204: Steven Kotler/Do Not Go Gentle
Everything we know about ageing is wrong – and action sports are the perfect tool through which to test this hypothesis.
At least, that’s the contention of Steven Kotler, this week’s guest and author a new book called Gnar Country.
Kotler, who tends to be described as an ‘expert in human performance’, made his name as the doyen of all things flow thanks to books such as The Rise of Superman and The Art of Impossible, and his work as Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective. In Gnar Country, his latest book, he turns his attention to the science of ageing, and tests his theories of ‘peak performance ageing’ by attempting to learn to park ski at the age of 53.
As you might imagine from that brief précis, we’re in life hack and ‘actionable protocol’ territory with this one, which regular listeners will know isn’t really my usual style. But I enjoyed The Rise of Superman, which articulated supremely well a lot of concepts and experiences anybody who has dabbled in sport at any level will recognised, and also find the premise of Gnar Country to be an intriguing one, and something which I imagine most listeners will also find of interest. After all, who doesn’t want to continue to ‘kick ass before you kick the bucket’, as Kotler puts it?
On a personal level, too, an interview such as this, with somebody on the promo trail and with a very clear message to impart, always presents an interesting challenge. So it was that in early April 2023 I hopped on Zoom to chat to Steven. Of course, we discussed Gnar Country and the ideas that underpin Kotler’s quest. We also explored the reasons we do what we do, and how we can mindfully harness the techniques Steven has dedicated his life to understanding. And we delved into Steven’s own motivations, and some of the contradictions inherent in his own quest as outlined in the book.
Hope you enjoyed our conversation. I’ve really love to know what everybody thinks of this one, and whether you recognise the ideas and experiences myself and Steven discussed.
Listen to our conversation below: