welcome to the huberman Lab podcast where we discuss science and science-based tools for everyday
[Music] life I’m Andrew huberman and I’m a professor of neurobiology and
Opthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine my guest today is Robert Green
Robert Green is an author who has written more than five best-selling books including the 48 Laws of Power the
laws of human nature and Mastery he did his bachelor’s training at the University of California Berkeley and
the University of Wisconsin at Madison Robert Green’s books are both unique and important for several reasons not the
least of which is that they explore the interaction between the psychology of self self-exploration and the psychology
of human interaction all rooted in history and modern culture and at the same time in a way that pertains to
everybody I first learned about Robert’s work from reading the book Mastery which to my mind is a brilliant exploration
and a practical tool for how to think about and pursue one’s purpose purpose whenever I’m asked for book suggestions
I always include Mastery in my top three recommendations during today’s discussion we cover a wide range of
topics including how to find and pursue and Achieve one’s purpose we talk about
the selection of a life partner as well as romantic and other types of relationships we also discussed the
topics of motivation and urgency and this concept of death ground which arose during our discussion of Robert’s recent
stroke Robert stroke rendered him certain limitations but also has allowed him to explore how to write how to
exercise indeed how to interface with life in general in new ways that allow
him to continue to expand his sense of purpose I’m certain that by the end of today’s episode you will have gleaned
tremendous amounts of new knowledge that will allow you to navigate forward along the path to your purpose perhaps find
your purpose if you feel you haven’t done that yet as well as to greatly enhance your relationship with yourself
with others and indeed to the world around you before we begin I’d like to emphas EMP iiz that this podcast is
Sponsors: ROKA, Helix Sleep & Waking Up
separate from my teaching and research roles at Stanford it is however part of my desire and effort to bring zero cost
to Consumer information about science and science related tools to the general public in keeping with that theme I’d
like to thank the sponsors of today’s podcast our first sponsor is Roka Roa
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access a free 30-day trial and now for my discussion with Robert Green Robert
Mastery (The Book), Purpose
I’m so happy you’re here I’m really really happy to be here Andrew thank you so much for inviting me a short
story in 2015 I was teaching a course to undergraduates this was a big course 450
students where was this this was when I was a professor at University of California San Diego I was about to move
back to Stanford um but the course was entitled neural circuits in health and
disease but there was a final lecture where I would do a lot of Q&A with the students about science about careers
about career paths and what I found was that many of the students had questions about not just science but about how to
learn and forage for information yeah and I recommended three books at the end
of the course every year that I taught it I taught it for four years and one of
the books was the book longitude which is a wonderful story about discovery of timekeeping devices at c um one book
I’ll leave as a mystery um not to be not to be mysterious but because it’s not it’s it’s a science book I’ll just tell
you what it is it’s um uh principles of Neuroscience so I thought that they I don’t know that one yeah it’s a big it
makes a better a door stop uh for most than than a book but it’s it’s a wonderful resource um if you want to
learn about neuroscience and your book Mastery wow and the reason I recommended Mastery is because these students were
soon going to go into the great Jungle of you know post uh undergraduate
education and and for me I found Mastery to be an absolutely transformative book
in that it taught me so much about how to learn from others how to expect
certain types of um interactions when one kind of assigns themselves to a
mentor um and vice versa and it talked about some things that we’ll get into in
more depth today but not the least of which is about identifying that um unique seed that exists within all of us
that can guide our best decisions in terms of finding our purpose and it and so I will usually end with a great debt
of gratitude and I’ll probably do that again at the end but I want to start with a great debt of gratitude than
Mastery transformed my entire life and and in many ways this podcast probably wouldn’t exist were it not for Mastery
because um it really embedded in me this idea that we all have uh a deeper
purpose and it explains how to go about finding that purpose so I tell you that
Finding Purpose, Childhood, Learning & Emotional Engagement
and I also will use that as a way for um asking you now since I’m sure people’s ears are pricked up to this you know how
do you find your purpose um could you share with us what what it is to find
one’s purpose and how early life events perhaps can cue us to what that purpose
is for each of us well thank you for that that marvelous introduction I’m almost blushing that’s that’s fantastic
story um well you know being a human being is not easy as opposed to an
animal because we’re born and nobody gives us like a direction our parents might be a little bit our college
teachers Etc mentors but generally we’re on our own and it’s a very very
difficult process you wake up in the morning and you don’t really know what you’re what you can do you could choose
12 different paths it can be very confusing and very overwhelming when you find that sense of purpose when you find
what I call your life’s task everything has a direction everything has a purpose your energy is concentrated it’s not
like you’re just going down a single narrow pathway it’s not like life becomes boring and it’s just about
discipline and solving problems it’s actually the most exciting thing that can ever happen to you because you never
have that lost feeling you wake up in the morning and you go yeah this is what I need to accomplish people come at you
with all kinds of distractions and boring and irritating things you’re able to cut it out it’s just the most
marvelous piece of internal radar that you can have so I genuinely wish that
everybody can find that that kind of internal radar and so it’s not easy and
I understand that there’s no like instant formula because we’re all about instant formulas it’s difficult and I
want you to know that so it’s not like Robert can give me the answer in three minutes no I can’t but there’s a process
involved it’s not it’s not you know a mystery you can follow a very singular
process and the idea is you’re were talking about childhood the way I like to frame it is
when you were born you are a phenomenon you are unique your DNA has never
occurred in the history of the universe going back billions of years it will never occur in the future your life
experien with your parents and everything that you experienc in your early years going on up is unique it’s
yours you’re one of a kind right so that is your source of power to waste that is
just the worst thing you can do in your life and what what the power is is finding that uniqueness what makes you
you and how you can mine that and how you can go deep into it and use that to
create a career path right and so I tell people when you’re a child when you’re
four or five or even younger you have what the great psychologist maslo called
impulse voices they Little voices in your head that say I love this I hate
that I like this food I don’t like when Mommy moves this way I like when Daddy comes from from here you’re very CED
into who you are and what you like and what you don’t like and these voices kind of direct you in certain ways
right and when you’re very young they direct you towards intellectual mental
Pursuits as well and there’s a book I recommend for everybody uh it’s Howard Gardner’s five frames of mind it’s
helped me immensely the idea is he talks about five forms of
intelligence our problem is we think of intelligence as most intellectual but
there are many forms of intelligence there’s the intelligence that has to do with words there’s abstract intelligence
that has to do with patterns and Mathematics there’s kinetic intelligence that has to do with the body there’s
social intelligence he has five of them and the idea is your brain naturally
veers towards one of them it can Veer towards two of them that happens but generally one of them kind of dominates
right and it’s like a grain in your brain that’s going in a certain direction ction you want to go with that
grain and because that’s where your power will lie so when you’re young if
you go back and think about when you were four or five you you can maybe get a picture of some kind of direction or
voice inside of you that was impelling you towards this I know for me it was
words from I can remember when I was six years old I was just obsessed with words just the letters in Words almost like in
almost slightly schizophrenic way I would spell words backwards I would take them apart I would do anagrams I love
paland drums right so I had a thing about words and language it’s very
Primal some people you know Albert Einstein when he was four years old his
father gave him a birthday gift of a compass and he was just mesmerized by this Compass the idea that there are
invisible forces out there in the cosmos moving this needle and he’s obsessed with the idea of invisible forces Steve
Jobs when he was like seven or eight or maybe younger in Berling game California his father they passed by a store with
de technological devices in the window and he was just hypnotized by the design
of those devices and the glass tubes and everything so he wanted to go in that direction you know Tiger Woods saw his
father hitting golf balls in the garage and he was just like screaming with joy he had to he had to do that right you
know I can give you a million different examples of this of course these are people who are famous obviously we can
go back and find that it’s easier but what happens to you and please cut me
off if I’m going on too long no please continue please what happens to you is you’re seven now you’re getting older
and you’re starting to not hear that voice anymore you’re hearing the voice of your teachers telling you you’re not
good at this field you need to get better at math you know you shouldn’t be interested in these sports or anything
you should be going this dire your parents are starting to tell you this is the career they want for the direction
they want you to go in right you start hearing that more than your own voice and as you get older it gets
worse and worse and worse then when you’re a teenager it’s all about what other people are doing your peers what’s
cool what’s not cool you know and that kind of is more so all of these noise
enters your brain and you can’t hear that anymore you don’t know who you are and so you go to
college you kind of maybe choose a a major that seems practical that your
parents want you to to go into maybe you kind of wander around you’re not sure and then you enter the work world
without that inner radar that I’m talking about and you brother you’re lost right where should I go well I need
to make money right and so you make a choice based on the need to make a lot of money some not everyone but some
people do that and I understand that need we all need to make a living but
that can set you off on a very bad path because you’re not connected emotionally
the thing is when you figure out that Primal inclination that grain that’s inside of you then you have the the
energy to to do to be disciplined to go through boring tasks to learn you learn
at a faster rate because you’re emotionally engaged when you’re emotionally engaged in a subject the
brain learns twice three times four times as fast as when you’re not I
always give the example in college I studied foreign languages which was kind of a passion of mine for three or four
years I studied French and then I went to Paris and I couldn’t speak a word it
was it was useless because it didn’t teach me anything practical right I was totally confused and then but I was in
Paris and I and I loved it and I wanted to live there right and I had a girlfriend and I needed to speak French
to her and I can tell you in one month I learned more than those four years of University because I wanted to because I
was engaged my emotions were there it was like I had to survive to learn French whereas so most of us we don’t
have a need really to learn this subject We’re Half we’re paying half attention but when you find that thing that really
connects to you you’re paying deep attention your emotions are engaged you’re learning at a much faster rate
okay and so the thing is how do you find that when you’re older when you’re 21 I
I I give people a lot of help and it’s usually not so difficult we can go through that process it gets harder when
you’re 30 and you’ve been wandering around but it’s not impossible I didn’t really start find my exact path until I
was 38 39 to be honest so there’s hope when you get 40 and you get 50 gets more
and more difficult right and it’s very sad if you wasted that seed of uniqueness that I’m talking about and I
tell people there are ways of going back and we go through a process like archaeology we have to dig and dig and
dig and find those bones from your childhood that indicated what you were meant to do do but when you find your
life’s task everything opens up it doesn’t mean you figured out okay I’ve got to aim for this particular job when
I’m 28 that’s not how it works it gives you a sense of direction you can try different things you can experiment you
can have fun when you’re in your 20s you’re going to learn you’re going to learn skills but it gives you an overall
framework instead of whoa all this confusion this chaos social media the internet I could go here here here
you’re lost at C it gives you a very important sense of direction Compass as you described this I I have
Early Interests, Delight & Discovery
this image of um you know you mentioned animals um that presumably don’t have a
lot of flexibility in terms of the niches they can exist in but the way I imagine this process is that as a human
we’re plopped into a environment and here I’m using analogy where um we don’t
really know if we are an aquatic animal a terrestrial animal or a or an Aven
right or an amphibian or an amphibian for that matter um and to make the wrong choice right to
be an amphibian who’s trying to fly although I’m sure they’re out there um in the animal kingdom uh it it’s not
just a waste of time it’s probably deadly um and not to overd dramatize the
the failure of finding one’s purpose but I see it that way whereas um perhaps we could just say that the process of
finding one’s purpose is to to realize like ah you know um I’m an amphibian I can go in and out of water whereas a
bunch of other creatures around me stop at the water’s edge right right and this is really cool and a bunch of these
other things like these flying things that they can’t actually even go in the water some of them might you know be on the surface or dive into it but they
they can’t do what I can do so the process of self-discovery it sounds like it’s about um restricting one’s choices
to a a a sort of wedge within the full landscape of of options and um you know
for me I can certainly recall after reading Mastery it helped me recall some early seed emotions that I experienced
as a very distinct sensation in my body can you describe that yeah um without
making it too um specific to my my unique taste you know as a kid I loved um flora and fauna I loved learning
about biology sure yeah no surprise there um but animals and how they move in particular and fish and going to a a
proper aquarium store for the first time for me and going snorkeling for the first time was like Wow and even as I
describe it it’s almost like my body floats I feel it in my left arm of all things and it feels like there’s
something to do about it it’s not just that I’m in observation of things that Delight me right it’s like there’s
something there’s an activation State created within me like I got to do something with this and typically it’s
tell everybody about it until they won’t listen anymore um but oftentimes it’s to also draw those things to think about
them and I just Delight in them it’s a constant source of delight and so seeds such as those and there are a few other
things in that in that landscape of Flora and Fauna and learning about
animals and biology including the human animal and then organizing information feels so satisfying to me it’s like a
drug that um and so it just felt feels like this you know Eternal spring of of
life right and so for me that’s what it was and to and in 2015 when I was
teaching that course the course I loved but I was feeling a little bit astray in my scientific career and then I read
Mastery and I realized yes I love running laboratory I love teaching but there’s something else for me and it has
to do not with a podcast I didn’t even know what a podcast I probably I knew what a podcast was I was listening to
podcasts at that time but um but I wasn’t on social media I had no thoughts of having a podcast but what I wanted
was that feeling in its total number of forms that’s the goal get that feeling in as many forms
as possible right is that is that about that’s that’s that’s absolutely perfect because the connection to what I’m
talking about it’s not an intellectual thing it’s it’s visceral it’s emotional it’s physical right and you feel it in
your body and when you’re doing it it’s like it’s at your level it’s like you’re swimming with the current you feel it
things are easy everything clicks together there’s a delight not everything is going to be delightful
there’s going to be tedium involved there’s going to be moments of boredom but you’re able to withstand the moments
of boredom because you feel that deep overall connection so yes that’s
precisely what I’m talking about I mean it’s for me it’s a little bit a similar thing is I said about words but the
other thing that I was obsessed with when I was a kid was early human
ancestors don’t ask me why I just was so obsessed with our ancestors millions of
years ago and how it’s possible to be living here in the 60s or 70s with cars and everything but to come to where we
are now and I wrote a a short story when I was 8 years old about a vulture It Was
Written from the point of view of a vulture watching the first humans kind of emerge on the planet I’m sure it was
absolutely awful Dreadful but the weird thing is I’m writing a new book and all
I’m doing in that book is going into ear into early humans and I feel like a kid again I’m so excited I’m so happy so I
can very much relate to your story you mentioned these five different forms of intelligence or frame frames of
Love vs. Hate Experiences & Learning
Mind as you referred to them um and I’m certainly aware that you know I lean
towards a more intellectual interests although as you pointed out the the excitement the Delight is visceral yeah
and the actions are actions they’re of the body ultimately right um one has to draw speak write books Etc um to to
transmute that excitement into something real for people that are not as
intellectually tuned but maybe are kinesthetically tuned for instance um I can only wonder what that’s like uh I’m
not completely uncoordinated but I don’t think I have a kinesthetic Attunement uh or frame of mind but I for instance um
had a podcast listener mention that they think in feels that they literally
experience thought as a Ser as sort of a patchwork of of bodily Sensations right
and that thought for them is not of the stuff from the neck up but only from the
neck down which to me was really intriguing and so I only rais this because um there
have to be a as you point out there’s an infinite number of different sort of um orientations based on our unique DNA and
experience but what do you think explains why these particular
seeds or uh as you point out like the the the direction that the grain runs in the brain I mean it’s it’s partially
going to be nature it’s going to be DNA sure um but we we’re talking about this
as if there’s some exciting or a inspiring or Delight ful thing that captures us can it be the other way too
can it be um you know one has a bad experience as a child in an intellectual
environment and then decides you know I’m I’m going in the D things of the body feel good if things of the mind of
intellect feels bad and does it matter whether or not we are drawn to our Purpose By recognizing what we love or
what we hate um or are both useful oh they’re both very very useful
um you know a lot of intelligence is is not is non-verbal we think in terms of
images we’re we’re very much infected by the emotions of other people so I know
for instance uh my mother is very very interested in history she’s obsessed
with history and I probably absorbed her interest in history I don’t think there’s a genetic a gene for that
interest you know so you’re you’re going to absorb things from your parents as well so it’s not all
just genetic but yeah what you hate will pay a big have a big thing but the
problem with doing that is if you go into a direction and you’re in you’re in
elementary school Etc and they force you to learn math and you hate it what it tends to do is it turns you off from
