Those who “go for it” in life, and I mean really go for it, at some level have made the decision to “let go.”

They work to let go of trying to hold on to what others might think of them, the pain that might occur if they “go for it” and come up short, and of holding on to the notion that a later reward is greater than the current experience.

In essence, the commitment to risk, feeling what it feels like to trust and let go, might reveal to oneself (and others, possibly) the pain of being tested and coming up wanting. This is so difficult that many of us cleverly choose to relieve that angst and potential pain by playing-it-safe, rather than anchoring in the commitment to “go.”

The funny thing is that “holding on” is a tremendous source of suffering. If holding on is a source of suffering — and — letting go puts us in harm’s way, what are we to do?

Change our model.

Instead of avoiding looking bad and being fearful of the consequences, rather look to love the challenges that reveal our inner self and our ability to access our craft.

Commit to being connected to the journey of “going for it” by letting go of the idea that “not being good enough” is a trap sprung by over indexing on the opinions of what others think of you.

It’s easy to be “on point” when everything is going “just right” — but — our outlook on life and our internal strength is primarily revealed when we are in pain — or think we are about to be in pain. The choices we make during that discomfort is incredibly important.

Steven Kotler teaches us about “going for it” — and he teaches us about the path through chronic pain that has led him explore the neurobiology of flow.

He is a New York Times best-selling author and award-winning journalist. His books include the non-fiction works “Abundance,” “A Small Furry Prayer” and “West of Jesus” and the novel “The Angle Quickest for Flight.” His articles have appeared in over 60 publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Wired, Forbes, GQ, National Geographic, Popular Science, Discoverand the LA Times.

Kotler is 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. He is also the cofounder of the Rancho de Chihuahua dog sanctuary. He received a degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and a MA in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University.

“Flow is an optimal state of consciousness where we feel and perform our best.” Click-To-Tweet


In This Episode:

  • How dealing with lyme disease led to discovering flow
  • Overcoming injury as a skill and finding a way forward (grit)
  • Writing as his main pipeline into flow
  • Framework for allowing him to be fully committed to the now
  • Creativity and passion as triggers for flow
  • Focusing on the things that produced the most flow in his life
  • Making a list of all the things that already work for him
  • Starting the day in flow
  • Quitting when you are most excited
  • Physical vs. Social Risks
  • Divorcing self from results
  • Removing the transitions
  • Turning fear into a compass
  • Finding the right language to connect with anyone
  • The formula for mastery: passion, perseverance, and creativity
  • Pursuing challenges slightly above one’s skill set


Steven describes how he became interested in the flow state:


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Executive Director at Flow Research Collective |

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.