same neurochemicals that humans do. So serotonin dopamine all these chemicals.

They also show up in plants on and on there. So there's a bunch of really weird stuff that makes you go, whoa, okay. You know, I just heard steve make a really coherent argument about dog consciousness, but like I've been to like there's a bunch of really cool researchers, you mostly learn italy oddly who are all working on Planet Arus, a bunch of neuroscientists who are doing really neat stuff with plants and Italy I've heard them lecture a bunch of times when I've been in europe and you know, there's literally like you can see there's grounds to extend the argument for consciousness and you know, things like this into, you know, into the plant kingdom, which makes it certainly makes you like sort of just raises your eyebrows right? Not saying we should make any decisions perhaps, but it definitely raises your eyebrows with with all the books you've published even right? And you know, two Pulitzer nominations bestsellers, new york times, We don't have to name all the books, everyone knows what the books are. How do you keep on finding the next book to write.

So one is how do you call that a curiosity is the same way you find the intersection of multiple curiosities. Right? When I say curiosity right, people again, they get all mystical, I just mean like this is interesting enough to you that you would spend, if I could pause time, you would spend the weekend studying up on this. You watch a couple of lectures, read a couple books, talk to an expert or to maybe play around run a little experiment. That's all. I mean by curious like you're willing to give it two or three days of your life because you'd like to know a little bit more. I don't ever like there's a bunch of stuff I was curious about early on and I've never stopped feeding it right? I never stopped feeding my curiosity mostly through books. That's what books are so great for. Is they costly feed curious. How do you feed curiosity? You find links but you make associated memories, right? You find links between this thing leads to this thing leads the even if you don't think that this is the foundational seeds of pattern recognition of creativity. So if you want more creativity and innovation, this is sort of how that works.

And it's also a neuro protective later in life, right? What like we are almost all of our cognitive skills are used to lose it. And you know, lifelong learning is, you know, cognitive skills start to decline in your fifties and dementia is common in your seventies. And the only thing that guards against it is creating new neurons and creating new assoc of networks and you can't do that if you don't keep learning so sure sure argument for But it's just for everyone listening that you just wrote a blog on differences between novices and experts. And it's about the lifelong learning and even you have the R. O. I. Reading chapter. So it's yeah, there's a lot to be said for peaking curiosity and keep keep reading right? But yeah, I've never I've never stopped feeding those curiosities. So you know, as soon as like two things that happened, people don't realize this. But if you're if you're a good communicator, if you care about communicating information, obviously, you know, I really do right. I like to teach people about really hard ideas that I think you know, everybody can learn.

You know what I mean? I like I think the ideas are hard but there's a way that everybody can learn them and we all benefit from them. So that's try to do that. If you're going to write those kinds of books, you end up you never write the book about the ship, you're curious about. You write the book about all the things you learned along the way. So like I'm for I'll give you a simple example. Almost every book I've written up till now including the item possible is literally basic peak performance. I have the book I'm working on now and peak performance aging is the very first advanced applied peak performance applied neuroscientists book I've ever tried to write because you can like the basics literally have to six books on flow and peak performance. that's the basics. So one reason you want it, you keep writing the next one is because you never get to write the goddamn book you are curious about, right? Because when you start writing that book, you're like, oh before I can tell you that, I gotta tell you this and this and this, and by the time I told you this, this and this, you're so freaking bored with the neuroscience or whatever, the thing that I really care about, there's no room in the book.

If I were to put that stuff in, nobody would read my books that bore it, take having having sort of the um it's difficult, but it's what allows you to be a better communicator because it's not that I don't know, are there some people dumb things down? Right, that's how they solve this. I don't ever want to dumb it down, I just can't tell the whole story. So I tell the story, I can tell as richly as I possibly can and then I save the stuff for an X book, right? And essentially by the way, if you go through my first book on peak performance, which is west of jesus and you then read literally small furry prayer stealing, Fire rises, superman and art impossible. All of the ideas in all of those books are introduced in West of jesus, every one of them is in west to jesus, it just took literally each of those books was a chunk of that, that I want to do that, I had to do shorthand. So that, that keeps me going a lot.

And also you have to give the honest answer. It's not so good up here. And if I'm not writing it's really bad up here, right. Writing is sort of like PROzac for me in a sense and much in the way that like skiing, skiing and riding in the two things that I have to do to sort of say stay saying. I think this is, you know, common to most creatives, right? If you're a true creative, your art, whatever that is is always your salvation. And I always say one of the reasons that I'm really, I'm good at my job and I'm successful is I learned how to first turn pain into words and then I learned how to turn all the other emotions into words. And um, and I like doing it right. It's also, it's how I think I'm smarter when I write that butch Cassidy. The Sundance kids are better when they move. I'm better when I write then going back, we're doing a reflection on what you've been through the curiosities that you've had whatsoever, a moment when one of the accolades or someone said something to you or even you looking back over your work to date that you were so grateful that that curiosity was in you for writing these books.