learning in general you think I don’t want to I don’t want to I don’t want to be disciplined I don’t want to go
through anything because it’s painful doesn’t lead anywhere it’s not me frustration it turns you off from
learning in general so it’s it’s really really important for a child to have the
love experience as early as possible so that they can know what they hate and why they hate it right and then they can
Rebel and they can go into that field as opposed to I hate learning I hate discipline I hate studying I hate trying
things over and over again if you’re kinesthetically oriented and you know a part of me I understand that because I
love sports is you have to you have to practice it’s going to take a lot of it’s not you’re not going to instantly
be good at something right and that’s going to require a love of it right but
if your math experience CU I hate learning you’re not it’s going to transfer to sports you’re going to hate
discipline in general so it’s very important for parents to let that child have at least glimmers of that love
moment I know for me when I um finished college and I entered the work world I
had to get a job I got worked in journalism I hated it I hated working
for other people I hated office politics I hated all the egos I hated the smarminess I hated the lack of quality
it was all just about you know making money and getting things out there and then I worked in Hollywood I hated
Hollywood I hated working in Hollywood that formed me very much made me go in the direction that I went in but only
from the basis of I knew that I wanted to be a writer so you know that’s very important that it’s not just hate it can
form you but there also has to be that positive deep emotional love of
something that also is grounded in you in some way what you just said really highlights the fact that energy and
motivation can come from either either pressure you know desire for something
or desire to get away from something and um earlier when you were talking about
um how we are so much more engaged and driven toward things that stir us
emotionally and and actually we know based on the the neurosciences you know too I’m sure that um only by the release
of certain neurochemicals in the brain and body would our brain have any reason to change right if you don’t feel agitation and you can do everything that
you’re trying to do of course your brain wouldn’t change like why would it right that agitation is a is a signature of
the neurochemicals that are saying hey something’s different now right right you might need to do something different including rewire yourself right um and
that can come from positive or negative experiences I’m obsessed with this ideaa of energy I mean we all want to have
Self-Awareness, Frustration, Excitation
more energy and focus and normally we hear about the concept of energy in the context of caloric energy like what
should we eat and when and how much and we need to get sleep but what you’re really referring to is neural energy
like the engagement of ourselves that’s you know uh sitting there ready to be
engaged but it requires the right experiential macronutrients right the experiential micronutrients as opposed
to of course we need good nutrition but that’s not sufficient it’s NE necessary but not sufficient so uh would you say
that when um we are let let’s say since a good number of our listeners are in adulthood um you know from our 20s on
that the things that excite us as adults that really generate some feeling of Readiness or or grab our attention um
are still informative toward guiding our decisions about best life and life
purpose well um what do you what exactly do you mean by that I mean like because
there are things that excite you in in a kind of a quick way like you know where
you have to relieve some tension and you there’s entertainment and there’s things that kind of give you pretty immediate
gratification and there’s the larger P picture of something that will give you fulfillment over years to come so you
can feel that when you’re older and you can pay attention to it but a lot of the time is we we’re paying too much
attention to the immediate pleasures of life to what gives us instant Gra ification and that’s what we’re grabbing
for so this is a much more kind of deeper process that involves that digging that I was saying it it’s it’s
deeper than just kind of I like this I don’t like that you know kind of thing
it’s it’s more it’s more something macro than than just just that and so when
you’re in your 20s or in your 30s or your 40s you want to be paying attention to yourself and the problem with people
in the world today is you’re not paying attention to yourself you’re not inside your own head you don’t hear those
voices you don’t hear what you love what you like anymore because as I said there’s so many of these other
distractions going on and so you’re always like attuned to what other people like right because you’re in social
media this is what people are following this is what they’re interested in as opposed to disengaging backing off from
that and and looking at yourself and going through the process of that’s not me actually I don’t really like that you
know and so what you’re talking about is I think very profound is levels of
frustration or anxiety are definite signals that you must pay attention to
that they’re telling you this isn’t a good direction for you this is a waste of time for you and in general I tell
people selfawareness being able to hear those voices to understand that your
frustration is telling you something and sometimes you you just act on it without
understanding it but understanding why you’re frustrated why you don’t like your career why you’re not happy about
where you’re going is the key to everything it will open up it will actually be able even in your 30s to
return you to that childhood inclination but if you can’t listen to where those
emotions come from then they’re useless they’re not teaching you anything as we all know quality
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Sublime Experiences, Real vs. False; Authenticity & Time
engage in what I’ll just call for the moment unadulterated self referencing
you know unadulterated uh in the the all senses of the word because um as a child
as you pointed out um at stages of life that are before puberty they’re literally prex um which I think is
important right because um puberty to me as a neurobiologist who started off as a
developmental neurobiologist I can tell you that puberty is the most profound transformation that the brain undergoes
for sure in the entire lifespan there’s just absolutely no question about it everything is different after puberty
because of all of the new relational dynamics that become apparent and our potential involvement in them yeah it’s
just it’s you know it’s not talked about enough how dramatically puberty changes the brain sure I mean we are different
people before and after puberty hormones that are suddenly raging the hormones are there and it’s not just changes in
how we view the world but changes in how the World Views us and not just through the lens of sexuality but also so um
expectation of what we are capable of what we are responsible for or not responsible for our learning capacity I
mean puberty is like this you know it’s also the most rapid stage of Aging in our entire lifespan those kids that go
home for summer and then come back like shaving you know I was sort of a late I
wasn’t a late bloomer but I had a long protracted puberty but I remember those kids I’m sure we we all remember those kids um everything changes and so I
think prior to puberty these seeds as you described them of of delight or of
resistance to things think they are unadulterated they’re not contaminated by the voices and expectations of others
and so I can see the challenge of reaching back to those as an adult um I wonder if this relates to um something
that I’ve heard you talk about before although perhaps not as much as some of the other topics you’ve discussed
publicly which is um the real versus the false Sublime oh um could you perhaps
just Define for us what Sublime really is what a Sublime experience is and and
the distinction between real and false wow Sublime experiences because I I feel like this relates to finding that seed
right it’s it’s about finding authentic seeds of within us as opposed to when emotions can be distracting and
misleading wow I never thought I never made that connection and it’s the book that I’m writing right now so thank you
for that I have to think about that I’m actually I’m writing a book on the sublime and um I have several ways of
kind of illustrating I generally like to use a metaphor and the metaphor is that being a human being being a social human
being living in a particular culture means that you live inside of a circle and that Circle of that time are the
conventions of thinking of ideas that are acceptable of behavior that is acceptable this is where you where you
can go mentally where you can go physically you know all the codes and conventions so
that Circle for ancient Egypt and for 21st century America they’re obviously very different but it’s the same Circle
it’s the same limiting factor you’re not supposed to go outside of it these are thoughts experiences Behavior you’re not
supposed to do the sublime is what lies just outside that Circle um the word
sublime comes from on the threshold of it’s like here’s a door and the sublime
is literally at the threshold of the door you’re looking out into something else right and the quintessential
Sublime experience is a near-death experience you’re standing on the on the doorway the threshold of death itself
right and so in my book I’m illustrating the different kinds of sublime
experiences that you can have in relation to the cosmos in the relation to thinking about being alive just being
alive is the strangest sensation you can possibly have I have I know that very person personally after my stroke I go
into childhood chapter on childhood and how Sublime your own childhood was I go into animals relation to animals I go
have a chapter about the brain chapter about love I’m working right now on a chapter about history okay but what I’m
trying to say is the human brain is wired for these experiences is wired for transcendental experiences that take us
out of the narrow little realm that we live in because we’re aware of our death
as the only animal truly conscious of its own mortality and it frightens the hell out of us and the idea that we can
see something larger than than just the the the banal parts of our life is a
doorway that op allows us to kind of transcend the moment to feel connected to something larger to feel connected to
some power in the cosmos to Evolution itself right and so we’re wired for that
and I’m writing a chapter now about 40,000 years ago at the moment where I
think the sublime was born is a story that I’m trying to illustrate right now with our upper Paleolithic
ancestors so it’s deep inside of us we need it we have to have it in the 21st
century we have very few avenues for it any real Avenues religion used to be the
main kind of way of accessing this and so because it’s so deep we reach for
false forms of the sublime that give us the sense that we’re we’re transcending
but it’s not at all because Sublime has to come from within it’s an experience
that you have that you’re generating in your own mind and your own experience the false Sublime comes from outside it
comes from drugs it comes from alcohol it comes from shopping it comes from
online rage it comes from joining a cause and just getting out all your
aggression and violence right it comes from causes it comes from addictions okay it giv you a sense it
calms you down and makes you feel like there’s something else going on in life besides your job that you’re you’re sick
of but it’s not real it’s not lasting it’s false it’s an illusion it’s not based on anything real it’s not
connecting to that deep part of human nature that’s wired for these experiences so what happens is you have
to have more and more and more and more of it you have to have you know more of this rush you need more of the drug you
need more of the alcohol you need more of the sex you need more of the horn it’s never going to satisfy you but the
real Sublime you don’t have that feeling it’s like it’s transformative once you feel it it lasts for you for the rest of
your life it’s what maslo again called a peak experience so that’s the difference
between the faults and the real Sublime I haven’t quite connected it to what you
were saying but if I think about it I think you’re on something very interesting I mean maybe the connection I was trying to draw was uh doesn’t hold
but yeah for me um those early experiences of seeing things that just delighted me in a way
that felt like that not only is well the the the thought process was a long time
ago when something like oh my goodness I can’t believe this exists this is so
cool this is the coolest thing and so clearly create an activation state within me but then there was also a
thought and a feeling of again a lot this is or pre preverbal it’s not truly
preverbal I could speak at that age but it was um that’s of me and I’m of it
right there’s a connection there and then it was there’s something to do about this the activation State created
in the body was you know I I need to learn more about this I need to tell people about this I need to think about
this I need more examples of this and see whether or not they’re all like this you know etc etc um so certainly it
meets some of the criteria of a Sublime experience definitely and I knew again
when I was in graduate school and again when I was this young Professor about to transition to tenure that I knew it was going going to do something different it
was as if I was on the threshold of something but I didn’t know what that next thing was but I could trust it
because of that early experience of knowing that’s the threat like like I’m an amphibian this is my environment and
you’re an amphibian too right and we’re different amphibians but you know we’re going to be amphibians together right
and then and there’s a permanence to it that it does seem to transcend time you I’m obsessed with time perception so I
have to be careful not to go off on a tangent about that but the human brain’s ability to F slice or macro slice time
is incredible and and it’s been said of um not just addictions but also interactions with toxic people that they
murder time that that humans have a I think it was young I I’ll look it up but
um one of the great psychologists said something to the extent that um
addictive behaviors thought patterns substances are humans attempts to murder
time so that they don’t have to address their mortality yeah and that’s always
made a lot of sense to me yeah we say kill time is our expression kill time through passive engagement but also kill
time through um trying to get overwhelmed or overtaken by an experience or a substance as opposed to
when you’re truly connected you have that sense of flow and 3 hours can pass by and you’re
not even aware of it so time is a totally subjective experience it can be extremely slow and tedious and you feel
very depressed or it can pass by but that passes by without you even noticing
it and it’s a wondrous experience you know when I’m deep in my writing I’m not
aware of the time passing I’m so involved I’m so immersed it’s a deeply deeply pleasurable experience of time it
is Sublime and yeah so I agree with you I think your distinction is very interesting you know I’m eagerly
awaiting your your next book but we won’t rush you well I I I’m I’m so immersed in it that I could I could talk
for hours because I also have a chapter in there about what I call the dayon which is like that voice inside of
you that speaks to you and I’m writing a whole chapter about how Sublime that is when you connect to that voice so you
are spoton there is something very much connected to Mastery in this book but it’s the next chapter that I’m writing
fantastic can’t wait I can’t wait I’d like to shift slightly to a topic that
Power & Relationships; Purpose & Mastery
you’ve written extensively about which is power um and not just power but also
seduction which you’ve written extensively about and of course you’ve written about finding one’s purpose so
tell me if the framework that I’ve just given myself Liberty to create is an accurate one and if it’s not I I’m
hoping that um it’s not in perhaps some interesting ways so to me you talk about
and we will talk about power as as a resource it’s it’s something that um
it’s there as a resource it could be used or not used um and I think of Seduction as one form of exchange
between an individual so there’s a verb associated with seduction power I’m thinking of more as a noun in this
context you’re the word guy um and then you know purpose is uh is really about
finding like to what end or ends one is going to um devote power seduction and
the other forces that allow human beings to interact with each other in the world
um but power as a resource that can be expressed in different ways and accessed
in different ways maybe we could just explore that a little bit because you know when we hear the word power I think
a lot of people kind of brace themselves like here we go someone’s going to try and have power over me this is about
manipulation and so on and so forth but I learned pretty early on that every
every career Endeavor there there are power dynamics there’s Mentor mentee they teachers and their students and
both have power um in inter in romantic relationships there’s a power exchange
there are yeses and their NOS there are maybe there are um uh covert and overt
contracts yeah I’ll do this because I want to right you’ll do this because you want to great sounds great overt
contract they’re also covert contracts well I don’t feel safe doing that so what I’ll do is I’ll take some something on through from the interaction that
you’re not aware of so that I can sort of um ease my sense of danger and make
give myself the illusion of feeling safe and all sorts of kind of complicated human dynamics that have to do with us
having this forbrain thing that can do all of that gymnastics so maybe we could start very simply by just saying you
know how would you define power in terms of its uh functional definition like in
in in interpersonal relations and then why do you think power is so essential to all
relationships that’s really what I’d like to get to why is it so essential why couldn’t it be something else well
the way I Define po is I try and take it away from that kind of negative context that most people have and that you that
you brought up and I bring it to something very primitive and very Primal the way the human being is wired the
feeling that we have no control over our environment and in the earliest period
it was literally over our environment and wild animals and nature and and the climate Etc but now the sense that you
have no control over your career over your children over your parents is
deeply deeply am miserating and it compels us to act in certain ways either
attempts to find positive ways of power or doing what you call covert ways of getting power you know passive
aggressive traditionally passive aggressive means so it’s deeply wired in US to want a degree of control over the
immediate environment and immediate events we can never have complete control and the idea of having complete
control is nonsense and it would actually be very ugly because you want a degree of Letting Go and letting
circumstances come to you etc etc so the sense of you you you want to
feel like with other people and relationships that you can influence
them that you can move them in a certain direction either to get you to love you and treat you better or either to stop
annoying irritating behaviors or either to you know wake up and and find and and
and do productive activity if it’s your children Etc you want to have the ability to influence people to move them
in a certain direction either in your interest or in their interest right and
once you have that need and every single human being ever who’s ever lived has
that need and we often don’t Rec recognize it because we’re embarrassed by it we’re embarrassed by our desire
for power for our need to control every human being has it right and it’s not
easy because human beings are complicated they don’t if you say do
this and you’re talking to your son he’ll do the opposite or he’ll do something else you can’t just force
people in a direction right by being overt and telling them this is what you need to do you create resentment you
create an enemy they may they may say yes yes daddy yes husband I’ll do what you say but they’re you they’re they’re
going to resist you deep down inside right so people are tricky they wear
masks they pretend to say one thing and they do another they have their egos and you inadvertently wound their egos or
trip them in some way and they react in a way that you don’t expect and so power
is this kind of invisible realm that envelops Society where people are
continually battling each other and struggling in it but no one is like talking about it no one’s being overt
about it no one’s saying this is exactly what I’m trying to do and so when you enter the social world in the career
world you’re not expecting these battles you don’t know no one’s taught you no one’s trained you your parents don’t
train you nobody trains you and you make mistakes and you realize how political
people are if you’re a Sharky character and there there’s a certain percentage of them you realize wow I can deceive
