This conversation is with Jamie Wheal and Steven Kotler. Many of you will remember Steven from our conversation about flow state — if you missed that, check out episode 16 on Ultimate Human Performance.

Jamie and Steven are the co-founders of the Flow Genome Project, which is a collection of world-class academics, athletes and artists dedicated to taking flow from the extreme to the mainstream.

I’ve loved being their friend and being part of their community.

Jamie and Steven are completely switched-on : smart, quick and divergent thinkers, lovers of life, and are so curious, that they embody what they’re trying to learn.

This conversation has very nuanced adult themes — so — if you’re listening with kids, maybe you’ll want to consider listening to this one without them depending on however you roll.

Steven and Jamie just wrote a book together called: Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work.

What I hope you’ll take away from this conversation is the value of exploring the edges, the value of community, and how challenging it is to really change.


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“The things we know for sure is you get one shot at this life and you’re going to spend a 1/3 of it asleep. Those things are non-negotiable facts. To me the only question that matters is: Are you going to be awake for the rest of it?”

In This Episode:

  • Loving the outdoors and how that gave him his first taste of flow (Wheal)
  • Why doing shrooms for the first time was a huge awakening (Wheal)
  • Seeing his brother experimenting with magic and wondering if everything that looks like magic has a skill under it? (Kotler)
  • Recapping how discovering flow helped cure his lime disease (Kotler)
  • What it means to be a cultural architect (Wheal)
  • Where does information come from? (Kotler)
  • Getting to the life you want (Kotler)
  • How you can take small steps towards on-ramping ecstasies (Wheal)
  • The dangers of pursuing flow for too long (Wheal)
  • What happens when you come down from a night drinking / intoxication (Kotler)
  • Determining what information is accurate in a state of flow (Kotler)
  • What he hopes people will take away from “Stealing Fire” (Wheal)
  • How we decode mystical states (Wheal)
  • Why honoring your natural rhythm is a great habit (Kotler)
  • Why he believes in getting outdoors and experimenting with high grade psychedelics (Wheal)


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  • Prometheus – a Titan in Greek mythology, best known as the deity in Greek mythology who was the creator of mankind and its greatest benefactor, who stole fire from Mount Olympus and gave it to mankind
  • Ronald Segal – associate research professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA…. believes in a 4th evolutionary driver, to get out of your own head through intoxication
  • Scott Barry Kaufman – Scientific Director, Imagination Institute. Positive psychology at University of Pennsylvania
  • Salim Ismail – founding executive director of Singularity University


Director of Programs at

Jamie Wheal, Executive Director of Flow Genome Project, is a leading expert on the neuro-somatics of ultimate human performance. His work ranges from Fortune 500 companies, leading business schools, Young Presidents' Organization (YPO), to Red Bull and its stable of world-class athletes. He combines a background in expeditionary leadership, wilderness medicine and surf rescue, with over a decade advising high-growth companies on strategy, execution and leadership.

Author and Director of Research at |

Steven Kotler is an American bestselling author, journalist, and entrepreneur. He is best known for his non-fiction books, including the New York Times bestseller Abundance, A Small Furry Prayer, West of Jesus, and Bold. He is also the cofounder and Director of Research for the Flow Genome Project, an international organization, dedicated to putting flow state research onto a hard science footing.