Brian Mackenzie is back on the show!! He has studied performance and movement for more than a decade along with altitude, hypoxia, breathing mechanics, heat, and cold exposure. He most recently co-authored the book “Unplugged” with Dr. Andy Galpin.
This episode builds upon our first one (EP.13), where we dug into the science and physiology behind breathing. I went through a breath assessment and have been experimenting with my customized breathing protocols for the last 4 weeks. I’ve been using it to process and switch between tasks more efficiently, mitigate unwanted stress and anxiety, and really observing how these different protocols affect your physiological state.
My favorite segments of this episode are where we discuss the creative process, the forgotten art of apprenticeship, time management, and the dance between fulfillment and challenge. Oh, and you’ll also hear about how Brian’s been swimming with sharks for some new research studies on fear and anxiety coming out of Stanford’s laboratories.
- (6:36) – The Art of Breath
- (8:38) – Research for fear & anxiety
- (12:07) – How different breath protocols impact your physiological state
- (25:34) – Balancing intensity with day to day activities
- (27:56) – Task Switch
- (35:01) – Creative process
- (39:15) – Time management
- (47:26) – Intuition
- (53:04) – Methods of learning
- (58:58) – Collaboration and the zone of genius
- (1:02:32) – Art of Apprenticeship
- (1:07:48) – Systems and parallels
- (1:12:06) – The dance of fulfillment and challenge
- (1:28:37) – Narrative
- (1:40:23) – Mindset behind sharing
Hey, this is Brian Mackenzie and you’re listening to the Airborne Mind Show.
Misbah Haque (00:36:)
Hello, everyone, this is Misbah Haque. Thank you so much for joining me today. And welcome back to the show. Whether this is your first second, 10th or 30th episode, I appreciate you tuning in your time, your energy, your attention, and your ears mean the world to me. Without you listening, this show would not be where it is today.
So once again, thank you. Before we get started, the biggest compliment that you can give is by leaving a review on iTunes, you have no idea how much that helps in terms of rankings, bringing more awareness to the show and bringing on more interesting guests. So if you could take two or three minutes, not while you’re driving, but take two or three minutes, go ahead, leave a review it would be greatly appreciated. Also, be sure to head over to the airborne mind comm where you can check out some free resources and the full show notes there as well. Today’s episode is brought to you by Reviverx. ReviveRX has played a huge role in my recovery over the last six months or so. If you are in the market for a post-workout supplement or a protein supplement, and you want something that’s clean, that’s effective, and that is simple.
I highly recommend their products. I obviously use them myself. I personally love the Recover formula in the strawberry flavor and I take four scoops after my training sessions. If you want some education around, you know is a protein supplement right for you what’s the difference between recover and rebuild. And honestly just some good basic nutrition information. I shot a couple of videos with Marcus Filly that you can get on my site exclusively be airborne mind.com. And if you would like to get a 10% discount on revive RX supplements, head over to reviverx.com and enter the code miz10 Miz 10. Once again, that’s reviverx.com miz10. Today, my guest is Brian Mackenzie. He was on the show for episode number 13. And if you haven’t given that a Listen, please go back and do so because we dug into the science and physiology behind breathing, hyperventilation, breath holding cold exposure, and so much more.
Especially if you aren’t familiar with Brian’s work. It will give you some great context for this episode. I was really excited to have him back on because since then, he has most recently co authored a book with Dr. Andy Galpin called unplugged, which if you remember Dr. Galpin was on the show. And we discussed that. He has also been traveling around doing the art of breath seminars. And he’s been involved in some very cool research, which involves him swimming round with sharks. So we discuss all that good stuff in this episode.
But my favorite topics and points of conversation are really around how his brain works,how he say no to certain things, how he organizes his mind, what his creative process look like? What’s his take on learning and education and mentorship? I had a great time connecting with him last time he was on the show around these topics. And even though that was 90 minutes, I knew that I wanted to have him back on and kind of continue that and build upon that episode. So super exciting. In that sense.
We dig into breathing even more. And since we recorded this episode, Brian hooked me up with the breathing protocols. So I went through this assessment process and I got these customized pro the protocols for me to use throughout the day. And so I’ve been experimenting with that for about four weeks now. And I’m excited to kind of keep you guys posted on kind of what I learned, what I observe and what I noticed with this stuff. But essentially I have a breathing protocol for the am upon waking up that I have a different one for the pm or evening time to kind of just, you know bring my system down.
My favorite has been the task switch protocol, which is something that allows you to process and we dig into the details in this episode, but it allows you to process what you just did. And especially if you’re somebody who’s super busy day to day moving from different types of tasks to engaging with people being in front of a computer, whatever that may be.
Being able to improve mental acuity and focus and things of that nature is always, always something that I’m interested in. So to me, it was really cool to kind of go through this process, and really continue to go through this process and kind of get Brian’s feedback on it. So I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did. More importantly, I hope you do something with it, especially with some of these breathing protocols. Pretty sure in this episode, and in our last one, you’re going to walk away with some tactical stuff that you can start implementing right away. So without further ado, please enjoy. Brian, welcome back to the show.
Thanks for having me. Misbah. It’s good to be here. I am. It’s been a while, but now you’re living in my old neighborhood.
Misbah Haque (06:06):
Absolutely. And I’m excited to build off of a lot of what we chatted about the first time around. It’s been cool to watch your kind of journey since then. I believe it was episode nine or 13 that you were on. And now we’re at 62. So I feel like a lot has happened and whatever. Over six months. I think that is.
That’s like 50 something episodes. There should be a lot of growth in that period with different people.
The Art of Breath
Misbah Haque (06:36):
Yeah. Tell us tell us a little bit about what you’re up to now you are traveling around doing the art of breath seminars. You came out with a book with Dr. Galpin, who was on the show called unplugged. You’re a very busy man.
For the first about year and a half, I traveled around a lot, a lot of breast stuff. And we my co conspirator or the CO-lead on as Rob Wilson, and we really launched that. And now we’ve got a platform where we grown our performance arm for the teaching of the art of breath. And we’ve got a lot of coaches that are kind of coming up in that realm with us that are about to grow into that that role as well, where my role has kind of ventured into business where we, Dr. Andrew Huberman and I are starting a kind of an ecosystem that centered around non meditative ways of estate.
And the easy play on that is no breath. So breathing is one of those non kind of meditative ways. Although breathing could be considered a way of meditation. We’re not using a form of meditation, we’re not trying were of the breath, although, from an unconscious standpoint, meaning the ability, a lot of these deeper meditative layers, look at where you’re being aware of where unconscious breath, we’re actually inducing, being aware of it, and knowing what to do with it or state.
And for all intents and purposes, I’m involved in a bit of this business with him, but I’m also involved in a research project with him on fear and anxiety, and we’re not looking to necessarily cure fear and anxiety, we think they’re a very important piece in what life is about. But Mac or become something that’s not dealt with. They’re the tools that can actually help alter physiology from what I’ve not only learned and seen, but Dr. Zimmerman is learning in his own lab.
Research for fear & anxiety
Misbah Haque (08:38):
That’s a that’s really exciting. So what is kind of going on within that research for fear and anxiety? What What exactly does that kind of look like? What are you testing?
He’s actually got a very expensive lab that they have built out at Stanford Medicine, which is becoming the very hot topic. In Silicon Valley. There’s a lot of kinds of who’s who that are coming in and checking out and so we’re using virtual reality to not necessarily induce people in situations to where it’s kind of a very few who have an aversion or a neurosis to something right. Maybe not neurosis is the wrong word, or a big fear of something to think shocked by. This is the big attraction kind of with the lab right now is the great white shark dive experience.
