The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer

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The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer

The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer

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Insight, it turns out, is core to creativity. And you don’t just have to wait for it to suddenly appear. Instead, you can cultivate it. How? By strengthening a particular part of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex, or ACC, which is part of the salience network. Applicable – You’ll get advice that can be directly applied in the workplace or in everyday situations. Grit, the subject of chapter 5, is what most people think of when they think of motivation. It’s persistence, determination, and fortitude—the ability to continue with the journey no matter the difficulty involved.

The Art of Building the Impossible | The New Yorker The Art of Building the Impossible | The New Yorker

Inspirational and aspirational, pragmatic and accessible, The Art of Impossible is a life-changing experience disguised as a how-to manual for peak performance that anyone can use to shoot for the stars . . . space-suit, not included.I put “effortlessly” in italics for a reason. If we can tune the system correctly, the results show up automatically. Consider passion. When we’re passionate, we don’t have to work hard to stay on task. Because of dopamine and norepinephrine, that happens automatically. But what did all of this brokenness add up to in the real world? Time off. What would happen: I’d be hanging out, snap this or that, then be forced onto the couch for a few months. But when I returned, the progress I saw was eye-popping. It was amazing. And it didn’t make any sense. It means you lose by not trying to play full out, by not trying to do the impossible—whatever that is for you.” What does it take to accomplish the impossible? What does it take to shatter our limitations, exceed our expectations, and turn our biggest dreams into our most recent achievements? We are capable of so much more than we know—that’s the message at the core of The Art of Impossible. Building upon cutting-edge neuroscience and over twenty years of research, bestselling author, peak performance expert and Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective, Steven Kotler lays out a blueprint for extreme performance improvement.

The Art of Impossible – HarperCollins The Art of Impossible – HarperCollins

Writers may find this book particularly beneficial because Kotler relies heavily on anecdotes from his own work to clarify and explain the points under discussion. By contrast, “Rise of Superman” relied almost exclusively on stories from extreme sports athletes, and “Stealing Fire” drew on silicone valley and the special forces heavily for examples. I actually enjoyed that Kotler spoke from his own experience. As someone who has read a fair number of books on peak performance, I’ve seen a lot of the same stories repeated within popular books. That said, readers who haven’t read much on the topic may wish the book had a broader set of narrative examples and less definitional / conceptual discussion. The author may be aware that many of his readers will have fatigue from reading the same stories and examples. When Kotler does mention such widely-discussed examples (e.g. Steve Jobs putting bathrooms in the Pixar building in a central location that created cross-pollination of people on different projects) he does so briefly and without preaching to the choir. Norepinephrine is similar but different. It’s the brain’s version of adrenaline, sometimes called noradrenaline. This neurochemical produces a huge increase in energy and alertness, stimulating both hyperactivity and hypervigilance. When you’re obsessed with an idea, can’t stop working on a project, or can’t stop thinking about the person you just met, norepinephrine is responsible. of 5 stars 2 of 5 stars 3 of 5 stars 4 of 5 stars 5 of 5 stars The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer by Steven Kotler Start by writing down twenty-five things you’re curious about. And by curious, all I mean is that if you had a spare weekend, you’d be interested in reading a couple of books on the topic, attending a few lectures, and maybe having a conversation or two with an expert. First, the obvious: that damn ball was gone. Second, the slightly less obvious: my little brother wasn’t magic.Here, we want to break that mission statement down into smaller chunks, dividing up the impossible into a long series of difficult but doable goals that, if accomplished, render said impossible much more probable.” And that instruction occurs automatically. When we play, the brain releases dopamine and oxytocin, two of our most crucial “reward chemicals.” These are pleasure drugs that make us feel good when we accomplish, or try to accomplish, anything that fulfills a basic survival need. Of this, I was certain. In our seven overlapping years of coexistence, nothing he’d yet done defied the laws of physics. There had been no accidental levitations and no one, when Dad’s favorite coffee cup went missing, accused my brother of teleporting it to other dimensions. So even though he’d accomplished the impossible, if my brother wasn’t magic, there had to be an explanation. Perhaps a skill set. Maybe a process.



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