How to Shatter Limitations and Achieve Your Dreams with Steven Kotler
Steven Kotler, Chase Jarvis
How to Shatter Limitations and Achieve Your Dreams with Steven Kotler
Steven Kotler, Chase Jarvis
1. How to Shatter Limitations and Achieve Your Dreams with Steven Kotler
How to Shatter Limitations and Achieve Your Dreams with Steven Kotler
Mhm. Yeah. Oh we love you. Hello Internet and welcome to the chaser of his live show here on Creative Live brings me great pleasure to welcome you to our conversation today. And speaking of, before we get into that conversation, just a little bit of housekeeping, I want to welcome you to wherever you're viewing or from wherever you're doing this to Creative Live, where the world's largest and best place to learn from creators, entrepreneurs and thought leaders. And today we're sitting down with one of those folks if you want to ask questions, this is a live recording. So whatever platform you're on, whether you're watching it on facebook or uh instagram live Youtube live, you can type in questions and your friend here, Chase the moderator. I get to see those questions and will do my best to aggregate all of the info from all over the internet and ask a few pointed questions of our guests that you may have. So please share and participate in the conversation. The place where I get the q...
uestions first is at creativelive dot com slash T. V. So that is a great place to watch it. If at some point you want to hop off the platform you're at and go there I get those questions first and can elevate them to our guest and uh speaking of guests uh he's one of the world's leading experts on peak performance. I have the good pleasure of calling steven Kotler. My friend. Not only is he one of the leading experts on peak performance, but he's also an author and award winning journalist and the founder, executive director of the Flow Research Collective Group that I have been in contact with and have great reverence for for the past several years. He's written 12 books yours truly having just done a couple. I know the Pain and Stephen is an incredible writer. 12 books including national bestsellers. The Future is faster than you think. Rise a superman stealing fire abundance bold. And his new book is part of what we're gonna talk about today, The Art of Impossible. He's been nominated for a couple of pulitzers. He's translated into 40 languages. I've read his work all over wired Forbes, journal time uh, and it brings us great pleasure to have him on the show today. So please wherever you're on the internet, give me a warm raise the roof, tap the desktop, the keys and shout out from wherever you are on the internet. And the comments as we welcome. My dear friend steven, Kotler to the stage steven. What's up man? Nice to have you back on the show chase. It's great to be with you. How are you? Legend. Congratulations on uh, your public, this is huge man. This is huge. Congrats on the book and I'm uh overjoyed to read your new work and happy to have you on the show. It's good to be with you. It's good to see you. It's been a couple of years. I would like to get it on the hill sooner rather than later. You remember that you used to ride those things that went downhill. I know it's a long time ago and the beverages faint, but it's true. Well you were just calling out my surf ranch hat. So, uh, maybe one of these days will be able to get you out to serve french. Yes please. Uh, tag uh, so mean dagger. Well, again, we've got folks coming in from all over the world. We've got London in the house Romania just showed up. S porto California. Uh, so many folks Canada Alberta. We've got uh, northern Ireland. That's cool. What? I know what time it is. Their south America. I need more specify Argentina. Okay. Um, so to say we have a global audience would be um an understatement, but one of the reasons that they're here is because we want to know how to be the best versions of ourselves, and if I know anything about you and your work, which I feel like I know a lot that has been this book is the culmination of decades worth of research and time spent. And so I want you to start out with what's the premise of this latest pile of research and the thesis that the impossible is now possible. Okay, I don't know where to start. Um he pauses. The the at the heart of the art impossible is a number of simple ideas. When we say peak human performance, we mean nothing more, I guess, less than getting our biology to work for us rather than against us. And it turns out that biology is it's a limited tool set. It's a bunch of stuff, there's going on a bunch of different things, we have to train and learn how to do and whatever, But it's the same for everybody because it was created by evolution. It's it's foundational. And um, the tools for peak performance are hardwired into all of us. So there's these assumptions that peak performance is something that is reserved for elite athletes are geniuses or whatever. And it turns out now it's just we all share the same biology. If you can use, learn to make, use your biology to get to work for you in a certain sequence is certain order. The way it was designed by evolution to work, you end up going farther faster with a lot less fuss. In other words, we're all biologically designed to go big, that's what the system is built for. And we Neurosciences finally advanced to the point that we're like, oh wow, here's the blueprint, here's the formula. And this is relatively recent, write a bunch of people have been looking at large portions of the formula. It's great books on unfocused or on flow or on gratitude or on motivation, on all the pieces. But what we now have learned over the past few years, they all fit together in a very particular way and we get the system working the way it was designed to work. You get to go big, simple version. Yeah, no, but that is the thesis I think is so important because again, there are people tuning in from all of the world and I don't know anyone who walks around thinking that I don't want to be the best version of myself. And so if we can abstract one level from that and say, okay, let's assume that everyone wants to be the best versions of themselves, then we have to find a way to get away from just like productivity hacks, or just motivation, or any of those five sort of elements that you that you talked about, these key intrinsic drivers, which is a key piece of the book. You can see on my little uh dog ears there, and it seems like, again, if you go back at this abstracted level that everybody wants to be their best, what is ambiguous is the how and my understanding is, you know, that this is what you've Yeah, let me let me let me well, let's talk through the sort of I started studying those moments in time when the impossible came possible, Right? I started doing this in action, adventure sports, which is how you and I have a connection. But I did this in business, in technology, in science and whatever and that's what you would call capital. I impossible. Right, Doing that, which has never been done. And so the book is lessons learned for people who've accomplished capitalized possible. It's meant to be used by anybody interested in what I call lower case I impossible or small, I impossible, lower case I impossible. All those things that you think are impossible for you, right? This is stuff that, you know, I wish I could do it, but I'm not I'm not built that way kind of thing. Um when I was growing up in Cleveland, Ohio want to be a writer. You know, I was a blue color steel mill town in the 19 seventies. I didn't know any writers, I didn't know how you became really. There was no internet, there were no books on this stuff. It was no clear path between. I was when I was desperate to go and statistically lousy odds of success, right? That is a small island posse. So is rising out of trauma, getting paid for what you love being a successful creative of any kind, being a successful entrepreneur, getting uh, becoming world class at anything you do etcetera. Um, those are small iron possibles. And it turns out because it's just your biology and it's just getting a biology work for you rather than against you all you need to go after capital impossible turns out it's the same for small iron possible. But hold on one second, if what, you're actually just, you're like dude, small iron possible. Okay, we can get there, but I am