Because we actually went and participated in and out of the cage dive with great white sharks with Stanford to get VR footage for the lab. We also were testing breathing protocols prior to entry into the water at night and in the morning. Yeah, again at night. And so that’s why we dive into the next post and we used our co2 tolerance test to test what was happening from a breath sample and stress responses co2 tolerance, which can play a role in people’s physiology and their reaction to stress. So what we found is that there’s plenty of research out there that already kind of exists with this, where you can kind of connect ease and respiration rate.
And you can see a much higher respiration rate or actually more volume, per se, of air transferring in and out, and it’s not an oxygen thing, it’s more or less a co2 thing. And so when we have higher levels of co2 that we can actually manage, we tend to unconsciously dump that which can be turned into hyperventilation to some degree. And so we intervene with some sort of protocol, praying in the lab, we can kind of now there are height stuff, there is shark stuff, there’s dog stuff, there’s, I think there’s spider stuff.
So there’s, there’s a bunch of different things. I myself, the only thing I was kind of the fear kind of got a hold of me to some degree, or I thought I was actually there was really the heights thing where the bottom of the floor kind of drops out on you. And you like you really feel like there’s this, like you’re in this whole situation where you’re balancing on right. And so you actually behave in a way that shows you that for some people, though, we’ve already seen anxiety versions, like they, they tend to have a reaction when they’re in the VR with they’re in a cage, with with great white shark outside of it, and then all of a sudden, they climb out of the cage.
And they’re the kind of reactions that happen with this stuff. Yeah, it’s really cool to watch. And it’s really, really cool to see your work actually doing something, it’s actually helping people, although you’re seeing this from, I’m seeing this from a personal standpoint, like I’ve seen this with hundreds of people all registered, I’ve worked with myself, but that’s one facet of something to where you have a global a bit this point will now affect people and be able to deliver something that can really alter some thinking and change in the world.
How different breath protocols impact your physiological state
Misbah Haque (12:07):
That’s intense stuff. I mean, I remember after we got off our call last time, I think a few weeks later, you released a calculator, where you can kind of do a little test and figure out for apnea breathing and cadence breathing, certain protocols. And I mess around with that. And I’ve been, I’ve recently started up like, I think, a month before we were about to do this just to kind of get back in the groove of things and experiment with it myself. And one of the questions I had was, what’s the difference between the amount of time that you spend exhaling versus inhaling versus holding breath? How is that impacting that? Maybe the state that elicits? Or the response?
That is a phenomenal question. And this is essentially why we teach what we’re doing at the art of breath, if there are many, and principles are few. And when we start to understand the principles of something, we start to understand what’s really going on. And when somebody does all of it, like all of our physiology largely works the same way, right? But it reacts in different ways based on where we’re at, meaning Misbah stress response is far different than Brian stress response to certain things, whether that’s good or that’s bad, you respond better or I respond worse, or vice versa in certain situations, right. So this in turn has physiological processes that occur with them, respiration, those things respiration itself, can be looked at inside the lungs is mine.
One of the things that this method is called Butoh, which is a Russian style method, and Dr. Patrick McCune has done a phenomenal job of talking about this in his book, oxygen advantage, and we’ve had calm I’ve had congressperson him. And we really look at this comparatively speaking, do things on the opposite side of this where you look at things like Wim Hof Method, and there’s nothing there. There are great things about all of these things, but also things, where we have to look in between that, comes back to your question of well, what’s the difference between one or the other.
And it really, it’s playable with a way to kind of, if you’re going to get on PSE breathe, or you’re going to actually do these things, it gives you a place to start kind of just with those protocols, right? But the big difference becomes when we actually go through the breath assessment, and we actually can fingerprint them and this is what we learned with the V. lab is we ran a Harvard-based research project. It’s used as a scaling Shin. It’s called the emotional reaction. And it’s their kind of some invasive, quick, invasive questions about your sensitivity and reactiveness to things which more or less can have my kind of fingerprints Some things of the blue, that if we were able to connect dots to certain people, so if I ran somebody through, let’s just say a cadence, what we have on PSE breathe, that’s a one, one to one pranayama.
That’s a SIP Ogiek that people have used for centuries, if not longer than centuries, right. And for some people, that really down-regulates them. For other people, that upshifts them and kind of puts them necessarily into a stressed response, but a heightened or alert, calm place, and other people that brings them down very in a very parasympathetic place. And so traditionally, what we see, and this is what people do out on the internet, and this is perfectly fine, I’m not saying anybody’s wrong, but they’ll say, Oh, you want to have a longer exhale, than you do an inhale, and that traditionally invokes a parasympathetic response.
Well, a couple of things need to be looked at with that, that we found is one, if you’re doing that with your mouth, you’re not really going to invoke too much of a parasympathetic response. Because the moment we open our mouth, we tend to go into a more sympathetic tone. So when we shut the mouth, we actually use our nose, we’re actually inducing a more parasympathetic tone. So even if I’m working out which in which traditionally will invoke this sympathetic tone, I can keep more parasympathetic dominance with what I’m doing, and keep more periphery or peripheral vision of what it is I’m doing and be more aware of what it is I’m doing as I and this has become a very big thing with us in the formal sector, because it’s allowing athletes to stop a lot of the mindlessness that goes on and not thinking about what they’re doing to more of the mindfulness of what they’re there.
And it’ll be in the coaching that tends to not need to be as direct, right? And, maybe direct is not the appropriate word. But I don’t have to be as involved. If I’ve got somebody who’s actually thinking about what’s going on, and oh, my God, I can’t get enough air in through my nose. So I need to change my position. In order to do that, in order to follow directions, right? From a traditional or mindfulness space, like to just talking about meditators or something like that throughout the day, if I’m chronically breathing out of my mouth, I tend to be more sympathetic and dominant. And this doesn’t allow me to come down into more of the parasympathetic place that I want to.
Misbah Haque (21:15):
I can totally resonate with that. Because the last I would say maybe four, six weeks I’ve been in that boat, where it’s like, been nonstop, from the moment I wake up to the moment that I go to bed, it’s like, my brain is just on and it got to a point where it was like, I reached my threshold. And I was like, Okay, you need to kind of step back to kind of absorb and let all that stuff marinate a little bit. And so when I did the, I guess it was the apnea protocol. Yep, my ability to follow the protocol, it was extremely difficult, like you said, it was very, very shallow breaths, I could barely hold my breath for, like, I don’t even know what it was 12 seconds or something like that. And it is just so that totally I understand the value of this and include it somehow in your practice day to day. The other thing that resonates with me here is, Steven Kotler his work on flow, which was some of that was trickled into the book unplugged as well. But it’s like when you’re doing these intense activities that require a lot of your brain. And you’re in that deep flow state type of work. And let’s say on top of that, you throw in very CNS heavy training and lifting, that’s a lot on your brain that you aren’t, you aren’t fully. I don’t know if the balance is the right word, but it’s like you’re, you’re up. So you also have to kind of come down. And so these protocols allow you to control that a little bit. Is that kind of on the right track?
And when I use these sympathetic, parasympathetic things, I’m talking about the nervous system, obviously, but the autonomic nervous system in general, right, we have these two different branches of that. And for us, it’s important to come down and process things. And when we talk about fear, we are in a place where we are in a very sympathetic tone. But when we don’t process or come down from that, we tend to have what’s called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This is a chronic problem. So think of a very, and we’ve all trauma is a very normal thing.
And Dr. Huberman has talked about this a lot. It is with his lab, and there’s actually a video of him out there on this. But trauma is a very normal thing, and we’re never going to get rid of trauma. And it’s something we’re all gonna experience. But it’s, do we process that trauma? And do we actually comprehend what happened with that trauma? And are we able to move on? Now, I think the analogy best I can use, maybe, maybe, maybe not, is, we take the Bambi analogy. And in the opening scene of Bambi bands, Mom is shot and mom dies. Bambi has a choice, Bambi can sit there and mourn mom. And and and grieve and potentially be shot himself or not survive, or he has to move on and you with his continue on life. And by no means means that ball or dad or anybody has shot that you should mourn that process.