people I can manipulate them I can get what I want I can pretend to love them and they’ll they’ll fall for me and I
can do all this other stuff but for most of us the 95% of us who aren’t sharks and I’m I’m including myself in that
category it’s it’s it’s very very disturbing to suddenly enter that world and see all of that invisible power
games on that’s no one’s given you any advice for helped you and so take it out
of the realm of it’s just about trying to dominate the world and manipulate and
exploit and and abuse it’s something inside of you you have this need and your suppression of it
will only make you come out in passive ways and you won’t be able to control
certain things if you want to move people if you want them to follow your
ideas if you want them to be more aligned with your politics or your ideas
you have to be subtle you have to learn psychology you have to learn certain aspects of how to almost move people
without them realizing in in certain directions which is like The Art of Seduction and if you’re not interested
in that if you’re just going to tell people what you think and what you’re going to do that means you’re not interested in Practical action you’re
not interested in results you’re just interested in inventing your own frustrations or your own anger so
learning the subtle little dynamics of power is extremely essential because
we’re a social animal it doesn’t mean that you’re going to get dirty that you’re going to suddenly go out there and manipulate the out of people most of
the 48 Laws of Power is about defense but how to defend yourself from the Sharks about there how to defend
yourself from making classic mistakes like outshining the master like talking too much like arguing with people
instead of demonstrating your ideas on and on and on it’s not an ugly thing it actually makes you a better social
individual so that’s how I I like to frame it it’s very interesting I I
think as a young guy growing up it was so important to me um to know where I
fit in with my friend group um and I didn’t think of it so much as a hierarchy um nor when I was in my
academic studies did I think of it as a hierarchy even though it was clearly was right um so much as it the goal was to
figure out where was my unique slot that I could um do the most good for myself
and others right of finding my spot um I don’t want to say on a shelf CU that gives an image of something vertical but
you know in the let’s make it lateral a lateral arrangement of different people with different strengths different life
purposes trying to figure them out you know where where should I be in order to
express that and also feel connected to others and um and in order to do that I
did have to I realize now based on your answer I did have to figure out um you
know who’s trying to have power over who’s pretending that they don’t want power but is actually exerting power um
you know these sorts of things and there’s an incredible piece that comes from knowing that one is in the correct
Place both profession interpersonally in relation to oneself but also in the context of one’s peer peer group just
kind of yeah this is where I belong because trying to gain power when one is trying to move to a position that isn’t
right for them or in a way that isn’t right for them just seems so energetically costly yeah seems like a
waste of a life frankly right right you know trying to gather resources simply to to have them to give the illusion of
power but then being afraid of losing them just sounds like a recipe for for misery as you pointed out you know
whereas figuring out where am I most powerful in the benevolent sense of the word that that that seems like a good a
good Pursuit well it’s connecting up to to Mastery again and finding your life’s purpose you know I I I knew when I was
young that I couldn’t exert physical power because I was a skinny little runt and I
was I wasn’t bullied but people would kind of pick on me etc etc so I veered
towards intellectual Pursuits where I could have power and in the end you know you might have been a jock and you might
have done well in high school but haha Look at me now I’m not saying that it’s a beautiful thing that that’s but that’s
part of human nature the desire to actually you know prove yourself and find that Niche that you that you belong
to so you don’t have that kind of hum that sense of inferiority which Alfred Adler the
psychologist describes very eloquently so a lot of it is kind of compensating
when you’re a child for things that are your weaknesses and finding what you’re so good at that you do have that power
and people can’t bully you right and you you’re you’re like now a famous neuroscientist whereas they’re like who
knows what they’re doing kind of thing so power definitely is connected in some way to that inner sense of what you were
meant to do and you feel it with the with the ease and the connection that comes from it right so I can honestly
say that my dislike of working for other people and office politics and egos I
now have a of an existence where I don’t have to deal with any of that and I’m so blessed and I wake up every morning and
I pray to God thank God I I found this because it’s it’s the perfect lifestyle
for me yeah you’re are can be accurately Des described as an intellectual Beast
so it’s um and which is like a compliment right um we hear the word beast and we think uh you know a
Ferocious Beast trying to harm others but I’m happy being a beast yeah you know so I think finding where we can be
a beast you know and and for some people that’s painting or or gardening or whatever it might be um I think is again
ties back to the these issues of or this quest of for Mastery seduction is also a very loaded
Seduction, Vulnerability, Childhood
word right it’s even more more uglier than power because seduction right
seduction kind of drips with uh the idea that somebody is
tricking someone else into doing something that they otherwise would not want to do but seduction is both our
propensity to do it and to have it done to us is hardwired into our nervous
system and has a lot to do with the hypothalamus and a bunch of other areas that I won’t Bor us with the nomenclature but um sedu
to me implies some sort of exchange I suppose we could seduce ourselves through denial or convincing ourselves
that of of something but more often than not when we talk about seduction we’re talking about an interaction between two
or more people so um what are some of the core principles of Seduction and and
if you care to play um Anthropologist a bit um and a neuroscientist I I would
invite that why do you think we have neural circuits in our brain that allow
us to seduce and be seduced well um I don’t know how if if I’m if I’m being kind of an armchair
intellectual here but my my theory is some of it has to go back to social um
events long in our prehistory which have to do with taboos and Society was initially kind of
organized by a series of taboos right most notably the taboo on incest and
what happened is just not my theory it’s the theory of the malanowski malanowski is I pronounce it um that the moment a
taboo enters the human brain like you’re not supposed to sleep with this woman
the desire arises inside of you to actually sleep with that woman the the the sense of no the sense that this is
prohibited stirs the desire stirs the contrary impulses in humans and we can
be very um what’s the word perverse creatures right so if you’ve ever tried
to suppress a thought you realize that it keeps coming up keeps coming up you
can’t suppress it don’t think of an elephant Andrews whatever you do don’t think of an elephant you’re thinking of
it because you can’t help it right the idea that you’re not supposed to desire of this person stirs that actual desire
so I believe the sense of something being taboo and transgressive is the ultimate kind of origin of our desire
for seduction but seduction involves vulnerability it involves somebody gets
inside somebody gets under our skin right and to do that we have to let them
in so the person being seduced is in some ways to a degree complicit because
if you just put up a wall and you said no I I’m not going to be seduced nothing
will happen but you have a vulnerability you’re letting that person into your psyche Into Your Inner Space the
Paradigm for that is Early Childhood so Freud talks a lot about this so I don’t
know if people still believe in Freud anymore I certainly do okay absolutely a genius of both Psychology and Physiology
wrong about a lot of things did a lot of things he shouldn’t have done I let’s acknowledge that I think everyone would
agree that sleeping with your patients and being a cocaine addict bad ideas but
at the same time he had an absolute like near Supernatural levels of insight and Brilliance into human nature he sleep
with his patience I believe he did um but if I just if I just threw that on him without him doing it then you know
uh forgive me certainly had emotional attachments to his patients that he shouldn’t have had I don’t know if he
slept with them he very well might have but his idea was that the child is
seduced by the parent you’re in extremely vulnerable position right your life depends on them and they’re
seducing you with their energy you’re letting them in right and that kind of creates a pattern for the rest of your
life and so for instance the feeling of being carried by your father and just
being taken around physically is a form of Seduction because you don’t know what
he’s going to do to you you’re very excited you want that surprise right and
to me it’s related to the seduction of a story stories are very seducing to us we
don’t know where they’re taking us we don’t know what the next chapter is what going to happen to this character or not
the surprise lowers our resistance and opens our mind up to what’s going to
happen next is a form of Seduction fairy tales the stories you were reading as a
child your interactions with your parents they’re deeply deeply ingrained in you you cannot be seduced unless you
are vulnerable right and so I like to switch it around and get out of the
negative connotations being vulnerable is actually a positive trait I think a
lot of people now in the world today because things are so harsh and invasive that people have become too
invulnerable they don’t want to let anything in right and this now infects
their relationships with other people they don’t want to be influenced they they want to be strong inside of
themselves they’re afraid of giving in to the other person of surrendering to their influence but it’s actually a
delightful feeling to surrender to the power of another person and then reverse that charge and have them surrender to
your power so when I’m reading a writer and sometimes uh they completely seduce
me like friederick nich is one of my favorite writers I let go of everything I let him enter my brain and I’m
completely seduced I let him lead me along but then I encounter writers that I don’t like at all I I’ll mention one
you know it’s probably not a good thing but step Pinker I don’t like St St Pinker I find him really annoying okay
um but I force myself to try and find a way to be seduced by him to let him into my brain to see where he’s coming from
to open myself to the possibility that he could be correct so vulnerability
letting people into your mental space is a form of intelligence it’s a it’s kind of an emotional and an intellectual
intelligence and forgive me for interrupting but I think it also implies a level of confidence because empathy or
allowing oneself to be vulnerable to the point where you’re seduced by something um by
definition if you’re choosing to do it uh implies that you also have the
confidence that you can get back to yourself afterward right that you’re not going to get lost in the circumstances
you’re not going to be hijacked to the point of no return right or in some way that’s detrimental to you so it it’s um
it I’m sound really nerdy here it’s it’s cinear with with confidence in many ways
sure like take my mind and take it where you will because I know I can come back at any time right
right and the same thing in a physical s in a romantic sense right you’re opening
yourself up to the charm to the energy of the other person but if they start displaying dark energy and you see that
they’re abusive or something is wrong you have the ability to retreat ah well there it gets tricky because very tricky
well because the attachment systems which are also rooted in childhood um
often times can overwhelm one’s ability to recover oneself like I mean so I mean how many if I had a dollar for every
time someone in that I knew in my life saying like you know I know they’re bad for me but I just can’t like we just
can’t seem to disengage like that you hear about that all the time I mean you see court cases about this that are
public and you know you just go why didn’t they just walk away from one another well because once those attachment systems are locked in it
almost becomes in a and here metaphorically speaking like a parent child relationship like you can’t suddenly decide your parents weren’t
your parents simply because you know better now right you are forever stricken with the reality that they were
and they had an influence and I think that that attachment system is um is a is a force that tugs pretty hard yeah
and um a lot of women have written to me since the Art of Seduction sort of
saying that their boyfriend or husband was applying some of these tactics on them and it was very painful and they
were kind of a little bit angry at me for for it but then they kind of realized that they it wasn’t they didn’t
learn it really from my book it was already kind of wired in them but that reading about these tactics and these
strategies actually helped them to recognize what their husband or boyfriend was doing to them the
manipulation and the games that were being played do men write to you and talk about the seductive adornments that
women have used to to um bring them into relationship as well or are you typically hearing from women I mostly
hear from women complaining about men and and and how they’ve abused them and how they used
some of these some of the strategies I I don’t deny have a slightly nefarious
Edge to them because I didn’t want to write a book about Seduction That doesn’t have that taboo element because
I say seduction involves the taboo and I didn’t want to I didn’t want to censor myself but female to male seduction
clearly also exists less of I acknowledge that it’s um less often is
it physically abusive um but right I mean from an early age both boys and
girls men and women are coached by Society on the sorts of uh seductive
tactics and and adornments right I mean everything from makeup perfume hairstyles cars watches jewelry um
expression power displays of any kind um I mean that stuff the world’s filled with that stuff yeah but men are
generally kind of happy when a woman seduces them right they’re unless they’re after their money or something
like that which happens but generally the sense you know I talk about this in in the first chapter about which I could
say is the quintessential archetype of the female seductress the the kind of half human half bird creature on a rock
singing so beautifully that you have to jump in the water and then they kill you and so the idea is that men want to let
go because men have to be so in control so powerful they have to project this image they have a secret desire to let
go and be almost dominated by a very powerful woman a lot of men have that and I talk about some of the most
powerful men in in history Julius Caesar Mark Anthony um Joe dagio who all these
men very masculine men who’ve fallen for very feminine siren likee women and been
completely dominated by them and they actually kind of enjoy the process because it’s like a sense of I can let
go I can enter this totally s sensual physical world and it it’s extremely
pleasing it’s like another realm outside of my kind of cold mascul
world you know so I don’t really get men complaining too much about women who’ve seduced them honestly it’s usually the
other way around I’d like to take a quick break and thank our sponsor insid tracker
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Power Dynamics & Romance; Equality, Love Sublime & Connection
promise this is not an original idea that I’m pretending to have heard elsewhere the my friend asked me to ask sort of question that in all sexual
exchanges there’s a power exchange definitely um maybe you could elaborate on that um because as you were
describing some of the seductive power dynamics that ex IST a phrase that I’ve heard before uh came to mind um that at
first made me chuckle but then made me think um quite deeply about this issue of the relationship between sexual and
power dynamics which is this notion of topping from the bottom you know if one is giving someone else the impression
that they are more powerful by virtue of the word giving they actually hold some power right power is can be given or
taken but um often times uh seductive exchanges and sexual exch exchanges and
romantic exchanges in particular are about both people
uh buying into a ill a temporary illusion let’s pretend that you’re in
charge when actually I’m in charge okay but I know that you think that you’re in charge okay let’s just pretend none of
that exists and just do X right and I think this is another example of covert
contracts and it’s one that actually can potentially create a lot of problems post Hawk right um but I think the
relationship between sex romance and power is an important area to explore in
the context of this well I wrote The Art of Seduction with the idea that it was
an art invented by women it was invented by women who had no power essentially
socially politically in any sense of the word in in in domestically right and but the one power that they
could that they could wield over a man was through sex some physical attraction and so they
develop this art of kind of luring a man into their world through various theatrical effects Cleopatra being kind
of the archetype of this and then luring the the powerful man into this world he
has the illusion that he’s the one pursuing her but in fact she is the one controlling the dynamic so often times
the person who appears to be the weaker one in the relationship who’s not doing
the pursuing is actually inviting the pursuing is actually leading the other person on so there’s a lot of kind of
appearance games going on and you can never really figure out who exactly is in control of the dynamic because one
person is like allowing the other person to lead them on but the fact that you’re
allowing them is a degree of power is a degree of control right so it’s very
hard to figure out and sex and power and romantic relationships are very much
intertwined in US physically emotionally neurologically you can’t avoid it right
and so I think it’s kind of dishonest to say that that none of that exists that
it’s like that there’s some egalitarian Paradise out of there when it it’s
really not wired in us for that kind of relationship there’s a recent scientific
publication SL factoid that I want to share with you in this context because I’d like your thoughts on it uh David
Anderson who’s a phenomenal neurobiologist he’s been a guest on this podcast before he’s a professor at
Caltech studies um basically the functions of the hypothalamus so okay things like uh aggression mating and and
things of that sort um and does it so it in with great detail he’s a virtuoso of
the hypothalamus and he published a paper two years ago showing that indeed
there are neural circuits in the brain of animals and presumably in humans as well that control sexual mounting
Behavior but that there is actually a separate circuit for
purely nonsexual mounting and physical power over that’s expressed in animals
and anyone that’s ever owned a dog and gone to the dog park will see same-sex mounting between dogs or mounting
between dogs that has apparently um no sexual end point yeah and in exploring
this lit and some talking to David about it it’s very clear that there are neural circuits um that have everything to do
with essentially one animal of a species getting on top of the other animal usually from behind often times
scruffing or biting the back of the neck and saying I control you it’s a it’s often done in a playful context
especially between animals not always aggressive but there’s a certain element of aggressive to it but essentially says
I decide whether or not you are mobile or not for this moment and that it and
this is very important I want to emphasize this this is a circuit that is entirely separate from all of the
reflexes associated with sexual behavior in males and females I find this to be fascinating um and because we hear about
power over right and we hear about power and we think about physical power over but the idea that something as primitive
as mounting just like something as primitive as biting or as striking has its own unique set of
circuits in the brain I think substantiates every everything that you put in uh in your books about power and
maybe even seduction as well so as I just kind of toss that out there for consideration I I I wonder um if you
have any Reflections on it if not um feel free to just say I don’t but of
course but to me this was a really important Discovery because I think everyone looks at mounting behavior and
says oh that has to be sexual and sometimes it’s oh I see what you mean but but it’s not that there’s a there
seem to be a host of neural circuits in the brain that are are really about defining who’s on top literally that has