just trying to freakin survive monday. Like I need to be more productive next monday. Well guess what? The biology is the same because it's the only tool kit you've got. So whatever level you want to play at, if your premise is correct that everybody listed as wants to be better than they are then this is the tool kit and what as you pointed out what's breakthrough, it's super exciting is that Neurobiology over the past 5 to 10 years and said we've we've seen not only have we see all the parts were starting to see how the parts work together and that seems to be the one of the bigger deals here. This is this your statement there absolutely 100 parallels the thesis behind this platform behind creativelive behind my work and we're using uh I use the word creativity like the foundation. If you want to create the life life, life doesn't happen, life is created were dealt a set of cards and we have to create the best outcome with the set of cards that we have. And that takes work and effort and understanding and insight and trial and error. And to me this is this is why I've always loved your work. It's because it's the perfect, it's the perfect parallel and also and required to achieve the thing that I'm talking about and have been in this community of creators, entrepreneurs and small businesses that are watching today is that this is the how to control your biology to allow you to do the work that you need to do to create the thing. And so let's start at the start you said you you're you've you're starting to understand not just the biochemistry because we've already understood what sort of uh what role dopamine say plays in the equation. But for those who are new to your work may be new to this. Uh as a concept, talk to us about the ingredients. And then let's shift into talking about how these things work together, which is the essence of your book. And again, we're live today. So if you're just now joining us, welcome, I'm chase uh Founder Ceo of Creative live here with my dear friend Stephen collar. Um the I would say the foremost leader in the psychology, the neurochemistry and the the ability to put these lego bricks together for the peak performance that we know you're a possible you are uh capable of doing in his new book, The Art of Impossible. So go back to my question there, steven, take it away. So when you say peak performance, when we say, hey, there's a limited set of cognitive tools, right? Were mostly focusing on cognitive performance. There's stuff stuff in the book that focuses on physiology like you want to perform at your best, you gotta sleep 78 hours a night and you know what? I like that kind of stuff really basic. But you know, and you know, I break down the reasons why, but whatever, these are mostly chiyo tools and the way I like to explain it is. So I'm going to use words like motivation and learning and a couple other things. But you should understand that when I say motivation for example, this is a catch all term. When psychologists say motivation, they mean extrinsic motivation, things we want in the real world. Money, sex, fame, intrinsic motivation, things like passion purpose, autonomy, mastery goals and grit. So their motivation is a placeholder for a set of skills. So when you talk about peak performance, the conversation has to start with motivations where the conversation starts, because it's the energy that gets you into the game right learning. And I by learning, I mean, a whole subset of skills that would fall under that heading is what keeps you there creativity. As you just so eloquently pointed out if your specific going after a high hard, quasi impossible goals, it's how you steer and then flow, which is the optimal state of consciousness that we're all hardwired to produce, um is how you turbo boost everything kind of beyond all reasonable expectations. That's the full suite and flow gets into the game. Or excuse me, motivation gets into the game, Learning keeps you in the game, creativity allows you to steer flow as you peruse the whole thing. Um that's everything we're talking about. And when you talk about an order, it's we evolved in a certain way, in a certain environment. So these skills came online and were linked together biologically in certain ways. This is not saying that like, if you're great at motive, you know, if you great learning skills and don't have motivation, you can't be a people, people do this in their own way in every other direction. It's just that if you do it the way the system was designed to work, it just works more efficiently with a lot less mess, like any system, right? You can use a vacuum cleaner as a hammer. Absolutely. But it's not going to be good for the vacuum cleaner, right? And there's a more efficient way to pound in a nail. Um, you can use the system and get successful results, you know, not using it, not the way it's designed to use, but if you use it correctly, just going to work better better. It's just going to work better. Okay, I want to be better. I want my stuff to work better. Let's take it from 30,000 ft to the person right now who is sitting in that same steel town you were and has a desire to, as you said, maybe not when the NBA dunk contest Or not hurt themselves out of a hot air balloon, that's 35 miles above the surface of the Earth, but wants to get their business off the ground, wants to transition out of a life that they're currently living to something new. What's square one? It's a great question and it's what the science shows is fortunately or unfortunately it starts outside ourselves. It starts in the extrinsic world, we need enough money to pay our bills with a little left over for discretionary income. And the reason is this, if you don't know where's my rent coming from? Where's my food coming from? How do I take care of my needs? My family's needs? If you're up against that stuff, your sister is producing so much anxiety and anxiety blocks performance so significantly What the research consistently shows is solve that problem first, solve that problem first. Make like whatever it is solving away. So basic needs are met. And it's really interesting. Daniel Kahneman did this original research, right? And the split for single families, is it $75,000 a year. So like years ago, he found that like a Husband who had a wife and a child was making $75,000 a year, that was enough to pay all the bills, cover expenses and have a little left over is discretionary, that this starts to work. So what's the example for an individual? I ever really got their threshold and depends on where you live and what you're doing, etc. So we're not going to go there. But it starts with the extrinsic once and once that box is checked and remember this is a pay your bills a little left over for discretionary. I am not saying you have to get rich to start. I'm saying like literally, like if you can get a little above minimum wage, you're probably you're probably ok to get going on this stuff, then you got to turn to an ex intrinsic motivators, right? What the research shows is certainly we don't stop wanting money, sex and fame right after we get, you know, just basic income, but from a performance perspective, money, sex, fame or not. The motivators you want to reach for that, then you want to reach for intrinsic motivators. And what the research shows is that big? There are five, there five that are the big. There are tons more. Right? We could spend the next four hours listing all the that motivates us, but there are five big ones. On an internal level. Curiosity is the most basic foundational human motivator, and we'll talk about what that even means in a second. But curiosity is designed biologically to be built into passion. When we say passion, what do we really mean? We mean the intersection of multiple curiosities plus dope means you get from little winds playing at that intersection of those multiple curiosities. That's how you build passion. Once you have passion, the system wants you to have purpose, right? It wants you to align that passion or cause greater than yourself. Basically, the idea is at the level of passion your biology says, oh you're passionate, you're getting enough resources for yourself. Now is the time to get more resources for your tribe, your species, your family, people outside yourself. Thus the motivator gets linked to purpose once you have purpose, what is the system? Want