But our problem is, and we all can relate to this is that the vast majority of us do not process these things, we do not come down, think of, I wake up in the morning, I start my day, I do some breath work, I go and I work out and then I go to work, and I start working. And then maybe at lunch, I go get something to eat. And then after lunch, I come back to work and then maybe I go work out again. Or maybe I go to do something with my wife on a date or whatever. And it’s constant on, on, on if I don’t actually process or come down from any of that. I haven’t processed any of it.
And so I really want to take advantage of these things, these tools that we’ve got in order to kind of process this and this is part of the world we’ve created with tech. And I think where unplugged really fits into this conversation and what Dr. Andy Galpin and I were able to achieve with that book was, hey, we’re not saying don’t use tech, but if tech is becoming something that really consumes you, your entire day. This is one of those points where we’re not coming away from that you’re getting on social media, you’re trying to see what everybody’s doing, you’re getting pissed off with somebody you’re getting you’re getting happy with another person all of these things are balancing all these emotions are occurring, and you’re never really processing any of it and staying focused on one thing, and it becomes a very addictive cycle that we get into.
And so I think this is where, really the snapshot work really, in our place to really look and understand, hey, what is a fast inhale and a slower exhale do for me. And ironically, if I have high level, if I’m somebody who deals with high levels of anxiety, I’m probably not going to hold I be able to hold my breath, because it’s going to set me off into a very sympathetic state because I’m so anxious, I’m going to think I’m going to die or something might happen to me. And as ridiculous as that may sound, some people, that is a very real situation that I have encountered multiple times with many different people who do deal with anxiety on a very high level. And there’s nothing wrong with them, other than the fact that we just need to kind of show them how to mitigate this process. So that they can get out of that cycle of this, this behavior cycle or cycles, it is something like a guy like Tony flowers doing really well with.
Yes, very much so. And I think Kotler and Jamie whale’s work has been pivotal. Jamie and I have a relationship. I have a relationship with Steven. And we, we’ve, I think they’re, they’re doing incredible work. And that’s a great place to even bring that up is like, like, if you’re going to be constantly going into the flow to do things, you’re going to constantly need to come down off of that. And think of jumping out of a plane a very heightened adrenaline-induced experience is going to need you to come down from and if you don’t actually come down from that. What are you doing to your nervous system and your brain? And what are the responses?
And look I personally worked with probably a dozen people who’ve had dyes and concussions and serious problems going on that we’ve been able to see a complete reversal of such things or processing of these things happen. And it’s crazy because it’s really just looking at it because you normally may be able to hold your breath when you’re not as stressed. And I could sit here and talk about this all day and pretend like I don’t, I’m not dealing with all this. I buried myself.
Through all the work we’ve been doing. I’ve been using the breathwork and a lot of the lifestyle stuff that I do in order to further my ability to handle more to do so I went from basically going, traveling a bunch teaching, then getting on a plane heading down to San Diego, getting in a vehicle going down to Ensenada, Mexico getting on a boat for 20 hours to go out to an island to go get out of a cage, a shark cage with 250 Great white sharks in the water.
Where I was being circled at one point by three or four great white sharks, which was an amazing experience and I was able to really transcend all this stuff I’ve been doing but then taking that getting back on a boat heading 20 hours back to Mexico going through the whole border and then going and traveling and getting on a plane and basically having a clean anxiety-like attack because I had not paid attention enough to everything that was going on.
And the fact that I had taken some scopolamine for anti-motion sickness and coming off of that, and then screwing up some neurotransmitters and like this whole process, and it’s like, Look if you want to understand how to go do that go in the most extreme shit, and then fall apart and some of the most basic things you could do in your life. I know how to do that. And, and like, but it’s also like, hey, like, take a step back man, and chill out and learn to say no to some things, so that you can actually do the work that you really do want to do.
Balancing intensity with day to day activities
Misbah Haque (25:34):
Yeah, I think that’s a great point. Because even though all of these things could be something that you love doing like you love snatching every single day, it doesn’t matter because your physiology is responding to it in a certain way. I feel the same way. With podcasting, I enjoy it very much.
But in one week, when I did, six to eight episodes, and I felt like I could keep going, there are times where I need to like not to do them for two or three weeks reflect on them, figure out what I need to get better at and then marinate and then come back to it with another energy because it’s it almost zaps you at some point, you may feel this high, high flow state of energy. And then when you’re doing some daily activity that shouldn’t require that much energy, you’re going to find yourself kind of suffering.
So this brings another great point. Podcasting is very similar to public speaking to some degree, right? You’re not in front of a massive crowd, you’re in front of one person. So it’s you and I, but you are talking a lot. You’re asking questions, you’re trying to be on point. And you’re using your mouth to breathe. So is it any wonder when you’re done doing a podcast that you feel like you just trained or you worked out. And and this is no different from let’s take a high performer, Dr. Sarah Lewis, who works at Harvard, who’s a professor and author, she’s high level goes and speaks all the time and somebody who I’ve worked with, and when she goes to speak, she uses a breathing protocol.
And when she gets done speaking, she uses a breathing protocol so she can come down and actually process so the best thing that could potentially happen for you, is after you get off of this podcast, is actually do a little bit of work to where you feel yourself come down and the better we get at breathwork, the better we get at this stuff, the loose, we actually need to use it, meaning I can pretty much bring myself down in less than three minutes, no matter what the case traditionally is.
Whether it’s a workout, whether it’s this podcast, whether it’s going and speaking, I know what that feeling is, I know what the best protocols for me to use are. And that’s where it really happens. And I literally can’t come down, I can process what happened. And then I can kind of move on. And it’s whether you just then decide to make a better choice doing six or eight podcasts in a week, or should I just do four.
Misbah Haque (27:56):
To make this a bit more actionable. I feel like this is a great point. Because whether you’re doing podcasting, or you’re coaching your public speaking, you’re going into this higher stress scenario, what type of protocol should we be using before something like this podcast, versus after the podcast.
The before it’s depends on who you are to a large degree because you don’t want something like if you’re somebody who’s a very, like, I don’t want to get all ramped up, because I’m already a ramp white shark, I don’t really want to that there aren’t a lot that I know. That’s very I’m looking for those heightened responses. So getting the amped up isn’t necessarily the best thing. But getting clear and focused on what I’m doing is traditionally an upregulation thing. So something like a full breath pattern, which again, inhales a breath, hold and exhale and a breath, pauses. And that’s a full breath cycle, right? And you can remove the inhale, the inhale, hold and the exhale, pause.
But you can’t remove the inhale from the exhale. So you have to figure out what kind of works with that, then it’s alright, well, how do I feel after I’ve done five or 10 breast cycles of this particular protocol? For me, it would be something like an 1111 or 1121. Where I am the one is dictating like, let’s just say it’s a seven-second inhale. So that’s the one right and it’s a multiplier across so it’d be a 7777 or a seven 714. Seven, right. And I would just repeat that until I felt like I’d centered myself and really gotten clear about what it was I was doing. And I always do breathwork before I go speak.
I literally am just setting myself up and being focused on what it is I want to deliver them the important message that I’m thinking about so that I hit that and then after that, I want to come down. So I want to hit a very deep person But that place and for a lot of people, that’s something like I’m using like a one three to a breathing protocol where I’ve got, let’s say it’s a seven-second inhale trip, that would be 21. Second breath, hold, double, that would be a 14 second exhale. So now, if I’m highly stressed, I’m not going to really, I’m not going to probably be able to do that protocol. So I need to take a step back.
And what we’ve seen is it’s usually two or three steps back. So take that seven, knock it down to five, so you get to 515 10. And that’s something that’s very doable, achievable, and still bringing you into a lot of that, that very parasympathetic tone. And so that, how hard is that to do for 10 breath cycles, it’s not very hard at all. But you just need to take the time to do something like that, like my buddies, who were comedian stand up comedians, like, right after you’ve done with a set could go back to that green room, go through quick breath protocols, and you just boom, all right, I’m clear, I’m down, I’ve come down, I can go out and I can mingle with my crowd and do what I got to do.
