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Steven Kotler Quotes On Flow States And Peak Performance

Steven Kotler is the author of 8 best-selling books on a diverse set of topics including entrepreneurship, creativity, artificial intelligence, the human-animal connection, the science of high performance, and flow psychology.

As a freelance journalist in the 1990s, he covered the rise of extreme sports athletes and documented the lives of the world’s best surfers, skiers, snowboarders and other high-performance athletes pushing boundaries and risking their lives.

He has also extensively documented the lives of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and inventors in a series of books he has co-written with Peter Diamandis of the X Prize and Singularity University.

Watch this video to hear his amazing story about how flow saved his life.

My Interview With Steven Kotler:

I had the good fortune to interview Steven in June 2019 for a virtual summit I hosted called the Eco Changemakers Summit.

In the interview, he talks about his new book Last Tango In Cyberspace, the future of artificial intelligence, the prospects for humanity, biodiversity loss, eco-psychology research, flow states and the perceptual crisis we face today.

You can listen to the full interview by clicking below.

Recommended Books:

I highly recommend every book he has written but here are some of his best works:

1. The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives (Coming January 28th, 2020)

His next book combines the ideas of his previous books Bold and Abundance for a new exploration of digital transformation and exponential innovation.

2. Mapping Cloud Nine: Neuroscience, Flow, and the Upper Possibility Space of Human Experience (Audiobook Only)

In Steven Kotler’s latest book released in November 2019, he attempts to map cloud 9 by decoding flow, neuroscience and high-performance psychology. Highly recommended.

3. Last Tango in Cyberspace: A Novel (Audiobook)

His last book is a novel that portrays how different the world will be in just 5 years and how unprepared most people and institutions are for the future.

4. Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work (Audiobook)

A fascinating history of the ancient and modern history of Ekstasis, the pursuit of creativity, boundary dissolution and innovation through altered states of consciousness.

5. The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance (Audiobook)

The story of exponential improvements found in extreme sports by surfers, snowboarders and other extreme sports athletes in the last generation or so.

6. Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World (Audiobook)

A manual for embracing the changes driven by technology and becoming more driven by creativity and innovation.

7. Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think (Audiobook)

The story of all the technologies that are either available now or will soon be feasible at scale and how they can help solve our biggest problems.

8. A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life (Audiobook)

An unconventional novel that looks at sentience found in other animals and why the modern world has been so cruel and thoughtless in its destruction of other living creatures.

Best Steven Kotler Quotes:

Some of my favorite quotes from Steven Kotler’s many excellent books:

“When people say that animal rescuers are crazy, what they really mean is that animal rescuers share a number of fundamental beliefs that makes them easy to marginalize. Among those is the belief that Rene Descartes was a jackass.”

― Steven Kotler, A Small Furry Prayer

“The reasons there are so many clichés about universes inside of dewdrops is because there are universes inside of dewdrops.”

― Steven Kotler

“If we are hunting the highest version of ourselves, then we need to turn work into play and not the other way round. Unless we invert this equation, much of our capacity for intrinsic motivation starts to shut down. We lose touch with our passion and become less than what we could be and that feeling never really goes away.”

― Steven Kotler, The Rise of Superman

“And the dark night of flow is an issue that society has not made particularly easy to handle. How many people have stopped playing guitar, writing poetry, or painting watercolors—activities packed with flow triggers—because these are also activities that do not squarely fit into culturally acceptable responsibility categories like “career” or “children”? How many, now grown up and done with childish things, have put away the surfboard, the skateboard, the whatever? How many have made the mistake of conflating the value of the vehicle that leads us to an experience (the surfboard, etc.) with the value of the experience itself (the flow state)?”

― Steven Kotler, The Rise of Superman

“To really achieve anything, you have to be able to tolerate and enjoy risk. It has to become a challenge to look forward to. In all fields, to make exceptional discoveries you need risk—you’re just never going to have a breakthrough without it.”

― Steven Kotler, The Rise of Superman

“mindset impacts emotion, which alters biology, which increases performance. Thus, it seemed, by tinkering with mindset—using everything from physical to psychological to pharmacological interventions—one could significantly enhance performance.”

― Steven Kotler, The Rise of Superman

Most people live in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness, and of their soul’s resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger.”

― Steven Kotler, The Rise of Superman

“The happiest people on earth worked hard for their fulfillment. They didn’t just have the most peak experiences, they had devoted their lives to having these experiences, often, as Csikszentmihalyi explained in his 1996 book Creativity, going to extreme lengths to seek them out: It was clear from talking to them, that what kept them motivated was the quality of the experience they felt when they were involved with the activity. The feeling didn’t come when they were relaxing, when they were taking drugs or alcohol, or when they were consuming the expensive privileges of wealth. Rather, it often involved painful, risky, difficult activities that stretched the person’s capacity and involved an element of novelty and discovery.”

― Steven Kotler, The Rise of Superman

“Since flow is a fluid action state, making better decisions isn’t enough: we also have to act on those decisions. The problem is fear, which stands between us and all actions. Yet our fears are grounded in self, time, and space. With our sense of self out of the way we are liberated from doubt and insecurity. With time gone, there is no yesterday to regret or tomorrow to worry about. And when our sense of space disappears, so do physical consequences. But when all three vanish at once, something far more incredible occurs: our fear of death—that most fundamental of all fears—can no longer exist. Simply put: if you’re infinite and atemporal, you cannot die.”

― Steven Kotler, The Rise of Superman

“When risk is a challenge, fear becomes a compass—literally pointing people in the direction they need to go next”

― Steven Kotler, The Rise of Superman

Steven Kotler is one of the world’s most articulate spokesmen for the psychology of flow. Find out more about his work on his personal website.

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