autonomy, the freedom to pursue your purpose and once you have that freedom, the system demands mastery, which are the skills to pursue that purpose. Well, this is not to say that you can't start working on mastery before you cultivate curiosity, passionate, you know what I mean? But if you do it in this order, you get the best results because this is how the system was evolved to sort of work. And um by the way, for anybody listening, how do you do all everything I just said, Yeah, you can go to the armed boss when you should go to the island possible. But if you go to www passion recipe dot com, there is a we took basically the first three chapters of the book turning into an interactive work because so many people are like I want passion, how do I get passion? I want purpose. How do I get purpose? Well here there's a biological formula. We built an interactive worksheets, give you a tutorial, it's yours free. Crazy. Say that you are again and we'll have our crew put it in the comments. Passion recipe dot com www passion recipe dot com. Um so uh that's just how to do it. So we don't have to linger too long, but let's just for a second backup because there's so much like you know this as well as I do this, I'm sure you see this a lot passionate purpose. These terms get mystified in today's world and from a performance standpoint, there's nothing really mystical going on. Why does passion matter? We pay more attention to those things we believe in. It happens automatically. Think about the your last romantic partner when you were falling in love, how you couldn't stop thinking about them or looking at them, Did you expend a lot of energy to do that or did it just happen naturally without you having to do any work? That's why passion matters purpose actually gets more of our attention and we actually get more feel good, reward chemistry from it. Same thing with autonomy. Same thing with mastery. This stuff feels really, really good when it happens and because it feels really, really good, were much more motivated and we get focused for free. That's the big, that's all we're talking about here. There's nothing super mystical going on. I'm not saying that purpose isn't good for the world, There's an altruistic or possibly even a spiritual quality to purpose. But I'm saying from a performance perspective, it's entirely selfish, it means more reward neurochemistry for you. So you feel better and more focus for free. So you do less work focus for free. When I surveyed the landscape of my past and the landscape of people who are in this community, I feel like there's that is a huge disconnect for um for most people, you look at someone like, oh my gosh, how did this person do it? Where did the motivation come from? Where did they got knocked down so many times? And I find that my My job when my boss is mean to me or when I miss a deadline or whatever, I feel like I'm back to Square zero and I think that really does get at the court just sharing that you are l that you did the passion recipe because they're those people have tapped into something different and there are so many people, I think they're going from 0 to 1 is so hard because we're not in a culture that sets up to rewarded for that exploration and that, that curiosity and this is why the other the other thing chases this. I mean the passive recipe for every should be warned a couple things, two things one, you have an idea in your head, I would guess most of us do of what passion looks like in the real world. Like if I say, Chase, give me an example of athletic passion, you're going to give me Lebron James windmilling in for a dunk in the finals and that is passion. You are totally right. But that is late stage passion. That is passion. That has been developed over decades and decades and decades of passion on the front end doesn't look and more importantly, doesn't feel like that. So if you go in expecting to feel like you think Lebron feels going in for a windmill, dunk your your mistake, it doesn't feel that way and b you're going to constantly let down. Like you were talking about your community being frustrated going 0 to 1, A lot of people have problems going 0 to 1, not because they're doing anything wrong, you're actually cultivating curiosity and you're going through. The other thing is that it takes a while, like and it should take a while. You don't want to be two years into your passion to discover, Oh shit, it was only a phase, you know, turns out I don't actually want to spend the next five years in Egypt on a dig in the desert in this man, because I don't want to be an archaeologist, I was wrong, right? Like you don't want to do that, it's super demotivated, like it fucks you up later on. Part of my language going forward, you really don't want to do it, you want to get it right the first time. So it's a slow on boarding process that could take a few months because you have to learn how to grow passion, girl curiosity and a passion. So it starts to feel like you want it to feel. Um And the second thing that you pointed out and I want to mention this most on Bears have Erdogan is a problem um because they don't know what they're passionate about, they can't get there. And then there's a second problem that comes in right after that, right? You have the intrinsic motivators that gets set up, Then there's three tiers of goal setting that we tend to need. And then by the way, the system will start producing more flow, which is a good thing because then you have to start training grit, because grit is exactly the thing you need once Pat, like passion Purpose, people think it's a panic. This is the other piece of people reason people get delayed and Logan is, or 0-1 into why I'm bringing it up here. They think just because you're a passion or purpose, it's easier, it doesn't feel bad. None of those things are true. In fact, I will tell you that every p performer you'll ever meet will tell you the experience that we're going to come a point when your passion, your purpose becomes your prison, and that is the worst spot to be in. And it's just everybody goes through it. It's gonna happen, right? You can't do this work without finding yourself in a prison of your own devising at some point and you think not having passion is a problem. Wait till you're in a prison built by your passion, right? Do you have it? Yeah. Be careful what you wish for people? Um, but uh, you know, uh, it's just, there are lots of complications along the way. But the system is designed to handle it, which is the good news. We're all built the Hamlet, but it's not going to feel great all every time. Even with passion and purpose. This intersection of passion and purpose, I think is obviously, you know, that's key to, uh, you talked about curiosity and autonomy and things that are greater than you. But there's as soon as we realize we've got something, right? Let's just say you've experimented and you don't have to have everything. It doesn't, you know, your life person purpose does not come to you in an email with the subject line that says life's purpose. So this is a very active and cheese. That was my experience. I mean, I didn't know. And then somebody sent me an email. That's not everybody's experience. Uh no, it's true. It's like it doesn't come in an email or someone doesn't show up the door and hit and you an envelope. So there's this process of discovery and part of discovery as you talked about as curiosity, this intertwining thing. And this idea that you have to know the entire staircase before you begin is another place where people absolutely struggle. This is about skill acquisition. It's about tapping something that is interesting to you. And if you follow it and it leads to a dead end. Great. The chances are though, that dead end, you don't have to backtrack very far to find the next leg, the next trail. If you if you've gone off trail and that is to me what brings in a key piece of this book, which is the learning. Like once you tap into a thing, then you are in this world of my light bulb went on when I realized that when I'm curious about photography for example, and I had uh whatever 15 plus years of learning experience in a, in a box on a hill, going to school, getting tested and doing all the things we do in school. And then as soon as I tapped into photography, this idea of learning how to completely different view, I had a complete different