Misbah Haque (31:02):
So this is not something that you necessarily just have to do. Let’s say once a day at a set time, it’s dictated by what you’re doing, you can kind of maneuver around that. So for example, after this, I would want to come down a little bit, then let’s say so I’m going to be boy class in a couple hours after this. So to wrap myself back up, I’m assuming I should wrap myself back up for that. I would maybe repeat that cycle. And then after that class, I would come back down again.
Sorry. So to ramp yourself back up, yes. To get back into the class, it would be You could, I don’t know about ramping up being as important but getting clear and centered and focused. And like, a lot of tech guys really want to know how to like, tasks switch, right? They’re like, alright, so I got all this stuff I’m doing and I’m global takeover, whatever. And I’m like, I’m helping the world or whatever.
And I’m doing all this stuff. And it’s like, how do I go from one thing to the next from one project to the next. And it’s you need to come down, then you need to come up and get clear, you’re focused on what you’re going to do. And so through that downregulation process, we want to actually process what we just learned. And then moving into an upregulation swing, we want to start focusing on the new thing. But if I haven’t let go of what it was that I just did or accomplished, then there’s no sense in moving all the way up regulation until I’ve really obsessed or downregulated. The first one.
Misbah Haque (32:35):
Gotcha. The uphill battle. I feel like the uphill battle that you guys are, maybe you’re dealing with it now. And maybe as tech becomes more and more prominent and dominant in our lives, this will be a bigger issue. But it’s getting people to realize the value of doing that without that addiction feeling of oh my gosh, I’m not being productive like, or I should be doing emails right now, instead of taking the 10 breaths to what I mean? Like you have this unsettling Fear Of Missing Out, in a sense inside of you. But it seems that’s simply because you’re kind of maybe conditioned to feel that way. Right? So it takes a little bit of rewiring in a sense.
It is going to be a challenge. It is a challenge. When you’re dealing with people, I have intimate knowledge of a lot of higher-level people who, when we get down to it when we get to that core thing, is it going to be are we using this and it’s just like I just brought up at that shark dive and then the whole pole, panic attack and the simple, basic stuff that I do day today, you’ve got to come to terms the fact are you doing too much? Or are you doing? Are you being the most productive that you can, and it’s answering those questions and trying not to buffer your lifestyle habit, for which you’re trying not to buffer your lifestyle with all of these hacks, per se?
And this isn’t necessarily a hack. This is actually just trying to get us back to think of my dogs who go crazy when somebody comes to the gate upfront at the house, or they see a dog walk by or a horse walk by, and they go nuts, and then the horse or dog or whoever leaves, and they go and lay down and take a nap. What are we doing? And I’m not saying we need to go take a nap. But you do need to come down off an experience in order to move into the next experience, which all comes down to communication to a large degree. So if we can get people interested enough in what it is we’re actually doing and putting in the hand then it becomes the communication through that process as to how, why, and how are we doing this and what is this used for and how are we processing this stuff.
Misbah Haque (35:01):
Yeah, I want to know, I wish I asked you this last time, but it was kind of around your creative process towards the end, we got talking about stand up comedy, we started talking about creativity. And it was fun. And I want to know, like, all the stuff that you’ve been doing and pretty much the last year, what does your creative process kind of look like? So you this, this new project that you kind of just took on with, Dr. Huber, or maybe it was unplugged. Walk me through, like what you got to say no to and how you kind of center and focus yourself to be able to dedicate all this energy to this one project of yours.
I don’t know if this is George Orwell or not, but Rob wills are depressed seminars. He just literally said this to me. Two and a half hours out. And he got and we were talking about this very subject, right. And the funny thing is, a lot of people think that you’re so lucky to be in the position that you’re in what you’re doing. And it’s like, yeah, it’s luck. Have nothing to do with that. And the funny thing is, so the quiz people like it really comes down to like, hey, sucks, like, you just get all these opportunities. And the problem with opportunity is that it’s usually disguised as overalls and hard work.
And most people don’t understand that. And when you really look at something, are you willing to invest hard ass work and your life to what that might be? And that’s my creative process. Is it really I, it touches me deeply. And I go, this is something I definitely want to talk about or get more or learn more about? I’m going to read, I’m going to read about it. I’m going to connect with people who like who are experts, or really their work is centered around this happen. Dr. Oberman Wilson. I mean, it just keeps going. It’s Kelly star.
And I mean, all of these people, way more people than that, right? Steeler Jamie WeMo. Like, LAIRD HAMILTON, it just goes on and on and on. And on the op-eds itself, you have to be willing to ask yourself, what are you willing to do for this, and if you’re not willing to dedicate your life to something, you probably shouldn’t be doing it, and you should get involved in it. Because you’re going to end up only making yourself unhappy about the entire process because it is gonna work. And when it comes to working, it’s gonna be this sucks, I don’t want to be here anymore.
Like versus doing whatever I got to do, I just want to learn more, I want to do more, I want to learn more about this, I want to share this, I want to get it out there. And I think that’s really what stimulates my process. And my day usually begins with something like some breath work, or even like some mobility stuff, and then actually ice and heat and really just doing some things that are kind of a little stressful, but they also invoke my body, like they get my body and mind kind of ready to do something. And I literally go off feeling other than the fact that what my schedules dictated to me, I’ve got to be at meetings, or I’ve got to get a flight.
Or if I get to get on a flight, like I’ve learned that getting on a flight is actually a godsend, it’s an opportunity for me to actually just chill out and not have to deal with anybody in my world for however long the flight is to a large degree, or get some serious work done on the computer that I’ve been avoiding. Right. And so that’s what that’s more or less where this starts to play. And my day will literally begin with, what do I feel like doing today? Do I feel like working out right now? Or maybe I feel like working out later? And if I feel like working out or doing something? Do I feel like going on a mountain bike ride or a run? Or do I feel like going and getting in the gym and lifting heavy? Like what do I feel and I really go off of I’ve really learned to take that into account because I think that the most important process is youth is us feeling and being and knowing what that feeling is and going with where I think I should.
Misbah Haque (39:15):
I’ve definitely experimented with that in a way where let’s say I have a console at some point podcasts at another and these dictated appointments already in the schedule, but then the free time in between that and after that you’re saying is what you go by feel is like hat this day I need
Do you have a task in mind that like, hey, I need to get x&y done and then you go off of okay, I’m feeling like I want to go with this or is even that bigger picture task for that day dictated by what you’re feeling and when you wake up that day.
I yes to both to a large degree. There are definite things that I have to get off my list. On a daily basis, but there are also things that I’m okay with not getting done and pushing to another day. And then in between time comes, do I feel like I want to go work out right now. But my dogs are going crazy. And I love my dogs, my daughter, my kids, right? We’ve trained them, we’ve we love them, we take care, and it’s like, I gotta go throw the ball for 20 minutes. I gotta go get these guys, some of their own fun, and that’s fun for me.
That in turn that time while I’m doing that also invokes this other thing that goes, here’s what you could be doing to like, or here’s something else you could be doing. And it’s really just management of time throughout the day. And the week like, look, I won’t do more than I think it’s three podcasts are my limit on my scheduler, right? So the scheduler I send over for my podcasts? If I’ve got three lined up for that week, it’s impossible for somebody to schedule a podcast that week. Yeah, just a mandatory Hey, there it is. And I’m maxed. And I don’t even have any control over that.
Misbah Haque (41:07):
Right. He set like a system in place for some of those things, you have freedom for others.
