Dec. 17, 2021

Best of 2021: Steven Kotler | The Neuroscience of Accomplishing Impossible Goals

Best of 2021: Steven Kotler | The Neuroscience of Accomplishing Impossible Goals

Steven Kotler tackles the neuroscience of achieving the impossible in a quest to make sense of the magic. He decodes the secrets of elite level athletes, CEO's, artists and more, who have redefined what is possible, bringing our own impossible dre...


Steven Kotler tackles the neuroscience of achieving the impossible in a quest to make sense of the magic. He decodes the secrets of elite level athletes, CEO's, artists and more, who have redefined what is possible, bringing our own impossible dreams within our reach.

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Transcript

Srini: Stephen, welcome back to the unmistakable creative. Thanks for taking the time to join us. It's great to be back. Yeah, it is my pleasure to have you here. I have always been a huge fan of your work. It's had a profound impact on me. I've been the beneficiary of attending your zero to dangerous workshop, which even after having read your books and reading Cal Newport's books, I thought, wow, this was incredible in terms of value and tactical insight.

Srini: But as from having spoken to me before, I don't like to start by talking about your work, but I do want to start by asking you a question, which I think is relevant. And I know part of the answer to this question from having read your book, and that is what birth order were you and what impact did that end up having on the direction that your life has taken?

Steven Kotler: That's interesting. That's a weird ass question nobody's ever asked me that before. I'm the oldest and I in terms of standard birth order psychology, I follow none of the traditional birth order patterns. So I will say that. I've read the relevant literature here. And I don't tend to follow most of the patterns in firstborns who tend to tend the firstborns tend to be people pleasers.

Steven Kotler: They tend to they it's a, it's an evolutionary survival thing. They tend to actually end up doing everything their parents want. I was the exact opposite. I did not think I was hell as a child. My sixth grade teacher told me I wasn't going to live to see 30 and she wasn't wrong in their predictions.

Steven Kotler: I did send her a postcard when I turned 30, said you were wrong, but that's besides the point. I do like to win but yeah, I don't know what what impact it had. The only thing I could say here is. My folks had me when they were young and there wasn't a whole lot of money. And my mother had really no idea.

Steven Kotler: I don't think in truth how to raise a child. And they moved very quickly. We were, I was born in Chicago, but we moved to Cleveland very early on and my mother knew nobody there. So in not knowing, like having no sort of network around her, not really knowing what she was doing as a mom. What she ended up doing was she knew books were good.

Steven Kotler: So like I had less of a childhood and more of a, massive adventure in reading. We would go to the library and take home a hundred, hundred and 50 books and read them together. And that was so that was may it go mom? Amazing amazing the impact that had on me.

Steven Kotler: So I, I wanted to be a writer from a very early age, and that was part of as a result of that. And I also think the other thing that my parents were great about is and this really again, not knowing what to do, they, somewhere along the line, they decided curiosity was good. And so anything I was deeply curious about, even though there wasn't a whole lot of money, they would go out of their way to try to make available to me in some way, shape or form.

Srini: Do you mean part of the reason I started with that question in particular was because I know one of the stories you tell in the book is about your brother and the magic tricks. And I was wondering if you could expand on that for us, because I think that, I'd heard you referenced this in a previous interview, I think with chase Jarvis.

Srini: But beyond that I had, I don't think you and I had ever talked about that. That's why I thought, this is interesting.

Steven Kotler: Tell me about that. I my brother went to a friend's house. He was, I was, I think I was nine at the time he comes home and he like produces a bright red splendid ball Letson in his other hand.

Steven Kotler: And it disappears right. Make vanishing spawn, bolt magic. Prestidigitation close-up magic 1 0 1, but I had never seen magic before and it it looked what I was looking at. Looked impossible. My, my baby brother just made a ball disappear. I also knew, my brother wasn't magic. So there had to be a thing that he did and I wanted to know how to do it more than I wanted it.

Steven Kotler: He sort of anything at that point. And I fell into professional magic, which I did associate until I got to college and was very successful, made it made a lot of money as a magician. Did birthday parties and bar mitzvahs and things like that. And was pretty good. And the thing about magic that was super influential, Amanda, and the reason it matters so much to the, what happens later.

Steven Kotler: My life is one magic. Literally the stuff that really high quality magic looks like magic. It looks impossible. Even if you know what the people are doing at an expert level, it looks impossible. And I learned from. Early that impossible always has a skillset. There's always a thing that's behind the impossible that you know, and whether or not this is true everywhere.

Steven Kotler: This idea stayed with me. So later on in my career, as a journalist, when I started encountering so-called impossible feats athletes, doing stuff that had never been done before in history, and wasn't supposed to be able to be done or technologists turning science fiction ideas into science fact technology or business leaders, building impossible business empires in near record time, wherever I saw it rather than saying, oh, this is there's something going on here that I can't understand.

Steven Kotler: I want what's the skillset. What's the process. And as I advanced in my work, that became more and more what's the neurobiology underneath everything else, because that seemed to be the foundational mechanism that was leading to all this sort of impossible performance. So that's the story. Wow.

Srini: So what's been the difference in the trajectory of your brother's life and your life, given the experience that you both had growing up?

Steven Kotler: I have two brothers in both are absurdly successful as well. Whatever else is true my parents raised us,

Srini: so the thing that I think really strikes me about this is that you had this sort of insatiable curiosity that you were captivated by a sower early in your life. And it seems like you followed it to the end of the earth or in your case, the top

Steven Kotler: of the mountain.

Steven Kotler: It's funny that you say that because I was thinking an old friend got back in touch recently and I haven't talked to her since west did Jesus and she was very involved in the campaign. I ran for west to Jesus and there's an idea in Western Jesus is my second. I've written a very long time ago where I'm talking about flow science.

Steven Kotler: And I say, and my curiosity about flow size. And I said, the thing about me is I'm a guy who can follow an idea right off the edge of the world. And I think being that it's 20 years later, that's exactly what happened.

Srini: Yeah. Why is it that you think some people recognize that or find it early in their life?

Srini: And then there are people who don't find it at all. They just, go through life without ever experiencing, what you call impossible or these sort of extraordinary achievements.

Steven Kotler: There's a lot of different answers to this. And me, to me it starts with a couple of things.

Steven Kotler: The 30 years studying the neurobiology of peak human performance has taught me one or two major lessons. The first is that we are all capable of so much more than we. The second is, most of us don't know this because human potential human capability is invisible, especially to ourselves. And this is very foundationally, true at two different levels that in bolted matter here, level one is we only find out what we're capable of by stretching our skills to the utmost again and again and again.