nothing to do with sex yeah I’m sure that’s true I’ve never I’ve never I’ve never um read anything
about that but I can say that um I wrote a chapter in in my new book about love
and that’s a different thing than than seduction and I was trying to come up with an idea of love that does have an
element of equality that doesn’t have this power dynamic going on in it I love
that and um you know kind of like the antithesis of my Art of Seduction where I’m almost contradicting myself and I
was going into the into the biology of it and even into the physics of it so
there is a famous uh French biologist whose Name Escapes me I’m sorry I can’t remember from the 20s and 30s um and he
was studying parium and he found he was studying them you know they they’re in these ponds Etc
and he said that there was these moments where these single celled organisms were suddenly coupling they were all joining
together just one to one and they were absorbing the membrane of one inside the other and then they would like go and
then once one couple did that all the parium started joining up together then they would sink to the bottom of the
pond and parium don’t reproduce through sex they reproduce through dividing
themselves right self reproduction and so he was saying that
the desire to couple to to to connect to someone so deeply where you absorb one
is absorbed in the other is biologically wired into US goes back millions and
millions and millions of years and it’s a desire essentially a biological desire
for love right and it’s an energy that permeates all all the it’s it’s not just
about power and hierarchy and that he was showing other creatures that had something similar going on and
you know in physics we talk about entanglement and we also talk about um
you know matter if matter isn’t absor isn’t um opposed by a lot of kinetic
energy it joins together I mean particles join together to form matter etc etc so there’s something in the
universe that’s trying to connect things to each other so there’s this this kind of energy that exists in the world where
we have a deep need to connect to somebody with outside of those power
dynamics right where there’s a degree of equality where we’re drawn to each other
and we let go of the ego games we let go of the playing we kind of surmount our
own physiology our own hypothalamus and we engage in this I
call it love Sublime and it involves the physical part the sexual part is the
trigger for it because when you have sex with someone your body is suddenly permeable to their energy in a way that
you cannot control it releases all kinds of of chemicals in the brain that are very powerful and oftentimes that sense
is too powerful and you react and you’re afraid of it and you pull back but if you don’t react and you go further then
the mind also becomes permeable to the other person and their energy and their
desire and so then it kind of creates a spiraling effect where the physical and the mental
connection reaches this state that I call love Sublime now it’s an ideal it
doesn’t really exist that much out there in the world today but there are stories in history that illustrate it and I
believe that is a biological necessity for us to feel a deep deep sense of
connection we normally ascribe that to religion to God Etc but I maintain the
essence of love the model for for love is between two human beings straight or
homosexual doesn’t matter and that feeling of surmounting our own neurology
our own system and and entering this zone is deeply deeply satisfying we all
want it and it has to involve letting go of the power dynamics letting and
everything being equal it’s not that the other person is exactly like you you recognize their difference but but as
far as being worthy of attention being worthy and respected you leave all that other stuff
outside so there is a Zone that’s possible that’s outside this power denam
that we’re talking about I’m excited that you’re writing about this uh so this is for your next book yeah I’m very
excited I couldn’t help but think of some of the parallels between what you describe and what we’re observing
Vulnerability in Relationships, Creativity; Social Media, Justice
nowadays in the landscape of politics and social dynamics where clearly um
they is no setting aside of egos people feel both sides feel attacked everyone
in between feels confused like why do I have to pick aide um and there seems to
be no hint of a future where people are setting down their swords it which means
if we were to go with your earlier definition which I like a lot that um nobody feels safe enough to be
vulnerable enough to um to allow the union of of people to occur which is
just a way a way of rewarding you know a bunch of other things um and not nearly as eloquently as as you described it but
if setting aside of power dynamics and making oneself vulnerable is is the key to accessing love in the Romantic
context surely but also in the um societal context I mean what are the
channels for that I mean I suppose there is the argument not mine that everyone should just take a boatload of
psychedelics and see the interconnectedness of things but that seems like an realistic route I I just
don’t see that being you know um you know 12th grade graduation um curriculum
um nor do I think it would be healthy I to be clear I think that you we’d end up with a lot of expression of of problems
there um but short of a magic substance that could increase feelings of uh connectedness among everyone
simultaneously um how are you going to save Humanity Robert well um because I’m
I’m concerned about young people in particular with hookup culture with pornography etc etc it’s kind of
rewiring the human brain and we’re losing what I was just describing and I see aot particularly a lot of young
people and I don’t blame them because they’ve grown up in a world that’s very chaotic and very hostile could could I
say I think it’s um and not to be nitpicky here but I I love what you just said I think in my mind it’s hi things
like that are hijacking the hard wirring of the brain okay um and I’m just I’m
again forgive me my the audience is probably going can’t really rewire the brain like that so well I think we can
expand and rewire Upon Our hard wiring but so much of what you you talk about in your books is about finding one’s
Essence but then also what I love about your books so much among many other things is that it’s about that dance
between the hard wiring and and the possible of through effort so anyway forgive me for for being it’s very
accurate so yeah what how do you get us out of this well you’re putting a big burden on me I am but I think you’re up
to it you know um well I try to do it in this chapter because I wanted to seduce
the reader into the idea that this is something extremely pleasurable and
extremely healthy and the feeling of being vulnerable is a very positive
attribute that will infect not just your romantic relationships but will infect
you mentally so creative people are extremely vulnerable they’re extremely
vulnerable to ideas they’re extremely vulnerable to the environment and closing yourself off into your own ego
into yourself so the chapter is called Escape the Prison of the egoo and you’re you’re kind of trapped inside of
yourself and your own thoughts and your own desires and it’s like a prison it’s enclosing you and you want to escape
somehow and you escape through drugs you escape through porn but it doesn’t lead to actually escaping you want to be able
to let go of the self and get out of this this prison that you’re in right
and so it’s a desire that that we all have and so I wanted to frame it as this
incredibly positive Dynamic that you can engage in and the ability to be
vulnerable to other people to open yourself up and to say that yeah they
might hurt me but I’m strong enough to take it and if they hurt me I’ll learn from it and I’ll rebound and I know
that’s a bit naive on my part but I want you to at least have that feeling because a lot of young people write to
me and they say I I can’t fall in love anymore I can’t I don’t like that feeling I it makes the loss of control
is too much you know and and a lot of that their behavior patterns are in creating this sense of control which you
can have when you’re locked inside of yourself uh hence over indulgence in
pornography yeah and masturbation Etc as a way to avoid the you know the
understandable fear about inter relational Dynamics yeah yeah so you know when you’re young you’re you’re
idealistic at least a lot of young people are and you have these dreams and these hopes and to let go of this
possibility which is deeply pleasurable and deeply therapeutic to the human
animal as a social animal it’s like the highest form of interaction that we can
have so my strategy in that chapter was to paint such a wonderful portrayal of
the pleasures that are awaiting You by letting go of your defenses of letting
go of all of your natural resistance factors and opening yourself up to other people is is a key to not just a
romantic relationship but to Career Success to mental energy to creativity
to being open in general right and so I don’t think I could have a a wi you
know a huge impact but we’ll see when the when the book comes out but I’m advocating that sense of open opening
yourself up to the universe to the cosmos itself as an energy that permeates the world and so that you
don’t want to the feeling of being closed inside of your ego inside of your yourself I want to make it so you feel
the pain of that because you don’t really feel the pain of it you feel like it’s comfortable for you but I want to
make it clearity that it’s not comfortable it’s deeply deeply painful and it’s disconnecting you from some of
the best experiences you can have in life so I have that strategy the only
other hope I have is in the human Spirit itself so a lot of this is being caused
by social media I believe right um and
uh and the instant and the the kind of immediate gratification we can get in so many ways and my hope is that young
people get fed up and get dis disgusted with all this disconnection an
alienation in their life and that they hunger from actually something more communal more interactive more real as
opposed to Virtual and so that the human Spirit can’t be completely squashed by
technology Etc so I have that hope because we’ve gone through these Cycles
before in history where people have become very invulnerable and very locked
and closed and suddenly there’s an explosion a creative explosion like in the 1960s like in the 1920s like in 18th
century Europe with the Casanova and the where seduction reached its kind of apy Etc so it has kind of swung back and
forth between these moments where humans get incredibly closed and bitter and partisan and everything’s conflict and
everyone’s divisive Etc and suddenly goes in the opposite direction I I have hope in that
possibility and I structured my chapter to perhaps sweep that a little bit along
that tie and see if I can have any effect well I think what you just described in conversations like it and
that stem from it are likely to have a tremendous effect I think it’s exactly what’s needed now and um certainly I’ll
be uh to amplify that message I I agree with everything you said and not just because you’re sitting here as a guest
uh on this podcast but because um it’s clear to me that while power dynamics
and seduction are um wired into our human relations since the beginning of
time that we have reached a a very challenging period in our history um
it’s somewhat of a relief to me to know that it’s happened before but in a very different context uh we hear a lot about
The Swinging back and forth of the pendulum uh someone in fact uh Peter Atia online Physician’s brother actually
said I um so we’ll credit him he said no it’s not a it’s not a pendulum that swings back and forth unfortunately now
it’s become a wrecking ball so it’s swinging back and forth and doing damage as it as it reaches its um you know it’s
extremes and I think that um I also look forward to a time where people
um acknowledge the the injustices around them and and that have been done to them and others and um but somehow are able
to transcend that and the word that I’d like to pick up on there is the word justice um it was pointed out to me uh
by someone I respect very much that you know having a sense of justice is a is a wonderful and important thing and as
humans it’s important to how we structure Society but I do think that that a lot of the negative things that we see out there nowadays are have
something to do with the availability of uh ready availability of pornography high density calorie food Etc a bunch of
things like that but that one of the issues with social media because it does have its positive aspects but one of the
negative issues in my mind is that it’s a steady flow of um examples of
Injustice so all day long you’re just seeing things like that that piss you off and that piss other people off and for different reasons but but what was
pointed out to me is that one of the key things about a sense of Injustice is to be able to determine whether or not
there’s anything that you should do about it and I think that everyone now feels a bit hijacked by all the
injustices we see because we feel like well we’re supposed to do something about it but it may be that while we
can’t let every Injustice pass that being bombarded all day long with things that upset us is hijacking our
creativity it’s distracting us from our deeper purpose it’s preventing a sense of vulnerability that would lead to a
sense of deep love and on and on so I don’t think it’s just about the The Lure the tantalizing lures of of sex food and
um and looking at you know bodies and hearing voices on social media I think there is some validity to that but that
it’s also that you know there’s just ample opportunity to go down the gravitational pole forces of Injustice
like H that’s so frustrating why are they doing that I mean I catch myself doing that talking to co-workers when I walk in about did you see this thing
this is crazy what’s going on with it they’re crazy when you know as opposed to thinking about anything else in that
moment and I try and yank myself out of that but I I think that um you’re not
going to do it alone but I think you will play a major role in saving us from this because people I do I think because
people just need to see themselves through a different lens and realize this is distracting me from who I’m
supposed to be well a lot of what what modern life should involve is the ability to ignore certain things so for
Outrage, Control, “Art of Ignore”
instance since I don’t know if you know that app next door oh right I used to
have it but then I’d see all the the packages being stolen off my neighbor’s porches in Oakland and then I started
enjoying living in Oakland less and I love the city of Oakland it’s got its problems it definely has its problems but as an East Bay kid you know and went
to school out there and you know like I have deep love for the East Bay and it it’s always had those problems but when
you see stuff being stolen on your phone in the middle of the night when you wake up it creates a sense that like they’re
out to get my stuff it’s terrible right and so uh I have it in my spam filter
but I look at it and and every headline is people stealing somebody broke into
somebody’s house this P dog bit me this this rapid dog going around there’s this homeless person that’s yelling and
attacking people on and on and on I feel like I’m living in this neighborhood it’s like Beirut or something in the
1980s I can’t even walk out my door I just got I don’t look at next door anymore I just ignore it I don’t open it
ever because I know that that they’re designed algorithmically to put that in
front of you every single time so that you click on it because that’s we respond to that kind of stuff naturally
we can’t help it so you have to be able to shut that stuff up and look at what you can actually control in your life so
I have this visceral dislike of what’s going on in Ukraine because I was in
Ukraine recently and I feel I’ve identified very strongly with their struggle right and it just I can’t that
outrage feeling it just every time I read an article about it it just drives me crazy so the only thing is I stop
reading as much as I can I read things that are kind of rational and intelligent and I send the money and I
you know I donate as much as I can and I help them practically but I don’t allow
myself to get that kind of outraged feeling all of the time so somebody has
to write a book somebody has to instruct us and what to ignore and what to actually pay attention to so there are
things that you can control injustices that are out there that you could control by voting by certain by
amassing a movement by you know dealing with climate change not by trying to
recycle every little thing in your house but actually doing something really much more macro in the world you know joining
a cause there are things you can do and that’s positive and that’s a way of channeling that kind of dark energy in
you for a positive purpose but it’s totally disruptive and it totally distracts you and weakens you and drains
you of energy to fall into those rabbit holes and let them and let yourself fall into them so you have to learn the art
of what to ignore and what not to pay attention to and understand that you’re wired to see those kind of red alert
buttons on Facebook or on next door wherever they are and it it’s just it’s
it’s it’s negative it’s like a candy rush and you have to avoid it and it’s taking us away from our purpose which we
each have I mean I think to me that’s the the most um delerious aspect unless unless your purpose is to organize and
be an activist people ask me I wrote a lot about in my human nature book about
the shadow side of human nature right and we all have it we all have a dark side we all have hidden aggression we
all have feelings of Envy we all have feelings of grandiosity we all have aggressive impulses how do you deal with
it and I say the way to deal is to channel it into something positive and pro-social and that could be putting it
in your artwork venting that anger and that outrage and something that people kind of can identify with or it can be
an organizing something that could be your purpose in life and actually doing something positive so that’s the only
way that you could actually use that energy for some kind of actual life’s task or purpose you’ve been discussing
Masculinity & Femininity
ing lately a bit on some of your channels about masculine and feminine um
let’s say roles um and crisis of the
masculine feminine dance as well as the crisis of masculinity per se the crisis
of femininity per se um do you care to expand on that a bit I think um we could
probably take three four hours to explore all this in full um but I was
struck by some of the things that you said um because I agree completely that um just as we are not given a road map
When we arrive in the world as to how to find our purpose I think there’s also a very conflicted road map that’s thrown
in front of us and indeed conflicting multiple road maps about what it means
to be masculine or feminine or some combination of both which of course everybody is some combination of both
just to varying degrees well um yeah so men have a feminine side to them which
if you try to repress it will come out in other ways and women have a masculine
side to them I think Yung describe this very well with the anima and the Animus which I think is is extremely
real um it’s very very confusing times for both men and for women right now we
don’t know the roles that there there’re everything is just so fluid and it’s
very very difficult particularly if you’re young so young women are getting this idea that everything should be
equal and that women should have and of course it’s right should have be paid the same and should have the same career
opportunities there should be no Prejudice or harassment or anything but at the same time on social media it’s
all about looking perfect and looks are are incredibly important and if you’re not hot you’re in terrible trouble and a
lot of young girls are extremely confused by this they’re getting mixed signals right and boys are even in
perhaps even worse circumstances where being masculine is seen as something negative so we don’t have any ideals out
there anymore of what what constitutes a good positive form of
femininity and a good positive form of masculinity in fact we even think that
there shouldn’t be anything like that there’s no such thing as being masculine or feminine whatever it’s very very
confusing and so you know I I think of of of masculine traits that I think are
very positive and that should be out there to kind of counteract the sort of Andrew Tate seduction that a lot of
young men are falling for and it’s a kind of an inner strength where you’re
sort of in control of your emotions you’re not invulnerable etc etc but um
you can take criticism you can take PE you you know you can have moments of failure and
you’ll bounce back but you have a kind of res inner resilience and a kind of inner strength a kind of a quiet calm
that I think used to be exemplified in movie icons like a Gary Cooper type thing right and that kind of sense of
inner calmness where you’re not hysterical you’re not getting upset about everything that happens where you
have a kind of an inner strength and a confidence and you can withstand kind of what Ryan holiday talks about a lot
about with stoicism you can withstand all of the hardships in life but you have that Citadel Within you is a very