view on it was like, no, I had to learn to see if this was a thing and if I did this thing that bring me joy, how did I feel inside? And so learning shifted from a thing that other people were making me do to jump through some hoops for them to a thing that could potentially unlock. And I say potentially because we may hit some dead ends, but you have to engage your active faculties towards skill acquisition. No, I'm laughing because I remember I had been writing every day since I was like, I don't know young and but I got to college and I remember somebody was like, are you going to major in creative writing? And I was like, wait a minute, this is something I have to go learn. Like I haven't, I've been like learning all like what? Like it was because I couldn't, I didn't equate what I was doing which was learning the craft of writing with actual learning until somebody pointed out that hey, there are classes for this. And I was like, holy crap, That's what I've been doing this whole time. Oh, okay. You call that learning cool. Because I thought learning is what you did in school. It felt really different. Absolutely true. And say, uh, my story is similar. I was doing that going, I'm going to go to medical school because that was something that was revered in our culture. And then part way through I was just reading all these novels and you know, philosophy and getting so inspired and in touch with the things that were going on in my heart. And then someone said like, well yeah, are you getting a photographer a philosophy degree? And I was like, they have degrees in this stuff. You mean I can read the statement I'm reading, literally. It was like, I can, I'm reading. And so there's this world over here that is just like I am bulldozing a, you know, a field that goes on forever. And I look up and I'm seems like I'm further back than when I started, and then there's this other path where I can do the things that I want, and when you think about learning the things necessary to be great, and you can apply yourself into the direction, why would you ever plow someone else's field to invoke a funny euphemism there? But when you can just go to your universe, study creative writing, the thing that you're doing anyway, and get better at it when you've got all this intrinsic, you know? See earlier points motivation. So let's let's land this and which is one of the key cornerstones in your book around learning. Give us some advice on learning. Okay, don't okay, I'm gonna talk about two things. The first is uh this is we spend a bunch of time on it in the book. But I say that, you know, there are preconditions, if you look at peak performance, you look at how they approach learning a bunch of skills there. What are the skills that get you into the game? What do we know? We know you sort of you got to have a growth mindset and an internal locus of control. That means you feel like you're in control of your life because if you don't, you literally the brain can't learn. So one you've got to start there, that's just obvious. Next step. You need. What I call the term I use is truth filters, which is how do you assess what you're learning quickly? Is it real? Is it not you right? You want to learn from the best materials you want to? And if you're learning anything difficult, right? Skill acquisition is one thing, right? Because you can see, oh, he plays the guitar. It sounds like the guitar. That's real. But if it's knowledge acquisition and your especially you're playing at the cutting edge of something, how do you know what's real and what's not? Because there's a lot of both and what, where the gray area is? There's opportunity, there's exploration, there's a lot of stuff there. But you need to know two filters. I learned how to, you know, do reporters do it a specific way? You know, if you can get five outside. So my expenses five outside sources to validate the fact. You can trust the fact. Scientific method is another way of doing this. Elon musk has been advocating for first principle thinking doesn't matter make up your own. Doesn't matter. The point is you got to know how do I quickly evaluate information for its quality? That's one thing when you think about learning, there's a process and there's some meta skills, this being one of them associated with it. And then the thing I really want to talk about is in the book, I break down what I call the five not so easy steps for learning anything. The only thing I want to point out is because it ties in so much with what you said about intrinsic motivation. The five First step one is basically what I call the five books is stupid and it's it's a way to kind of get yourself familiar enough with the subject that you can start asking smart people experts in the subject good questions about it. Because if you're gonna go to all the trouble of getting in the room with an expert in the thing you want to learn, you don't want to ask him anything. You can look up, you're wasting their time, They know it and they're going to give you less time first of all. And you know it you could you could have got it elsewhere, right? You want to get to the point that you can actually leverage expertise. How do you do it? This process for reading? The thing that I want to point out here is when people try to learn and read, they make a very bad mistake they learned in school that you have to learn in a specific certain way and that is effective if you're taking tests, but you're trying to learn for yourself, you literally want to follow your curiosity through a subject. Why? Because every time you feel curiosity, every time your brain goes, wow, that's weird. Take a note, right, That's the stuff to remember. That's the stuff you really want to focus on. Because when you're curious, the brain is a neuro biological reaction that literally primes it for learning. So you are, when you're curious, that's your brain way of saying, I am now prime for learning, I'm going to make it really frickin easy for you. And all you gotta do is take a note about this thing that just write your question or blah, blah, blah. You want to follow your curiosity through subjects. There's a couple other things that are worth paying attention to. What I tell people is you follow your if you look at your brain two things to no one is that your brain loves narrative. So pay attention to the history of a subject. Because if you can sort of put start putting a timeline together right? Oh this happened first. This happened second, this happened third and remember whatever subject you want to learn. However fancy it is, it's just avoid your curiosity. Some dude had a question, some dude answer that question. It led to another question. It led to another question and so forth. That's all your learning. But we like questions, people answered it, it's a narrative. It happened in an order. And since the brain we have narrative storytelling machines for brains, brain loves cause and effect. Once know what happened first, what did it lead to? So I can write that's what brains do all the time. Um and which is why we love narrative, why we love story all that stuff to put a little bit of attention to the history of the subject because it gives you, it gives your brain this mattress, it's like you get a christmas tree, all the facts you're going to learn of the ornaments. But if you give your brain the basic christmas tree, it's going to do what it does naturally, which is put things in order and turn them into a story um without you having to do the work, you just have to pay a little bit of tension there. The next thing you want to pay attention to is and I was the vocabulary of the subject and I would say if you encounter a word while trying to learn something that you don't recognize, ignore it, if it shows up five times in one thing, look it up and every time you see it from that point on say the definitional out loud until you're locked in. And the reason you want to pay attention to the terminology jargon and terminology is annoying. It's pretentious. It's all those things. It's difficult. But when you learn after you've learned a budget subject is that oftentimes most of the subject is contained within the terminology. The terminology are like homo sapiens. You could just say humans, but homo sapiens gives you the genus, this species and if you translate it wise, ape the idea that we thought we were smarter than