Steven Kotler: And if that becomes how you approach everything you do. Every time, I'm a skier. Every time I go skiing, I'm trying to do things I've never done before. Just a little bit, but just same thing. Every time I go into a book as a writer, that's what I'm trying to do. Just stretch beyond what I thought I was capable of.

Steven Kotler: Just a little bit, just a tiny little bit. But if you do that over and over and over again, for years on end, you end up accomplishing incredible things. More specifically, there's this 10 and a half to this. Cause it's also, this is weird and this isn't my research. This is Adam Grant predominantly, but a lot of other people have contributed to it.

Steven Kotler: We actually don't know. What activities we are going to be good at, or like until after we've done them. And this is true even in closely related skillsets. So the example that was given to me is you can go to LeBron, James, hypothetically, let's say LeBron, James has never played. Badman okay. LeBron, do you think you'd like, Badman, do you think you'd be good at badminton now?

Steven Kotler: Whatever else, LeBron, James is a prism in the world. He is certainly an expert in using his body and knowing how to use his body and knowing how he can use his body. And yet what the research shows is. He can't tell you if he's going to like, or be good at badminton until he tries it and starts to get good.

Steven Kotler: So not only do we know, not all or capable until we stretch your skills to the utmost, we don't actually know what we're going to like and, or be good at until after we've given it a shot. So one of the foundational answers to your question. I'm backing into your answer. Cause it's actually a cool answer, but it's hard to grok until you understand that other stuff is we started this conversation with curiosity, turns out that anxiety and curiosity are essentially opposite sides of the same neuro-biological signal.

Steven Kotler: So one of the reasons I think most people have trouble finding out, you have to ride your curiosity as the foundational motivator. You have to write it into a lot of these sort of impossible quests, right? Nobody's ever nobody that I've studied, set out to do capitalize impossible. That which has never been done.

Steven Kotler: They set out to do small lion possible. That, which I thought was impossible for me. And by going after small, I impossible after small lion possible after small Unimpossible eventually this capitalized impossible that which has never been done is what's next but often from the inside.

Steven Kotler: And I can give you an example as if you were. The view is really different. Like it doesn't look like most of the people we talked to them about, like the moments they accomplish, the impossible, they didn't think of it that way. They were just doing the next thing that was in front of them. Take me away on a piano Cruze for just a $1 deposit per person.

Steven Kotler: I'll have a swim, enjoy a cocktail and get up to $300 on board spending money per room to spend on spoiling myself pianos, take me away sailors on foot now. T's and C's apply.

Srini: Yeah, I do want to come back to two examples of this, but I think this is a really perfect jump off point for one of the things you open the book with. And I think that this resonated with me because I've been thinking a lot about the role that context plays and how often people ignore it in any sort of self-improvement effort.

Srini: You say that personality doesn't scale biology scales. What we mean is in the field of peak performance too often, someone figure out figures out what works for them and then assumes it will work for others. And it rarely does. I know that, I've been to your seminars where you're incredibly skeptical about people in positions of authority.

Srini: Some of it we've been guests here on the show who don't back up the things they say with any real science and use themselves as the only sample size. The reason that quote in particular struck me is cause I, you don't want to just finish writing this article title, why outliers are bad role models for most of us.

Srini: Because to your point, we overlook all these other factors that are out of our control. So I wonder, one, why is it that you get this sort of vicious cycle of personal development where people just basically keep going to seminar after seminar, but nothing changes. And what is the role of genetics in uncomplicating impossible goals?

Steven Kotler: You want to know why people get stuck forever, a and B you want to know the role of genetics. So let's back up and start with genetics. Cause it's probably easier. These are not, you're not asking me particularly easy questions, but I appreciate that. So when I say pers personality, doesn't scale, what I mean is.

Steven Kotler: There are foundational the reason you can't figure out what, I can't figure out what works for me and let me, do you mind if I tell this is so I learned this lesson the hard way and the way I learned it, the hard way was this. I did not have a normal childhood by any stretch of the imagination.

Steven Kotler: And let's say there was a lot of high-risk situations in my childhood and I, when I became a journalist, I spent most of my time covering action, adventure, sport athletes, and field biologists, and would do other sort of dangerous assignments in between those things and the people I was covering loved risk and took uterus for a living and in action sports at the professional level, if you're literally not nearly dying once a month, you're not doing your job as a journalist, almost every journalist I knew.

Steven Kotler: Would it have a near death experience of some kind or other once every three months, it was really common. This level of incredibly dangerous situations. When I was a journalist on five separate occasions, I had a guns pointed my face. At one time, I had a gun shoved into my mouth. I mean this was just cost to do in business in this world.

Steven Kotler: I thought it was normal. I didn't realize, I didn't know anybody outside of the people who were journalists and action sport athletes are working on the cutting edge of whatever. Like everybody I knew was doing dangerous shit. Even the inventors I knew, like I knew some of the early guys who were working on the first flying cars and trust me, when you have to invent a flying car, you have to build a contraption and then take it to an airport and hopefully hope it doesn't crash.

Steven Kotler: So like everybody I do, right? I'm thinking so much of a guy named desert Dar who invented the world's first flying motorcycle when he met my wife. He was going to the VAD. I was going to the desert outside of Vegas to test this flying, but literally the flying motorcycle was going to take it off and see if it flew for the first time.

Steven Kotler: And like he did, my wife had no idea what he was going to Nevada for. And she said, so you like to gamble? He said, I love to gamble. And my wife said what's your game. He said, I don't have a game. There's only one game it's called you bet your life. That's the only game in town. I remember that. So clearly he wasn't, and so that was just normal. And what happened is I learned a bunch about flow right around the time I wrote my first big book on flow which was to Jesus. And right after that book, I had a column in psychology today on their blog. They had just launched their blog. It was a big deal. And I had a column there and a blog, and I was an expert in peak performance as far as a lot of people.

Steven Kotler: We're concerned, especially my friends and anything else I'm I just did. What other friends want to do? You see your friends having trouble? You give advice or they ask you for advice. And people thought my advice was good, cause I'd written a book about it and people thought I was sparked.

Steven Kotler: And I literally I, there were probably 10 people in that first test sample who took my advice and none of it, it worked for nobody, but I put two people in the hospital. I kid you not, I nearly forced one of those friends still hasn't talked to me. It's 20 years later. She's still pissed bitch.

