Steven Kotler


1: Fear.

“We often don’t even recognize that the emotion we’re feeling is fear,” says Kristen Ulmer, one of the world’s leading experts on fear, in Steven Kotler‘s book The Art of Impossible. 

“Instead, it gets misinterpreted and redirected, showing up as blame, anger, sadness, or in irrational thoughts and behavior.”

To combat this tendency, we can develop an awareness of our fear by noticing it in … continue reading

1: Author Steven Kotler thought bravery meant not being afraid. 

“I thought that was how ‘men’ were supposed to feel, or, more specifically, not to feel,” he writes in The Art of the Impossible.

The two words that changed his entire relationship with fear?

“You, too,” spoken by big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton.

Laird was showing Steven how to jump a jet ski off big waves. He promised Steven … continue reading

1: “There’s a little gap, no more than a millisecond, between the moment a thought arises and the moment our brain attaches an emotion to that thought,” Steven Kotler writes in The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer.

If we are interested in manifesting the grit to control our thoughts, then we are wise to pay attention to that gap.

Because once a feeling is attached to a … continue reading

1: “This is Impossible,” we think.

We can feel the frustration building inside us. “The hard work. The long hours. The voice in our heads telling us to quit,” writes Steven Kotler in The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer.

If we want to be at our best, we must pay attention to our inner monologue.

“At the elite level,” notes high-performance psychologist Michael Gervais, “talent and ability … continue reading

1: “Early-stage passion doesn’t look like late-stage passion,” Steven Kotler writes in The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer.

Imagine LeBron James as “a little kid standing in front of a big hoop, trying to get his shots to drop,” Steven writes. “On the front end, passion is nothing more than the overlap of multiple curiosities coupled to a few wins.”

Sure, to be passionate, we want to … continue reading

1: DO THE HARD THING reads the sign above author Steven Kotler‘s desk.

Yes, the phrase is “a great reminder to attack life’s challenges,” but that’s not the point, he writes in The Art of the Impossible.

Its “real function is much smaller: It’s to remind me to do one extra item on my to-do list before I take my first break,” he writes.  

“If my day’s first … continue reading

1: When we reflect on our lives, what are our proudest accomplishments?  Steven Kotler asks in The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer.

“Now think about how hard we worked to accomplish them.  Sure, everybody gets lucky a few times.  There’s always a handful of occasions when you get exactly what you want without having to work very hard to achieve it,” he observes.

“But are those the memories that … continue reading

1: Grit is “the intersection of passion and perseverance,” University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth tells us.  

Scottish philosopher Thomas Carlyle’s observation three hundred years ago is even simpler: “No pressure, no diamonds.”

We all know the path to consistent high performance is a bumpy road with many rocks, boulders, and unexpected hairpin turns.  

In his book, The Art of Impossible, author Steven Kotler identifies three indigents required for … continue reading

1: “Peak performance isn’t something we win,” Steven Kotler writes in his brilliant book The Art of the Impossible.  

“There are no fixed rules, no established time frame for the contest, and the field of play is as big or as small as we choose to live our lives.”

Peak performance is what philosopher James Carse calls an “infinite game,” Steven notes. There are “finite games” and “infinite games” … continue reading

1: Author Steven Kotler is a skier.  

“I started skiing when I was five years old and have never stopped,” Steven Kotler writes in The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer. “As a result, every time I head into the mountains, I am making a choice (autonomy) that is aligned with my passion and purpose.”

This week we’ve been exploring the importance of autonomy to drive peak performance. … continue reading