other hominids with mother. That's true, right? Like you get a whole bunch of Packed into one term. It means a lot of stuff. A lot of subjects are hidden inside the terminology. So pay attention to the terminology. Pay attention to history a little bit, really. Pay attention to what I call the emotional wows. The point that your brain goes, whoa! What the hell is this? And it starts automatically doing those connections. Oh, what about this? What about this? What about this? That's what you take notes on. That's what you pay attention to. You. Follow your emotional, wow moments through subjects and learning becomes, as you said, delightful and doesn't feel like learning this, I need to be clear to everyone who's watching and listening right now, What you're hearing, steven talk about is what I believe is the potentially the most misunderstood understood thing in our culture, from getting people from where they are right now to where they want to be. And it is following your curiosity, because let's extract this for a second and say when you when you want to be your best and what stevens saying here, and I agree with is that you right now today, who you are can be world class at something if you find the thing that actually makes your heart sing, because you it's like a tractor beam, it starts pulling you rather than you pushing all of the rocks up hills with you. And the thing that Stephen is talking about in, in finding a way to, to explore your curiosity. You're using, reading the same thing. Could be true for Youtube videos. It can be true for attending conferences. It can be true for so many things, but if you're, if something like gives you a buzz and you are, you can latch onto that information and pull from one thread swing from one vine to the other. Like this is the key to becoming world class. And I would argue to unlocking the potential that exists in you right now Today, the potential now maybe, you know, you're not going to if you maybe you're not going to play in the NBA or maybe you're not going to Discover the the right set of fuel to propel the rocket to the outer limits of the solar system. But there are other things that you are in love with in here somewhere that you have aptitude for, that. If you decide to pull on those strings, you will be so much further along than the things that you're doing right now and learning, learning how to do that essentially. Just following a curiosity and trusting. If you jump from one page of a book to a video, to all these other different aspects that you're actually that's doing it right, and no one is saying that out there in the world, so pay and I wanna, I wanna, I wanna talk about the thing that you just said also because it's really worth drilling into one extra second, there's not a lot of people say it out loud. Um what we're not saying is you don't genetics are the childhood experience, like if you're 54 you're probably not gonna play in the NBA, you could be Mugsy bows, you could be Mugsy boats that like there are random outliers, right? Um, and I don't want to do any of these dream of trying, but what both of us are absolute agreement on is everybody is great at something. The way I, the way I always put it is I have been around the world, I met so many people as ridiculous as a journalist is and everything else I've never met or very rarely meet dumb people. I don't do it. What I have discovered is if you can figure out what language somebody speaks and what they're passionate about everybody's smart about something. So you figure out what that is and you try to learn from them about that thing, that's what I did as a journalist, that's sort of what I've done is everything. But like, you know, I spent my career finding excellence in peculiar corners and that's what it always looks like. There's something else I want to say this isn't really an art impossible, but in talking about it a lot, um it's come up a lot is very closely related to what you're saying because I think there's a mistaken conception out there in popular culture about going after your dreams are all this stuff, which is a lot of people are now, I'm hearing a lot like, oh, I'm really broken, I've got trauma, I've got this and that I can't, I gotta fix me before I can start going after my dreams. I hear that a lot and I want to point out that every single successful person I've ever met in the world is running from something just as fast as they're running towards something. And the process of like running away from whatever they want, You need both motivations to get where you're going. So if you're starting for broken, that's a good thing. Not a bad thing. Like that's where it always starts. That's the only place it can start. So don't say, you know what I'm hoping we're doing, we're doing anything here is we're removing your excuses for going after what you want is hopefully what we're doing. It's true. But there's also like this idea of how I'm just tracing uh, my experience is talking to hundreds of people on this show, the hundreds of, well, it's top creators and entrepreneurs who like yourself have classes on creative live. This is an absolutely common thing that continues to be buried in our culture, not because it's a mystery or because people don't, don't talk about it because it's just not that sexy. Like how you swing from one vine to the next in your, in your laughing. I have to interrupt you. I have to interrupt you because I I've said this is all over the place at this point. I keep saying so the biggest problem with all the work I do is nothing I do if you applied in your life and then talk about it a bar on friday night is going to get you laid. It's not sexy. It's just, that's the one of the biggest problems everybody wants to the whiz bang or sexy or whatever and fine. But what works is really simple and foundational and psychological and physiological in really basic ways because we evolved an environment that was millions of years old, it was a very different environment was a lot simpler. I'm going to paint a little picture just to endorse your point here. I'm in the middle of learning something new and it's an exciting area of opportunity for creative live and and it gives me a lot of energy to think about it. And I'm just going to give you a picture of my sunday. So I sat at that coffee table back there and on the on the coffee table I had my laptop open. I had my phone going. I had two books on the table and two hardback books on the table and one on my kindle. And I literally was bouncing back and forth between all of these things when one would point to another, I would look it up, I would watch that video. That video would then point me to another author. I would go on my kindle, I would buy that book. I would open that book. I mean. And is this efficient? Is this is this a laser like focus? No, but that's actually not the objective. When you're trying to take an idea of a concept and figure out where do I focus my attention right now? I'm in like, what are the important things and where how can I corroborate five different points of view? How can I find what's important and what's not? How do I learn the vocabulary? And this is an area that's interesting to me and I just don't see like a recipe anywhere that says that that's how it happens. But if I know you and I go back and I look at like five different things that are in my ecosystem about how I've done anything or how the the people that teach on creative live have uncovered their stuff. That's how that is how and this is why this learning section. Again, if you're just joining us, we're with steven Kotler talking about the art of the impossible. How to find the thing that you're supposed to do and get world class at it, to do things that whether their capital I am possible, that the world cannot survive or they're small, I impossible and our small I impossible that you can do today with this one life. I want you to to take us from learning to creativity because that's the next important step in your book. So the transition is simple. All the learning in the world isn't gonna if you're going after impossible goals. By definition, there's no clear path between where you are and where you want to get to. So, learning may feed the engine and fill it, but you still are going to need creative problem solving creative decision making, creative execution innovation to go A to B. That's