Steven Kotler: I did another friend, one of my closest friends. Didn't talk to me for five years. Like I did damage, and the reason is risk tolerances are genetic. They're set up by how active or inactive are your dopamine receptors plus shaped by early childhood, into early adulthood experienced, but they're locked into place.

Steven Kotler: And later adulthood, you can only get at them through 10 years of work. Like you can train, change these traits, but it takes a very long time and it's a slow process. So when I teach you what works for me if you are really risk friendly and, line up with where I am on other genetic things like, or genetic early childhood, that experienced things like where am I in the openness to experience scale?

Steven Kotler: Where am I in the introversion extroversion scale? All this stuff, genetic or early childhood experience. I can't train you. They using what works for me in less. You are exactly like me in a broad stretch of personality traits that may or may not line up. It's not useful. If you want something that's going to work for everybody.

Steven Kotler: You've got to go one layer deep into the, the mechanistic neurobiology that was created by evolution to work for all mammals included humans. You get down to that level that is shared. That's what works for everybody. Personality doesn't scale biology scale. So that was your first question.

Steven Kotler: Second question.

Srini: Yeah. With that being in mind, if you look at the entire personal development industry from, the Tony Robbins of the world to like the seduction community over and over, what is, a package formula that people try to apply to their lives.

Srini: Hell it happens even in the online marketing space, it's here's everything I did to grow a podcast. If you follow my recipe, then you will be able to grow podcasts to leaving out, keep in mind. All the context of my email list is bigger. Or I got a 10 year head start in a trend, which is my case, which is one of the reasons I've been very reluctant to ever teach a course on podcasting.

Srini: So two things about this one. Why does that happen? Why do people overlook context? And why is it that the people who are actually teaching this stuff don't acknowledge the fact that context plays such an important role.

Steven Kotler: Got it so interesting that you bring that up. So we are working on like I, I want to take it to a deeper level than, cause it's context is super important in that we are working right now, very hard at the flow research collective on mapping the neural dynamics. So that network level, brain activity, a flow state onset.

Steven Kotler: So basically what's going on in the brain network level at the, during the first two seconds of flow, as you drop into the state and we are looking at a bunch of different scenarios, but one of the things that's overwhelmingly clear is that context has a huge impact goal directedness and context has a huge impact very early in the information processing perspective, like at a filtering level, literally at the level of filtering attention and helping motor action selection.

Steven Kotler: So it's really an interesting question from a geeky standpoint. What I think is this to make big ticket back to reality, which is

Steven Kotler: Nisha Freud, young, everybody's who worked in psychology and human performance up until the humanistic psychologists show up with Abraham Maslow and Adler, and those guys in the thirties and forties. There's a couple of great women in there as well. But up to that point, all of them were in agreement that if you're interested in peak performance, you got to get out from under the thumb of mommy and culture because mommy and culture weigh a lot and they will block peak performance.

Steven Kotler: In other words, you have to become an individual and shake off your culture to achieve peak performance. And that is another sort of side of this context debate that isn't talked about as much. And I don't know w the thing about. Why people get derailed and why they'd go to endless paperwork with seminars and seminars.

Steven Kotler: As far as I can tell there is, there are a number of differentiators and I, we can talk about what I've discovered in the book, but if you want to back it up to something early on, actually think there's two things going on. I think one, there is a pervasive idea in the self-help, especially in the spiritual side of the self-help community and possibly in a lot of the psychology community that.

Steven Kotler: You have to fix the broken in you before you can start working towards peak performance before you can start going after impossible goals, whether those things are things that you think are impossible for you, or just things that are impossible in the world, like you want to heal, and poverty or something like that.

Steven Kotler: And that is not true, right? What I have seen over and over again is that the people at the top of any field are running from something just as fast as they're running towards something. And ever, I was talking about this. So I was on a, I was doing an event three days ago, Chris Davenport, who helped pioneer skiing, a big mountain skiing, one of the most early big IX extreme skiers Rebecca Rouse's queen of pain.

Steven Kotler: Nobody's won more endurance races and bike races than she has was on the call then. So it was Chrisman lawyer who helped pioneer big wave surfing, and we were all talking about this very thing on how their sports became the place that they ran to and how they, started rebuilding the rest of their lives.

Steven Kotler: It was through pushing their performance in these one activities. I think that was the same for me in writing. I think that's the same for everybody. So I think it's a, there's a miss. So I think what happens when you see people doing the endless circuit is it hurts inside. And they think that is standing in the way in between them and their dreams.

Steven Kotler: They fail to appreciate two things that are three things that are key. One, everybody starts there. It hurts inside everybody to what everybody in peak performers will tell you is that whatever your Achilles heels are, whatever your biggest defects are, those are also your superpowers and they will become your superpowers over time.

Steven Kotler: And I think. The real thing is this. And I think this is the thing that is so awful and so true and yet, so dumb. The secret to peak performance is literally getting up every day, doing a handful of things every day and pushing a little harder than you normally comfortable with every day, all the time, six or seven things you're getting right?

Steven Kotler: It's every day. Repeat, repeat. There's no secret people don't believe that hard work works and they don't believe they're capable of the hard work either. And they're wrong. They're of course, capable of the hard work a and B hard work works. And once you figure that out, everything changes.

Steven Kotler: And I will tell you where most people tend to figure that out when they're late starters is fitness. That's right. Like I took me when I started lifting weights, I was in high school. I weighed 119 pounds when I graduated my high school and I was my height, which is five 10. I, had to get that up to 160 pounds through weightlifting and it took a decade, but that was the weight I needed to be at to be able to perform as like the athlete I wanted to be.

Steven Kotler: And it took a decade and it was awful. I was. So I remember five years into weight lifting. I was at a gym in San Francisco and I got a big muscly guy, walked up to me and looked at me and went, Hey, kids stick with it. You'll get there sooner or later, I was five years in. So I think people eventually learned those lessons through fitness. And maybe they don't want to believe that everything works that way, but it just works that way. And the sooner you figure that out, Easier. Everything gets, if you understand that there's hard work works and that your life is going to be nothing more or less than you make of it, that sort of like those realizations as like flat truce really are helpful.

Srini: It's funny you say that because for me, I just can't help, but think about, pre and post surfing, pre surfing. I was the guy who'd been fired from every job. And then, I started surfing and to your point, like surfing creates this ripple effect in every area of my life, where I get up at six in the morning, that's just becomes my new normal.

Srini: I don't drink as much as I used to. And I'm able to ride. I didn't even know what flow was. I think I just knew that I liked how I felt when I get out of the water.

Steven Kotler: It's interesting because I don't even know. The flow is a big deal there, right? The fact that surfing is packed with flow triggers will produce flow.

