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Watch > Episode > Steven Kotler - Find Your Flow State

Steven Kotler - Find Your Flow State


Steven Kotler is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning journalist and director of research at the Flow Genome Project. He is one of the world’s leading experts on the high performance state known as “Flow”, and his writing has appeared in over 100 publications, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Wired and Time. His bestselling books include “The Rise of Superman”, “Tomorrowland”, and “Abundance” as well as the Pulitzer Prize nominated “Stealing Fire and A Small Furry Prayer”.

In this revelatory London Real episode, Steven joins Brian Rose in studio to discuss what exactly flow is, how to hack it and the purpose of The Flow Genome Project.

Kotler’s journey into the realms of adventure and exploration began at a young age. Raised in Cleveland, Ohio, he developed a fascination with the outdoors, leading him to become a prominent rock climber in his late teens. His adventurous spirit laid the foundation for a diverse career that would later blend his passion for extreme sports with an insatiable curiosity about the human mind.

Kotler’s career in journalism took off when he started contributing to various publications, covering topics ranging from technology to psychology. His work has been featured in prestigious outlets like The New York Times, Wired, and National Geographic, where he covered adventure sports and exploration. This early exposure to the cutting edge of human experience fueled his interest in understanding the factors that drive individuals to achieve extraordinary feats.

Steven Kotler’s exploration of human potential led him to co-author the book “The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance” with surfer and innovator Laird Hamilton. The book delves into the concept of flow, a state of optimal consciousness where individuals experience heightened focus, creativity, and performance. This exploration laid the groundwork for Kotler’s ongoing investigation into the neurobiology of flow and its applications in various aspects of life.

In 2011, Kotler co-founded the Flow Genome Project, an organisation dedicated to decoding the science behind optimal human performance. The project seeks to understand and harness the mechanisms that drive flow states, offering insights into how individuals can enter this heightened state of consciousness more consistently. Through research, training programs, and educational initiatives, the Flow Genome Project aims to democratise access to flow and help individuals tap into their full potential.

Steven Kotler has authored several books that blend science, adventure, and personal development. “Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think,” co-written with Peter H. Diamandis, explores how technological advancements can address humanity’s most pressing challenges. “Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth, and Impact the World” further delves into the intersection of technology and entrepreneurship.

One of Kotler’s most influential works is “Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionising the Way We Live and Work.” Co-authored with another London Real guest, Jamie Wheal, the book examines the pursuit of altered states of consciousness, exploring how diverse groups seek to unlock creativity, innovation, and performance through unconventional means.

Beyond his writing and exploration, Steven is also an entrepreneur with a vested interest in harnessing technology for positive impact. He co-founded the Rancho de Chihuahua dog sanctuary and, more recently, launched the “Flow Research Collective,” an organisation focused on providing training and resources to help individuals access and enhance their flow states.

Steven Kotler’s legacy lies in his relentless pursuit of understanding and expanding human potential. His work in decoding flow states, exploring the convergence of science and adventure, and advocating for a future of abundance has left an indelible mark. Through his books, entrepreneurial ventures, and thought leadership, Kotler continues to inspire individuals to push boundaries, unlock their creativity, and tap into the extraordinary capabilities that reside within the human mind. As a guide to the frontiers of human potential, Steven Kotler invites us all to embark on a journey of self-discovery and transformation.


00:00 | Trailer
02:35 Brian’s thoughts on the episode
04:55 Brian’s introduction
05:28 Flow — who experiences it
08:58 What flow is
16:18 Flow state in high-level sport
19:16 Flow hacking
26:11 Why Steven thinks it is important that we all embrace the concept of flow
31:26 Steven is very optimistic about the future, but one thing scares him the most
36:42 How people can be encouraged to be more active in saving the planet
37:11 Steak grown from stem cells will take over from steak grown on the hoof; vertical farming is happening
40:38 Stop having children, voluntarily, for five years, adopt, and let technology catch up
43:11 Survey of the similarities between flow and psychedelics
49:15 How Steven, a journalist, became involved in flow,57:39 Steven explains how horrible Lyme disease is and how it led him to realize the healing power of flow
1:03:53 Steven’s eureka moment realizing there was neural biology explaining quasi-mystical experiences
1:08:10 This is the most exciting time in neural science, there is so much to be discovered
1:09:43 The Flow Genome Project is decoding the neural biology of flow and open sourcing it to the world
1:10:14 The difficulties experienced in getting flow science taken seriously by academia, for further research
1:13:36 Science is a blood sport
1:14:50 What Steven hopes to achieve with his writing style and subject matter and the joy it gives him
1:17:44 The 2020 goals and further goals for the Genome Project
1:27:56 The different scenarios where group flow can occur
1:32:05 Flow is so rewarding, meaningful and addictive and people who have it score high in well-being
1:34:05 Training individuals and within companies how to access a flow state
1:39:29 Mindfulness apps and modern technology and multitasking are counter-productive to flow
1:40:24 Flow is not like self-help, you are playing with the most addictive neural chemicals on earth
1:45:03 Steven’s daily practices
1:51:52 His love for and work with animals and the frustrations for entrepreneurial work in New Mexico
2:00:38 Best and worst days of his life
2:06:44 What scares him
2:11:04 What is surprising to learn about Steven Kotler
2:13:05 Surprising insight into Steven’s early life revealed by a phone call to his twenty years old self
2:15:23 Success Secrets
2:16:05 Memories of Hunter Thompson
2:23:30 Advice to the 20 years olds watching about what they should focus on
2:26:46 Collaboration versus competition regarding the environment
2:29:50 Brian’s summing up.


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