Uh, so this is a funny answer because as a general, when people come up to me and say any first of all, I'm an introvert, so I don't like people. So if you're going to come up to me, um in the first place, that's weird, right? Second of all, when people come up to me and say, oh, thank you so much, your work changed my life, it did this and this. I always, I'm always hesitant and I'm like, thank you, maybe you changed your life and I sort of like, and you were ready to change my book came along and it bridged something. But I think there are a bunch of other books, movies, films, conversations, sexual, escapades, whatever that could have same bridge, that might not be true, but that tends to be what my brain thinks and how I tend to think about that. Or as my wife says, she's the most cynical over to the world when it comes to this, she's like, dude, think about somebody walking up to the, oh, you're my favorite rock star and it's true, you're my favorite rock star except for this one and this one and this one and this one and that one, and depends on the day and on Tuesdays before noon, you're definitely right, Like that's the reality, but we all know that.

So there's a grain of that. But the one thing I was uh it was a world business forum event in Italy, I want to say, I think I was in Milan or paris Rusia, I can't remember was big, huge conference. And first of all, one of the things that was shocking to me is it was the first time I had worked a little bit in Italy doing some reporting earlier on, but I hadn't been back to Italy in 20 years. Um it turns out that I've got a lot of fans in Italy and the reason I know this is because when I was signing books after the event, the line like wrapped around essentially a coliseum and I sat there for like, you know, and if you're going to wait in line, I'm going to sign your book and people say very nice things to you along the way. And at the end of the line, like literally looking over two hours, I'm watching this girl get closer is a girl who doesn't stop crying for two hours and she's young, she's like 1920 years old and she's kind of closer, she's still not sobbing, but she's weeping and I, as the introvert and going, oh ship, you know, what is this really like, wow, you've been crying for a long time and she gets up and she finally, she starts talking and she looks at me, she goes, I just have to thank you and I said, I said, okay, why she's crying?

She's like, you got me through high school and it was the one thing anybody's ever said to me where I went holy ship because like I had a bad time in high school. I didn't like high school at all. And there were a couple of authors who saved my life and got me through high school and I wouldn't, I literally would be dead today without those authors without a doubt. And I don't know if that's what she meant, but that's sure what it felt like. And that was something where I was like, oh, you got me, You found the one thing that is so relatable to me that like you pierced all my asshole shells and you like you found my heart cried for two hours and God, you know, she got me. She Yeah, when the last ones from me steve, I'm curious as to why we're always, how do you give your all to all the things you're really interested and passionate about, You want to push on flow science. You've got flow research collective. You want to write another book, you want to ski, you want to change the world for animals, All those things.

So it, it's interesting because I've always said, I guess there's three or four answers to that question, but it's really about filtering and choices. I've peak performance a checklist. It's nothing more than I'm going to do this. It's like there's certain things you have to do every day. You have to do, certain things for flow, you need a 90 minute block for intense concentration on your hardest test, you're going to need some way of down regulating the nervous system, mindfulness or a long walk and you know, because you've got to stay calm. There's a handful of other things. It's not a ton. What I say is that I have three, my massively transform our purposes. You, as you pointed out, there's three things I care about. I want to write great books, I want to make the world a better place for animals and I want to advance float science and training. And to me it's really simple. I do one of those things every day no matter what, right? Like every day on my checklist, I am going to always do something that makes the world a better place for animals. Even if that's one of the reasons there's a dog sanctuary in my damn house is because if I can't, you know, go out into the world and make a bigger difference, I make like there's a, you know, read a good dog sanctuary and my wife out of my home.

So I'm always doing that work that's always taken care of. I wake up and I start writing, I'm always doing that work and advancing close science and research. You know, some days it means I'm doing nothing more than reading a couple new papers on flow or reading a bunch of neuroscience textbooks. Some days I'm running, you know what I mean? Like I just chunk it down so I, because that's all like all I could ever do is what I can do. I know in any given day I can do about nine things. I'd be energy to nine things and be great if those nine things and I know I gotta have a active recovery things. So like if I have to go get in the sauna for 45 minutes that takes energy. That's tiring, right? It's or a long walk in nature or a long mindfulness. Those are things are going to require energy. So I like even my recovery after like that's an item on my to do list like the morning writings etcetera etcetera. So I just make sure that every day, three of the things I like to do this, check off those needs.