Steven Kotler: But the other thing that's almost the bigger. If you talk about the Arvin possible there's a section, the book opens the motivation section. It talks about a lining. All your intrinsic motivators started with curiosity through passion, purpose, autonomy, and finally mastery. What's interesting is you have to do that.

Steven Kotler: You have to, they all those motivators have to point in the same direction. So it's an onboarding process, but if you go into the relevant literature, you will often find that mastery seems to be the Uber dominant motivator. And when people in the reason, in a sense is the w the way oh, this was explained by, in drive by Dan pink basically said that, the most addictive high is a steady progress towards meaningful goals and meaningful goals and steady progress basically means you're challenging yourself.

Steven Kotler: Slightly and rising to that challenge or at least attempting to rise the challenge. And here's the other thing that people don't understand about when I talk about the hard work works, people think I'm talking about outcome. So let me explain it this way. I am 53 years old. I'm skiing better than I've ever skied before in my life this season.

Steven Kotler: And I am pushing harder skiing, bigger gnarlier stuff than I've ever skied in doing crazier tricks in the parks than I've ever done before. But none of that matters when I show up all that matters is that I show up and put the time in everything else is gravy. I show up, I push hard. Maybe I have a great day and I have breakthroughs.

Steven Kotler: Maybe I have a terrible day. It does how I feel the experience. The quality of it does not matter. All that matters is you show up and you push a little harder. That's all that matters. When it comes to peak performance. So it's not like you don't have to care about the results. You just have to care about the thing, the one thing you can control, which is do you show up, do you push a little harder than maybe you, you want it to whether this is work or play?

Srini: It's funny because like despite finishing two books, the publisher not having a third contract, I've never stopped the habit of writing a thousand words a day. And after reading your book, I'm trying to push that word count, higher day by day,

Steven Kotler: I got to tell you something beak. So for me, if you're doing a thousand words a day, that's awesome.

Steven Kotler: I, I'll go 500, 700, like 1500 is the most I've successfully been writing in a day and still like it, the quality that I want to do it. Make sure you're as you push up, do qual we'll do quality control at the same time. You don't want to privilege kind of speed and length over quality control.

Steven Kotler: You got you. They all I'm saying is make sure they evolve in lock step. It'll save you. And I'm speaking from personal experience here came later. All

Srini: I remember this story about the book that I'll have to ask you about that. The one you told in zero to dangerous. Yeah. Part of the reason I brought up that question about context is I've just been doing a lot of research on cults.

Srini: Almost all of which are personal development cults, and I just couldn't help, but notice the pattern that I had mentioned to you over and over again. And I just, I saw it happening, in bigger celebrity type industries in places like Scientology. But I realized I was like, this is happening, with our own peers, they in Scientology, they have this thing apparently is called the bridge and the bridge basically has all the curriculum you have to complete to get to the highest level of Scientology.

Srini: And I was like, this just looks like a marketing funnel that most people who teach any of this stuff use.

Steven Kotler: Yeah. I T I like I, to me, I always, I talk about it. Two things. I say one foundationally, never trust the. Don't mean itself. Especially if you're in an experience where people are shifting your state and producing reward neurochemistry and then trying to sell you anything or make meaning for you.

Steven Kotler: That's the warning sign to me. That's when I run, don't walk and I will say these days of the person who is doing those things, and they're wearing a scarf, I sprint don't run.

Srini: Yeah. I remember this very distinctly. You talked about, like a Tony Robbins seminar and how that's precisely what he does.

Srini: This is what everybody does. They create these environments to produce a peak experience. And then at the end of it, there's an upsell.

Steven Kotler: Okay. Let me put it to you in a very extreme case I've had over the past decade a half dozen let's just say very high level conversations. With members of the military globally, actually I've had these conversations globally with well, very high ranking members of look global militaries.

Steven Kotler: What happens in a terrorist training camp is people are shifted into flow and then meaning is made for them. And flow is foundational addictive reward neurochemistry. And when you are trying to solve problems like terrorism or gang violence and other high flow initiatory state experience where meaning is made for you, you are fighting addictive, neurochemistry as much as you are fighting social cultural issues.

Steven Kotler: And there's widespread agreement about this. I wrote a white paper. That's been floated around the military for awhile on this is why like people are in agreement and nobody knows what to do about it. But this is not an unknown problem.

Srini: It's crazy, to think that a terrorist training camp and a Tony Robbins seminar have something in the

Steven Kotler: be, remember when I say that we're that this work draws on foundational biological systems that are shaped by evolution and president, most mammals, all I'm saying is everybody can get into flow, including most mammals.

Steven Kotler: In fact, the old division, believe it or not used to be ferrets. And they used to believe that most battles that were more socially advanced or had larger brains than Pharos could get into flow. And that was the line. And we are now starting to spec. That's not true. The reason they thought the line was there is because ferrets didn't seem to be able to produce a NAND abide and didn't have an endocannabinoid system, which is one of the neurochemicals that's implicated in flow.

Steven Kotler: And we now know that. The anonymized endocannabinoid system is ancient and it regulates the stress response in all mammals and functions as a second immune system in all mammals. So that division has gone. And we're still talking about a system that evolved a very long time ago.

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Srini: Let's do this. Let's talk about one flow and all the triggers, but there's something I want to talk about that I think is really important here. And that's passion. You say that passion is a potent driver yet for all its upsides. Passion can be a fairly selfish experience.

Srini: Being all consumed means you're all consumed. There's not much room for other people, but if you're going to tackle the impossible, sooner or later, you're going to need some outside assistance. Thus, at this point in the process, it's time to transform the fire of passion into the rocket fuel of purpose.

Srini: And the reason that, I wanted to, particularly ask you about that part is because, commencement speeches, self-help books basically perpetuate the message of following your passion. And for most people, you may remember Cal Newport's book so good. They can't ignore it.

Srini: This is actually bad advice. Like it doesn't lead to fulfillment. It leads to poverty. And often as a road to nowhere. So one, when you hear that, like w where do people get the, missed the boat when it comes to passion? Because I think they take it quite literally when they hear Oprah get on stage on a commencement speech, safe saying, follow your passion.

Srini: So

Steven Kotler: I like to start by demystifying some stuff and making stuff really basic and simple. Okay. Why does, so there are five big intrinsic motivators, curiosity, passion, purpose, autonomy, and mastery, the hell. Did they give you what motivation scientifically is defined as the energy for action. Now that energy in any situation is spent on two different things, spent on the action, the thing you're doing, and if you're writing a book, you're going to that action is the same.