And I would largely say my wife has had the biggest influence on stuff like that, Aaron’s highly organized and task-oriented, hence two gold medals, right? It’s very thought out and I don’t operate like her. I have this kind of Rolodex in my head for things I need to do. From time to time I’ll write it down. But my calendar really dictates everything for me. So I just look at my calendar, and I look at the day in the morning, and I’m I got this…those are my different opportunities today, what do I want to accomplish in those opportunities.
And typically, it’s a prioritization of what has the highest priority, and it just falls from there. And then when I get to the end of the day, I’m done. I need to be okay with what I’ve accomplished today. But there are also days where I need to not do anything related to any of this. And I go and gumbo head up into the mountains or the wilderness and I get, and I just go get lost, or I go into town and get some shopping done. And just deal with life or personal stuff. And, and that inevitably just set the next day and everything back to normal.
Misbah Haque 42:31
Now, it seems that you have to have developed a rhythm and a sense of awareness to be able to have that feeling like you’re really in touch with this right? And I kind of want to rewind back to like, I don’t know, man, you in your 20s? Or when you were in that stage, just like hustling hard, right? Probably I don’t know. But how did you? What was different than how you were operating at that point where you were just like you’re struggling to pay rent? You have all this shit to do, maybe you have this job that needs your attention? How would you maneuver yourself at that stage? And knowing what now? Or would you have done something differently to make that a little more efficient?
I don’t like to do so one I’ve got two words for that: intense and reactive. That was me in my 20s and early 30s. That said, I enjoy where I’m at right now, I’m pretty clear with the understanding that had I not done or been where I was at, then I would not be here. And we can certainly argue the possibility on the fact that maybe I’d be in a better place. And that may be it. But I’m happy enough to where I’m content in this moment, where I’m at. And so the story doesn’t have to change. But the fact is, is opportunity back to this opportunity thing.
And like all the things that are going on, the ability to understand where the opportunities were at has always been kind of an I don’t want to call it a gift but it’s something that I’ve really worked on in understanding who or what was an opportunity at that time, and where to go with it. And those certainly could have led to very different very bigger things and maybe I’d be ahead of where I’m at on our knot or I’d be in the same place or I’d be worse but the fact is, is I really do think that the breathwork alone has altered that entire playing field from worrying for me to wear.
I’m still intense, but I’m definitely not as reactive and I really do think out a lot more now. Before I do things. I don’t engage in everything. I don’t answer all my comments. I don’t answer all my direct messages. I don’t answer all my emails. In fact, I’ve got an auto email set up to where it’s just like, I mean, this is Tim Ferriss, 101, bro. Because I’ve got to know Tim and I know how busy he can be. Tim is just as busy as any of us, but he’s like, he chooses how to keep himself even keel. That’s Steven Kotler as well, like the third of Stephen’s day is spent in nature for a reason.
There’s a reason why I moved up to the middle of nowhere, in order to kind of ground myself and get into my own work and understand something and really breakthrough that process of understanding and it’s done everything I’ve needed to do. And now I’m Aaron and I are headed to move back to Bay area so that we can I can launch into this new business, and she’s going to take on a new job, where she what she’s going to do and go back to school, and we’re going to go after all this stuff that we really feel like is important for us to dedicate our lives to.
Misbah Haque (45:54):
So the the intensity and the reactiveness. Do you think that that is a necessary part of the journey? Yes. That that had to be there.
Because it was like I’ll go down or Damn it but, there are negatives to it because anger comes out of that as well. Anger can be a quick tool like things like rage against them. Guys like they’re, bands like Rage Against the Machine talk about anger is a gift. And it’s like, yeah, like anger is what’s imprisoning. The anger is what imprisons greeny. And it was literally something that I was like, it’s not that I don’t like Rage Against the Machine, because usually one of my favorite hands, but I look at something like that. And I’m like, I ran with that whole punk rock, like, the hardcore mentality for so long. But I felt like I was misunderstanding it.
Now, at this point in my life, I felt like I was misunderstanding it, to where it’s like, yeah, I can be upset about something and I won’t change. But I’m just as much a result, a part of this, whatever chaos that’s going on, based on my decisions, and what I’ve done, is anybody and if I’m angry about it, it’s just because I don’t understand my responsibility in it and what action I can take in order to do something about that. And it doesn’t need to involve anger, it can involve productive work, hence what I’m doing now. And working on now. I’m going to do productive work, and I don’t have time for a lot of that.
Misbah Haque (47:26):
So you seem like you really rely on your intuition, you have a good touch with your intuition. And I resonate with that, because I kind of feel like, like you were saying, you have this gut feeling of who or what is right for you at that moment. And that opens up doors to other things. And it’s just like, you’re almost going with the flow, but you have trust and what you’re choosing and that process.
What I want to know is, every person who’s achieved quote unquote success in anything, there came a point where they had to jump right and you didn’t know what happened next, right like that parachute didn’t open up right away. You got torn up by cliffs like your clothes came off. All this shit happened. And the parachute opened up maybe much later than you wanted it to. Was there I mean I’m sure there were but can you think of a moment that sticks out to you where you did have to jump not knowing what was next not knowing if it would work maybe in the early days.
T hat’s an every week thing that is the debt I think this can go back to that whole like you’ve been successful or whatever or opportunity right? And I am not going to die questioning what would have happened had I jumped. I would rather die jumping in that parachute than not opening that that’s dying, doing what you love. That’s the LAIRD HAMILTON experience right there. That is Laird so committed to a specific thing that if he dies doing it that he died doing what he was supposed to do like taking that risk and I’m not saying Larry’s gonna die big wave surfing he probably won’t because he’ll fucking he is probably the hardest things to kill.
But this is by and for the people that I am centered around is These are all people who have different kinds of behaviors and patterns, but the fact is, the one commonality is they’re all willing to take that risk. They all want to step, they all want to get out of that shark cage. They want to know what it is like to swim with the great white shark, a buddy of mine His name’s Pat Dawson, and he went on the die with me. And we met on this trip. And he got to get out of the cage for so there were separate groups to go. And he asked the divers who are the professionals who’ve been doing this and kind of pioneered this whole thing with Dr. Gray, white. He said, so if somebody gets a bit, what’s the protocol? And this is axial. He’s just full click what do we do?
How do we do it? What’s the protocol? Like? What’s the process, and this is how operations work. The guy just kind of stares at me. And he’s just like, looking at me because there is no protocol. Because there’s nothing we can do. If you get bit by your dawning, like, hear, hear, hear, you’re just not coming back like this. And if you see these things sure everybody’s watched this on TV, and all of that. And this is the difference between being voyeuristic and watching things from afar, and not truly being connected to it, I see something on TV, I gotta go do that. I gotta go speed, I gotta go see what that’s about like I got to be in front of that.
That’s kind of the difference between what you’re talking about there is that I really just want to experience that and me getting and going to see something like a white shark in front of me in my only, it’s not even a defense. But the only thing I’ve got is a camera that I’m holding on to. If the shark comes at me, I’m to punch the shark or go at the shark with the camera, you’re not to run from the shark. Because if you run from the shark, the shark thinks of your prey. But if you stand your ground, the shark does it.
That’s not to say that somebody’s not going to get killed sitting in the other manner. But I saw it on more than three occasions on this trip, where a shark came directly at the diver and the diver, one directly at the shark. And the shark turned and didn’t do anything. And there were several sharks. And so what is there are all of these situations that we can be in man, like, think of going into a bar, right? And you’ll walk into a bar, and if you’re not respecting the situation that’s in that bar and some alpha male, it’s in there, and you’re willing to be an asshole back.
What do you what, if you’re going to act like prey, you’re going to get treated like prey? And then we have all of this, this whole setup of understanding, mood and change, and all of these things much like a shark or even a dog, and we ignore a lot of that stuff. And I think that’s pretty much the premise of like, what tech should be used for is to get us back to our natural ability to kind of feel that stuff. And I just want to feel, I want to feel what it’s like to do and be in a lot of these situations and do these things.