And then I sort of filtered down from then I said, okay, I've got these three big things. I only do six things in my life period. I, you know the three, I advised those three goals. I spend time with friends and family. I do all the business stuff I have to do to make way for those three things. And then I hurled myself down mountains at high speeds like that's it. If it's not, if it's outside of those things it's a no and the last level of filtering that I like and this is one that people don't talk about a lot. But I think it's crazy. It's a little weird to do, certainly prioritizes your life differently, but it's worth making the list of you're 10 greatest pleasures. I mean I'm talking pure hedonism. What are your 10 greatest pleasures and 10 things that bring you? Just the most joy? Pleasure, happiness, whatever. Why would you work for? 11, 12, 13, 14 or any, like, if you've got a top 10, 1st of all, you've got a whole bunch of shit you now say no to because why would you say yes to that stuff when you can go after your top 10 pleasures, first of all?

And the second thing like, I'll give you an example when I made my list, I realized that like literally sitting and laughing with my best friend was super close. It was argument 12 or three were variable. I was like, oh sh it. And we lived four hours apart and you know, we talk all the time and I worked with him, but do I actually like, do we go out of our way to spend time together when it's inconvenient? Not as much as we should. And yet number one on my list was laughing with my best friend. Well that's crazy. What am I doing? Right? My favorite pleasure in life is four hours away, but I'm too bit like that's stupid because the buyback what I get back from my life, the quality of like the richness of the experience is huge. So I also think you want to filter both ways. You want to filter like, this is my passion, my purpose, my mission. And so this is the things I'm going to say yes to. But also take a look at like the stuff that we're not supposed to because it's bad for right? Like everything.

But we're gonna still go after hedonic pleasures because we're human. Anyways, let's just make sure that the right hedonic pleasures for who we are. That's sort of how I try to think about those loses strategies. I try to bring to that problem. It's excellent really making the list later on today. The book is, it's doing really well. Where would you like people to go? I know you're giving away on the art of the possible dot com. There's $1500 worth of extra peak performance tools. There's things about steven Kotler that I don't see if they have any control of anymore. I'm not a good sure. I'm not, I'm somewhere between a brand and a simulation and I'm not sure which it is. This is the simulation. I hope this is this is the real deal here. My wife literally had a t shirt printed up. She showed it to me yesterday. I was like, does that really say what I thought, I said, this is not a t shirt, This is an elaborate hoax. She's like, she she is fully about simulation theory. She's like, she was like, okay, well you sort of, I can't hard to argue with nick mostro right? Like the simulation theory sort of wins.

You're like, well, I don't know how I prove a negative, but like you're right, I live in a simulation. Pass the popcorn. Exactly, steven. Look, this conversation is all about speaking people's curiosity and interest and getting people to just check out your stuff a little bit more and we wanted to dig in and ask some questions. We only one gentlemen, I really appreciate you guys really taking the time to ask a bunch of questions that other people don't ask me. And I'd like, I know that takes some research and some effort on your end. So, and I really appreciate it one more and then we're done. We always ask them that comes on the show, you've been there 30 years running the show peak performance. What does high performance, peak performance look like for steven Kotler? It's interesting because I don't, I think the major point I've been trying to make a lot of my work is that it doesn't actually, well, there's individual personality shaped things at a real level, Peak performance is nothing more or less than getting our biology to work for us rather than against us and that biology on the physical side, it's strength, stamina, fast twitch, muscle response balance and agility and on the mental side it's motivation, learning creativity and flow and that's literally like those are all the tools we have at our disposal disposal so that is one way or another, whatever you're doing, that's the sweetest tool.

So I like at a high level, I know this is not the exact answer to the question you want it, but like I think it's important because there's no difference. Like it's all of us, it looks the same for at that level looks the same for all of us, which is why like I don't think there's a mystery and I think we're all capable more than we know. So okay soapbox sermon over and I don't have another answer to your question people. I mean I it's my checklist, I told you what I do all day, peak performance is doing it today tomorrow, the next day, the next day, the next day, the next day for years like that's the equation, hard work works but smart, hard work works better. Thanks for educating us and further on the message of the performance. Stephen, appreciate your time. Really grateful for thanks guys by hanging out with you. Thanks you too. Thank you for listening to today's episode of sleep eat performed, repeat a story of high performance. This was brought to you by how a whole person well being company founded and run from Dublin Ireland find out more at Howrah life dot com spelt H A U. O. Or a life dot com. Please rate review and share the podcast.

Some people want it to happen. Some wish it would happen. Others make it happen the goat Michael Jordan's Yeah.

#142 Steven Kotler - 10x National Bestselling Author, Executive Director at the Flow Research Collective, and Leading Expert in Peak-Performance
#142 Steven Kotler - 10x National Bestselling Author, Executive Director at the Flow Research Collective, and Leading Expert in Peak-Performance
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