Steven Kotler: You got to write the goddamn book. If you're bowling, you got to go bowling. So there's no. And those are skills that you acquire gradually over time. So if you're interested in quickly leveling up your performance, you, while you have to master skills in that matters, that's a long, slow process as well. No.

Steven Kotler: So the other half of the equation is not attention. Attention is a huge drain on resources, right? Your brain uses 25% of your energy at rest. It's 2% of your body mass. So attention is a big deal. Why does curiosity matter? Why does passion matter? Why does PR purpose matter? I lost a word there, man.

Steven Kotler: I'm sorry. I had a senior velvet or something. What is purpose matter? It's because all those things give us focus for. I'm curious about, so then you pay attention to it, right? Boom. Focus for free. You don't have to work so hard if you're passionate about it, you pay even more attention to it. Focus for free if it's purpose.

Steven Kotler: So I got to back up and tell you one other thing. When you're talking about neuro-biological systems, curiosity is a little bit of the neurochemical, norepinephrine, and a little bit of dopamine, passion, way more neurochemical and dope, main purpose. You get all of that neurochemical or all of that nor epinephrin and domain.

Steven Kotler: And you also start getting pro-social chemicals that show up when other people are involved, right? So you get endorphins and oxytocin and serotonin. Those are just more bigger reward chemicals. In other words, more drugs in the body. So we're not talking about anything that's really high-minded or mystical.

Steven Kotler: You're literally talking about bigger hits of foundational reward chemistry that amplify motivated. And focus and do a bunch of other performance enhancing stuff. So that's the right. That's the big deal. That's what you're talking about. There's nothing mystical going on. I'm not saying by the way, there isn't high-minded and ethical and like purpose has like real value in the world.

Steven Kotler: You know what I mean? That's totally apart from the neurobiology, but from a neuro-biological peak performance perspective is a very selfish thing to have that's so that's just like plate the curve place to start. I think you're asking again, you're asking second level, second order questions, right? Like where does passion get derailed?

Steven Kotler: I think the reason a lot of passion gets, so you'll notice in the, in, in the book. There's an order to this sequence, right? And curiosity is literally designed, rebuilt into passion. Passion is designed to be turned into purpose. Once an organism has purpose, it wants Tonomy the freedom to pursue that purpose.

Steven Kotler: Once it has that autonomy, it wants mastery the skills to pursue that purpose. Following that there are levels of goal setting, which gives the whole organism direction, that you need to get into place. And then the next thing that gets trained up is grit. So one of the reasons I think this gets derailed for people is passion is very, it's fun.

Steven Kotler: There's a lot of reward neurochemistry and all of those intrinsic motivators are flow triggers. So you wouldn't get all this stuff, right? You get it all aligned point in the same direction, start getting more flow in the equation. This is biological. Exactly. What's supposed to happen, biologically, this is what's supposed to happen because flow is essentially, you can't, you need the flow because you're going to need grit next.

Steven Kotler: Because the motivation is going to run out. The fun is going to run out. You're going to start hitting problems. I have spent a long time studying entrepreneurship and most startups that are not funded, well-funded tend to Copart at what I call the fourth problem. They start, people start a company, first problem shows up and they're like, oh wow, everything was going great.

Steven Kotler: And oh, this is a real, let's solve this. Everybody leans in and it's fun and they solve it and it was hard. And then the second problem crops up, and this one is a little oh, wow. Okay. Here's another one. I'm not, it's all, not all dopamine high goal setting. We're going to do it's problem solving.

Steven Kotler: Okay. This is real. And they lean in on that. The third problem comes up and they come to the realization that is true in any company, which is wait a minute, running a company is not about setting these lofty goals. It's about solving all the problems that stand between me and my lofty goals until I get the system.

Steven Kotler: And the third one is when reality shows up and the fourth problem is when they're like, oh my God, I don't have the fucking energy for this. This is endless. And it's where most startups start to get derailed. You usually lose two or three key players right there. And you either do it for financial reasons.

Steven Kotler: This company isn't producing enough money, fast enough for me, cause we keep these problems keep happening or mostly for emotional reasons. It's de-motivating and if you have not trained up the proper grit skills, you can't get to the next step. The problem is. In today's world. And this is, so again, we're going back to, we're all answering.

Steven Kotler: You asked a great question, which is early on, which is why are there conference junkies and workshop junkies? And they fucking can't get anywhere, right? What is going on with that? It's the same answer to why does passion get derailed? People think that just because they're, you're deeply passionate about it, it's always going to feel good.

Steven Kotler: And it doesn't. And if you haven't properly trained up grit and it's not all your intrinsic motivators, aren't aligned and it's not producing flow on a regular basis, you will burn out. You're de-motivated and you've got a recipe for burnout, and that's often what happens and and, but mostly workshop junkies.

Steven Kotler: What do you get at these workshops? You get more dopamine and you get more social reward chemists. So you are getting the same thing you would actually be getting from passion and purpose through an external thing. And that's another part of the problem, right? If you're, if your body is craving these reward chemicals in that craving as part of performance, and you're finding an artificial way to satisfy them, rather than doing the work, you have another.

Srini: Yeah. Wow. Okay. So you basically say long-haul creativity is a mystery pile. The top of mystery creative careers are slippery. One hit wonders are bound, but few are enduring superstars, a creative career. Isn't about climbing the mountain. It's about always climbing the mountain. And this level of commitment requires not just originality, but rather the ultimate expression of originality, the consistent reinvention of self.

Srini: And I think that struck me because, I think that William had a really good point. For every person who starts a blog, how many actually end up becoming published authors. If I remember correctly just from talking to editors, that's like a one in 5,000.

Steven Kotler: This is actually so long haul creativity.

Steven Kotler: The very first. Thing that I talk about. There is a lesson learned from my, one of my first mentors who I started in an undergraduate school was, is John Barth, who was the godfather of Metta fiction. So everything that is Thomas Pynchon, David Foster Wallace, all that whole side of literature started with John Barth.

Steven Kotler: And he taught me basically, he did the most experimental wild shit ever. And yet he was incredibly successful. Like he managed to somehow bridge that gap, right? He, it changed the way language, sound, books sound. The only people who had done that kind of stuff before him was with James Joyce in a sense.

Steven Kotler: And so it was really routed radical and what he was doing. And I was thinking about it and he managed to have a very long career. And one of the things he told me is you can never have too many arrows in your quiver. And what he meant was you had to surround your crap. It wasn't excellence in what it wasn't.