the next step, right? The impossible is always requires creativity. These high hard goals always require creativity um in your approach and I'm using creativity in the broadest sense of the term here. Um Yeah, and I mean, you know, we could stop and list all the like, you know, you want to make more money, you want to be happier, you want to be more like we could go on and on about why, but it's creative live. We all know that creativity is the secret sauce, but it has to come after learning. And what's cool about creativity is, as you know, we were not great at training creativity in the 20th century. We kind of sucked at traded creativity in the 20th century in the 21st century. Thanks to great advances in psychology, great advances in this kind of work you guys are doing, where you've got huge data sets of of creatives that nobody has access is nobody had access to that kind of stuff. Um and the neurobiology of creativity, we now know a hell of a lot more about about it. And you know, we have figured out how it's trainable, we understanding how it works in the brain and it's not being more creative is about, it's not as logical, as straightforward. Of course it's creativity. It's a little illogical and right like the way you go at it. But we now understand. Here's the neurobiology, here's how creativity works in the brain, here's how you state shift to be more creative. Here are the conditions that allow creativity to foster. And the other thing. And this is the thing that I love in my book. Um it's one of things I'm proudest of, even though it's only in there for a little bit, which is, there's a section on long haul creativity because, right, it's not just enough to stimulate creativity. More creativity for this or that project. We don't want to just be successful for a month or a year. We want to be successful and creative over the course of an entire career. So long haul creativity, creativity of an entire career is a very new subject to science. It hasn't been well studied, but the book contains some of the some of the earliest restriction. Similarly fun insights into how do you sustain creativity over time as well. This idea of a lifelong, again, it marries with, I think philosophically one of the reasons that you and I have had, you know, many multi our conversations, it is because it underscores the point that what we're developing is a habit. You know, it is, it is an orientation. It is a belief system, It is a process that, that you go through rather than some end state. It's not a product, creativity is not a product, it is a way of operating in the world. I think to use john Cleese's phrase. Um tell me why that was something you were most proud of when, when, you know what I liked about the long haul. First of all, the research was really fun, right? I got to talk to, you know, people like Sir ken Robinson and you know, lots of really just smart, our friend, a mutual friend, tim Ferriss and you know, lots of really smart people about, about sustaining creativity over time, um which I thought was really interesting and I um, what I, what I'm proud about it, or what I like about what I think is important about it is that, for example, many of the court, if you want to sustain creativity over a lifetime, as you know, your sooner or later going to have to figure out how to get paid for your creativity. And the business of creativity is literally counterproductive to what it takes to be more creative in the world. So, like, these things are literally at odds with one another and yet you creators have to find a way through which is the job of creative anyways, right? But it's tricky and counter intuitive and there's a lot of stuff in there, I'll give you a simple example. Um I don't know if this isn't are impossible or something that I teach and flow for writers, but it's relevant nonetheless. So, creative careers have stages, the first stage of a creative career is making a name for yourself, as yourself, that's what you do, and you get known for your ideas, your thing or whatever. And once you do that, for example, as a writer, I spent my twenties becoming steven Kotler right? Like I was a voice, I had a, you know, a blah blah, and but I got to my twenties, I got to my thirties and I had reached the level of, oh, now you get to write for the new york times, now you get to write for wired, Now you get to write for the top publications or you think they gave a about steven Kotler, why didn't care about Stephen collar? They want the best damn wired story, steven Kotler can, right? But their product is a wired story and my ego and my great style and everything that got me there, they could care less about. So, you get you need all this ego to get to the first stage of a creative career and the second stage of creative career, you have to be creative inside other people's boxes, often for 5 to 10 years before you get to burst forth as yourself again, Right? That's the apprenticeship portion of of it. And that means like that whole ego that you spent a decade developing, protecting nurturing, learning how to be ferocious with, you've got a fricking check at the door and park for a while and be somebody, you know, I always, the way I put it really, you know, grow harshly is with creative, your creative, you're always somebody's there's no way around it, because when you get to feel where you want to go and you know this as well as I do, you have an audience and if you think published, you know, everybody got brought you off with the band, Big wait till you have an audience and right there, very demand and nobody wants to talk about it. But like you're always working for somebody and which is difficult for creative because creativity, I don't want to work for everybody, anybody, I want to do my thing. And at every step there's, you know, they're in a I'm not saying you have to play the opposite, you have to do things in a certain way. You just have to know that this is how it works and this is what you're going to encounter along the way. So if you don't like it, cool, change it, do something different. But like this is what happens along the way, no matter who you are spoken. Well, mary lever drew Rihanna, uh Ed folks coming in again from all over the world, We've got Trinidad and house lots of other locations around the world and there's a a um a set of questions that are around the shift from learning to creating. And I want to take that on the concept of or in the context of your last point here. This is that, that you, you know, you're, there are a series of frameworks that you're going to go through on your way to um doing what some may believe is impossible and that you are on your life journey of demonstrating that not only is it not possible, Watch but watch me do it. You're gonna have to go through several phases and each of these, this idea of learning and then creating something like you had to learn to write in a way that would attract the attention of the new york Times. And then it was the writing that that the process of honing something a message so crisply that the new york times editor was like, yeah, this is good. And then you're then taking that skill that you learned in writing critically and thoughtfully, and And uh and then applying it to another area. So there's this this dance, I'm wondering if you can. Uh so there's yeah, there's a couple things worth poking out here, at least. Um one the brain at a very foundational level, does pattern recognition. That's what neurons do they link, like with? Like, this is a foundational component of the brain creativity, right? It is depending on what term you want to use. But in the brain it's or compensatory processes what happens when the brain takes a novel information and connects it to older ideas. The farther flung that older idea is from the novel information. The more and uses the connection, the more creative we tend to often say it is, but um your brain does this automatically. So you literally the thing that people are wanting, which is how do I go from when I'm learning to how do I turn it into something interesting in the world? How do I make it creative? That actually is automatic. You don't have to worry about that. In fact, one of the things I give you an interesting point here, I talk about this in the book. It's one of my tips on creativity is experts in particular, domains tend to over time as they become more