I guess what would it have been like to do that data? Or meeting a person? Right? And I’m not, I don’t think I’m in the amazement of anyone. I just think I want to feel the energy that they’ve got and know if it’s real, right. And once I know it’s real, then I can share that energy as well.
Methods of learning
Misbah Haque (53:04):
You experienced this on a weekly basis, jumping without knowing if the parachute is going to open up. But take me back to where you were at the beginning of your career, right. And logically certain things maybe didn’t make sense. Or it may not have Yeah, it may not have been the most sensible thing to jump, but you still did, not knowing what would happen.
I got a question. I was on what I call the nine-year plan for school, community college, not knowing what you wanted to do, and you just went because like, you didn’t want to go to university, or I barely graduated, because I basically went to enough school in order to play water polo and swim. That was all I did. And I chose to go to community college. And I chose to kind of go the long route and take one or two classes, and then miss a semester’s classes, whatever. And I ran into exercise science and kinesiology. I took these classes, and had a phenomenal experience, and was just like, oh my god, I love this. Got immersed in the process for about a year and a half, two years.
And then I was also training people at that time. So I already started meeting people. I was already a trainer at that point. And I went thrifting. And I started having questions based on stuff I was learning from either other trainers or the internet or whatever. And they were questions that couldn’t be answered in that setting of school. And they weren’t teaching anything like this. And why question and then I was like, Is this the path? I want to go on? Do I just want to answer questions to the tests to things that are only valid in this setting? And that doesn’t play a role? I’m not saying that in exercise science, kinesiology, that doesn’t have a role.
They all have important roles, but there is definite fluff in there. That hasn’t no bearing on it is a trainer or the work is so old, so dogmatic that it’s its whole appeal or even being there. And so it was the questioning process. And when do I do? Do I go off, start working with higher-level coaches and trainers and put myself in a mentee tight. I stay in school, get out, and think that an acronym after my name is going to validate who I am, what I do.
And those take that jump in finding out on my own and putting myself in front of really fascinating, smart, intelligent geniuses who are doing radical things who do have acronyms after the name that don’t have acronyms after the names and could care less about any of that stuff. And took that guidance and ran with it. And it ended up doing me very well. I’m not saying that’s the route for everybody though.
Misbah Haque (55:57):
So that resonates with me really well, because that was pretty similar to maybe the route that I took. And that’s actually how this podcast kind of started. And I don’t know if you remember when I sent you the book sick in the head was written by Yeah Patel, an amazing man, right, genius. And he, if you’ve read, In the beginning, how that book came about was he was a young dude, like 15 16 years old, just wanted to learn about the entertainment industry.
And he sought out Jay Leno and all these different comedians and learn from all of them. And so that book is a result of his education and entertainment through conversations with people who were in the game and who he directly absorbed and learn from. So that’s one reason why I find that fascinating. And the other thing isn’t it crazy that like, just like you said, that approach is not for everybody, vice versa the first approach of going through that system isn’t for everybody. We group everybody to kind of think that this is what you have to go through.
There really is no one size fits all type of thing. I think now it’s more, it’s more accepted. And more people are realizing that if I go to the art of breath seminar, I might have an experience or learn more from that one seminar that I may have from a year of studying, in a class setting about breath, right? And who knows, maybe that experience of the art of breath seminar leads you to the classroom. But it’s so unconventional that for many of us, we can’t wrap our heads around being defiant around that system.
Yes. And I think that’s kind of me. I don’t look at myself as an influencer, I look at myself more as a disrupter. And somebody who kind of, is willing to challenge that, that status quo and that system. But I also think and honor what that traditional route goes. There’s a reason why Kelly started at one of my closest friends, and he’s very traditionally taught.
And yet he’s very unconventional with what he does because he’s so open-minded. And we’ve been able to influence each other probably the largest of anybody that we’ve been around and that’s played a significant role in my upbringing and my growth. And it’s, it’s learning from people who have gone these traditional routes, and so there’s nothing wrong with it. If this is what you like, my wife loves, like, she really gets immersed in, in a classroom type setting where I can, but it’s got to be super stimulating. And if it’s not stimulating, or the or the professor, the instructor doesn’t literally get my attention the entire time. I am hooked. And I will find somebody else that can show me the lightmap and I’ll head down that rabbit hole.
Collaboration and the zone of genius
Misbah Haque (58:58):
I think there’s this thing called the zone of genius, right? Like you found your zone of genius, and you live there. And your wife has done the same thing. Kelly Stewart has done the same thing. And it’s there’s no right or wrong. And there’s no labeling these experiences like for me. So there’s this clinical psychologist that I recently kind of, I’m collaborating with, and we’re coming up with this course called The Art of connection through questions. She is massively talented at what she does.
It blows my mind away every time I talk to her about the things that I kind of learned. But she got that through years and years and years of schooling and clinical experience that I didn’t and I have no interest in going that route. But then at the other end, I got my experience of learning and asking questions through just talking to different people and studying the art in different forms. And so we both kind of bring something very different to the table, but we both there’s this there’s this respect For one another’s craft, and I feel like man, it would be such a crazy thing, if more of us were like, each living in our zone of genius and able to appreciate everybody else’s zone and craft.
Agree 100% Nobody gets through this thing or does this thing. So low. It’s a very collaborative process that we all really kind of live in. And to honor, I think there’s been a lot of people who’ve been talking, I guess, kind of recently, just about, at least I’ve seen it is where respect and honor become a part of this thing, and honoring those who you work with, or you’ve worked with, and in respecting that, and I think the importance of something like if you’re going to have kids, you should probably put them into martial arts before you put them in anything else.
That way, they learn that process prior to actually engaging in youth sports, which tends to take people to take kids down a poor route that that belt system is there for a reason. And the white men, the white belt mentality is a very important process, and regardless of respect or offshoot or loss assistance, and when you show that you actually are learning and that you have expressed yourself in a way that is, of higher level, that you’re rewarded for that and that you’re, then you’re brought to another level, and you’re able to do more, and that is a heavy-duty thing, where we have a lot of kids today are just like, I should be able to do this, or I should be able to do that it’s a very different process.
But I think that collaboration is probably one of the most important forms, and it’s the very reason why we, human beings, are where we’re at we would not have progressed, had we not collaborated and agreed on stories and things that literally, we chose to do and migrate, and the agricultural revolution, whether you like it or not industrial revolution, whether you like it or not all of these different things in places where agreements that we collaborated and came on to now a lot of this stuff has problems and exist. And this is where we have to start to figure these out and figure that out for arguing and trying to argue an opinion, versus just actually getting to the root cause of something that we’re going nowhere.
Art of Apprenticeship
Misbah Haque (1:02:32):
You mentioned it many times throughout this episode, and in the last episode, it came up as well. But the mentor, mentee type of model apprenticeship, interning, how big of a role has that played for you early on? And then how about now it seems like you’re still kind of in that journey, were you when you explore different fields and learn about new things you’re seeking, you’re seeking out people who are almost maybe like a mentor type figure? I am. Yeah, like, would you say that? The mentor, mentee type of model is something that you resonate with?
I always, don’t know that I’m necessarily looking for a mentor. But like, I’ve had plenty, and I mean, you can call so many of the people who I’ve collaborated with and work with mentors. But I think these are people who I use in that manner, but naturally, I’m doing it so that I can collaborate and bring something to the table with, right. I do, however, mentor plenty of people.
And I do have these relationships that and a lot of the things have evolved over the last five, six years. But this is something I’ve been doing myself for, like 20 years. Where I’ve had either mentors or I’ve been, mentors and people. It’s an absolute thing that I have in my life. Like it’s always there, I have people that I’m close enough to that are definitely smarter in areas than I am and I read that anybody who’s running or is the only who’s, who’s, who’s got the answers to everything, and everybody’s coming to them.
