[Transcript] – Driven: Understanding and Harnessing the Genetic Gifts Shared by Entrepreneurs, Navy SEALs, Pro Athletes (& Maybe You).

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/lifestyle-podcasts/driven/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:01:27] Podcast Sponsors

[00:03:02] Guest Introduction

[00:06:33] How Doug Went from A Dual Ph.D. to Teaching Meditation While Shooting Rifles

[00:10:26] What it Means to Be “Driven”

[00:19:53] How to Determine If You're Genetically Predetermined to Be Driven

[00:23:46] A Polypeptide That Relates to Driven People

[00:28:36] Take a Pause

[00:30:53] Podcast Sponsors

[00:33:05] How the Brain of a Driven Person Is Used Differently Than That of Others

[00:39:47] Why There's “Never Enough” For Driven People

[00:44:51] Practical Solutions for Driven People to Function in Society

[00:49:02] The Only Thing That Will Truly Help a Driven Person

[00:56:44] The Type of Meditation Best-Suited for Driven People

[00:58:48] The Breathwork Doug Teaches to Driven People

[01:04:23] Plant Medicine Protocols That May Be Useful for Driven People

[01:08:56] How to Learn More About Doug's Work

[01:10:19] Final Comments

[01:11:56] End of Podcast

Ben:  On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Doug:  We're nuts. We're pathologized. We are made to feel like there's really something wrong with us. Let that go, and then immediately, feel the opportunity coming next. So, that self-fulfilling prophecy, keyword of that itself, is never-ending and it's completely unfillable. You can't believe you can hit it, and yet, if you just trust the process and be present, you can't miss.

Ben:  Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.

Hey, so this is super weird, kind of embarrassing. I recorded what I consider to be a podcast. I was very excited about it several months ago. I recorded it actually a couple of months ago, and then I lost it, and I'm overjoyed because I have recovered it, found it, and I'm going to release it to you. Probably one of the better books I've read in the past few months. I got the author on the show. If you are a hard-charging, high achiever, who has a hard time turning your brain off, this episode is for you. And if you're not one of those people, I don't know. Go listen to NPR's Planet Money, or Freakonomics, or something?

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Hey, folks. So, I first met today's podcast guest, Dr. Doug Brackmann, at a private conference that I attended. It was kind of a gathering of entrepreneurs. And he, along with one of his buddies who I think was a Navy SEAL, they were teaching long-range rifle shooting combined with meditation, which I thought was weird and simultaneously intriguing. I am kicking myself because I never got a chance to actually jump in and try that. I think I went like hot air ballooning or skydiving or something like that and skipped out on the long-range rifle shooting. And everybody who went to it came back and they had their minds blown and were like, “Dude, that was the most amazing form of meditation I've ever experienced.”

And I forgot about it for a while. And then, it turns out that Doug wrote a book. He wrote this book called “Driven.” And I got my hands on it and it was really good. I related to it big time. It's called “Driven: Understanding and Harnessing the Genetic Gifts Shared by Entrepreneurs, Navy SEALs, Pro Athletes, and Maybe You.” And this is what Doug does, like, he studies and works with entrepreneurs and pro-athletes, inventors, adventurers, Navy SEALs, and military personnel. And he's found that certain people are born with this inherent so-called drive, like deep in their DNA and their genes. We're going to talk about that, but then the book, he tells you, if you are one of these freaking driven people who just go, go, go, always has to be doing, doing, doing, always is looking for danger, always is just in this constant state of having the brain turned on, and always seeking new thrills, new adventures, never seeming to have the craving for all of that go away, man, this book is going to resonate with you.

Hopefully, our podcast does as well. So, Doug is a 20 plus year meditation practitioner. He's a constant student of science. Every time I talk to him, he's got some really interesting information. He's a functional MRI geek. He's a student of a variety of different spiritual practices and religions. Lives down near Nashville, Tennessee. And we're going to have fun on today's show. For the shownotes, by the way, for those of you listening in, if you want the book, if you want to learn more about Doug, if you want to tap into anything that we talk about during the show, go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/drivenbydoug. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/drivenbyD-O-U-G.

Doug, welcome to the show, man.

Doug:  Thank you, Ben. Quite the introduction.

Ben:  Yeah. A lot of practice. I practice in front of the mirror for hours this morning. So, one thing I wanted to ask you before we dive in, Doug, is what are you actually a doctor of? I don't actually know. I've always called you Dr. Doug, but I actually don't know what your doctor of.

Doug:  Here goes my self-disclosure of my own insecurities. So, I actually have two Ph.D.s.

Ben:  Oh, wow.

Doug:  Yeah. It says a lot more about having been insecure and believing that education will make me feel something that I'm not. But it's a Ph.D. in organizational psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

Ben:  Okay. So, where did you get those?

Doug:  So, it was a dual program in San Diego, UC, San Diego in a small private amazing college. And there was eight people in my class and it took me seven and a half years to do it, and I did them simultaneously. It was absolutely brutal.

Ben:  Okay. And I wanted to ask you this question towards the end of our show because I thought maybe it would give people a little bit more context, but I feel like asking it right now, and that is, how'd you go from the dual Ph.D. to teaching people how to meditate with a rifle in their hands?

Doug:  So, as you will discover, if you ever talk to a bunch of psychologists, we all get into psychology to figure out our own stuff. And we're all selfish narcissists at heart. So, I am driven and seeking constantly for something better, something more thrilling. And so, I was a high school dropout, lived in a car, blew my life up really early on. Thank goodness, thank God, literally. And just figured that if I was going to become something, education was my path. But behind the scenes of that, it's all about the effectiveness of actually personal change.

So, I've always been looking for tools that work. And I stumbled into it. I'm a long time competitive shooter, and shooting is something that requires you to be present and still. And the farther the bullet is, or the target is away from the gun, the more still you have to be. And so, I shot competitively at 600 yards and 1,000 yards, and at the same time was meditating. And so, they naturally go together. And we'll get into that later. The biology of it is incredible, and it [00:08:03] _____. So, I backed into it. And then, Randy Kelley and I, Navy SEAL, he was a sniper in Ramadi. I mean, he's the real deal. We just started messing with this six, seven years ago, and we stumbled in, we backed into something and said, “Holy smokes, this is something special.” And we were taking first time shooters, and women and they were outshooting Navy SEALs, 20-year veterans of Navy SEALs on their first day, making the Navy SEALs crazy. And Randy was saying like, “Whoa, we got something here that is really different.” But the psychology and the self-psychology behind it is what lit my candle rather than the actual performance of it. So, the insights are gained around it. They're just incredible, and it's disruptive. Most psychologists are not gun advocates, let's say it that way.

Ben:  It probably would've blown up in your face, like if you called this like Zen and the art of sniping, although that seems like it could have also been appropriate title for the book.

Doug:  Yeah. So, it's been a very, very, very productive journey for me because it's brought people into my life normally that would never talk to a psychologist. And so, it's giving me access to a teaching tool that opened my brand up a little bit and really let me help people that normally wouldn't be helped.

Ben:  Well, speaking, people who would normally never talk to a psychologist, and we've already thrown this term around a couple of times, so we might as well define it. And that's the title of the book, “Driven.” Who are the driven? What does it mean to be a driven person?

Doug:  We are different. And so, it goes back to this guy, Thom Hartmann. Thom Hartmann wrote a book in 1991 called “The Edison Gene.” And his kid had ADD, profound ADD and ADHD, and he was looking at–in 1991, I was just getting into my undergrad and this article came out in Time magazine that they discovered the alcoholism gene, and it was the dopamine receptor number 2, DRD2-A1 allele gene. And so, this is it. And this was back before they cracked the human genome and they really understood epigenetics where they believed genes were much more predictive of behavior than actually the environment and gene interaction.

Ben:  Right.

Doug:  But Hartmann said, and this gene, DRD2, is very correlated, highly correlated with ADD, ADHD, impulsivity, addiction, gambling addiction, eating disorders, along with alcoholism, and along with everything else. Hartmann came up with this very simple theory that it was a genetic adaptation for survival, and trying to de-pathologize his kid, saying, “ADD, oh my god, it's a disorder and there's something wrong with you. We got to med you.” He proposed that it was actually the hunters and farmers. And in the subsequent 30 years since he wrote the book, a lot of follow-up in my own research, 4,000 years ago, the agricultural revolution kicked in. And about 90% of the population, thereabouts, Daniel Amen is a little bit the brain researcher at Irvine, says it's actually about 4% of people, I generalize it to about 10, did not adapt to the agricultural revolution. We retained our original hunting genetics. And if you think about what a farmer can tolerate, when you think about what 90% of the population is really good at is sitting in a cubicle and basically doing assembly line work. They're very tolerant to boredom, they love to have very predictable routines, they're risk-averse. What worked last year is going to work this year. They're good at saving money. They're good at basically functioning in a world that's very, very safe.

Ben:  Everything that absolutely drives me nuts. And I've never in my life been able to hold down a nine to five job longer than–I think the longest I lasted was about six months, and that was my first job out of college as a hip and knee surgical salesman standing in surgical wards all day long, shining laser pointers at overpriced hip and knee implants.

Doug:  Exactly. And I am unemployable, too. I'm truly unemployable. And as long as I am being directed by someone else and told what to do, and I have no option for creativity, I will last 15 minutes. It drives me insane because I can think of a better, faster, stronger way to do something. And if you don't let me do it, I get frustrated and get pissed.

Ben:  So, we're talking about like people with addictive personalities such as you might find in Alcoholics Anonymous, or risk-takers, or perfectionists, or people who are constantly on a quest for something new, like a new job, or a new home, or a new spouse, or some new technique, or biohack, or workout, or diet, to improve our world somehow.

Doug:  Right. And following that initial study, coming out of basic alcoholism and addiction research, it led to this entire field of study around these genetics of chronic discontent. And they branded this as reward deficiency syndrome.

Ben:  Oh, wow.

Doug:  Yeah. No matter what we do, we never quite feel it was good enough. And if you think about a farmer, if they felt that, they would wander away from their crops, they would constantly be screwing with how they're growing crops and never come up with this set plan routine for survival.

Ben:  Right. So, you could have also called the book shitty farmer.

Doug:  Unfarmable. It is because we can't do that. But if you put a hunter in atmosphere where he is thriving, where we have to come up with creative things, we have to come up with new ways to survive because of this constantly adapting to a new environment, we thrive. But the byproduct of that, and I could have called the book the “shame-based personality type,” and I wouldn't have sold any of them, but it's really this underlying feeling what boredom is. And dopamine receptor 2 is boredom. Boredom is very simply just a central nervous system embodied feeling that there's something missing or wrong right now. And my work the last, since writing the book, really getting down to what is the most effective way to deal with us, is really looking at our identity. And you'd think about the farmers. They are designed to live in these massive collective societies where their job descriptions are very specific. They're butcher, baker, candlestick makers, and were hunters, on the other hand, the drivens, on the other hand, were Da Vincis.

Ben:  Right. And I think society needs like both people because my wife is not driven. You know this line in the book or this paragraph where you're talking about driven people, and you said, “You must be broken if you prefer to endure a root canal rather than sit for hours at a quiet dinner with the in-laws.” And you also said, “It can't be normal to be able to have the TV on and have your eyes on your iPhone while your wife is talking to you. But when she goes into a huff, you can recite word for word what she said.” And I wish that I could get my wife to read this book. I told her, “If you read this book, you would understand me so much more.” I haven't gotten her to do it yet just because she doesn't like to read books. I might be able to get her to listen to the audible version. But it's the same thing, like she'll invite me out on the porch to sip a glass of wine and stare off into the sunset, and it's pure torture for me, and I'm pretending to enjoy it. But the whole time, like, I want to go learn a new guitar song, or work on an article, or do anything but just sit there as every last little second of opportunity passes by.

Doug:  That is the–and I say it's a gift, but it really is. We are hunters in a farmer's world. The world is designed by them, created by them. And what's normal in their world is we're nuts, we're pathologized, we are made to feel like there's really something wrong with us. And it's the same thing in school. I'm a high school dropout because it was stupid. Like, why am I wasting my time learning a bunch of stuff that I'm never going to learn, never use in my life? Like, what is going on here? And I couldn't believe the rest of the class didn't get it.

Ben:  Yeah. Well, I got lucky in that. I was homeschooled, and so I bypass a lot of that because when I got bored with something, I just go outside and find something new to do. I don't know if my kids have that same driven personality based on that, for example, the Enneagram profiles they've done thus far. They have profiles almost identical to their mother, actually, very type B. We just want everybody to be happy and they're content doing just about anything. So, I don't know yet if they'll follow in my path from that genetic standpoint. But yeah, it's so crazy how in the society that we live in nowadays, we feel as though we are broken, although technically, from an evolutionary or an ancestral standpoint, we fit in to a certain lock in society. The key that is us fits into a certain lock, but it's one of those deals where–we don't live in a culture that seems to allow for the driven to do a whole lot, in my opinion, aside from being like a, whatever, a pro-athlete or a military personnel or something like that.

Doug:  Or an entrepreneur, or these kind of niches that we fall into. But we are marginalized and we are made to feel like we are broken and different, and the entire Western medicine model, if it doesn't fit into the box that's given a med or a pill, or something to make you fit in. Which more importantly, my doctoral dissertation, which really led to what I'm doing now, is self-sabotaging, self-fulfilling prophecy, and it is this inner world of the drivens that–it feels like there's something missing or wrong in my outer world, confirmed by the outer world, and then that gets folded into this weird, amorphous identity that drivens have. Then, we'll get into the brain structure of it, but we really do have a different brain structure.

Ben:  Yeah. I wanted to ask you about the brain structure, too, and also, this pancreatic polypeptide, the neuropeptide Y that we produce. But before I even do that, back to the genes, you talked about the DRD2-a1 allele gene. Obviously, I would imagine that a lot of people, just in the first little bit of this conversation we're having, are thinking, “Yeah, I'm driven.” But what if somebody thinks, “Well, I want a test. I want to get a genetic test that check.” Can you actually, using something like 23andMe results or something like that, identify the gene, identify the SNP that might predispose you to something like this?

Doug:  You can, and I've got tons of clients that have. And the problem with those genetic testing and epigenetics is that even if you do have the genes, doesn't mean it's going to be expressed in your normal behavior. So, it's kind of a neat “so what,” if I have them or don't have them. It's more important that you really do identify the behaviors of this impulsivity, and the deviant, or you describe it perfectly well. It's feeling when we relax, we feel guilty. When we relax, we are feeling like there's something better to do with my time. And that is the expression of that dopamine receptor saying, “Hey, feed me, feed me, feed me.”

Ben:  Right. It's like the bank accountant who probably has DRD2-A1 allele gene sitting at their job, and in the back of their head, it's like something playing out of a Disney cartoon as the princess is singing, “There must be something more to life.”

Doug:  Exactly.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. I get it.

Doug:  The other gene, that DRD, the dopamine receptor number 4 is the one that I relate to much more, and it is the FOMO gene, the fear of missing out gene.

Ben:  Yeah.

Doug:  National Geographic does a phenomenal expose, and they call it the wandering gene. It's actually a much older gene. It goes back about 50, 60,000 years, and it's the wandering gene. It is the feeling that hunters have that there's more woolly mammoths or more game over the next hill. It's a feeling like, this is okay, but over there is better. Shiny object syndrome. And farmers had that. They would be constantly looking for a better place to grow crops and they'd never settle down. If hunters didn't have that, we would kill everything in this valley and starve to death. And so, genetics kick in, and we wonder from the middle of Africa, 10,000 of us in the middle of Africa, and spread the globe. That gene expression in me creates so much difficulty in my life because I'm constantly looking for something better. And it's the greatest thing ever happened to me because I'm constantly looking for something better.

Ben:  Yeah. I know that–I think it was ABC News did a story on this because I found it while I was doing some research for this interview and they identify DRD2 or 4. I think that National Geographic called it, as you alluded to, the wandering gene, and also the restless gene. And then, this ABC article called the “thrill-seeking gene,” which is also responsible for alcohol and gambling addiction. And they also found that people who have this gene have a pretty extensive history of uncommitted sex, one-night stands, and acts of infidelity.

Doug:  There's always something better.

Ben:  Yeah.

Doug:  The key to all of this is these are all feelings. It never feels good enough. And it's good enough is not a feeling. Good enough is a statement based upon performance and outcomes. But me crossing the finish line of an Ironman, it's like, “Oh, man, that is amazing experience.” And then, you turn around and look over your shoulder at the time, and immediately, here comes the FOMO, and here comes the discontent about next time, how much better I'm going to be.

Ben:  Look, I've commented on that before. It's a great business model for Ironman because I experienced the same thing. Across the finish line, I think, no way. My tire was inflated to 10 less PSI than it should have been. So, I missed two minutes on the bike. I missed one aid station, and so my split on Mile 23 and 24 were way crappier than what I expected. I need to turn around right another $1,000 check to Ironman and sign up for the next race ASAP because this race totally did not satisfy me. And those would be thoughts going through my head, like the Ironman World Championship, sitting on the beach in Hawaii, dehydrated, back there behind the finish line. And I was already thinking, “Next year, I got to adjust this and this and this, and I'm not happy.”

Doug:  Right. And we miss and we're not happy is the key of that. And you miss this, you miss life. You're constantly chasing something in front of you. And all of my work in the last 20 years and working with guys like us, we can have both. I mean, we can have an amazingly content, incredible life in the present moment and not be satisfied one iota about how to make a better future.

Ben:  Alright, we're going to talk about that later on. But a few other questions about this driven brain. I mentioned a little while ago that polypeptide, neuropeptide Y, also known as NPY, you talk about that in the book. What is that exactly have to do with driven people?

Doug:  So, neuropeptide Y is not–we really don't know a whole lot about it. We know it's really cool and it is a neuropeptide particularly associated with risk-takers and inventors, and those kinds of things. But I'd make the parallel to hunters and it is higher in Navy SEALs. It's one of the best predictors of actually making it through buds is your pre, post–

Ben:  Really?

Doug:  Yeah.

Ben:  Seriously? They've actually studied that?

Doug:  Yeah. And how to hack it, and how to actually get more of it, and that's what I would do with all my pro-golfers, because what it is very simply, it is this ability to let go of immediate and past failures and move on to the next opportunity, almost immediately. So, we're chasing a rabbit, and the rabbit gets away, and it's like, “Damn. Oh, another rabbit.” And so, it's this immediate. It's just what you did at the Ironman. It's like rather than taking on, “Oh, man, I didn't break 10 hours, I didn't break 9 hours,” whatever it is, it's like, “Well, maybe next time, I can.” And so, you let go of the real dissatisfaction and you immediately focus on the next opportunity. Golfers are one of the best. I mean, I work with some of the top 10 golfers in the world. I mean, I've had the opportunity to work with these guys. Shank one into the freaking trees, man. And they can take a breath, and this is where I work with them, is really how to hack that neuropeptide Y and let that go, and then immediately, feel the opportunity coming next.

Ben:  So, neuropeptide Y would be–it'd almost be like a neurochemical associated with resilience, being able to experience a failure, bounce back, and apply yourself straight back into the next task without letting that failure derail you?

Doug:  Nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine ways to not make a light bulb. That is what we do. My wife thinks I'm nuts. “Why are you continuing its Einstein? Why are you continuing to do the same thing over and over and over and over again, hoping for a different result?” And so, “Well, I'm not doing it quite the same. I'm doing this is a little different. I'm doing this.” And we're doing these micro-adjustments constantly. It's a curse, and this is where the curse comes in, you mentioned infidelity, and the ability to compartmentalize and wipe away, “Well, I really,” to forget about past things that you've done very quickly. “Well, I cheated on my wife. Yeah, it's no big deal. I can let it go.” And it can make us look like sociopaths, unfortunately. And the Navy SEALs, they can go into a room and clear the room, so to speak. And then, 15 minutes later, we just find on the helicopter and not even feeling it.

Ben:  Wow.

Doug:  And so, it's a gift if you're in those circumstances. But you cheat on your wife and you let it go, and you don't even think about it, it's obviously a problem.

Ben:  Yeah. And so, this neuropeptide Y, from what I understand, it binds the synapses in the frontal cortex, and that actually changes how you respond to another neurotransmitter called noradrenaline. So, normally, a lot of people aren't driven. They'd get kind of like fuzzy-headed and checked out during stress, but the surge in noradrenaline that a driven brain gets, it causes you to become more focused in response to stress.

Doug:  And yeah, we thrive. And this was Hartmann's original research around it. He proposed that we are the ones waiting for the meteorite to hit or the world to go into the next Ice Age because as drivens, we will figure it out. We're the farmers that have adapted to this very sedentary simple life that isn't changing very much, their toast. And so, it's just another adaptation and it doesn't make us good and then bad. It is a farmer's world. And as I teach all my entrepreneurs, they have to get embraced. Farmers aren't stupid, slow, and lazy. They're wired for routine and they're wired to actually do things in a very structured way. And you need that if you're building a business. And so, they serve their–I don't do my own taxes. I don't because I lose my mind. I have a farmer for that. They need us, too, just as much as we need them.

Ben:  Hey, I want to interrupt today's show to tell you something important. I have been thinking lately about the idea of creating, specifically creating beauty, creating art, embracing our innate human ability to be able to create. So often, I think that we can get stuck in doo, doo, doo mode and we forget about the being, about stopping to smell the roses, and about really appreciating the beauty that's all around us in a very mindful way. I personally have found myself prone to always be connected to audiobooks and even podcasts like the one you're listening to right now, often to the detriment of being able to be fully and mindfully aware of where I am at. And so, at this point in the podcast, I would like to issue a challenge to you. Yes, a challenge. I want you to unplug yourself. I want you to unplug yourself. So, what do I mean by that? I mean that I would actually like you to press pause on this podcast, and not replace with music, not replace it with any other audiobook, or podcast, or news station, or anything like that, but to instead continue doing what you're doing right now. Cleaning, driving, walking, exercising, doesn't matter. But, and this is between you and me, I'll be your accountability partner in this, I want you take five minutes of silence.

Now, you can press pause. If you press play, five minutes from now, I promise, I'll still be here. But try this exercise out. Try this exercise out because you'll be able to feel, see, and hear the beauty around you. Perhaps the feel of a barbell against your hands, or the ground against your feet, or the steering wheel in your grip, or simply the trees, and the mountains, and the horizon around you in a different way than you would have experienced it had you had the earbuds in your ears and the podcast, or the other noises playing in the background. So, I challenge you. Take five minutes right now. I promise, I realize there's the fear of FOMO, but everything will still be there when you get back. Try it out and let me know what you think in the comments section for this podcast.

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We talked about neuropeptide Y, and we talked about the DRD2-A1 allele gene. But what about the structure of the brain itself? Like, is there a different way that driven people use the actual brain in terms of which lobe they're tapping into or something like that?

Doug:  So, this was my research and I did–really, most of the research is coming out of ADD and ADHD, widely studied because there's buckets of money to be made with the stimulants. So, they've researched it tons. And what it appears, what it really looks like is that the brain has reversed itself in what part is dominant over the last 4,000 years. And so, you put a normal farmer in a functional MRI. They have this real nice, bright, shiny activation in the left prefrontal. And that's the logical linear rational part of the brain. They very simply see their survival or see the world as a series of sequential steps. And you put your finger in the ground, you put a piece of corn in there, you cover it up, you water it, you wait patiently, you wait for it to grow. And then, it grows, you pick it, and that leads to our survival.

You put a hunter, you put an ADD person in a functional MRI, couple of interesting things are seen very, very clearly. Number one is that the back of our heads light up. And we have a occipital lobe. So, we are visually dominant. We use our eyesight to actually navigate the world. And we're spidey sense because of that. We are intuitive sense. We can walk into a room and we sense some things off, and we can use our eyesight to really look and confirm that. And this way, oftentimes driven people, we love driving, we love any activity, skiing, surfing, bow hunting, whatever, any activity that really pulls us into this visually dominant field. And that triggers the neuropeptide Y, it triggers all of these wonderful things where we can hyperfocus, like we can really get into something.

Ben:  Yeah.

Doug:  And anything like that that pulls us into the present, we get a great–I mean, we can master it, and we love it. It feels really, really good to us. It feels like we're in the zone and we're in our element. The problem with that, and this is the defining feature of ADD and it drives my wife nuts, is that when you look at our frontal lobes, we have something called hypofrontality, or just they perceive it as an underactive frontal lobe because we don't have this nice, bright, shiny ball of activity.

Ben:  You said hypofrontality?

Doug:  Hypofrontality.

Ben:  Okay. Got it.

Doug:  So underactive frontal lobe. We have this activation, but it's both left and right hemisphere. And so, what that allows us to do is do something I call multi-thinking, and we have a big picture focus. Very simply, we carry the normal–carry three, maybe four thoughts in their head at the same time, where a driven carries seven to nine thoughts in their head at the same time. We literally have a different way of going through the world. And the big picture, we get it on a big picture level, and that is where a lot of the learning disabilities come from, where the school system is very linear in the way it teaches us. It doesn't focus on the big picture. But once we understand the big picture, once I get my brain wrapped around something, give me any new piece of information and I will see how it fits into the grand scheme of things. You're just driven. I'm coming from cultural anthropology, psychology, self-psychology, spirituality, genetics, biology, neurology, all of these different fields coming in to really just understand this bigger context of what I'm trying to get at.

Ben:  Yeah. Do you find, by the way, that when it comes to the manifestation of the driven personality that it does vary from person to person? Like, for example, for me, I totally get the hyperfocus. I totally get the “There is never enough. The grass is always greener.” I'm always exploring, always looking out for danger. But at the same time, I'm not a huge physical risk-taker, right? Like I was never the kid doing backflips on the trampoline or jumped off the 60-foot cliff versus the 20-foot cliff into the ocean, or engaging in a lot of these so-called ex-game sports like snowboarding, or BMX bike racing, or skateboarding. Like, physically, I kind of erred a little bit more towards safety and predictable environments. But yet from an entrepreneurial standpoint or a personal achievement standpoint, extreme risk-taker. Is that pretty common that you don't necessarily see a physical manifestation of risk-taking?

Doug:  You put needles in your dick, right?

Ben:  Well, yeah, but I mean, even that, there was a certain amount of research and predictability though. Thanks for bringing it up, Doug. Appreciate that, man.

Doug:  And that's my point, is that what you perceive to be as risky is well-thought-out, well-planned, but trying to explain that to 90% of the population, they still think you're nuts.

Ben:  Yeah.

Doug:  I'm the same way. I broke my leg and got 2001 body whomping, doing this big, crazy beach break, bodysurfing thing I used to do. And ever since then, I have been profoundly risk-averse. Why try to kill yourself when there's so many wonderful things to kill? I just don't like being injured. So, I would perceive your risk-taking above average, if not, off the freaking charts. It's just that style of risk you take is different than others.

Ben:  Yeah. And I should back up in that up until about 13 years old. I did a ton of mountain biking, and my favorite thing to do was actually high-speed dirt biking around my property. And I suffered multiple concussions, and finally, a testicular contusion, which I almost lost my balls flying over the handlebars of a motorcycle and laying in a field for three hours while my testicle swelled to the size of a softball. It was after that point that I kind of quit a lot of the two-wheeling adventures. So, I suppose maybe some of it was nature, or I should say nurture that kind of perhaps got a little bit of that risk-taking out of my system early. So, yeah, that's a good point.

The other part of this though is the never enough, like never ever feeling satisfied. Is that more of a dopamine thing? Is that more of the neuropeptide Y? Or why is it that just from a pure chemical standpoint, you just never feel satisfied?

Doug:  It is literally never feeling satisfied. And both those genes, epigenetically, it's hard to really say, “Is it nature versus nurture?” The answer is yes. I experienced the world away. I go through the world with my dopamine, is that when I get something that triggers my dopamine, it is very short-lived for me. And that's the research around this is that people who get a 99 on a spelling test really feel good about it for days on end. I feel good about it for milliseconds, and then I beat the shit out of myself about why did I miss the one.

Ben:  Yeah. Join the club.

Doug:  And it is toxic perfectionism. It's not that I don't get a dopamine hit, it's just the dopamine carriers that carry the dopamine in my system, my reuptake of dopamine is very high and very quick. So, I get a flash of dopamine, but then it's gone, which makes it very addictive. And so, I really have to watch that. And this, believe me, anything that triggers my dopamine, I can become addicted to, and I've got a garage full of every hobby down that you can imagine to prove it. More importantly, it's my personality. It's really my sense of self. It's my identity that takes on this driven nature. And is it my nature? Is it my nurture? Is it my genetics or my environment? The answer is yes.

And that insight to it, the ability to look in, and you really see that I'm different, I'm driven. Like you, my wife is not driven. We're getting ready to launch this entire Driven Institute thing, and as a precursor to that, we just wanted to make sure we weren't talking out of our rears. So, we did a national normed assessment. I finally spent a bunch of time getting together this national normed assessment. Fifty questions put you in 10 different driven trades, and we did it right, principle component, all statistically sound, and amazing national norm. It's a zero to 50 scale. The national norm is 23 on it. My wife is a 23. So, it's like–

Ben:  Oh, wow.

Doug:  Yeah. I'm a 48. I am 2.99 standard deviations from my wife. And so, literally, I am a different human being. I'm just different.

Ben:  Yeah.

Doug:  And so, it is very helpful to understand that I'm different from her perspective. It really is. Expecting her to understand me and me to understand her and really get each other isn't the point. It's really appreciating the differences.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. I wanted to ask you because something wasn't quite clear to me, so it might not be clear to other people as well. So, back to this dopamine piece, what you're saying is that you get a dopamine surge when you say, let's say, across the finish line of an Ironman or get a 99% on your spelling test, but the dopamine is cleared more quickly? The reason I ask that is I know a lot of these ADD and ADHD medications, they act on dopamine pathways. And from what I understand, they act kind of like a serotonin, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor where they would keep dopamine hanging around in the synaptic cleft for a longer period of time. So, you feel that happiness or satisfaction from something you're engaged in, like schoolwork more readily. And thus, don't stray from it if you have ADD or ADHD. Is that the idea in terms of why some of those medications work? They're just maintaining dopamine for longer period of time?

Doug:  Maintaining dopamine, acting on the norepinephrine effects, and the combination of classic Dexedrine, Wellbutrin or bupropion, where that is a dopamine reuptake inhibitor. And so, that combination actually slows us down, doesn't necessarily make us feel more rewarded, but it doesn't–we don't have that drop of dopamine where we get the flash of dopamine, and then the absence or the decline of dopamine is what makes us feel like it wasn't good enough. So, I felt good and then it was gone. And it's that drop of dopamine that a lot of the stimulants do really much better at. And if you can tolerate them–the reason I don't do Adderall is because I'd be chopping it up and snorting it, or smoking it even better. It's just I'm so addicted to it. If one is good, maybe two is better, and I wind up taking 40 milligrams of this stuff every day and its diminishing returns. And you don't necessarily need it once you really develop a lot of the tools and tricks that I've developed over the years.

Ben:  Well, that's actually what I want to talk to you about because I think we've done a good job establishing so far in the podcast what a driven person is. I think at least we've given people a little bit of a taste of what it means to be driven. Of course, the book gets into even more detail, and it sounds like you're developing some questionnaires and other helpful tools for people. And I'll link to a lot of this stuff at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/drivenbydoug, as well as to the book. But let's turn now to some solutions, because I mean, we've talked about meditation. I want to get a little bit more of what this form of meditation, this flavor of meditation that you've created for driven people actually is. But you also made an interesting comment a while back about how you help driven people find actual satisfaction and happiness. And I'm happy to start wherever you would like, but I'd love to hear some of your go-to solutions for what you have found to be able to work for helping driven people still contribute to society in the unique way they can as a driven person, but also be able to feel satisfied, to be able to have a glass of wine with their wife on the porch while watching the sunset and not feel like their head is going to explode. What are some of the solutions here?

Doug:  Well, so it all begins with this understanding of identity. Butcher, baker, candlestick maker, the farmer's identity, are very simple, and they're very concrete. And our hypofrontality, we don't have that linear concrete thinking. And so, as a byproduct of that, we often, as driven people, use our emotions as a foundation of our identity. How do you know there's something wrong with you? Well, I feel that way. And no matter what I do, it still feels like it wasn't good enough. Therefore, I'm not good enough. And it's that jump from my feelings into a definition of who I am. And the Zen point about killing oneself in the Christian metaphor is even better. You must take yourself to the cross. But that sense of self is really the jumping-off point that I start everybody at.

And as driven people, we get it already, that there really is no sense of self, there really isn't. And very simply, what I do in the book is make a very simple argument that rather than worrying about or trying to define who you are in this world, I simply answer it with what you are. And what you are is a monkey, what you are is a Homo sapien, what you are is an animal. And that's very clear. You can't argue that. You can't get away from that. You are not your thoughts, you are not your feelings, but you are as an animal, you're a loving child from a loving God, however you want to slice the pie, but that's what you are. Then you make the jump that I'm a driven animal. I am different. And these differences are not good or bad, but they're different, and I need to create a different routine and a different world for myself if I want to be able to actually function in their world, in the farmer's world.

And so, once you make those two basic premises, then it just comes down to practice. And I posed it in the book that drivens, we are wired for a life of mastery. Mastery, meaning that there is no finish line, better has no finish line, that we're in a constant state of trying to really make our worlds better. And driven people are famous. We are just masters at becoming out of balanced. I'm feeling out of shape and I want to get in better shape, so I'm going to sign up for an Ironman. We go to extremes with it. And so, the first real tool that I teach is just insight. And rather than who am I and who do I think I need to be, it's what am I and what am I doing.

Ben:  Self-examination, basically.

Doug:  You got it.

Ben:  Yeah. Which has actually been incredibly helpful for me. Every single night, my entire family, we sit down and engage in the practice of examine, and we go through our entire day and ask ourselves, “What good have I done this day? What could have I done better this day? And what is one way that I fulfilled my life's purpose today?” And for me, it's just incredible. I feel like I'm more connected to who I am and what I was doing all day, and it really has helped me to stay more connected to my true self and what really gives me satisfaction and fulfillment.

But I got to tell you, you also mentioned religion. And probably the biggest thing for me that has helped the most in terms of this whole never have enough phenomenon was just the idea of the God-shaped hole. I just think the God-shaped hole is a freaking huge abyss in driven people. I think everybody has it, that void in their soul, their spirit, their life, that ultimately is a longing for something outside yourself, or something transcendent, or something other. I think it's Ecclesiastes in the Bible talks about eternity in man's heart and how God can only fulfill that desire for eternity. But for me, returning to my spiritual roots, which I strayed from for a long time starting in college and all the way up until my early 30s, but returning to God and returning to spiritual disciplines, prayer, meditation, gratefulness, family, relationships, worship, and basically taking all of the Ironman triathlons, pursuing fitness, diet supplements, money, business success, et cetera, et cetera, and really, fully realizing that that wasn't fulfilling and that that wasn't ultimately making me happy, and that my driven personality was making the pursuit of those even worse and more magnified, and then filling that God-shaped hole with what actually fits in that hole like a lock and key, specifically God, that helped me out a ton.

Doug:  It is, and I will be very direct with this, it's the only thing that will help drivens, to tell you the truth. I mean, this is the niche that I have chosen because I'm in that niche. I am of that niche. But we are wired and you go into AA, and you go into these pseudo-spiritual programs or spiritual programs, whatever you want to call them, where you are in a process of self-examination. And broken feeling is what driven people are. We just feel broken. And the impostor syndrome is our plight, that's walking out of a dual Ph.D., shook my hand, Dr. Jim Spira, my dissertation chair, “Congratulations, Dr. Brackmann. You're the first guy to shake my hand.” My monkey mind immediately said, “Ha-ha, they bought it.”

And because it still didn't feel like I did good enough, and my multi-thinking brain kicked in, and I could imagine every little corner I cut, and some little thing I didn't quite answer right. And so, that self-fulfilling prophecy, keyword of that itself, based upon the premise that I'm broken, is never-ending, and it's unfillable, completely unfillable. And so, killing of oneself–and I say that in the book, and I've had multiple, many people here relatively recently. I want to kill myself, and my response is, “Yes, I got to kill. Yeah, finally.” I will show you how. And where is the self, is it in your head? Is this your thinking? Is that your feeling? Is that your body? Is it your income? What is this self that you're trying to get rid of? And it is that God-shaped hole that is infinite, but it's really an acceptance that I'm made exactly the way I am, and this is the real tool that I apply to everybody. And this is the last 10 years of my life, 15 years of my life, is trauma healing.

And I've been trained by the best, just by chance fell into it with Peter Levine in San Diego back 15 years ago, 20 years ago. And the forefront of that, of actually being able to change our wiring within our body and heal a lot of these recordings, fear-based recordings that are stuck in our flesh, our body is a machine built for fear. And that ability to really feel that grace, for lack of a better word, it's unearned, undeserved, unwarranted, you didn't do anything to earn it, relaxation, expansion of the body into the present moment where you feel safe. And that is the real tool of this is that meditation is based upon the premise, the reality that the present moment is safe, and only the present moment is safe. Yeah, but it's always going to be better. Yeah, better is not safer. Ten minutes from now, meteorite can come kill us all, and there's nothing we can do about that. But in this present moment, in this present instant, you are safe.

Ben:  Yeah. Which is harder, correct me if I'm wrong, for driven people. I even came across a research study about reduced, what's called interoceptive sensitivity among high thrill and adventure-seeking people to where, for us to meditate, for us to engage in a mindful breathwork pattern, or for us to learn how to connect to some of these non-extra receptive sensations or triggers, but to instead go inside, that is, is it not harder for a driven person?

Doug:  It is. I taught a free meditation class 20 years ago for 8, 10 years, 1,500 to 2,000 people go through it. And how many people in here have ever tried to meditate? And everybody raises their hand. How many people in here hate it? And about a third of the room would raise their hand and it was the drivens every single time because 90% of the population is developing meditations for themselves. And they're non-drivens, they're farmers. Close your eyes, relax, you imagine a peaceful, serene greenfield. You tell me to do that. I want to punch you in the throat. I mean it is like–because it triggers all of my–everything that I'm wired to do, it triggers me in a way that is just like, “No.”

Ben:  Yeah. And I know you weren't intending a pun, but a peaceful and serene greenfield is something very hard for me personally to just tap into.

Doug:  And thankfully, the Japanese, Japanese are very trippy, interesting people, but they are very efficient people. And I stumbled into this years and years and years ago of most 90%, interestingly, of Japan is something called Soto Zen, S-O-T-O Zen. And it was great. It came out of the rice farmers. It was developed by the rice farmers. And interestingly, this other branch of Zen in Japan called Rinzai is developed for the warrior class, for the Ninjas, and the Samurai, and for the drivens. And so, it is just by chance, and I've stolen a lot of it from them, everything I've done is taken from somebody else, but eyes open is the biggest difference between what I teach my drivens versus the non-driven styles of meditations.

Ben:  Yeah. I thought that was interesting, by the way, that this Rinzai that you talk about in the form of meditation teaching the book, I actually was wondering about that and I was going to ask you about it. Why is it an eyes open or eyes half open type of meditation?

Doug:  Well, number one, it suits our brain. And hopefully, everything that you're seeing in the present moment is in reality. And so, the eyes are the primary tool that the drivens use to keep the world safe. And unless you're floridly psychotic or under pretty interesting hallucinogens, everything you're seeing is solid and real. And so, combined with the present moment is safe, and you look around, and you see the room, then you can very simply question, is what's happening in my central nervous system, is what's happening in my body an accurate reflection of reality? And for drivens, the very simple thing that I teach is that safety is not inside the body. Safety is in reality. Safety is not a feeling, it is a statement.

And combined with those two things with the style of breathing, diaphragmatic deep breathing, but where you're triggering the vagal nerve to send signals of safety into the brain, combined with your eyes open, orienting to the present, you will–as a byproduct of that practice, the body will start to relax. Or many meditations, farmer styles of meditations, are much more styled, or I would even call them relaxation training. They're not attempting to actually become present. And so, resonating styles of meditation for the drivens, and I've taught thousands of drivens to meditate now, it's like, “Oh, crap, I get it. I finally understand why people want to meditate.” And it is a very simple, incredibly simple, hardest thing you'll ever do. It's simple, but not easy.

Ben:  So, you're sitting on the floor. Your eyes are just a little bit open, kind of staring in front of you. And the breathwork that you talk about, that you recommend for your specific flavor of driven meditation, is a little different, too. You even say that a lot of people will get chattering of the teeth when they're breathing the way that you teach in your driven form of meditation. Why is that?

Doug:  The trauma healing component of it is really the last five years–I mean, that's been my hyperfocus for the last five years, of allowing the bandwidth of the human body to actually learn to tolerate safety. Fairly interesting statement, but very simply post-traumatic stress. Trauma comes up in the body when we are safe. And it's not until the guys come back from Afghanistan that the body actually starts to dysregulate and tries to re-regulate itself, reset its bandwidth thermostat for the new environment it's in.

And so, when you are logically, and I say this in the book, I call it the logical container, it's just a logical way of actually experiencing the present moment when your body starts to dysregulate because it will. You will start to resist becoming safe because the trauma will start to come up, the body will start to try to get rid of these old patterns. These old central nervous systems kind of remnants of transgenerational trauma, believe it or not, has been in there for 140,000 years. The body will start to release this trauma. And the jaw, and the hip structures, and the way the body does that is chatters, it vibrates, it literally tremors. And the advent of medicine work, and not advent, but the re-popularizing of that and watching people really try to surrender into the present is we resist it. The body starts to go through these patterns of just, “I don't like what's happening in my body.”

But as long as you can logically meet those sensations with, “This is happening because my body is trying to get rid of old patterns, trying to feel becoming more an accurate reflection of actually my reality,” you can get out of the way of the body, kill the self, kill the thing that normally is in the way of the body, and the body can start to become more and more regulated in a sense of, for lack of a better word, love. That's one of the things that I get on a grandstand about, about becoming born again. And the classic Christian sense is actually a physical change of the body. And where your normal fear-based reaction normally recorded in the flesh are actually wired out, and it's on a DNA level. I mean, it is so wild. It is such a cool time to be alive watching both the DNA and the functional MRIs demonstrate that meditation is actually not only changing the mind, but it's changing our physical reactions to fear.

Ben:  Interesting. And how long are the folks who you're working with, who are driven personalities, how long are they typically meditating on a daily basis using this style of meditation that you teach in the book?

Doug:  I start everybody, and the point of a meditation practice is to keep it. Meaning that everybody on the planet would love to have a meditation practice, and everybody starts one at some point in their life, most people do, but they never keep it. And it's that resistance to the present moment, largely because of our trauma. We resist feeling uncomfortable, even if that uncomfortability is safety. And that was my doctoral research is that the human animal is designed for a familiar environment. And if you are unfamiliar, coming on my dissertation, lottery winners are some of the best examples of it. My last stats, my last PowerPoint slide on that was 78% of people that win the lottery within two years absolutely blow their life up. They're bankrupt, family hates them, just the worst thing in the world to happen to you because you physically can't handle that much security and safety. And so, you return to baseline.

Ben:  Yeah.

Doug:  And so, where I start everybody on meditation is two minutes a day.

Ben:  Just two minutes? Wow.

Doug:  And you start the timer, and you literally–that's like five or eight breaths at the most. And there's no logical reason, none, whatsoever, not to do it.

Ben:  No, not at all.

Doug:  And yet you will physically feel the resistance to doing it. And that's where my clients always MF me. They're like, “Why am I resisting doing this?” And it's your sense of self, your embodied ego. The ego lives in the body, not in the brain. And your ego is going to resist something good and is huge, becoming my dissertation, too. It's why January sucks at the gym because everybody's monkey mind is telling their body, “Hey, this time is different. This time is going to be great.” But then by the research on it, by February 14th, 80 something percent of people don't even remember their New Year's resolutions. We have this body that just wants to go back to normal and go back to the status quo.

Ben:  Yeah. I have a few other questions to ask you, although I know you detailed the meditation in a lot more detail in the book, but you talked about ego. I know that it seems, from what I understand in the book, and correct me if I'm wrong, driven people do tend to be a little bit more attached to ego or more egotistical, at least that seems to be what I found from personal experience. A lot of so-called plant medicines, they're often turned to as something that can be used to help dissolve the ego, or merge left and right brain hemispheric activity, or allow for greater connection to true self. Do you think that those type of protocols can be useful for driven people?

Doug:  Blanketly, yes, with a lot of caution, tremendous amount of caution. I'm a trauma healer, and understanding that what a lot of those medicines do is allow the default neural network, basically the standard operating system in the brain to really go offline, and it will bring up a lot of your trauma. And it's the old snow globe metaphor that I used. We all have these eons, literally, multi-generations of trauma stuck in your DNA in your body. And, hey, let's go shake the snow globe. Let's get all this stuff out of your body and get it moving around. And that's my state. Medicine work is not work. The work is something different than the medicine. And this is where the meditations come in, this is where the logical understanding that I can get out of the way of my body and let my body–one of my teachers always said it's 100 million years of organic intelligence in my body, and our body is a healing machine.

As you know better than I do, we can assist the body in its healing process, but the best thing you can do is really get out of the way of it. That is true with trauma, too. And here's a medicine protocol. Some people are really good at creating some protocols that allow the ego to go offline temporarily. And here comes this amazing experience, here comes a lot of healing potential in the body. But if you continue on the practice, you will see very quickly that you will resist actually surrendering into the body during meditation or during medicine work. And so, I think the work pre-work of a meditation practice. Then if you want to really clear the snow globe, so to speak, you already get rid of the grocer defects of our fears, and then if you want to go deeper and shake the snow globe a little bit so you can do further work to get rid of it. And that's the integration components of it, of really becoming less and less fear-based ego, and more and more love-based ego, for lack of a better word.

Ben:  Yeah. I can tell you from personal experience that probably, the hardest thing for me about plant medicine, and this is probably due to my heavily driven personality, is feeling of trust or safety. I mean, it takes multiple times working with practitioner in the same place for me to even get to the point where I can relax and let go because I'm constantly looking for and analyzing my environment for danger even when I am in a setting where plant medicine is being administered. And that's been the biggest thing that I've had to overcome is falling into trust. It's incredibly difficult for me. And I would imagine that's something that a lot of driven people have to overcome.

Doug:  And yet we're up for the challenge.

Ben:  Yeah.

Doug:  And that's been the last few years of my life of really helping guys very much like you to understand that trust is not a feeling, safety is not a feeling, it is a statement of being. And it's my belief that I need to control the feelings in my body that get in the way of that. And the practice of meditation, particularly the style of meditation that I do, is directly related to surrendering into the safety of the present no matter how I feel, even though I feel like shit and my jaws clench and everything else. I can take a breath in and actually surrendering to the reality that I am safe. Easy, easy, easy to say.

Ben:  Now, for people who want to try out this whole shooting a rifle or doing kind of like sniper-based protocols associated with meditation, do you teach classes around the country? Is there a way that if someone is listening in and they're intrigued by this, is there a place they could go to take part in something like that?

Doug:  Yeah. It's driveninstitute.com.

Ben:  Driveninstitute.com. Okay. Cool. I'll link to that as well. Dude, I still have to get in and do it with you sometime.

Doug:  That is something I'm looking exceedingly forward to is having you behind a gun.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah.

Doug:  Yeah. It's nothing like a 300–yeah. This is the greatest takeaway. There is no recoil in the present, an anticipation of recoil. And I've got a 300 Norma Mag. I've got some guns that are unbelievably loud and powerful, and we shoot out to 2,500 yards. And I got 1,760 yards. I got my long targets. And your logical mind, your brain can't even see the target. You can't believe you can hit it. And yet if you just trust the process and be present throughout, you can't miss.

Ben:  Interesting.

Doug:  So, the gun is the greatest teaching tool I've ever accidentally stumbled into.