Steven Kotler: If you wanted to be a writer didn't mean you just had to be great at writing. You had to be great. First of all, at writing every kind of style imaginable, advertising, copy, marketing, copy speeches, grant, writing, books, everything you had to get good at everything because over a long career, you need how to do everything.

Steven Kotler: And then you're going to have to figure out what are the actual industries that you're also in every writer today is also in the marketing and PR industry. They're in the, how do I talk on television? How do I sound good on radio? How do I talk on podcasts? Get super media trained industry they're in the right on and on.

Steven Kotler: And the people who actually have real careers, long careers in creativity, what Duran is talking about is one. They not only managed to reinvent themselves to understand that. Being doing their job, doing the creative thing that they're best at in the world is only a tiny percentage of the job. And if you do what a lot of artists do when they start to find out that the job also involves, all this other shit that nobody wanted to do in the first place they bail or they get bad manager like, or they put too many people between them and the money, managers, agents, all that, all that stuff. And they write blah, blah, blah. And they fail to remember one fundamental lesson also here that I think is worth saying out loud on this podcast, which is every single industry in the world that has been built on the backs of creatives and or entertainers and or athletes is a business that was designed to exploit the talent out.

Steven Kotler: Trust me, by the way. There's where I, this is another thing. You were part of flow for writers also, I believe. And one of the things I tell people is you've got to remember as a creative, you are always somebody's bitch. I remember every level and right. And don't kid yourself.

Steven Kotler: It doesn't matter how big a name you are. There are only a handful of people in the world. Under a hundred, 200 who have the muscle to like, get a publisher, admit they did something wrong, for example, like literally that. So I like won my pub. I've got publishers over me. I've got all my publishing houses to, once you have an audience, they have needs and demands and desires and wants.

Steven Kotler: And they take things really personally, I'll give you a simple. COVID is killing publishing right now. So the Arnhem on Ted bestseller lists, we pre-sold enormous numbers of copies. Cause people, my fans are phenomenal and they love me. And COVID the printer printing is broken. Two different printers, went out of business.

Steven Kotler: Every publisher in the world is now relying on two or three printers. And all of them are doing things like canceling print runs or delaying print runs without telling anybody, because there's nothing that can be done. So I have customers who pre-ordered a book in November who will not get it for another month.

Steven Kotler: And there is nothing I can do in my power as far as I can tell to change those facts. Like we have taken extraordinary measure after extraordinary measure kind of thing. And like I have an audience that is really mad. Where the hell are my books. And I had to write an apology where I was like, look, I gotta tell you, my brother doesn't have his books.

Steven Kotler: Like major influencers who could really help me move the needle. They don't have their books. This is I've got fads who are mad at me and I worked for the publisher and they can't fix it. Like you just have to understand that stuff too, because it conflicts with the amount to be a creative, your ego has to get enormous.

Steven Kotler: You have to make choices on a daily basis where there's no right answer. And you have to do it for all sort of all the marbles in that moment by moment basis. Like creative decisions are hard. How do you know if you're making the right ones? How are you telling, these cuts, all that stuff.

Steven Kotler: I would say that one of the things that kills most creatives over time is that the experience of writing a book as is my book is wrong. Every single motherfucking day, I come to it. Besides the first day I start writing it. And the day that I sent it to my publisher and say, okay, it's fucking done.

Steven Kotler: I can't look at it again. Every other experience is a come to the book. I read what I wrote the day before. And it's not as brilliant as when I first wrote it or the problems that was happy the day before only magnified now and worse, right? That's the experience, it's the experience of abject failure.

Steven Kotler: Every time you encounter your material and you make decisions that you hope when you come back to it, the next day don't produce more abject failure, right? That's what you're doing. That's the encounter. So I talk about I laugh when, out of say, oh, I have to get used to failure.

Steven Kotler: Yeah. If you haven't seen anything, dry being a creative, and this is everybody's experience. And it's also everybody's experience that after the book comes out, most of the time when you go through it, all are the errors, I can, I've written 11. 1213 books. And there are two of them.

Steven Kotler: Three of them may be that I can read without really wanting to hurt myself.

Srini: Yeah. I feel like that about old interviews. I remember even one of my books went to print with a typo and I only recognized it because I was in the studio reading the audio book and I stumbled and I'm like, wait a minute.

Srini: This is a type I'm like, shit, this is

Steven Kotler: you think that's bad. My first novel came out. My brother sent me a copy. Two weeks later with the angriest. I'd ever seen that said, what didn't you, God damn read this thing. There are 463 typos in this manuscript. I've highlighted all of them please. Or 163 typos. Now it was a long book, but it was like 463 pages.

Steven Kotler: Meaning they got something wrong. Once a page, my printer got something. These were not, I didn't make errors. These are literal typos in the text, spacing errors and grammar, like the copy editor and the printer made 400 and they made an error page in the first edition of my first book. So I feel your pain.

Steven Kotler: Yeah,

Srini: Let's do this. In the interest of time, I know we've gone for almost about an hour talking about all this other stuff, but I know that, you really go into very tactical stuff. Basically I think triggers we've talked about before and those seem pretty obvious with like concentration being at the top of the list.

Srini: But I think the four stages of the flow cycle I know this because I've been to your seminar. But I think that would be really beneficial for people to hear, like how basically I think that everybody wants to know how the hell they actually get into flow. So right.

Steven Kotler: Let's let me back that question up and start someplace different and tell people a little bit about what the art of the muzzle is about, what it does and how it ends up in flow.

Steven Kotler: And then I will walk into that cause it makes there's just five more minutes. That'll make way more sense for three more minutes, which is this turns out from a biological. There's only a, there's a limited set. If you're interested in peak performance from a cognitive standpoint, I'll talk about physical skills.

Steven Kotler: From a cognitive standpoint, there is a set of tools. There are motivation tools. There are learning tools. There are creativity tools and there are flow tools. Each of those words, by the way, is a catch-all psychologists say motivation. They mean extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation, goal setting, and grit learning is a subset for a whole bunch of knowledge, acquisition skills acquisition.

Steven Kotler: How do blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, creativity. As we've talked about, there's a bunch of creative stuff and flow. There's a bunch of flow stuff. The way to think about this quartet of skills from a people forms perspective is motivation gets you into the game. Learning keeps you there and allows you to continue to play creativity, especially if you're going after hard, challenging, possible.

Steven Kotler: I don't know how to get there goals. Creativity is how you see. And then flow is how you turbo boost all of this stuff, beyond all reasonable expectations in all honesty. So that's the sequence. So when we've been taught, we start about talking about motivation and that is kinds of things covered that we skipped over learning, but there's a bunch of learning stuff in the book as well.