and more expert tend to learn things that are closer and closer related. You study what you're studying, you're trying to learn, you study. And the problem is you need a little gap between what you're learning and you're older information to produce dopamine. The bigger the gap, the more reward chemical you get right. And you know, as a focusing chemical, a reward chemical but also enhances pattern recognition. So when we have don't mean in our system, but we find more links between things. So why creative ideas spiral by the way? Also because when you have an insight, it produces a little don't mean that leads, Oh, look, I noticed something else that leads to more dopamine and creative ideas spirals 11 leads to the next. Well that go back to my sunday. Like that's exactly what we're increasing, right? Exactly what we're increasing. Sorry, keep going. So the process is automatically what starts that stuff that happens automatically. But if you don't read far stuff that you're curious about, but far, like I work in photography, I'm really, really curious about, like auto mechanics in the 1920s. You don't have to care about how they're going to link together. Your brain does that automatically. You have to learn about cars in the 1920s and learn about photography and your brain will do the rest. Now, there are certain things. For example, we talk in the book, I talk about why being in a good mood is super important to creativity. From a neurobiological standpoint, there are conditions for creativity. You can create those conditions right for it. But the stuff that you're the bridge that people are trying to build between, how do I get from learning to creative decision problem something that's actually automatic and in a sense, get out of your own way and stop being scared that it's not going to happen because that fear is actually blocking the creativity to put this in a little more context because it'll make it'll help people more anxiety. You feel the more logical and linear your brain wants to be, this is obvious, right? When there's a big problem in the in front of you, your brain goes, oh crap, that's a big problem. Now, is not the time for all kinds of creative outside the box solutions. I want something tried true, that I know is going to work because my ass is on the line. You get the extreme example of fight or flight, right? Critical problem in front of you. You get two choices, you can flee, you can you can freeze or you can fight, right? Three choices. That's extreme version. But every little bit of anxiety produces something close so we can't you don't want anything anxiety, It's going to block the creativity. So if you're worried about how do I go from learning to creativity, how do I use this information? You're literally creating anxiety and it's going to block the very thing you're trying to get, you've got to sort of start to understand what your brain will do automatically and where you actually want to intervene. Does that make any sense? It makes perfect sense to me. And a couple of comments came in that I think are relevant. One from donald gazelle, I'm working in a B. S. Accounting to match work experience, but I want to work on building an app how to balance those two things. And then Redonda says, I call this going down a rabbit hole. I got to get caught up in the creativity and the learning. Now I want to I want to try and take what what Stephen is saying here, those two comments and saying Stephen is actually articulating that that is a good thing. That if you can afford to be anywhere besides fight or flight and when you have and you cultivate some luxury for yourself around the space because you're working at B. S. Accounting job That should provide financial security, eliminate anxiety and let you do and dream all of that be. And and Madonna going down a rabbit hole is a really important first step. This this this tension between uh between learning and creating and figuring out that you like photography and you like cars in the 1920s. You don't need to understand them right now. But this is the blueprint for how to get where you are, where you are right now, to where you want to go. This is the information that you're going to act on overtime. And steven just said, you don't actually have to do that work or worry about it. Just keep doing this process, say what you're gonna say sorry, but hijacked, you know, one thing I was you made two comments on two different people who commented one on the guy who's working on the, on the app. Um this is like, tim Farriss is we quote him in the book, right? Like you want when I was coming up as a writer for my first decade as a writer, I was a bartender, It was great. I had, you know, I was making tons of money at the bar and I could afford to sco down rabbit holes by the way, right? Like this. I took my first book took 11 years. I rewrote it from start four times in a row because it wasn't right. Those were a lot of rabbit holes. I went down, you know, along the way and bartending allowed me to do that. So even though the one thing may feel a little bit like a prison, it's a prison that liberates right? And um, and that's that's worth a damn. And as far as the rabbit hole, there's another side to her comment. I just want to make sure, uh, we're not ignoring this, which is sometimes people are, they have a creative project of focus. And along the way, the tangents get to delicious, right? This happens a lot in flow urine flow, you're writing your musician, whatever. And you know, there's a core thing you're doing and then there are all these delicious tangents all over the place. And some people can't resist the lure of the tangents when it takes them away from the grand, what I will say on that one is yes. Known issue over time. You will learn your tendencies and we learn to be able to manage your tangents. You will learn what is a fruitful tangent and what is a waste of your time. But there's no way to learn that without going down the rabbit holes a bunch because everybody is going to be different, right? I can't tell you this is what works for me and tangent. You know what I mean? Like there's a good dad. It is a bad tangent. But I will tell you you you'll figure it out over time. It won't become this. It starts out as it's an endless rabbit hole, endless time suck. And of course it is. But as your brain starts to accrue knowledge, right, expertise you the rabbit hole. You know what I mean? You start to be able to navigate. This is sort of what expertise is Donna just trying back and she said this is exactly what I need. I'm learning to trust the process 100 yeah, and we're gonna, you're gonna especially inflow if you're getting into flow in the beginning, this is one of the things known issue with the flow research collected. We train people to get into flow, we train them to use the flow states creatively, you're going to have a lot of you're gonna waste some time getting. There's no like known issue because of this dopamine. Because of this pattern recognition gets amplified in float gets amplified by creativity and we have swag at the flow research collected. This has never trust the dopamine. Um and what we mean by that is it feels because don't mean feels so good. Every idea feels like a great one and you're gonna write and you're going to march down those those rabbit holes on the back end of a flow state, There's a recovery phase by the way where there's no more feel good natural chemistry. And for creatives, this is a really good time. You don't want to do work in recovery because you want to recover. But it's really, I always read what I wrote the day be if I was in big flow, I'll read what I wrote in recovery and I'll just circle everything. I don't like I won't try to do the work because I'm too tired to do the work. I'll just circle what I don't like. And the reason is I've got no more feel good neurochemistry for a little bit of time. There's a refractory period where my body is building it up again. So if I like what I produced inflow when I'm not in flow, pretty good chance that it was good because I've got no more actual feel good drugs. So it's probably actually good and it's a user. I think, I think that's a useful thing. Whether or not we evolved in this way, we can still use it in this way. And I find that's useful. Hopefully that helps answer that question. Amazing. And we're getting a lot of folks in