Ben:  Obviously, I've done a lot of “The Zen and the Art of Archery” type of stuff and shut the bow a lot, but I think it would be cool to practice on the gun. So, we'll connect at some point and do it. And in the meantime, for those of you listening in, we really have kind of only scratched the surface of all the solutions for driven people that Doug presents in his book, as well as a really, really complete analysis of what it means to be driven. So, if this resonated with you at all, I think the book would be a really good read for you. Again, if anyone has any tactics for getting my wife to read it, or maybe I'll just have her listen to this podcast. That might be good enough. Hi, babe. If you're listening in, thank you. And anyways, I'm going to link to all this at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/drivenbydoug where you can leave your questions, your comments, and your thoughts for Doug or myself, where you can grab the book, where I'll link to a bunch of the different research articles that I mentioned, other books that were mentioned like “The Edison Gene,” for example.

And Doug, thank you so much for working on this book and for the good that you're doing in the world for all of us crazy driven people who can't sit still and are never satisfied.

Doug:  And if you're driven, there's nothing wrong with you. You're not broken. You're supposed to be this way.

Ben:  That, or you just have a whole bunch of other neighborly freaks walking around the face of the planet, who at least know the way you feel.

Doug:  We are not alone.

Ben:  Alright, man. Well, I look forward to seeing you and sitting with you, going crazy, trying to sip a glass of wine while looking at a sunset. We'll try to make that happen sometime, or we can just go off on some crazy adventure. But anyways, folks, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Dr. Doug Brackmann signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.

Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.



I first met today's podcast guest, Dr. Doug Brackmann, at a private conference where he was teaching long-range rifle shooting combined with meditation. Sounds a bit weird and intriguing, right? I thought so too.

It turns out that Dr. Doug has studied and worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, professional athletes, inventors, adventurers, and Navy SEALs and found that certain people are born with a drive often seen in these types of people. In other words, it's in their DNA. Research has shown that certain genes can manifest resilient and highly focused people who can also be impulsive and easily distracted. While these traits enabled our ancient ancestors to survive, if you have these traits today, it can create havoc in your life and cause diagnoses such as ADHD, ADD, or OCD.

But, what the world tells you is a disability or disorder may actually be your greatest gift. Using his experience teaching the highly driven how to master their gift, Dr. Doug provides the insight and tools you need to master yours. He teaches you how to:

  • Stop self-sabotage forever
  • End shame and doubt
  • Find your wolf pack
  • Use meditation to put yourself on the right path

I just finished his new book, Driven: Understanding and Harnessing the Genetic Gifts Shared by Entrepreneurs, Navy SEALs, Pro Athletes (& Maybe You), and was absolutely glued to the pages, so I just had to have Dr. Doug on the show.

After achieving a dual Ph.D. in 2002, Dr. Doug struck out to research the components of powerful thought and action, culminating in a very successful practice of helping driven “hunters” focus their gifts on a daily basis. He has used an integrated approach of meditation, biohacking, and applied real-world counseling to help thousands of people. Naturally drawn to the driven (often ADD/ADHD spectrum) business owner/entrepreneur, Dr. Doug has worked exclusively with these amazing clients for the past ten years. He is a 20+ year meditation practitioner and continuous student of the rapid advances in science explaining the benefits of specific types of meditation. Dr. Doug describes himself as a functional MRI geek and student of all spiritual practices and religions.

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-How Dr. Doug went from a dual Ph.D. to teaching meditation while shooting rifles…6:50

  • D. is in organizational psychology and clinical psychology from UC San Diego
  • Pursued the degrees to find “what works” for his personal development
  • Shooting requires one to be present and still; used meditation to shoot at a competitive level
  • Began experimenting with meditation and shooting
  • Taught newbies to outshoot Navy SEALs their first day of shooting
  • This allowed Doug to help people who normally wouldn't seek professional therapy

-What it means to be “Driven”…10:45

  • The Edison Geneby Thom Hartmann
  • DRD-2 a1 gene, “alcohol” gene highly correlated with gambling, ADD, eating disorders
  • Genetic adaptation for survival (Hartmann's theory)
  • Around 10% of people did not adapt to the agricultural revolution 4,000 years ago
  • These are what we might refer to as “unemployable” people today
    • Hunters in a farmer's world
  • Chronic discontent “Reward deficiency syndrome
  • Farmers are easily satisfied with their vocation; hunters are “Da Vincis”

-How to determine if you're genetically predetermined to be Driven…20:00

  • Genetic testing can be misleading; having the gene may necessarily mean it is expressed in your behavior
  • Identifying the behaviors of impulsivity is more telling
  • DR4 gene is the “FOMO” gene
  • National Geographic articleon the “wandering gene”
    • There's more game over the next hill; this is okay but over there is better;
    • Shiny object syndrome
  • Thrill-Seeking Gene Can Lead to More Sex Partners
  • It's all feelings at the end of the day

-A polypeptide that relates to Driven people…25:05

  • Neuro peptide Y, associated with risk-takers, inventors, hunters (biggest predictor of making it through SEAL training)
  • Ability to let go of immediate and past failures, move to the next opportunity
  • Associated with resilience (9,999 ways to not make a lightbulb)
  • Changes how you respond to the neurotransmitter noradrenaline

-How the brain of a Driven person is used differently than that of others…33:05

  • Brain has reversed itself on the dominant part over the last 4,000 years
  • Driven people are visually dominant
  • Possess “spidey senses”
  • Activities that promote a visually dominant field are popular
  • The frontal lobes are under-active compared to farmers
  • Driven people “get” the big picture; schools don't focus on the “big picture”
  • Things that seem risky, albeit well-calculated, are complete lunacy to most people

-Why there's “never enough” for Driven people…39:50

  • Dopamine triggers are very short-lived (toxic perfectionism)
  • Nature, nurture, genetics, environment? The answer is “yes”
  • National norm assessment Doug and his wife did
  • Driven Institute
  • Importance of understanding the difference between different personality types
  • A drop in dopamine is the cause of the feeling of inadequacy

-Practical solutions for Driven people to function in society…44:51

  • Begin with understanding your identity as a Driven person
  • There is no sense of “self”‘
  • Focus on “what” you are, not “who” you are

-The only thing that will truly help a Driven person…49:01

-The type of meditation best-suited for Driven people…56:35

  • This meditation is based upon the reality that the present moment is safe
  • Eyes open meditation for the driven
  • Everything you see in the present moment is in reality
  • Eyes are what keep the world safe for Driven people
  • Safety is not a feeling, it is a statement

-The breathwork Doug teaches to Driven people…58:48

  • Learning to “tolerate” safety
  • PTSD trauma comes into the body when there is safety
  • Body releases trauma via tremors in various body parts
  • Meditationchanges physical reactions to fear
  • We resist that which is uncomfortable, even if safety is uncomfortable
  • Lottery winners can't physically handle that much security and safety

-Plant medicine protocols that may be useful for Driven people…1:04:33

  • Use a great deal of caution
  • They will bring up a lot of your trauma, even stuck in your DNA
  • Understand the difference between work and medicine
  • Get out of the body's way of healing itself

-How to learn more about Dr. Doug's work…1:08:56

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

– Dr. Doug Brackmann:


– Other resources:

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