Steven Kotler: Finally, there's a bunch of creativity stuff and it ends with flow. And if you're interested in more flow in your life, as you pointed out, there's two sets of things you want to know when no. How does the experience work? Cause it's not, it doesn't work like a light switch. You're not in the zone or out of the zone.

Steven Kotler: It's a four-stage process. You got to know where you are in the flow cycle, these four stages. So you can go where to go next so you can get more flow in your life. And finally you need to know the flow trigger. Which are the preconditions that lead to more flow, and those are applied best applied different triggers, work best at different points in the cycle.

Steven Kotler: So you put it all together. You have the full cognitive peak performance, sweet, the sour biology was designed to work. This is everything we mean when we talk about peak performance. And by the time you get to the end of the book, right? Post flow, yes, there's a bunch of onboarding processes and there's some stuff to do along the way.

Steven Kotler: And a lot of practical tactical in the end, it's six things to do every day and seven things to do every week. And some of those six things take, five minutes, 10 minutes, a couple of the other ones fit inside. Other stuff, you probably already doing that sort of thing. So the point is in the end of this, you're really interested in going after higher goals in your life, follow the biology and you get farther faster with far less fuss.

Steven Kotler: If you pardon the alliteration. In the middle of this is the flow cycle, right? The four stage process that is flow that you asked about and yeah. Knowing about it as super useful, because you can't live in a flow state. And because you can't live in a flow state, you have to go through these four stages if you want more flow.

Steven Kotler: And some of them are decidedly on flowy. First stage in the flow cycle is known as. You still loading phase you're loading and overloading the brain with information. And our inner experience of this process is literally frustration. So in peak performance, frustration is a sign that you're going in the right direction, not the wrong direction often.

Steven Kotler: And that's very difficult to know this is this is you're trying to learn how to do stuff, right? This could be everything from I'm out skiing right now. I'm working on my nose, butter three. So I'm trying to remember to lean over the nose and my skis as I start to go into my 360 and I'm trying to get used to launch it off jumps, backwards in the air and not exactly being able to see, these are all the skills that I'm trying to onboard on the way sooner or later, they're going to snap together and do a nose butter, 360 for writing. This could be what I'm interviewing tons of people and doing research and figuring out how structured. Either way, right? I'm often frustrated and most people when they're frustrated along the way with skill acquisition or knowledge, acquisition, think I'm going in the wrong direction.

Steven Kotler: You actually go into the right direction next stage in the process. Once you're super frustrated, take your mind off the damn problem. The reason is we have to automatize those skills flow takes place when sort of the brain has the app perfect action plan, and can execute those actions automatically without conscious involvement to, for this to happen.

Steven Kotler: You literally got to stop thinking about the shit you're trying to learn because it is too difficult. The conscious mind is too limited. And so what works here is long walks in nature. Low-grade physical exercise, a bunch of stuff there. This is often followed by the flow state itself. Which is the third stage in the cycle.

Steven Kotler: And that is often followed by a recovery period on the back end. I want to go back to the release thing. Sometimes release is take your mind off the problem, go for a long walk in nature. Other times, if you're like in an activity like I'm skiing and I want to get into flow and I'm trying to learn new stuff, that it won't work.

Steven Kotler: It won't work well. Look, I'm pushing too hard then I just want to back off. And go ski something really mellow and try to be creative and innovative there. I'm pushing too hard and I want to change the train or if I'm writing and I'm really stuck. And I'm pushing too hard. I'm trying to do something really difficult.

Steven Kotler: I'll back off and I'll say. She just fixed this one sentence once a time. In fact, get the first four words that your only goal for right now, and you have an hour to do it. Go ahead. Kind of thing, where I'll really back off the challenge with the same goal. So does that make any sense? Does that, yeah,

Srini: that makes complete sense.

Srini: Yeah, we've talked about the triggers before. I think those are really obvious. Any buddy who's heard tell Newport or heard you on our show knows that focuses like this critical part of it, but in the interest of time, I want to finish with two questions. Part of what's so fascinating to me about your work is the caliber of the people that you profile.

Srini: You talk about Peter Diamandis, so I know you've co-written books with and the reason this has come up and I've asked a handful of people, this question but we had Justine Musk. Talking about the psychology of visionaries and what it actually takes to accomplish at, an Ilan level.

Srini: And I think the thing that stayed with me always from that conversation was she said, I don't want to get all deterministic, but I don't think that this is something like, the level of like Elan, intelligence and drive is something that can be learned. And I wonder based on your research, like what you would say about that, because like I'm pretty clear on the fact that, no matter how much I practice, if I went and did LeBron's training regimen to the letter, he'd probably kick

Steven Kotler: the shit out of me.

Steven Kotler: So there's an argument about this in the world at a really deep, important, interesting level, right? It's talent versus skill or growth mindset versus fixed mindset or genetics nature versus nurture, whatever, take your pick and. I tend to believe and I could be wrong, but I, and this is more opinion than fact at this point, cause it's an open, ongoing debate.

Steven Kotler: I ha I believe if you get a perfect match fit. Now this is a term out of economics. I talk about it a lot in the book. This was talked a lot about a lot by David Epstein, his book range. If you get a perfect match fit, that is a match between who you are, your personality, your upbringing, your culture, all that stuff, your values, your goals, your skills, your strengths, and then you apply the tools of peak performance.

Steven Kotler: You can be. World-class I think that is true. I do not think you exactly get to pick where you go. You know what I mean? I weigh 160 pounds and I can ski or mountain bike at a world-class level, but I am never going to play in the. Whale hunters is just never going to happen or I'll give you another example.

Steven Kotler: I I'm dying. Like I don't mind when I do math, any kind, it is slow and I have to think a lot about it and I basically have to turn math into language and then I have to turn it into the language that I understand. And then I can do language at a really high, fast level. When I'm around people whose brain can do math, the way I can do language, I'm like, wow, that looks like fricking magic.

Steven Kotler: Now I know I can learn the magic trick with 10 years practice that I know. Will I ever be able to do it quite like them? Possibly? No, because it's a second language. And my first language is, oh

Srini: yeah, sorry, go ahead.

Steven Kotler: But I, I. I don't know, man. I like, I, again, I don't think I'm an example of anything, but I have world-class skills, meaning top 5%, top 1% in seven or eight or nine different disciplines.