very powerful form of masculinity as opposed to it’s all about sleeping with
a lot of women having really fast cars you know being abusive and being a bully
etc etc these are signs of weakness of insecurity and to be masculine should be
a sense of security and inner confidence and Inner Strength right and that’s what
we should venerate in our culture and we should have icons like that okay um it
doesn’t mean that that there’s no role for men who are not masculine or have more of the feminine virtues that’s also
there’s definitely a role for that and you know we see a lot of that in all sorts of Arenas of life and then there
should be a positive model for women you know where instead of their appearances
being judged by their appearances and having to conform to ideals of what’s hot or not it’s about being incredibly
powerful and comp ident and and have expertise and being really successful in your career and and as opposed to being
continually judged by your appearances which is very damaging so these are terrible times I mean I I
feel fortunate that I grew up in a time where there were these kind of models for me to go by and I think of my father
who who was a very quiet man and he was he was just a middle class s salesman is
basically what he was he just sold for all his whole life he sold chemical supplies for one company um but he was
very dignified he treated people well he was very calm and very quiet but he also
was very empathetic that was my role model for what I think is a good masculine energy and I think a lot of
people just don’t have that and they’re very lost and so I don’t know what the answer is to that I can’t really produce
that out of thin air but I wish I could well certainly nowadays there are many
more um let’s say examples and options of masculine and feminine qualities out
there for observation because of social media and because of the internet uh and as you point out before a key feature to
becoming a functional human being especially nowadays is learning what to ignore I mean there’s an interesting
idea in the circles around nutrition and health that you know never before in human history have human beings been
able to access such a wide variety of foods that are differ from what their ancestors ate and I don’t even mean
ancient ancestors I mean if you grew up in the Bay Area as I did in the 1970s
and 80s there were few ethnic restaurants but we ate the same you know
15 or 20 Foods over and over again right and then eventually that exploded into
dozens of options and more and fusion foods and all sorts of things and so there is this idea in the nutrition
communities that we are not hardwired to um think about and discern so many different food options that you know
that’s um and to taste so many distinct flavors whereas before people one portion of the planet or country ate
generally one way in a given season if there’s seasonality etc etc in a similar vein um we are now and children too are
now um overwhelmed with a number of different options of how to express oneself both masculinity and femininity
but generally speaking and so the question is then how does one choose right how does one decide what’s what’s
functional what works what’s best what’s me right everyone asking themselves who am I right I think all teenagers I find
this fascinating ask themselves who am I adults don’t tend to ask themselves that question but who am I I still ask myself
question okay well that’s good maybe I should ask myself that more often but um
I think that we clearly have gone over a cliff with this stuff I don’t think we’re
still at the point where we’re kind of veering towards the edge of of confusion I think young people are really confused
because the moment one assumes uh one clear and let’s say balanced Mas set of
masculine feminine attributes or maybe ve a bit more masculine or a bit more feminine it’s like um there are a
million examples telling you that that’s wrong I know and then sometimes has the tendency to Anchor to well no no I’m
right because this is this is who I am and then all of a sudden you’re you’re in a larger battle so uh you know Gary
Cooper’s great love his movies um but we’re like we now have a million variations on Gary Cooper um that don’t
look anything like the Gary Cooper you and I are talking about and a lot of people won’t even know who we’re talking about but I know
they I’m a dinosaur but perhaps it illustrates the point no not that you’re a dinosaur but that um there is no
single or even um set of masculine or feminine ideals so picking Role Models
Picking Role Models; Purpose & Mentor Relationship
is something that I really truly internalized from your book Mastery yeah you know I there were a lot of lonely
years for me and I won’t get into the stories of just wondering like my what am I going to do you know I’m 13 my home
was completely broken no semblance of the reality it was before you know who are the the males in my life I’m going
to orient to and fortunately for me I assigned mentors to me whether or not they knew it or not that really helped
me along and I changed them up as you recommend there wasn’t one um I understood there was a breaking up
process an integration process combined ining and threading together different things I think I truly believe that
that’s what’s required that um it doesn’t have to be 100% Gary Cooper it can be 10% Robert Green 10% someone else
you know 5% this and creating a pie chart of sorts of you know who one wishes to be in a given context but that
takes work it takes a bit of work and discernment but gosh that’s powerful um
and really credit goes to you because I you know you were a mentor of mine you didn’t even realize it in the way that
you forge and organize information and there were others and but Mastery is where I learned to do that and this is
not a podcast it’s a a sales pitch for Mastery but gosh it really taught me okay I have a graduate adviser she was
wonderful and Brilliant but she didn’t know how to explain a lot of things to me so I’d find someone else for that
right and someone else for the other thing and someone else for the other thing and together create a patchwork of of really excellent mentors that made a
lot of sense to me yeah yeah so I I think there’s a a role for that process
that you spell out in Mastery in the larger context of like could have become as a person and that includes masculine
and feminine ideals yeah and and it’s an ongoing process throughout your life so who you glommed on to when you were 14
or 15 will change when you’re 19 I had a series of people like you’re talking
about my high school English teacher who had an enormous impact on me who taught
me basically how to write I internalized his voice when went to Berkeley I had a
professor there who became my kind of surrogate father at Berkeley who I deeply admired for his level of
scholarship so he became kind of an intellectual role model later in life
when I finally wrote my first book I met a man steers who was a book packager who understood the business Etc he kind of
saved me he was sort of my mentor for the next phase in my life so on and on and on I found people but they have
positive qualities qualities they admire they’re not perfect everyone is flawed and so at some point maybe you
see too many of the flaws you go on I need somebody new in my life but there’s nothing wrong with that it’s not like
you’re you’re you’re violating any codes or hurting them you move on to somebody else but the sense of finding people
whose qualities you admire we don’t learn from people just by following
their ideas we pick up their energy their Spirit now you didn’t necessarily
pick up my energy or Spirit from Reading Master although maybe you did I don’t know but when you’re interacting with
that professor at Stanford or whatever it’s not just verbally there’s kind of a
non-verbal communication going on you’re internalizing some of the positive qualities that you saw in them and
finding these series of mentors because I call it surrogate
parents you can’t choose your father and mother but you can choose these ideals
for you can choose these mentor towards in your life you can kind of rewrite your family history and find that Father
Figure You Never Had by glomming onto this person but it has to be the right fit it has to be someone that you
connect to emotionally and intellectually and that has the positive qualities you wish for yourself well
I’ll embarrass you perhaps by saying that um since I was a freshman in college which is really when I turned my
academic life around and really my life around I’ve maintained the same notebook with a list of names of people that I
admire and who I’m um you know trying to emulate in some way not in every way certainly and certain names have been
crossed off but um most of them have survived and and certainly after reading Mastery your name made that list and um
and I hope I’m not being crossed off at some point no not at all not not at all and through Reading Mastery there were
there were additional names um you know I had the great the great Misfortune of having all three of my academic advisers
die suicide cancer cancer which sounds tragic the the joke in my field is you don’t want me to work for you that’s
what that’s what everyone says but by being essentially scientifically orphaned because there’s a strong Mentor mentee relationship in science and
progression through the career uh track it forced me to go out and find other people and also to learn how to quote
unquote mother and father myself in the context of profession and I got a lot of help but um I I can’t emphasize enough
how valuable that practice is and so when one looks out on the landscape of social media options I mean these are
literally just options of people to you know we call it following but um you know it probably should be called
something else uh because following you know it fall short of emulating or attempting to emulate but I think that
in the context of masculine and feminine ideals this is so critical but it’s like the buffet of food is so enormous now
right I mean you’ve got every cuisine on the table so we’re we’re not wired for that no and I know personally I I get
very agitated and upset if I go to the market and I have to choose between 30
items and I have no idea what I want it makes me really cranky and upset whereas if I know okay I can have this food I
can’t have that I’m only looking for this okay it’s easy it doesn’t take two hours and waste my time too much choice
is very detrimental to the human being I think and that’s why going back to what I originally said when you have that
sense of purpose about your life about what’s important it does just infects
your career but it infects every everything you do so you know eating
this food is going to drain me of my energy that I need to create this thing that means so much to me and energy and
feeling my my brain active and alive is incredibly important value all right I’m not going to eat all that Sugar because
it’s bad for me right it means I’m not going to get outraged by these things on the internet because it’s a waste of
time I can’t do anything about it it’s just feeding on my you know on my I
forget the part of the brain that’s that’s like the amydala or whatever right so no I don’t want to go there
right and on and on and on all these things in social media some of it’s good
some of it’s interesting I can follow Andrew huberman’s podcast and I enjoy that and I learn a lot from it but a lot
of these podcasts are useless they’re they’re not helping me in any way so it gives you this kind of filter and this
radar to cut out those hundred different choices that drive us absolutely crazy
and I know maybe I’m partially I maybe I’m a little bit I don’t know I hate to say that maybe I’m partially on the
Spectrum or something but I can’t trans can’t stand too many choices it completely drives me nuts so I always
have to kind of funnel my energy into something to things that are productive and having a sense of your purpose
whenever you discovered in your 20s hopefully gives you that ability to say these are the positive role models I
want in my life these are the mentors and the thing about following people on
social medas it’s so easy it’s just a click it doesn’t mean anything a mentor relationship takes work it takes courage
because you have to actually go up to somebody and physically ask for their help and a lot of people write to me say
I’m afraid of asking this important powerful person to be their mentee right
so it involves a sense of social courage where you have to literally engage with
another human being who you admire and who you think is powerful so it’s building your social skills Etc but it’s
a skill you develop you can’t just follow someone you can’t just watch their lectures you have to engage with
them and you have to get over some of your fears and your anxieties in the process yeah and I might add to it uh I
think everything you say is absolutely true and I think um engaging in the the various um tools that they recommend is
immensely helpful like I think hear hearing about a book is great reading a book is even better um thinking about a
book is even that you read is even better than that and then uh writing down your own ideas and writing a book
well that’s that’s the big win right and that’s what the world I believe that’s what the universe wants from us not
necessarily to write a book but you know translate what I just said to any number of different Endeavors yeah you want to be able to think for yourself right so
“Alive” Thinking; Anxiety & Creativity
you’re not just absorbing ideas from other people and kind of mimicking them and kind of just learning the exteriors
of their ideas you want to kind of digest them and then have them slowly
become your own ideas by interacting with them by creating and like putting them through your own lens so someday
it’s it’s a book stirring in me is the art of thinking and how to use that kind
of process and go deeper into it and I talked a lot about it in one of my
podcasts which might be the seed of a book but it’s it’s the the difference
between dead thinking and Alive thinking ideas can be either alive or they can be
dead and an alive idea is something that enters your brain from an external
Source a philosopher an article somebody you admire somebody you hate and then
you absorb it and you think about it and you decide I’m going to turn it around
into this and I’m going to make it alive and it’s going to make it something that’s part of me another part of an
alive idea is um you have an idea that comes to you about a book or a project
or something about the world and you go maybe that’s not actually true maybe the
opposite is true and you go through a process and you cycle through it on and on and you reflect on it and you refine
this idea and maybe it turns into its opposite and through the process of reflecting and correcting and revising
it you turn it into something living something alive within you right on and
on and on and what prevents people from going through that process which would be the subject of my book is basically
anxiety because I think how you handle anxiety is the most important kind of
quality in life it’ll determine whether you will be successful whether you will find your career path or whether you
won’t be able to I don’t know if you can follow that idea at all but um anxiety
is a signal to you that you don’t understand something that that there’s a problem out there that that you can’t
resolve and so what happen Happ s to most people if you’re insecure is you
glom onto something instant and easy to get rid of your feeling of anxiety I
don’t understand this problem oh it must be a must a must be the answer because this person said that right and so you
don’t develop the the ability to think you don’t Dev the ability to go to the next level but if you take that anxiety
and you go all right maybe a is an answer and then you start going through
a and then you go no maybe a isn’t the answer maybe B is the answer you’re able to surmount your anxiety and go past it
further and further and further you don’t rush for the first available answer that’s out there right you’re
able to go through a process of refining things and so in your career if you’re anxious for Success if
you’re anxious for money you’re going to make the wrong choices but if you’re able to deal with that anxiety and say
maybe I’m I have to think more deeply about where I’m going I have to come up with other alternatives then you’re
going to make a much better choice on and on and on so how if you’re deal if
you’re a creative person it’s very very challenging to have that blank piece of
paper before you that book that you haven’t written that film or whatever you’re filled with a lot of anxiety and
you have to deal with it and if you’re able to turn into something creative and productive then great things will happen
you’ll create a masterpiece so the ability to deal with anxiety and to not
give into the most instant gratification that you can get is to me a marker of somebody who will be creative and will
invent something as opposed to people who just recycle old and dead ideas Amen to that I uh was once told
that you know anxiety makes children of us all and not in the positive sense of
being childlike you know it it regresses us to a mode where we feel a complete lack of control and I completely agree
that being able to manage anxiety and and work dance with it yeah since we can’t rid ourselves of it no perhaps nor
should we right because it’s a signal as you point out that we don’t understand something that there’s there’s something to get curious about right a process or
something out there or both I think uh that really resonates yeah and I think a lot of people will benefit from from
hearing that because I think we hear the word flow and we just all imagine I even
catch myself imagining that you know when Robert Green sits down to right it’s like there’s a blank sheet and then he just kind of meditates and then boom
out com these books um but I you know if I get realistic for a second I’m sure
that there’s a lot of inner turmoil and anxiety my God you have no idea so um my
process is is 95% pain and maybe 2 and a half% ecstasy and I don’t know what the
other two and a half% would be but um so I write a story because all in my new
book and most of my books I always begin with the story from history Etc and it is so bad it I just I can’t
believe how bad how flat it is how it sucks I’m so embarrassed I hate myself
then I go and I go dig into and I start changing the words in it I start making a little bit better the second version
It’s kind of palatable but it still sucks it’s if I let it out the world it’ be very embarrassing I work I it’s an
anxious you know and my wife can tell you I’m a miserable being when that happens everything looks black to me at
that point and and I pushed through it so if I gave in to my anxiety and this
happens with a lot of books and writers I would just put out that second version which isn’t very good it isn’t very
strong it isn’t thought through because my ideas when I look at them the first
time I go that’s not real that’s not the actual thing that’s going on here Robert you’ve missed the mark you want to hit
what’s actually real in that story so you have to go deeper and deeper and harder and harder and harder so I don’t
just give up and go here’s the chapter I go it’s got to be better it’s got to be better until
finally after two months of struggling it seems like it’s it’s gone
to the place that I want it to be in right but I I use that anxiety to keep
improving and making it better and then when I reach that point and the story is good enough and I can let my wife read
it and then my editor I feel great I have that 2% moment of Joy but it came
through all of that anxiety but I can can tell you the feeling of fulfillment
when I finish a chapter is pretty damn great when I finish a book it’s better than any kind of drug
experience anyone could ever have it’s such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and pushing past all the
barriers you know so my process involves a lot of anxiety and dealing with that’s
why I’m talking about it why I want to write a book about it thank you for sharing that um I’m attempting to write
a book and have been for several years and now I feel a little bit better but clearly I need to ratchet down harder um
but in other domains of life I I am familiar with the experience of tons of
anxiety and just okay I’m going to just get to this one Milestone and then I’ll figure out the next Milestone but even
that process of saying okay I’m going to break this down into Milestones itself is anxiety provoking it’s just that but
at some point it generates enough inertia that you just that you just sort of stumble forward into the process and
then keep going so try not to bloody oneself that’s right too much yeah I think a lot of people will benefit from
hearing about that in fact I’m certain they will So speaking of anxiety you
Convergent Interests & Romantic Relationships
have a clip on the internet that we will provide a link to in the show note captions which I think is absolutely
fabulous about how to find a romantic partner and or get more out of an
existing romantic partnership I don’t even remember what I said you’re gonna have to remind me oh it’s so good
um one point in particular yeah that uh I
remember um that I think is oh so true is that there needs to be at least one
and probably several uh points of like real convergence in terms of one’s
interests or likes that go beyond like what food somebody likes or uh you know