I don’t envy that at all. Like I don’t want any of that lifestyle. I want somebody who’s going to show me and teach me, allow me to, or better yet allow me to learn from them. And they’re going to want to learn from me and it’s a give and take relationship. That’s what I think both suits people and I think that’s a lost art to a large degree.
Misbah Haque (1:04:39):
I can definitely see that. When you are the one thing I also remember you saying was not only to like, have one mentor, right or one person that you’re learning from, but to kind of make sure that you keep your eyes open into different people and different resources and maybe learn from multiple mentors at once. Could you elaborate a little bit on your thoughts on that?
I think that several people in my wheelhouse that are in very different areas, science, or it’s, medicine, or its movement, or its even hunting or something like that. I’ve got people in all this right now that I am learning from, and I’m taking from, but I also, supply I also give, and so I play a role in that as well. And I think that if it’s not, if you’re not somebody who’s supplying something like that, I think you do need to learn how to pay for somebody’s time, and not think that this is something that you can’t get involved in, it’s always a weigh into something, if somebody at the time for it, but that’s the other thing is how much time do you have?
What do you want to dedicate it to, and I think it’s an important part of that process. Do some of the relationships that I’ve had over the last few years, one, in particular, potentially be one of the greatest relationships that I’ve had in terms of professionally because it’s gonna lead to one of the last things I could do with inside my world. And, and regardless of what happens or not, doesn’t matter. But the relationship that I’ve had with this person who exists in an ecosystem that is, by and large, the future of this, of humanity, and where we’re going, I may have the opportunity of all opportunities just because I mentored this kid who’s not, who has time and he’s now a man, and he’s got a higher up role.
His thinking is so clear, it’s definitely Am I, but that opportunity exists, they’re not something that I need to do, like, I don’t professionally need that to happen. But that could happen. And I recognize that opportunity, but am not willing to sacrifice my relationship with that person, in order to get that professional thing. And I think that’s a big difference, too, between a lot of people is that a lot of us go into things, thinking that we got to earn a specific amount of money, we got to do the math thing. The fact is, is if you’re doing what you love, all of that becomes a byproduct of it. And Or your lifestyle fits into what it is you’re doing. And no, I make enough or I don’t make enough, there’s I’m content or I haven’t closed enough deals, or I don’t have that one deal. I see this could happen. That could be amazing. I’ll put in some energy. And when out of that. Yeah, I mean, what are you getting in return?
Systems and parallels
Misbah Haque (1:07:48):
Do you draw parallels from others? Stand-up comedy always comes back to me, because of the trajectory that has to go into being a recognized comedian? Are you doing that for an actual living? You got to take a lot of punches in the face, there’s a lot of failures, and there’s a lot of living in what you said, of, of just being content doing the craft itself, where you might probably be making no money at all for quite some time. And then, the payoff sometimes happens. And yeah, like, do you draw parallels from other kinds of professions and scenarios? Like comedy is one but maybe musicians or very unrelated fields?
So I think that maybe what I shared on the last podcast was, comedians are some of the most intelligent people out there in the world. They by and large, just why they have a high suicide rate, too, is because when you see the world for what it really is, and how fucked up it can be, you only got one choice, let’s just make fun of it and laugh. And when that kind of cripples you, and there’s a dark side to that. And I think we’ll be. I definitely think there are big parallels between all of this stuff, and it’s like, look, even comedians have to go and get on the road with other chemists. And they’ve got to, they’ve got to work things like they’ve got to be the front guys. Work out. And so they’ve got to open for, to do that process, and also to create a name for themselves so that people like doing an infinite number of goes, or there’s musicians and thinking of high-level musicians. I don’t know, did we talk about the thing last time?
Misbah Haque (1:09:40):
No, I don’t think so.
He’s got a great documentary out, I forget what it’s called. But there’s a diary on Yo yo, who’s arguably the greatest Cellist of all time, right? And it’s seven years old or something he played for Kennedy and everybody was like, This is gonna be new this is gonna be this guy’s gonna be the top musician in the world, whatever. And he went through his life. And they did this whole thing on him to where he had achieved everything you could ever possibly achieve in music and music and playing conducting and just producing music and where he played and all this stuff.
He literally decided that the next phase of what he wanted to do was to bring together the best musicians and just about every single type of instrument that could be played things you’ve never you and I have never even heard of like, the weird instruments, right? But they’re these people doing this radical stuff. And he’s brought them together into this unit of this kind of orchestra of people. They were interviewing his son, and they asked his son, what do you think about your dad, and it was either a son or somebody else. But what do you think about his accomplishments and all this and he’s like, look, he doesn’t think that he’s really accomplished anything. He’s just trying to share how he sees the world.
What and the change he wants to see in the world. That’s what he’s attempting to do through this medium. I think this is where comedy or music or music or even human performance or whatever you choose podcasting or communication, finance if we are using that, in that type of manner, there’s no limit to what it is we can do. And I think that’s where the importance of what it is that all of these things are about is you actually recognize people who really are great at what they do. And being able to connect yourself to that is very important so that you can actually learn something and see something, not necessarily mimic it, even though there’s nothing new in this world. It’s Hey, how can I see that and do something even greater with that?
Misbah Haque (1:11:59):
How can you steal like an artist?
Yeah, exactly. It’s exactly right.
The dance of fulfillment and challenge
Misbah Haque (1:12:06):
There’s a, there’s something profound and what are you just said? How, how do you balance that satisfaction or fulfillment in what you are doing, with accomplishing all these things, right. But then also having this drive to explore more and, and continue to accomplish, right? Because you could be in a place where you’re somebody who just accomplishes a lot, but you’re very unfulfilled, and you’re very unhappy. But then it’s almost like this dance to be able to continue to explore, but then have maybe some fulfillment within that. And an accomplishment, right?
I mean, it kind of reminds me of the story. I just talked to a very good friend of mine yesterday, who’s a doctor, he’s an MD. He’s got a great career. And he’s been, he’s very progressive of what he does, very holistic with what he does, he brings the eastern side of stuff into the western side of stuff, and works with a lot of high-level people. And he, he’s just, he’s at a place where he’s just very unfulfilled, and it bummed me out talking to him yesterday, just because I felt so bad for him because I’m just so fucking tired of helping people who think they want help.
But then when you get down to the root of this thing, and the sexual side of internally, what’s going on with somebody, they don’t want anything to do with that. They just want to be able to go and do more, or spend more or sit around shit that’s making them miserable, as they are and I think that is a very tough place. And I’ve been there. And I had a series of steps and risks in order to walk away from certain to say, what do I want to do? What do I want to do later? What does it really matter?
That was something Aaron and I had a law about, and that was why we actually moved to Oregon is because we wanted it to be important. And by no means was it easy. It was very difficult. Arguably, we probably could not have done anything more difficult for not only each other but our US professionally as well. But it really tested our resolve as to what it was we wanted and cared about. And this inevitably sets up the situations and the opportunities that are now happening.
Now in a similar situation, the MD where I am in a place where I have I’ve chosen to help people and I mean, I’ve got text messages that are flying in right now. They do this and that, where do I do next and how do I get there? and … And this can become overwhelming. It’s like I’m actually moving out of this space so that I can put something out there that allows people to kind of navigate themselves and deal with things themselves. So that they can answer their own questions about this. And I don’t have to sit there and point these things out for people.
Misbah Haque (1:15:22):
Gotcha. So you, you continually kind of evolve what you’re making room for, to make sure that that, I guess that balance of fulfillment and challenge is still kind of there.
Absolutely. Like I couldn’t have told you that I was going to like, like, when I decided to open my own gym after being a trainer at a gym for like four or five years and opening my own place, that that was going to end up leading into me creating a lab, for us to create a model for training that was going to have me on the road globally teaching. That was not the goal. That was not the intention. That was not what I was, I was poor.
