Steven Kotler is a New York Times bestselling author, an award-winning journalist and the cofounder/director of research for the Flow Genome Project.
He first appeared on this podcast in the episode, “Decoding The Science of Ultimate Human Performance“, in which he talked about his book “The Rise Of Superman – Decoding The Science of Ultimate Human Performance” and explained exactly how to biohack yourself into this state of flow, and how you can tap into this power to achieve amazing feats of physical and mental performance, even if you’re not a “super athlete”.
Then, in our second podcast, “Why The Future Of Health Is Better Than You Think“, we delved into Steven’s book “Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think” Steven presented the contrarian view that exponentially growing technologies and other powerful forces are conspiring to better the lives of billions on our planet, that the gap between the privileged few and hardscrabble majority is closing fast, and that this is drastically affecting human access to everything from water to food, energy, healthcare, education, and freedom.
In today’s episode, Steven is back to to present the fascinating topics in his new book “Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work“. Stealing Fire reveals the biggest revolution you’ve never heard of, and it’s hiding in plain sight. Over the past decade, Silicon Valley executives like Eric Schmidt and Elon Musk, Special Operators like the Navy SEALs and the Green Berets, and maverick scientists like Sasha Shulgin and Amy Cuddy have turned everything we thought we knew about high performance upside down. Instead of grit, better habits, or 10,000 hours, these trailblazers have found a surprising short cut. They’re harnessing rare and controversial states of consciousness to solve critical challenges and outperform the competition.
Steven Kotler, along with high performance expert Jamie Wheal (Executive Director of Flow Genome Project and a leading expert on the neuro-physiology of human performance), spent four years investigating the leading edges of this revolution: from the home of SEAL Team Six to the Googleplex, the Burning Man festival, Richard Branson’s Necker Island, Red Bull’s training center, Nike’s innovation team, and the United Nations’ Headquarters. And what they learned was stunning: In their own ways, with differing languages, techniques, and applications, every one of these groups has been quietly seeking the same thing: the boost in information and inspiration that altered states provide.
Today, this revolution is spreading to the mainstream, fueling a trillion dollar underground economy and forcing us to rethink how we can all lead richer, more productive, more satisfying lives. Driven by four accelerating forces – psychology, neurobiology, technology and pharmacology – we are gaining access to and insights about some of the most contested and misunderstood terrain in history. Stealing Fire is a provocative examination of what’s actually possible; a guidebook for anyone who wants to radically upgrade their life.
During the podcast discussion on this episode with Steven and Jamie, you’ll discover:
-What ecstasis is, and what does it have to do with the SEALs…[7:30]
-The ancient, psychedelic, little-known substance called kykeon, and what it has to do with group flow…[11:28]
-How the SEALs cut the time it takes to learn a foreign language form six months to six weeks…[18:20]
-How meditation practitioners achieve in months what used to take years…[19:05]
-Why it is important to be able to shut down your prefontal cortex…[24:30]
-The surprising host of actual, measurable chemicals associated with flow state…[27:40]
-Why Google is so interested in hiring people who attend Burning Man…[32:45]
-For people interested in going to Burning Man, why do you think they should go and what can they expect…[34:35]
-How LSD helps people to solve technology problems…[42:40]
-How taking mushrooms before church could make church or other religious experiences more meaningful…[47:15]
-What you need to know about “The God Helmet”…[50:45]
-The big, big problem with Botox…[57:20]
-The fascinating tale of how animals use psychedelics to enhance lateral thinking…[61:50]
-How entire groups of people in a single room can synchronize their heart rates and brain waves…[65:05]
-The shocking impact of music on brainwaves and neurochemicals…[67:50]
-A few very important rules to follow if you decide to use psychedelics…[71:25]
-And much more…
Resources from this episode:
Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Jamie, Steven or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!
Also published on Medium.