what type of house they want to live in but that actually traces back to these early form forms of delight and you
mentioned uh that for you and therefore presumably your partner that you know a
mutual love and respect for Animals happens to be one of those things within the context of your relationship right
that not that A Love For Animals is required for me it sure as hell is right exactly I could never go out with a
woman who didn’t love animals right my sister used to tease me that um if a woman gave me a birthday card or a card
that had a drawing of a particular animal which I’m particularly fond of my sister used I have an older sister and
she used to say oh no it’s over he’s gone you know that it would you know um fortunately it’s it’s not that simple um
but uh there’s some truth to what she was saying um it’s certainly uh it’s necessary but not sufficient but maybe
you could elaborate a little bit on this notion of um convergent interest and
contrast it with a lot of what people tend to hear and say about what’s
important in Partnership because I think this is something that a lot of people grapple with both in terms
of finding a partner and in terms of building partnership well um you have to you know
there’s you can there’s different relationships you can have I mean do you want like a one week a one month
relationship or you looking for something longer more satisfying that will entail you know maybe years of
being together and um you know uh people can
get very boring very quickly right particularly if you can’t have a conversation with them about subjects
that interest you and so you mention animals animals is a very good example
because it’s not I’m not saying that you both have to be Democrats or Republicans that’s too banal and superficial but the
Love of Animals reaches into your character reaches something deep inside of you or your dislike of animals if
that happens to be the case but it signals something about it that’s so Primal that’s so connected to a
child that there’s going to be a deep connection there and it’s not like you have to both love cats which is good if
that happens to be the case but just animals in general you love their energy you love the fact that they’re that
they’re innocent in their own way you love the fact that they’re not playing games with you you love the kind of
instant love you can get from them kind of thing and you connect to them on that level is a very very positive sign
because it goes beyond just intell ual things into something emotional and visceral so really the emotional
connections the values that you have together are very important money is
another one that’s extremely important so if one of you is incredibly material
oriented and it’s all about money is is is power and success and comfort and the
other isn’t really into it it’s into spending money Etc a lot of people have
endless fights or something like money right where there’s no convergence there
and money signals a deeper value about the person so I’m not saying there’s
anything wrong if money motivates you I’m not moralizing about it because that can signal a value that maybe you grew
up without it and that feeling comfortable and feeling like you don’t have to worry about something is very
very important to you and the not being interested in money reveals something about your character so I’m telling
people you want to look at the person’s character and see a kind of convergence there and something that can last and I
remember I was reading um for one of my books about Franklin delanor Roosevelt and Elanor Roosevelt and the thing of it
was Franklin delanor Roosevelt was his incredibly handsome vibrant young man before he got polio very active very
athletic very handsome all the women were after him he was like the perfect match he was wealthy and Elanor
Roosevelt was like the ugly duckling she she wasn’t very pretty she was kind of socially
awkward but he saw into her character he saw that intellectually she was a match
for him he saw that they had kind of similar interests on that level that I’m talking about that go beneath just the
surfaces and he chose Elanor and everyone was shocked about it you know
nobody was was trying to court Elanor I’ve WR her last name at the time I
think she might have even be a Roosevelt um so it was very shocking you said I I
looked at somebody who I could last with who had some qualities that were much more important to me and it ended up
being a very satisfying relationship of course later on he had his Dianes so it wasn’t perfect but it was a very it was
a very positive relationship so seeing your values in life you know when it
comes to like money when it comes to like career when it comes to comfort or
lack of comfort some people like like not being comfortable they like being on
the edge they want challenges they want to move from City to City kind of thing and if you partner with somebody who
just wants to live in the same house you’re going to have conflict after conflict after conflict the sex might be
great and that might be good for a month or two months I have nothing against that I’m not going to judge that either
but it won’t lead to a longlasting relationship you know Sports and Athletics are another thing is this
someone that likes the outdoors or is it someone who’s you know like zaha Gabor has to be in in a Time Square in a
penthouse in Manhattan you know kind of thing so values that reach inside of a
per character that are deeply ingrained that you can almost not change you can’t
control and there’s a convergence there on several levels is a sign that you can
have a deep connection with that person and it’s very important and if those
connections are good and there’s a physical attraction because if without
the physical attraction it will kind of fizzle out you’ve got a recipe for for incredible success for something that
can really last and having a lasting relationship as I’ve had is is such an anchor in your life
you know for me for someone who works as hard as I do and hopefully for her as well it just grounds me and it makes
life so much simpler and easier and and it’s not just simple and easy there’s a lot of love and a great deal of of
of deeper emotions involved but having a long-term relationship if you can have
it is something that pays off in so many dividends so being able to find that kind of convergence you know when I
first met my now my wife um I had a cat
at the time I’d always been a dog person but this was a cat I had and I love that cat like hell I can’t believe he was
such a wonderful cat I brought her over to my apartment on the first date I wanted to see her
reaction to the cat you know cuz I generally and I don’t know people misjudge that women who don’t like cats
I I don’t I can’t get along with right because there’s something feline in the feminine nature that I love and she
loved my cat boy that was the best sign of all and things just Bloss and she loved me for loving a cat so there was a
great convergence right there that we saw right away and there were other things but that was the first one
Self-Awareness, Core Values & Romantic Relationships
I love that story and everything you just said suggests I believe that in
order to find the right partner and to build an existing partnership that hopefully
feels at least partially right to people that it requires at least some knowing of self Because unless you know your
character one’s own character then it’s impossible to really determine if
somebody else’s character is going to mesh well with it or not self awareness is is actually the most important
quality in life for all aspects but yeah I mean if we go by social pressures a
man will choose a trophy wife who looks sexy and hot and will impress all of his
male friends etc etc you go by the things that culture tells you that these are the right images for you right and
then there won’t be any connection to you because you’re choosing for purposes that don’t connect to who you are and so
you have to know yourself you have to know what you love you have to know what you hate I think most people know that
they love animals or don’t love animals I think most people know that they like stability or they like things to be kind
of slightly chaotic I don’t think you have to go through deep levels of introspection but what you have to do is
when you’re involved in a relationship you have to think that those things matter that’s the problem you tend to
think that those things may you think that sex matters more than anything physical attraction matters or you think that the person having a lot of money
matters etc etc you don’t think that this other aspect is important if you
value what I’m talking about then your self-awareness will kick in because you really basically know these essential
basic parts about your own character I think people sometimes get um distracted
by admiration of qualities that they might find
admirable but that don’t mesh with their own character I’ve seen this many times before where well uh where someone will
say well there someone will start listing off the positive attributes of the person that they happen to be dating
like he does this blank blank and blank she does this you know he volunteers Etc
and that’s all great I mean volunteering for good causes I’m all in support of that but then what they’re overlooking
often it seems is whether or not that’s a core value for them or whether or not it’s just something that they admire I
hear a lot of admiration in the early days of relationships that later I hear about failing and what you’re talking
about is something deeper more uh aligned with one’s own sense of self and
it almost um leads me to use the word you know sort of a more about energetics
it’s like merging of people’s energies which sounds very new Agy and that’s not my intention but but I think it relates
to something that we do hear a lot about and I think is valid which is how it feels to be around somebody in different
context like do we feel at ease do we feel lightness an ability to express ourselves and to um and do we enjoy and
admire them in their expression as opposed to just admiring what they do they’ve accomplished blank blank and
blank I see right they uh manifest these qualities that I wish I had right you hear that and and aspire to have which
is very different than a meshing of of energies also there a couple other
things you have to understand their character as well and people can be very deceptive and very slippery and can wear
masks one telling sign that I’ve noticed in my own relationships in the
past is that the woman would be a certain way with me that I thought was very good and I liked and then the
moment we were with other people she acted in a way that was very irritating it’s like a different character and I
really kind of fell out of love with her when I saw her in social interactions she revealed so with me she was almost
wearing a mask and playing a game but the moment she entered a different circumstance I saw another aspect to her
character so you also have to be very attentive to their character what lies underneath that they have some of these
values that they’re not just trying to win you over for whatever and they’re playing along with you the other thing
that’s very important is a sense of mystery so a
partner can become boring very very quickly right after a year you know every single thing about them right
they’re going to say the same things the conversations go around in circles it’s
just you’ve reached an end there’s no surprises there’s no mystery you want somebody where they have corners that
you don’t really see at first that they surprise you sometimes suddenly there’s
a quality that you hadn’t suspected before so people who are too obvious who
are too familiar who show everything instantly they’re going to end up boring you right but people who have a bit of
Reserve I I know this is maybe I’m I’m projecting my own values on the world but people who who kind of intrigue you
that you don’t fully understand that make you want to know more and if they can be like that after two years or
three years or five years wow that’s fantastic but the sense of I know every single thing about this person they
never surprise me anymore is what kind of breaks the the the enchantment and
leads to the end of the relationship well the idea of more to learn about somebody um perhaps also suggests that they are
continuing to evolve into forage in the landscape of life you know that they’re not fully baked yeah right that which I
think is um an interesting idea in during the four episode series that we
did on Mental Health Paul kti a psychiatrist said that um a matching of generative drives which he defined as
the desire to create something in the world of One’s Own expression is really critical in relationship and he said you
know it matters less whether or not one person likes classical music and the other person rock and roll provided that
their relationship to music is similar or something of that sort like that it’s about a drive to of a certain sort to
engage in the world so one person could love music the other person’s not into music but the way that they approach
life is one of perhaps Mutual curiosity desire to find out Etc and that this
exists on a Continuum uh I’m curious if uh it seems to jive with what you’re with what you’re saying it does but the
only thing I would add is if you love classical music and they
love like heavy metal music you’re going to be driven crazy pretty quickly it’s going to you know it’s not going to mesh
with you and I know I would have that problem you’ll both be in headphones a lot right so the fact that you both have
because music is like animals in a way so I agree completely with what you’re
saying but I would say maybe music isn’t the best example because music says something very deep about a person right
there and you know I’m not saying one is superior to the other but it reveals something that’s nonverbal that that
kind of gives you a window into who they are so if they like punk rock like you
do and I grew up on punk rock there’s a rebellious thing this to there’s an anti-authoritarian quality that’s very
strong you get you get to see that through them if they like modart and
soft string quartets there’s somebody that kind of value softness and tranquility and peace and you’re not
like that so the music kind of shows you something a quality about their character that can be very telling and
be very eloquent and so it doesn’t mean that you both have to love The Clash or
the dead kennedies or whatever showing my own Generation Um but that you both
have that rebellious streak and that rebellious streak could be you like there’s classical music composers who
could be pretty damn rebellious and angry you know and I actually kind of like them so that convergence I think is
a positive one kind of thing but in general I agree with that I’m curious
Non-Verbal Communication & Relationships
about the non-verbal communication component of all types of relationships but let’s stay in the landscape of
romantic relationships for the moment yeah maybe include professional relationships too because what you just
described is really about a resonance around the non-verbal stuff I mean it can be articulated with words yeah um I
love animals I love this music this is the best song like did you see that like otter are amazing right this kind of
thing but language is just an attempt to place you know words on a Feeling in those instances so it it can be
classified as non-verbal um with respect to non-verbal
communication you’ve written fairly extensively about the fact that people often communicate with
their body and facial expressions um uh I’m certainly familiar with the somewhat if not very eerie
sensation of somebody um smiling like a toothy smile and then it as they pivot
away that smile just dissolving very quickly and um you know you don’t have to be a neuroscientist or a psychologist
to realize that like there was something quite false about that experience or that this person experiences um emotions
like step functions on off on off which is not how most of us EXP experience emotions most of us experience emotions
with some pervasiveness like I was happy walking in the door because of something happened before and so I’m going to smile while I’m walking in the door if I
see something shocking and dismaying of course I’m going to frown I’m going to wipe away that smile but those are rare instances so um let’s talk about the
mouth the eyes the face the body in the context of communication what are what are some important things to pay
attention that I I I I want to go back on as far as convergence is sense of humor is extremely important right so
it’s not like you both like the same comedians but if one person likes ranchy humor and the other person doesn’t
that’s that’s a problem and also the fact that the person doesn’t have a sense of humor or doesn’t make you laugh
is a very very bad sign so I wanted to add that one component in there I’m so glad you did uh someone who can make me
laugh has uh you know necessary but not sufficient but boy it’s uh approaching
sufficient yeah I’d say so I’d say so um you know when it comes to the Art of
Seduction The Art of Seduction is a nonverbal language that you must Master it’s a language of the gifts that you
give it’s a ma it’s a language of of how you smell it’s a language that you TR that you communicate through the eyes
etc etc and the thing you have to understand about the human being is that
we evolved for much longer period of time without words than the small 40
35,000 years that we have symbolic language so during that vast period of
Darkness where we did not have words we were non communicating non-verbally we
were picking up signals from people we were watching every little detail of
their behavior because we didn’t have words to decipher it so it’s wired into
our brains to have an amazing sensitivity to people’s non-verbal
Communications we can almost be telepathic that way if we learn that
language the problem is we have the capacity but we don’t develop it at all
because we are so word oriented you’re just listening to people if you’re even
listening to them at all you’re just hearing the words and you’re so thinking that the words mean something the words
are sincere which they’re often not at the same time that you’re listening so much to words people are shuffling in
their chair they’re kind of looking away they’re looking at other women or other men their voice is kind of trembling
when they say something that where it shouldn’t tremble their eyes are dead the smile is kind of fake you’re not
watching any of it so the most important thing in non-verbal communication law number one is pay attention to it
continually develop the practice of shutting off the words and watching people almost as if you took the
television and muted it right and just watched their behavior it’s not easy and it’s not natural because it’s the words
the words were words we want to we want to focus on them right but your ability
to turn that television off to mute it will suddenly open up so many things
about people they reveal so much things Sigman Freud said people are continually oozing out all of their secrets through
their non-verbal Behavior you can read them like an open book if you master this language and I have in the laws of
human nature I describe the story of Milton Ericson I don’t know if you’re familiar with Milton ericsen perhaps the
greatest modern master of non-verbal communication he was a an amazing
psychologist he sort of um is the inspiration behind um n what’s it called
n help me out here neuro linguistic oh the NLP I it’s kind of a bastardization
of his ideas but he’s he created hypnotherapy he’s the person who created hypnotherapy certainly I uh hypnotherapy
is is a valid psychiatric practice I mean it’s excellent clinical data to support well Milton Ericson had Polio
when he was 19 and he was paralyzed his entire body was paralyzed he couldn’t even move his
eyeballs right and he sat in bed and he had a very active mind and he was going
to just die from sheer boredom and what he did during the two years of being paralyzed like that was just watching
People’s non-verbal communication and making notes in his brain and learning
every single he learned the 20 different forms of yes the 100 different forms of
no right every intonation how somebody entered the room how they left the room
you know how they looked at him with the pity or empathy or something he mastered it and then when he became a
psychiatrist and he treated people they thought he was psychic he could see everything into them it’s because for
two years that’s all he could do was Observe them he couldn’t speak he couldn’t do anything he couldn’t read a
book so you have that same power but you don’t have po obviously but you have to
first pay attention to it right it’s an amazing thing once you do it’s a lot of
fun actually and I tell people go to a cafe one day in your city wherever you
live and just watch people because you can’t hear them they’re a few tables away watch their non-verbal Behavior as
they interact and see if if you pick up cues from them and there are things that are signs of genuine emotions so for
instance an exercise you can do is you go up to somebody from an angle where
they can’t see you coming up to them and you surprise them you go hey hey Mike
whatever they turn for that second their expression reveals how they really think about you you’ll detect if you can pick
up micro expressions and and you can they’re only like one 150th of a second
but they’re there you can express a kind of and they smile you can see the little disdain in their eyes right then the
