Today on the podcast:

Steven Kotler is a New York Times bestselling author, an award-winning journalist, and the Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective. 

He is one of the world’s leading experts on human performance.

Steven is the author of eleven bestsellers (out of fourteen books), including The Art of Impossible, The Future is Faster Than You Think, Stealing Fire, The Rise of Superman, Bold, and Abundance. 

His work has been nominated for two Pulitzer Prizes, translated into over 50 languages, and has appeared in over 100 publications, including the New York Times Magazine, Wired, Atlantic Monthly, Wall Street Journal, TIME, and the Harvard Business Review.

His new book Gnar Country – growing old, staying rad is available now. 

Episode Outline

  • 06:45 Defining “peak performance aging”
  • 10:09 Flow triggers and how to get “in the zone”
  • 21:28 Achieving flow state by hitting the 1% “sweet spot” of a new challenge
  • 27:14 Other flow triggers
  • 33:00 Using curiosity to manage anxiety
  • 34:34 Grit is the last resort and what you need to do before then
  • 39:09 How “seeing the whole hill” can calm you down
  • 41:54 Why taking choice off the table can be the secret to peak performance
  • 48:19 The reason hesitation is deadly in you are in or entering a flow stage
  • 52:58 How to get started on your journey to peak performance

Key Points

  • “Peak performance aging” is all about applying our biology to the second half of our lives. For many, the mindset of “old age” can start as early as their 30s. However, interventions going all the up until your 80s (and perhaps beyond, though research has not been conducted beyond this age group) very much still matter.
  • Achieving a flow state—often called “getting in the zone”—amplifies learning. Studies by the U.S. Department of Defense found that soldiers in flow learn target acquisition skills 240-500% faster than normal. Tapping into your creativity is one way to achieve flow state: When you link ideas together in a new way, you trigger a little burst of dopamine which drives focus and flow. Steven lists 26 flow triggers, including novelty, complexity, risk, pattern recognition, complete concentration, curiosity, and autonomy.
  • If you always keep your word to yourself, it becomes a habit, and it becomes something you “just do” every day. As soon as you start breaking your word to yourself, your brain, which loves efficiency, will do its best to avoid doing more than it needs. In other words, if you give your brain an out, it will always take the out.

Powerfull Quotes by Stephen

  • When I talk about “peak performance”, I don’t mean anything fancier than getting our biology to work for us rather than against us.
  • You can use curiosity in almost any high-stress situation to calm yourself down because your brain can’t do both at once.

Steven Kotler

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