Ep 46: Steven Kotler (part 1)

August 25, 2015

This is part 1 of a 2 part conversation. Steven Kotler is a multiple New York Times bestselling author, award-winning journalist and one of the world’s leading experts on ultimate human performance. He is the co-founder and director of research for the Flow Genome Project, an international organisation dedicated to the scientific study and research of flow and peak states. His book ‘The Rise of Superman’ was one of the most talked about books in 2013 and the first book in history to land on national bestseller lists in the sports, science, and business categories simultaneously and his 2015 book ‘BOLD’ has been described as a “visionary roadmap for change” by president Bill Clinton.


In This Episode:

  • Steven had a depilating illness, he was only about 10% functional and had been in bed for almost 3 years. We learn how a flow state helped bring him back to life.
  • We find out what exactly a flow state is and what neurobiological changes occur in our body when we move into these states.
  •  Steven shares the results of a study of over 8,000 people about how to get into flow and achieve optimal states. 48% of the participants found their flow in a certain way (and it’s not high adrenalin sports!)
  •  “The brain loves nothing more than maybe. If we are in a noval, uncertain situation where anything can happen (as long as we’re not terrified), it’s awesome, we love it!”
  •  The traditional view was that we are only using 10% of our brain at anyone time, so ultimate performance or a state of flow must logically be the brain firing on all cylinders. However, turns out we have it all wrong!
  •  What is the ‘God Helmut’?
  •  We hear how spiritual experiences could soon be available to everyone, at scale, through a game or even an app on your phone.
  •  We discuss the topic of Mind Uploading, where consciousness could be uploaded onto a computer.
  •  “All the major religions use the threat of the hereafter, ‘what’s going to happen next’ to shape behaviour in this life, well we’re coming into a place where the hereafter is actually the here and now. So what happens to theological morality in the face of technological immortality? That’s sounds like a crazy question but it’s something that we’re going to have to actually answer probably in this century”
  •  We find out what Moonshot thinking is?
  •  “An expert is often somebody who tells you how something can’t be done”
  •  “If you seem stuck, begin again at the next higher level”


People Mentioned:

Robert Sapolsky

Wilder Penfield

Seth Morrison (Skiier)

Michael Persinger (Built God Helmut)

Astro Teller

Larry Page

Peter Diamandis


Things Mentioned:

The ‘God Helmet’ video on Big Think

Shakti Headset by Todd Murphy

Descartes ‘I think therefore I am’

British Telecom: ’The Soul Catcher Project’

‘Oculus Rift’ virtual reality


Books Mentioned:

The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance by Steven Kotler

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis   and Steven Kotler

Tomorrowland: Our Journey from Science Fiction to Science Fact  by Steven Kotler


Connect with Steven:




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