mask comes on right or you’re talking to them they’re looking at you but their
feet are facing in an opposite direction that means that they’re dying to get away from you kind of thing these are
signals that you don’t necessarily pay attention to their posture will tell you everything about their levels of
confidence right on and on and on the fake smile if you can just Master the
ability to detect the fake smile it will go wonders for you because you’re able to see what you really want to do is to
see the person with a genuine smile particularly in romantic relationships someone whose face lights
up a real smile lights your whole face up it doesn’t light your mouth that
these parts of your face go up your eyes get alive there’s like a there’s like a
a neuro thing going on in your brain that’s changing your whole facial expression and it means that someone
genuinely likes you they’re genuinely interested in you they’re genuinely laughing or connecting to you man if you
can see that it’ll help you so much in the Romantic realm and that’ll help you
get away from those toxic people that are continually faking interest in you
because a narcissist a toxic person thrives by deceiving you with a
Charming alluring front that makes you come into their world then they can hurt you then they can do something to you
right then they have you in in in their in their you know in their trap right so
being able to see that they’re not genuinely interested in you that they’re faking it will help you avoid very toxic
relationships and as I said to you I don’t know if we were on air or not but deep narcissists have dead eyes they
they almost can’t help it they can fake the smile they can fake everything else but the eyes you have to be able to read
it because you say well what are dead eyes you’ll know it when you see it there’s no life in them they’re like
looking through you they’re not looking at you they’re looking through you what can I get out of you you’re what they call a selfobject they’re an object for
you to use and that’s how they’re looking at you like they would look at a hammer or something yeah the concept of
Eyes, Voice, Intuition & Seduction
dead eyes and also alive eyes is so fascinating
because um as audience of this podcast will know that because I’ve said it too
much but I’ll say it again that the eyes are the only two pieces of your brain that are outside the cranial Vault I mean they’re literally two pieces of
brain linning the back of your eyes and the Dynamics of the pupils those changes
of course reflect how bright or dim it is in the room but they also reflect levels of arousal that are on the
millisecond time scale so as one expresses you know words of um of Glee
right the pupils constrict a little bit believe it or not or excuse me dilate a little bit I got it backwards there for
a moment um and vice versa you know as one feels uh less less excited um sort
of moments of Despair expressions of Despair that people should get a little bit smaller because arousal is going
down and so I think you know we pick up on these things at a unconscious level we do um the deadness of the eyes is is
kind of the the um the the conclusion that that pops out at us if we’re paying
attention but the problem is it love it registers unconsciously but we don’t
give it any value to it we trust our words we trust our rationality as opposed to our intuitions about people
so sometimes when you meet a person for the first time signals go up in your mind brain something’s wrong about them
and then you forget it because you don’t trust those initial unconscious signals that your brain is giving you right so
you have to you have to first kind of trust that this that these intuitions are very valuable the other thing is pay
deep attention to the tone of voice The Voice as actors will tell you is like
the hardest thing to fake right it’s very hard to fake excitement your voice
either has it or it doesn’t it’s very hard to fake confidence and you can I
mean books have been written about that I’m not going to go into all the the details about it but the person will
reveal so much of their emotional of the emotions that they’re experiencing
particularly levels of confidence you know like a trembling Voice or something
or a booming confident voice which some people can fake but often it’s very difficult you can still see through it
and on the level of Seduction women men are very very
attuned to the voice of a woman but we’re not aware of it because the voice of our mother had an incredible impact
on us in early early early childhood her singing her the tone of her voice that
was probably the first seduction that we ever went through and a woman’s voice
has tremendous power over us right and so hearing a voice that kind of great
Ates or irritates you is is something that’s that’s a bad sign and that goes deeper than all the characteristics that
we were talking about but a woman’s voice that kind of reminds you of that mother that sing songy whatever feeling
it was that’s that’s somebody that’s that can very easily seduce you yeah there’s a um there’s a place for uh
naming this of it’s like subcortical courtship uh you know you know below the cortex as the geeky neuroscientists like
myself say you know you’re getting down below the cortex with all of this stuff you know convergence of of real uh loves
and desires I mean we express with words we sense the world using of course our cortex but we’re really talking about
getting into the the subcortical stuff that is the stuff of our history the
stuff of our um hardwiring and our unique our uniqueness I couldn’t help but think about the fact that earlier we
Virtual World, Social Skills, Non-Verbal Communication
were talking about the now you know infinitely vast number of choices of things to engage in people to engage
with Etc but at the same time as you were now talking about um these micro inflections
and the subtleties of voice and bodily communication that whether or not it’s
emojis or people sending filtered images or the default to text message
communication that is so prominent now it seems like we now have more choices so uh more input
but the sort of qualitative differences between the puts have been binned into a
couple of simple bins as if it’s as if we’ve um regressed to primary colors only um but the canvas is huge or may I
don’t know if that analogy works but you you get the idea because ultimately in order to develop good choices about
profession romantic relationships friendships you need a lot of examples and a lot of information that allows you
to glean the subtlety um but as long as it’s emojis and filtered pictures taken
at a particular angle angle you know usually from above ask for the picture headon and Below send me a picture of
your worst your worst expression um all of that um it seems that there’s now
increased opportunity for deception and I don’t just mean people misleading others I also mean us misleading
ourselves like oh my goodness how could I be so disappointed yet again about
particular landscape of life it doesn’t just have to be romantic interactions it could be other Landscapes like how could I be fooled well you’re fooled because
the the uh the inputs were deficient not good data as we say well the thing is if
things are are you’re immersed in the virtual realm it’s very very hard to master the
non-verbal communication aspect which is so important so if you’re dating from an
app and you’re flipping through and then you find that person you’ve missed out on the greatest experience of life which
is actually having to to go out to a bar or go to a restaurant or go to a social event and have to literally encounter
another person and deal with looking at their their behavior and kind of
assessing who they are it’s a muscle that you have to pay attention to
non-verbal communication and if you’re just you know going through the Emojis
or going through the Tinder apps that muscle completely atrophies you have no
power you’re not able to decipher anything and that’s what’s happening with a lot of people who are using these
apps a social skills are like any skill at all they you have to develop them
it’s a muscle you have to develop and you’ve all noticed this probably in your own life if you’ve gone through a period
where you’re kind of retreating you don’t want to be around people and you spend a month like that and then you go
out you feel awkward it takes you like a couple days to get used to being around other people you say stupid things your
body language is awkward but if you’re in a situation for months where you’re constantly interacting people you’re on
a film set and day in day out day out that skill starts developing but you
have to be out there in the world you have to be interacting you have to be looking at people’s emotions you have to be gauging them in real time we’re not
built for virtual encounters we’re creatures of human of Flesh and Blood
and we need to be looking at each other in the eye and paying attention to all these little details these new nuances
that you can only get in person along those lines what are your thoughts about Ai and how that’s going to shape our um
Self-Awareness & Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Nuance
sense of self sense of others and relationships as if that’s a topic that could be covered in uh a series of
minutes but what what are your um what are your top Contour maybe even deeper thoughts about AI well I’m gonna I’m
going to piss a lot of people off but I’m I’m kind of very concerned about it um I mentioned before about anxiety the
role that anxiety plays in thinking you come upon an idea and you go yeah that’s all good
then you go to the next level and it becomes better and you go oh maybe that’s not so good then you go to the
next level you go to level three and it gets better and better you have anxiety another aspect of intelligence is
self-awareness right the beity to look at yourself go I have biases I have confirmation bias I have conviction bias
I have recency bias I have to counteract these things I also have a dark side I
have aggression I have to be aware of how they color my thinking my emotions the third quality that goes into int I’m
talking about now intelligence not artificial intelligence is the beity to deal anxiety and go to a third level
intelligence is the ability to look inside of yourself and see your own biases and the third thing is the
ability to see a holistic picture the kind of aha moment that scientists have
where you accumulate all kind of data points and then out of nowhere an image comes to your mind of yeah there’s the
answer you see the whole thing you see the whole Gestalt right Simone vile compared it to a a um a square Cube you
can only see a cube from one side or you can never see a a square Cube you can
only see a side of it if it’s rotating you’re still only seeing sides of it only in your mind can you picture the
whole thing so the mind has to go through a process to have holistic thinking if they can invent a machine
machine that can deal with anxiety and has anxiety and can go to level three if
they can make a machine that can be self-aware that can go the people who program me have biases therefore I have
biases I also have a dark side because people have program you have a dark side if this machine can also think
holistically beyond all of the data points and all the massive information it’s combined it can have that aha
moment all right I can see a human consciousness I can see creativity there
the other thing I would say is when I was a student at Berkeley going way back I was 19 years old I decided One Summer
this is a big paradigm shift for me I’m going to take this class in ancient Greek in six weeks they teach you a year
of ancient Greek that means every day you have an exam every Friday you have a
final exam eight hours every day of a dead language I thought this would be the best discipline for me after someone
who didn’t been doing too many drugs to be honest with you okay and so finally at one point they give us this paragraph
of the hardest ancient Greek writer of all to read this was near the end thiddies or thiddies as they
say I st so I had I had like the whole night to try and translate one paragraph
I couldn’t figure it out you have to understand the the weirdness of ancient Creek all the endings the weird ways of
thinking the whole picture that aha moment was luding me at one point I thought I got it and I translated it and
I gave it to the teacher next day I remember he was this kind of hippie that you’d have it Berkeley Dennis classic
Professor but also hippie the fact that you knew his first name is very tell I can only remember his first name Dennis
he he’s he said Robert I can see your thinking but you need to go to another level you missed you didn’t have that
aha moment you didn’t put the whole thing together you were close but you didn’t you have to try harder and that stuck in my mind forever like whenever I
have a problem I have to think harder I have to go to that next level now what would happen if I had pulled out my
translation of through cities and just copied that out right or what have happened if I put it through chat GPT
and it gave me the translation that muscle in my brain that I have developed for 40 years that allows me to write
books would never have developed and that muscle is I don’t know the answer
here I have to go to another level I have to try harder I have to think I have have to think I have to have that engine worring around right but if I
just grab for chat GPT it’s deadened and then we’re going to have a whole generation of people who stop thinking
who don’t go through that process you know you’ve heard of Douglas Heder I think he said people train to go to
Mount Everest it takes months physical exertion it’s painful then they climb
Mount Everest they see the top whoow what a great moment he said Chad GPT be
the equivalent of taking a helicopter to the top of Mount Everest without any of that training and having the same moment
it’s not the same right you need to go through that process you need to go through that pain and if you just and
the thing of is Chad gbt we think we’re so modern So Sophisticated but really we’re just seduced by Magic you put it
in there and you see the scri going whoa It’s like magic it’s like a
magician but it’s empty it’s like not your brain functioning right it’s pay
it’s the Pagan part of us we like that kind of magic as opposed to actually having to
go through the thought process itself so I’m not in FA against having tools I use
tools I use the internet I use Google I’m searching for like some factoid from
my book I find it I use it I I like it but I’ve also learned to develop my
brain to think to get that engine constantly moving and I’m deeply concerned about people who can’t learn a
foreign language who can’t master anything who just immediately grab the first answer that it generates etc etc I
have concerns I am too and I was thinking a moment ago that you know like some
people might hear what you just said and say oh well the same thing was probably said about the automobile like how many
amazing experiences of walking from one place to another are going to be lost when people start driving from one place
to another but I think a key difference and this certainly aligns with
everything you just said is that what you’re talking about is not just arriving at the same destination you’re
saying the destination itself is different when one exerts some effort and experiences some anxiety to get
there so it’s not the same as automobile versus horse versus walking versus airplane yeah it’s fundamentally
different because the the journey transforms the outcome yeah yeah I I’m in agreement with you about many aspects
of AI I’m also excited about it in the context of certain things I I I I agree with you if could be a tool but are we
operating the tool or is the tool operating us is what I’m talking about I am concerned a bit too especially in the
context of what we’ve been talking about for most of today’s discussion about um avatars replacing our online personas
too much um you know the Avatar of ourselves is already taking
place through through filters through uh reduction of emotional expression to emojis through reduction of of language
to a diminish number of words to explain one’s feelings you know a prior guest on this podcast um Lisa Feldman Barrett
who’s an expert in emotions talked about how the moment that a culture has a word
for a particular subset of anxious feelings so so for instance she taught me that in Japanese there’s a word for
the sadness one experiences when they get a bad haircut yeah I know you know and so that normalizes the feeling and
leads to feelings of less despair as opposed to what now many kids especially
grow up learning which I’m anxious I’m sad I’m depressed that you know in science we say there are lumpers and
there are Splitters and they’ve been arguing for years about like is that one brain structure well if I name those two things next to each other two different
things not only can I name one after myself which is what tends to happen so to speak but when you have too many
lumpers or too many Splitters things are either overly simple or overly complex that of course the right answer the the
the best use of naming things arrive someplace in the middle right that’s how a field progresses because if you if you
lump things together too much a field can’t progress you give yourself the illusion that it’s progressing but it’s not progressing but if you split things
up into a million different subcategories like just even the word adrenaline is also called epinephrine
and that’s has to do with basically people arguing over who got credit crazy and it’s confused people for for decades
yeah and there’s a there’s another story there that and I know far too much about the scientists involved and the there was a love triangle about naming of
certain parts of the nervous system oh yeah people sleeping with other people’s partners and love triangles have have
created more drama of gnomen clature in science I I could do a whole hour on this um in any case I what I’m hearing
from you is that we cannot afford to lose our sense of nuance and also
because that sense of nuance Taps into what we’re really experiencing and AI
threatens that that we can become avatars of oursel well look at it this way we we worship technology it’s our
Human Brain, Plasticity
new religion okay and we worship chap GPT as if it’s a God I’m seriously
there’s religious elements going on here what we really should worship is the human brain which is the greatest
creation in the known universe I’m afraid it is the most complex piece of
matter in the entire universe the number of neurons the number of synapses the number of possible connections between
neurons is infinite practically infinite it is a wondrous instrument it is so
powerful we’ve we’ve barely scratched the surface of what we can use for it let us worship that brain that’s in your
head you only have so many years to use it you have so many years to develop it it is so wonderful and Powerful that can
bring you such pleasure so much power in life so tools are fine we all need tools
we all need we need hammers we need Nails we need saws Etc but the real thing is the hand that uses it the brain
that connects the hand to the Hammers that knows how to to hit things you know I think of the of the um the great
painter Renoir in the 19 century he had like a a stroke or something then the
last years he couldn’t move his right arm which with she painted with and it
was disastrous so what he did is he put the brush in his mouth and he painted
and he painted some beautiful paintings that way because his brain had mastered
the art of painting not his hand but his brain had mastered it so well that he could actually paint well with the brush
in his mouth because he could direct it and he could he had the knowledge of how to make something perfect the brain is
absolutely incredible the plasticity of the brain which I’m discovering after my
stroke is absolutely a miracle you know what I don’t know is it Professor
Schwarz at UCLA who was studying OCD and how he was able to kind of cure people
of OCD through certain plasticity exercises that he had making them aware
of their kind of brain lock Etc and getting them out of it the that
plasticity of the brain is by far the greatest Miracle of all and it goes on until your 60s and 70s and on onward
let’s all get down on our hands and knees and worship the brain and if we did it would create a complete shift in
our values and we wouldn’t be so instantly seduced and enamored and
worshiping the technology we would worship the brains that create the technology instead of you know the other
way around we certainly got a fan of brains and their uh potential for
plasticity sitting over here uh I have the benefit of having my scientific
great-grandparents are hu weel who won the Nobel Prize for neuroplasticity during the critical period say that
again so my scientific great- grandparents are David hubel and toron visel David’s dead Ton’s still alive
he’s 96 and they won the Nobel Prize for essentially discovering the critical window early in development where
plasticity is especially robust they did other things too they should have won two nobels frankly uh for their other
work on Vision but um one thing that they missed however was something that you mentioned and is worth uh
highlighting again which is that the brain maintains the capacity for immense
plasticity throughout the entire lifespan that’s absolutely clear the conditions change from early to later in