Steven Kotler: And I was not an extraordinary anything when I started, whenever this conversation started that my sixth grade teacher told me I wouldn't live to see 30. Yeah. Yeah. And by the way, I, that's the other thing that I saw the action adventure sport athletes, right? That was what caught my attention.

Steven Kotler: And action sports was not that these guys were doing the impossible. That was cool and unbelievable and demanded explanation. It was that they'd come from broken homes and bad childhoods, that very little money. They had very little education. There was a lot of drugs, a lot of drinking, a lot of risk taking.

Steven Kotler: And normally when you put that shit together in a community, you get jail or dead. You don't get the reinvention of human performance over and over again, and that's what you were getting. So it caught my attention and it turns out, I don't think that's all that rare. I think that's far more common than people notice.

Steven Kotler: So I, I, what I think honestly is when I hear somebody raised the genetics question, personally, I think you're making excuses for yourself or you haven't found, or you haven't found don't have good match fit. That's what I, that's how I think about it. I appreciate everybody's got the, everybody's got those excuses.

Steven Kotler: You know what I mean? It's hard here, period. In life, on the planet earth. It's hard year. It's hard for everyone and it was hard for Elan Jesus. The dunes demons are big. Pig. And that's, not uncommon anywhere you see. So yeah, like I've met Elan and, I wrote a book about his work and he's very close to Peter and Peter in my world a little bit.

Steven Kotler: And his brain does some amazing stuff, but there's a lot of other stuff. He can't do it, all that a lot of other people can do. So I think everybody's brain can do amazing stuff. You get a point in this, in the right direction. I don't know. I could be totally wrong about this, but that's, this is how I believe.

Steven Kotler: And what I really believe is this. If you're willing to believe the same thing, your life is going to improve, it may not be true. But what we know about the neurobiology says if you're willing to believe the same thing. It's got a much greater chance of becoming true. Like you've got no shot if you don't believe it.

Srini: I appreciate the match quality thing so much because you know much like your cell, I'm an Indian person who sucks at math. So imagine, like failing to live up to a cultural stereotype. And I remember I learned that in computer science and I remember very distinctly. I was like, right after I graduated from business school, my dad's oh, not everybody can be Steve jobs.

Srini: And I thought, oh man, I'm like, that's pessimistic. You don't believe in me. But I realized that was rational optimism at work. I'm like, you don't want a guy who sucks at math writing code or building hardware.

Steven Kotler: It's true. I agree with that. But that doesn't mean you wouldn't be an invaluable asset to companies that did either right.

Steven Kotler: With your facility with language. And I, yes, I hear you. And I like, I come from my father. As I said my father was the first guy in his family to go to college. His parents are Russian immigrants who came over to escape the Holocaust. And got here.

Steven Kotler: My grandfather was owned a fish market on the south side of Chicago which was really weird place for it. A Russian shoot. Don't a fish market. I will tell you that. And my father and his brothers were natural born athletes and they all had trials for the Cubs. And a grandmother told my fathers, you can't, you're not going, you're not playing baseball.

Steven Kotler: You're the first guy in the family can go to college. You're going to college. We're like, we're going to figure it out. And he did. And, but I grew up in a family where like you had to be a baseball player. And if you weren't a baseball player, you had to be a businessman. And instead my father got like a delinquent creative action sport.

Steven Kotler: With a deep passion for science, like he wanted a businessman, he became an accountant because he thought it was the safest thing in the world. He gave up, his baseball group gave me an accountant. He wanted a son who liked baseball and standard, like actuarial tables kind of shit. And he got me add it.

Steven Kotler: Let's just say that I, I spent most of my childhood not being the athlete, that I was supposed to be at all and wanting, you know what I'm in. So like it's a weird one on it at that the genetics don't always pan out, even when they're there for you.

Srini: Yeah. Yeah. We could easily talk for two hours about that.

Srini: But I know you have to get going. So I want to finish with my final question which I know I've asked you before, and that is, what do you think it is that makes somebody or something unmistakable.

Steven Kotler: To do a dangerous thing was style is what I call art said Bukovsky and I'm not a hundred percent certain. That's not what we mean by unmistakable could be wrong, but I don't know. Let me start, I'll stop there because I've never given that answer. Never get that answer before. I've been on your show before.

Steven Kotler: I don't think I've answered the question that way before, but I think that's true in I, what I mean by that is all great art or sport or those kinds of things that we would talk about is unmistakable creativity, innovation, all that stuff. Would it, wherever it is business or writing or art or sport we're looking at somebody who is risking a great deal.

Steven Kotler: Even if you're not even noticing. I was, I'll give you an example from writing that I think about. Cause this is I learned how to do a particularly hard thing from Joan Didion writes about like really difficult emotional stuff. And she does it with no emotion. Cause she knows that all emotional language gets flowery and it tends to screw that up.

Steven Kotler: So instead of she just tells the truth as it is. So she's basically tells you in the middle of the white album, very casually that I want you to know what you're getting a woman in the middle of a nervous breakdown. So nevermind the fact that I'm super fricking famous, not all these, award committees, I'm having a nervous breakdown and that's what's going on.

Steven Kotler: And she doesn't like that. And you trust her despite the fact that she just told you she's an unreliable narrator in the middle of the nervous breakdown. Like it's an amazing trick and it's a way of doing but she's risking a great. Because it's in the first paragraph of the white album and which was like her second or third major, it mattered the book mattered a lot.

Steven Kotler: And she's literally telling you that Hey, your heroin is losing her shit and check it out. And that's where we start the book. And it's a big risk from an authorial perspective, from a career perspective, from all of the people that are going to lead that perspective and real. So even if you don't notice it to do a dangerous thing with style, which exactly what Didion does with all that stuff, that's, I wouldn't, because that's what I call art.

Steven Kotler: I don't know if that's what I call art, but that's definitely what makes something on Mr.

Srini: Amazing. I feel like I could talk to you for hours on end, man. This has been absolutely incredible. Where can people, even though I know, apparently they're not even, able to get it right?

Steven Kotler: Cause it's even worse than I made it out to be the reason nobody can get the goddamn book is because there was some crazy error at the printer also.

Steven Kotler: And all the books went to Amazon and Amazon will not let them go. So everybody who wants to get a copy of the art impossible, please go to Amazon because there's a glut of books there. You can't get them any place else, but Amazon has got you sorted. And Stephen coller.com is me. If you want to know more about the book art of impossible.com is the book, the art of impossible.com.

Steven Kotler: And if you're interested in anything flow with low trainings, flow research, collective.com, we'll get you that.

Srini: Amazing. And for everybody listening, we will wrap the show with that.