the comments saying thank you buying the book. Um, which reminds me again, we're with steven Kotler here for his, you guys go to amazon because go to amazon and buy as many goddamn copies as you possibly can because trying to publish a book in covid, like All the publishing is broken and they accidentally over printed like 40,000 copies. So I now have to sell it extra extra 40,000 copies. So help me out people by a lot. But this is, you know, this community shows up and it purchases books from authors that are filtered through this process and they know that shows is quality and we know this is, you know, I'm not the book, I'm joking, the book swept the best some of this. We had 10 best some of this last weekend, so I've never done that before. So people are showing up and you guys have always showed up for me, hey, and I think the where there's a comment here, uh, I wish I'd I wish I'd seen this five years ago. Um is is L. B. Um Donald says thanks. It was one of the questions, just buying it right now. Thank you. So again, we're going to show up for you steven and want to want to rap with one last concept. Again, this is, is imprinted deeply in the book, and so much of what we've talked about around understanding passion learning, connecting learning to creating. Um but specifically if there's this concept in the book about the habit of of your potential, like how do you get in the habit of living up to your potential? And and as a send off. So that were again hyper connected to the work that you've just done in your new new book, give us give us a something to pull on with respect to how to make this. This is it's possible to create this habit around living up to your potential. This is an idea that sold its William James original idea, the founder of Modern Psychology and he basically said most people have what he called the habit of inferior, they're not in the habit of living up to their full potential. So they're not used to living up to their full potential at a really simple level. Really basic the way I always like to explain this, as I always like to say that 35 years of studying the moments in time that impossible is possible has taught me a couple things. The first is that we are all capable of so much more than we know. That's what I've learned in 30 years. Is that human, human, human capability is enormous. The problem is year min capability. And potential is invisible to everyone to everyone. But especially to ourselves, our potential is invisible to our ourselves, our what we're capable of ourselves. And the reason is we can only capability is an emergent property. It emerges when we push in our skills, when we use our skills sort of the utmost again and again and again and again. Um that's sort of all that's required to put it in different terms. I, my best friend and I talk about this all the time, which is one of the dirty Secrets and performances. There's no secret, it is nothing fancier than showing up every day. Like as a writer, I am going to show up, I'm going to write 1000 words every day. I am not going to care how they feel about the words and I by the way, not even gonna judge the works. A victory for me is I wrote the words. Some days they're great. Some days they frickin suck. But if you write 1000 words a day, you end up writing about a book a year and you end up doing what you started this conversation with when you were like how the fuck did you write 12 book for 13? I think it's 13 by the way, I don't even know, I think it's 13, 12 that are out and I have 1/13 that's coming out in november, but it's already written so um but yeah, I mean like you literally, there's no secret secret and the one thing I always want to tell people because they don't get this and it's hard to wrap your head around if you survive being a teenager, you have probably felt the worst that life can produce for you. We know this because we have things called emotional set points that say, hey, by the time you're like 10 or 11, this is the worst you're going to feel on the planet, this is the best you're going to feel and your whole life is going to take place in between those are established, and if you're a teenager you have no emotional control and your hormones are raging, so you already got the worst of it now, you make it the worst of it every single like it may show up day after day after day after day that may be in your future, but you've already suffered through the thing that you're afraid of right, Like whatever it is that you're afraid of experiencing, you've already felt it, it's already happened emotionally in you. You're tough enough to do this is point a already. If you made it into adulthood, you're probably tough enough to do this already. You've already born the pain, you can do it. Like literally you've already done it, so stop freaking out about that one. And the second you know the second half about it, it really is like by the end of the art, Impossible. Yeah, there's a bunch of on boarding stuff, the passion recipe and those kinds of things, but it's about six things to do every day and seven things to do every week. I would guess of those six things if you're listening, you know, if you're involved with creative life, you're probably doing a bunch of them already, right? Because the biology is a limited sales said the point, the thing I'm trying to leave us all with is we don't know, we're capable of, we're capable of more than we know. We get there by pushing on our skills in a very specific way every day. But that's all you have to do. You just have to show up for yourself and do the work and not care about the outcome every day. Over and over and over and sooner or later, those impossible start falling down, just start knocking them down. And if you do it in the area you care about. That's what it's going to give you that energy. And the comments are going nuts. Uh, Skeeter is asking if the book is available on audio. Yes, you're Sarah. It says I'm raising teens now. Thank you so much. I'm going to use that eric is wait, let me tell, let me I got I want to talk about one thing is I love this with teenagers. So because everybody had this experience, people here like small I impossible that which we believe is impossible for us. And even that stuff seems really freaking intimidating to people. And I want to point out that chances are now there may be an exception here, but the first small I most of us go out and solve is weird like 10, 11, 12, 13 and we want that first boyfriend or girlfriend or first kiss or first relation, right? And it's an impossible right? You're 11, 12 years old. I would have given you my right arm for like telling me how to get a date with a girl. Like, I swear to God, you could have had years of my life in trade at that moment. For all, it is a small I impossible. And everybody here has already ticked that box already. So it's worth appreciating that we've done a lot of this stuff already. We don't tend to trust our history on this craziness, but we've got real history here where we're like, oh shit, you did that already. I just want to point that out. I'm sorry. It's a random tangent, but we've already experienced that and now we just have to put it on, on, on repeat and get make it actionable and repeatable. And that's what again, your book, The Art of the Impossible. Thank you so much steven for being on the show, raised the roof for steven in the comments. Thank you so much buddy and go get them. We're huge fans of yours here at Creative Live. You have an excellent class on creative, on a creative level flow. Um that's another good resource to check out. It is a great resource, good luck doing what you're doing. Keep it up again comments. That was incredible. Thank you. Been working on a huge projects, book ordered granddaughter that I just sent. I just had sent 20 books now. 20 bucks to. So that's a there we go. I'll be Donald. Okay, thank you so much for being on the show. But signing off for those of you out there in the world, make sure to pay attention to Stephen and his work. Dear friend, a friend of the family, friend of Creative lives. And I can't wait to see you again soon in person, my man. Hopefully in the not tune. That's God, it's been too long. It's been too long. Alright, signing off until next time. Thanks for hanging out. Did you? And you? Mhm. Mhm mm mm. Yeah. Mhm.
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