life but your specific situation really highlights and it’s something I’d really like to um talk about for a few minutes
Stroke & Near-Death Experiences, Self, Time
if if you’re willing um as you mentioned you experienced a stroke um and perhaps
uh it was aware to some but perhaps not to all especially the people just listening to this podcast and who are
not watching on video that um your shirt while very nicely designed um in uh in
its original state also includes some unique stitching so maybe you could share with us uh what and for those
listening there’s a there’s a jagged line of stitching that um extends from
Robert’s uh left short sleeve to his midline to where the buttons on his shirt are and from the from his right
short sleeve also to the midline offset from one another these um this is the sort of stitching that looks like
perhaps I had been at the sewing machine um and not somebody with uh skilled but they did a good job basically of putting
it back together why are those stitches in your shirt tell us about the stroke and let’s let’s talk about neuroplasticity it could also seem like
a fashion statement you know but it really is isn’t um well it was May of
2018 it was my birthday and my wife gave me this shirt I have a love of plaids
it’s like I don’t know why I just love patterns and plaids it must be like some Scotch part of me some ancestor thing
but I love plaids can I interrupt you just briefly forgive me everyone’s going to get upset that interrupt do you know that there is a fundamental circuit in
your visual cortex designed to detect plaid patterns no I did not know yes and
we can talk about why that is it’s tightly tightly linked to your ability to perceive motion really yeah and we
can go over it some other time but yeah so we’ll talk about just as a Quee so okay yes back to your birthday okay so
she gave me a plaid shirt knowing how much I loved it and I love this shirt I love the colors in it etc etc and then
two months three months later August 17 2018 I was driving my car she was with
me I was pulling out into traffic I started driving and suddenly she’s saying pull up Robert pull over go why
why I can drive I’m fine and then suddenly everything started getting really strange everything looked strange
my voice didn’t sound the same and she was like freaking out but she was
actually fairly calm which was amazing I was undergoing a stroke I had a blood clot that was blocking the bra blood
flow to my brain I actually at one point got out of the car like I was I don’t
know what the hell I was thinking and and then she pulled me back in then the rest goes blank and I had some weird
Sensations that still remain with me because essentially I was on the verge
of dying because blood not flowing to your brain is basically the end of you
right unless something happens very quickly and she either that or you’re
going to get severe brain damage so she called 911 right away she recognized something my whole face was looking
funny and they got there I was unconscious and essentially they
took this shirt and I just scissored the thing in half and took it off my head and then they intubated me I believe in
my hip area to get something the blood clot was in my neck and they were able to free it up and they rush me to the
hospital and I’m unconscious and then um I wake up and I’m in a gurnie in the hospital
and I don’t for a moment I’m thinking maybe I’m dead because I’m lying in a gurnie and I
almost feel like I’m in a coffin I don’t know what’s going on and I have all of these weird
Sensations and I I tell people we’re so curious about death we think about death
a lot and you know is it final what does it mean we really should pay attention
to dying dying is actually much more interesting in some ways than death and
people who have died go through a process if it if it’s long enough and people who have had near-death
experiences like I do have gone through that process of dying and have come back to life and in the process of
dying strange things happen to the brain right so particularly with a stroke or
something like that where blood stops flowing to your oxygen stops flowing to your brain you have kind of visions and
things that you might think are hallucinations but that later seem like
actually you are actually glimpsing the reality as opposed to the illusion that
the brain creates so I’ve written about this in my new book but um my idea of
the brain is that it creates endless series of Illusions for you it creates this seamless version of reality the
sense of a self the sense of a continuous self Through Time right it
creates a linear sense of time progressions it creates colors it creates a world that visually you can
seems familiar and etc etc but it’s all illusion it’s all a construction right
images come into your brain and they’re not organized in any way and the Brain organizes in a way that you can
understand it well when you’re dying all of that scrambles up and you actually are seeing something else so I saw for
instance that I really don’t have a self that it doesn’t really actually exist
that I’m and the image that came to my mind mind cuz it was in sitting in that gurnie was a weird feeling
of like I can almost not explain it but it’s as if you took an image of
something real in the world and you completely scrambled it up and it was all wavy and you couldn’t see what
exactly it was to me that was the image I had of the self there are like 50
different selves inside of you that are all competing and you think there’s just one and you think it’s consistent but
there’s not it’s illusion the self is literally an illusion that your brain constructs when you’re dying you see
these things when you’re dying you see other things like that you see that time
is something very weird so I had an experience of when I got out of the car
and I got pulled in I thought like 10 seconds had passed my wife told me no
those this was like 10 minutes I had no sense of time everything was scrambled
and so it was very very El it taught me so much things that I can I can barely
even express now I’m always now thinking of strange things that come to me because my brain was damaged it made me
realize that the brain creates everything so I can’t communicate with
my hand my fingers I can’t communicate my brain can’t communicate with my leg
right so you think that walking and writing and handling things is just your
your body operating a certain way it’s your brain telling you how to move these different things when that brain stops
functioning you realize how much your brain determines everything it all starts there and when there’s damage to
your brain your whole thinking Alters Etc not to mention how you look at life
itself after something like that so it was a terrible experience it’s ruined so
many things that I loved in life but it’s given me an awful lot as well in return that I I could go on for hours
and talk about because it was the most powerful experience of my
life when you were going through your reemergence to Consciousness in the
hospital did you feel as if you were observing these multiple versions of
yourself um maybe a different way to phrase it is did you feel you were sort of behind the circuit board that is your
brain observing how you normally function and you could see multiple versions of self or was it something
else where you sort of outside of your body and brain I think it was more outside of my body and brain I also had
this other thing that happened where I you know sometimes you can’t REM
your memory might be playing tricks on you so I’ve also have to realize that maybe I’m not remembering exactly what
happened or that I’ve since translated in a different way so that’s a caveat here and I’m aware of it but I had this
Vision that I was dead at first when I first became conscious and that I was up
in the sky and I was looking down and my mother and my wife were talking and it’s
like over my grave I suppose and I had this feeling ah everything’s okay I’m
gone but life goes on they’re they’re doing fine it’s okay right so I don’t
know about that sense of self whether it was like I’m aware of it happening but I have a feeling it was something from the
outside I don’t really know the answer to that because it’s very confused the other feeling I had was life when I was
having the stroke was life draining out of me and my bones getting softer and softer and softer and I can’t really
logically explain that the feeling of Bones softening up and dissolving but for weeks and months
afterwards I could access that feeling of my bones dissolving Etc it was a feeling
of all your energy draining out out of you and you’re dying literally so um
reading books about near-death experiences CU that’s a lot of what I’m big part of my next book God is it’s
fascinating there’s so many interesting things to go in because it teaches us so much I’m so glad a you survived your
stroke B that your mental faculties he’s not more grateful than I am I tell I I
probably not but still very grateful so there it just um illustrates how grateful you must be um
B that you’ve maintained if not grown your mental faculties I mean you seem extremely sharp um I promise you you’re
not missing a beat uh you know one always wonders right actually one of the most common fears people have is that somehow they’re losing their mind or
their memory and people aren’t and they aren’t aware of it you know you hear I have family members who have asked that
if they ever start to exhibit signs of severe dementia that I um well put an end to them which I won’t um that’s not
my place in this world um but I think it’s a common fear among among people
but you’re still extremely sharp uh and thank goodness for it and you mentioned that um while you’ve lost certain
Appreciation & Near-Death Experience, Urgency
abilities that new appreciation and new abilities have surfaced um could you
perhaps share what some of those are and and what they mean to you um because I think that when one hears about somebody
having a stroke we tend to focus on what’s what’s lacking but clearly this has been a transformative experience
also in positive ways well uh I had to confront some of my own demons I had to confront the sense that um I expected
things out of life and here they’re taken away and I’m I’m I’m kind of
ungrateful for being alive and here I’m pissed off that it takes me 10 minutes to time my shoes and I can’t really
button my shirt I had to learn what really matters and to have patience and stuff the other thing
was I used to love hiking I was very physically active and I’m sitting at my window in my office I’m see see people
running up and down bicycling walking their dogs God I’m so envious if I had
if I could walk a dog right now I’d be the happiest person alive but then I go
through a thought process which maybe isn’t completely healthy which is they’re not aware of how wonderful it is
just to walk a dog but I’m aware of it so when I go out in my backyard and I
can’t walk and I’m seeing like I know this is going to sound really Tria and
sentimental but I see you know butterflies or things in my garden I’m
like wow that’s incredible you know things like that that I I couldn’t
appreciate before because I’m I’m sedentary and I can’t move I have to
suddenly pay attention to what’s around me not take it for granted and find and
suck all the pleasure out of it that I can so now when I sit at my desk to
write my new book it’s 4 hours because that’s all I can stand maybe three
sometimes those four hours are like such Bliss for me I truly appreciate it now
because I know that my brain was almost gone right so it means so much for me
and to just be alive you know is is is is just a wondrous experience I have a
chapter in my new book called awaken to the strangeness of being alive and it’s
about the fact that if you think about it and how unlikely it is that we humans
evolved at all even that we even exist all the bottlenecks and evolution that we had to pass through including The
Disappearance of the dinosaurs and the emergence of mammals but there are 20 other huge bottlenecks throughout the
history of evolution we had to pass through all of those we nearly went extinct 80,000 years ago from some virus
that infected there were only 8,000 people humans on the planet all these different things and here we are with
zoom meetings etc etc it’s like the strangest story you can ever it’s beyond
science fiction but nobody thinks about it nobody sits down and goes God I’m
alive if you went back did the chain of people that had to connect and have
children leading up to your parents the unlikeliness of you ever being born is
astronomical I mean unless my science is all wrong you know 70,000 generations of
people meeting etc etc finally ending at your DNA I mean unless I’m missing
something it’s it’s pretty unlikely but nobody thinks about it well I certainly think about it now
because I almost died I have nothing else to think about that’s I have to entertain my brain the way Milton
Ericson had to entertain himself by observing people so it’s taken a lot away from me I can’t swim I’m riding my
my recumbent bike which I love and 80-year-old grandmothers are zipping
by me and God damn it how awful I’m so envious I’m so my insecurities is all
well up but then I realiz hey I’m I’m like I’m I’m like on a boat I’m sailing it’s wonderful I’m outside you know I
have to go through these processes but I think it’s developed me in some way that’s that’s in the end very positive
sounds like you’ve had to adjust to a new frame rate on life like the the the old movie had a certain frame rate this
movie has a certain frame frame rate but that within that frame rate there are gifts to be had that you certainly
missed in your prior version of self is that is that a bur yeah but also like I
tell people this I totally took my life for granted I I was swimming all this
time I was fantastic I was bicycling I was traveling but I never sat back and
thought W this is wonderful how grateful it is could be taken away from you I tell people don’t do that to yourself I
try and teach them it can be taken away from tomorrow when you’re out walking the dog think of me think of me that
can’t walk the dog and appreciate those things which I didn’t appreciate so I try and help people in that way when I
can you know I I think uh critical message is also to inspire a sense of
urgency in people you know I think people hear a sense of urgency and they go oh God I’m already under so much
pressure life’s so hard but we’re not talking about a sense of urgency to take on more what life has to offer uh I
think we’re talking about a sense of urgency to find one’s purpose which
takes work and is an ongoing process but to really get out of modes of apathy
laziness um languishing and to start as you’ve
described it paying deeper attention I mean this is a a concept that was super
“Death Ground” & Urgency
important for me to hear about and I learned about it from was how do you get yourself out of a rut you start paying
deeper attention to the things around you and inside you and um perhaps not
coincidentally you referred to that as quote death ground yeah so um it’s what
it’s a strategy from my book I wrote wrote a book on strategy my version of The Art of War it’s called 33 Strategies
of War but it’s really about strategy the Strategic thinking it’s inspired from sunu the great Chinese strategist
but it has vast philosophical implications the idea
is you can almost think of it like barometric pressure when necessity is
pressing in on you like your back is against the wall like you have to get something done and there’s like this
pressure around you you find energy in there that you never believed before William James talks about this when he
talks about getting a second wind explains it very eloquently when you feel like your life’s in danger suddenly
you can you can leap over things that you never could leap over before so sunsu says put an Army on death ground
and it will fight and until it’s it wins meaning put an army with its back to the
ocean or a back to the mountain and it’s either win or die they’re going to fight
10 times harder you’re going to find the energy in you that you normally lack when death is facing ing you in the face
or urgency or deadlines or people pressing in on you when that barometric
pressure loosens up and there’s none of it you think you have all the time in the world you get nothing
done wow man I’m 23 I’ve got all these years ahead of me
I’m going to figure it out right I’m not going to die I got 50 70 80 years ahead
of me no you don’t that pressure now is gone and you’re wasting time you’re
you’re you’re doing all sorts of things that aren’t leading to any kind of skill you’re not learning or anything you need
to put yourself on death ground you need to feel that barometric pressure which is the actual reality the actual reality
is you could die tomorrow you could have a stroke tomorrow you you could be fired tomorrow everything could fall apart you
need to have that sense of urgency now because that’s the reality you’re fooling yourself by thinking you have
all of this time and so when you feel that pressure suddenly you can move mountains
you you have energy your life you know you just have Focus Etc neurologically
everything Clicks in you know and people who’ve had that experience where they’ve
where they’ve felt like the the ship was going under and they better get their act together and survive they talk about
all these physical processes I have a story in my new book I I hope I’m not boring you with all no quite the
opposite about a mountain climber who um he he he was climbing this mountain
by himself and he was having a great time but there was a storm coming and he had to get down and he suddenly fell and
he cut his leg open massively and there was like a branch sticking in it and he
he broke all these bones and he was he was going to die he was on a Ledge he could see that it was getting dark and
and storm clouds were were massing there was going to be this was in the Rocky Mountain Mountain he was alone and
suddenly he managed to get up on his two feet and he can’t explain how but all of
this energy all this adrenaline started flowing in him and he said he was like a mountain goat he was like going down the
ledge he he jumped he was able to kind of get down to another ledge he he got he got out of it and for the for the
next 20 years it was haunted by how did that happen I want that feeling again
because it was actually the most static feeling I had energy that I never suspected in myself and so he tries
everything to get that feeling back he tries climbing other mounts he tries going to to Mount Everest he tries and
it doesn’t come back and finally he kind of figures out the formula for it and
why it happened he studies a lot of Neuroscience it’s a great book I’m using it in my new book it’s called bone bone
games it’s very interesting book a lot of Science in it um and he got the
feeling back in a smaller sense but it was the feeling of your life is in
danger I better get my act together or it’s the end and suddenly adrenaline
dopamine all the other things were occurring in him and he got and and he found that energy so um that’s that’s
the ultimate kind of death ground right there the human will to live is truly
incredible and so now I have to say as I said before I’m so grateful
that your stroke didn’t take you out because clearly there’s still so much in
there and you’re continuing to share uh what is really
exquisitly useful knowledge oh thank you it’s just it’s just kind of astonishing to me I started off today’s discussion
expressing my gratitude for what you’ve already done for my life and for the lives of so many other people through your books you know it’s clear you’ve
been on a a foraging exploration and that foraging for organizing and
communicating information mainly in the form of written books but also online content you have a terrific YouTube
channel which I subscribe to and follow and um and listen to um with wrapped
attention uh and the other venues with which you share information including this one today are really truly valuable
and appre appreciated so I I want to say on behalf of myself and um for those
that have known you and your work for a number of years but also for the many people that are now sure to um know who
you are and what you’re about that it’s just so clear that like this stuff comes from the heart and that it whatever
early seed planted this you know um that we’re all grateful for and better off as
a consequence of that that seed so uh I could make this list very very long with
the the number number of specific ways in which you’ve um improved the journey through life and made it clearer I mean
you know life is certainly can be hard but it also can be really confusing and
I feel that the the Robert Green uh road map even though it’s but one road map is
an extremely valuable map to have and to use certainly has been for me so um just
an enormous thank you Robert thanks for sharing today and thanks for all you do and all that you’re still still doing
and sure to do in the future oh thank you I I wish I could find the word for explaining the kind of weird emotions
that I’m feeling when I hear that there isn’t maybe Yiddish maybe for Clem or something I don’t know but thank you
yeah well we’ll have to have you back here again uh when your next book comes out um can’t wait but we will wait okay
yeah hopefully I’m still around I I I’m confident you will be okay okay good
thank you come back again thanks very much I hope I will thank you for joining me for today’s discussion with Robert
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