I was trying to figure things out. And it was fun. And I didn’t get it shipped I could care less. What occurred as a result of something like that was beautiful. And that never really created a platform for me to do what I’m doing now, which led to other things, what’s leading to other things. And you’ve got to just be able to kind of answer your own question, your own prophecy to a large degree, and say, what do I want to do? And what am I willing to do? And if I’m not willing to just risk it all and risk what I’m doing?
I don’t know why you’re doing it. And a lot of people have excuses for that. And I know family members that have lots of excuses and think that I’m just this. I’m so lucky and fortunate. And it’s, I look at them, and I just shake my head and Do you have any idea, the amount of work that went into doing what it is I’m doing, like and how I got here, and it’s like, you do that. You don’t have to do the same thing. But go chase whatever it is that you think is inspiring you or, or is inspiring you and run with it willing to sacrifice just about everything. You’ll be surprised what happens.
Misbah Haque (1:17:20):
It’s a shame that that perception is something that I mean, it happens all the time. Dave Chappelle is somebody who comes to mind for me when he was doing the Chappelle Show, and he was insanely stressed and fed up with what he was doing. But he was still able to have this high creative output, again, on a daily basis, or whatever it was him being able to go through that experience.
Then ultimately leaving for a couple of years coming back and then out crushing these two specials that he just did. That third one that’s coming out, it’s very easy for somebody to look at the latest three specials and be like, oh, man, so lucky, he just got paid $60 million for three of these specials, but like, nobody knows about the internal dialogue that was in his head going through the production of all that hard, shitty work that he was not fulfilled doing.
This is nothing different than going shark diving. It’s like people see, or look ever, but it’s, I see a great white shark on TV. And I develop this opinion. I develop an opinion of a fear of something or, or an aversion to something based on something I’m watching through the screen. You have no idea what that experience is unless yo… Dave is a perfect example. There’s a guy there’s a rabbi, I think his name’s Abraham Torski. And he talked about how a lobster grows, right? And the, you may have heard this, and then a lot of people may have heard it, but it’s like, look, a lobster is a very soft, squishy animal, right, and it’s got his hard outer shell.
The outer shell doesn’t grow. But the inside is squishy part done, so it gets very uncomfortable when he starts to grow. And it gets all this stuff happening. And the only way for this lobster to grow is to shed its shell and create a new one. And so he goes and hides in a box and he sheds his shell and then he stays there until he’s created the new shell. And he only knows the only time he knows that it’s time to change is when he’s uncomfortable. And I think this is largely our problem. We think that change is going to be this easy thing or this great thing, or Dave Chappelle just got paid $60 million. Like how lucky dude You have any idea what that man went through? If you’ve seen any interviews on him and what’s hot, what happened?
He had a complete meltdown for that whole 50 million things that he paid to do stuff because he became a hot commodity and do the like, I’ve been around a list of celebrities, it’s gnarly. I don’t want that. I wouldn’t. I don’t want anything close to that type of responsibility and the level of interest of people who have no idea who you are, and what you think they have, they have an opinion on what you should be doing and how you should be doing it. Yet they’re not willing to walk in your shoes. They think that walking in your shoes is just getting paid $60 million to do three, stand-up specials.
With the work that went into him traveling around the country, or world, fine-tuning that stuff. And people going, Oh, it’s Dave Chappelle is back. Let’s just see what happens. And I actually have a story about prior to those shows Dave Chappelle showed up at a show. And he came on, and he was wasted out of his mind. And he came on and just basically got hosed and booed. And he literally just fell apart. And it was a terrible night, the king of kind of comedy, who had a terrible night and got shut down. The guy still came back and still did something how many people can handle that getting up in front of people being booed, and whatever. It’s just, it’s a strange phenomenon, man, that we go through, that we watch this thing, and we think that it’s just some luck of the draw, or change is going to happen based on just some great thing. change only happens when there is literal discomfort.
Misbah Haque (1:21:40):
Absolutely. I want to ask you this question. And I don’t want to give off the notion that it’s about the, just this figure that I’m saying, so let’s say that you had a couple billion dollars, right. And you had a staff of 40 people, these 40 people are like the top performers of your choice in whatever it is that you’re recruiting them for. And you could use that to do anything, make some type of impact, some type of change, pursue whatever you really want. And so the idea is, okay, money and energy, and time is really not an issue with those resources. What kind of comes to mind for you, what would you do with it.
I’d be doing the same thing except just trying to really, I’d be able to navigate a little bit moreI’d be able to delegate things to people who are better at stuff than I am versus me working on learning curve, and me getting better at the things I actually really had more interest in. And allowing my thinking to get clear, bring and allow me to get closer to people who really can who really do have a more positive impact on things than I do. I don’t think I’m top of the food chain in any way, shape, or form. So it’s, I think there’s definitely a lot of people I need to learn a lot from, and I think there’s very important people in the world who are up there, who I would try and connect to and bring get help from in order to mitigate a more conscious place for us to kind of, look at directly this world, and where we’re going, and what we’re doing.
And we’re in it, we’re, we’re in a Cray time. And we’re about to watch AI take shape, in a way that it may or may not happen . We are storytellers. And it that’s an important thing, because 99% of the things that we tell stories on our fiction, and I fit into this, and it’s, it’s a version of something that I have painted, that I saw, and it goes on and I think you’ve all Harare wrote, beans, and Homo Deus is arguably one of the greatest greatest communicators, I have read, or even watched.
And here’s a guy who’s a historian, who is now kind of the leading edge of where our thinking is, and he does not talk in absolutes. He talks about possibilities, where we possibly will go, and what will happen. And I think if we can grab hold of what the truth really is and get around the stories and the bullshit, like politics, politics is nothing more than a fictitious story. It’s just something we’ve created and put people in place to do something that isn’t even really real. To a large degree, it’s just a big story that we’re using in order to do something to dictate lines and things and, and, and move trade and all of this stuff that doesn’t exist really either. It’s just all this false stuff so that we can actually feel good about ourselves in some weird, cathartic way. It’s like getting to the root of this stuff and really going, so where do we want to go once we implant a computer into somebody’s head, and we are starting to run this stuff because that’s possibly what’s going to happen and when we start to have like this superhuman type stuff, I mean, the iPhone X is coming, and this is going to be a new game-changer. And then Samsung’s gonna come up with something, and then somebody else is gonna come in, it’s like we’ve got all this stuff going on, but it’s like, what’s really important? What is really important?
And it’s our existence, this planet’s existence, like, where do we go? And the only real certainty we really have is death. And, and that we’re even challenging right now. We’re trying to make it so it’s almost like we don’t die. I don’t even like my, my intellectual self says, I don’t even want to, I wouldn’t want that. I really wouldn’t. I think death is the reason why we live. Like, it’s the reason for life, it’s the reason to understand you’re supposed to be passionate and involved in this thing, because it’s, it’s very short. I really want to see the world move to a better place. And I mean, take Trump, for instance, right? Whether you agree with this guy or not, he is the result of every side of the equation in politics, whether you’re liberal, whether you’re conservative, Libertarian, he is the result of all of it. And if you don’t think this could happen again, you are delusional. And it can get much worse. And if we don’t start communicating and agreeing on things, it’s like, we are going to end up in a place that I mean, Gorbachev was probably one of the most influential people of last century. And a lot of people can block it but they might say, Reagan was because Reagan ended the Cold War. Well, did he? Or did the guy who was running the country say that if there was a guy who’s running the country right now, what would have happened during the Cold War, there’s a great possibility that none of us would be here right now.
Because a guy like Gorbachev wasn’t bizarre, and he was willing to listen, and he was willing to put the shit down. And he was willing to end a lot of this stuff. Also, still here to a large degree. And I think that’s important to look at versus going you are just looking at all possibilities of these things. And possibilities are the greatness of what we have is really looking at, I could do it this way. Or I could do it that way. And it doesn’t like I could go to school, get a degree and find my path. Or I could drop out of school, find some mentors, and I could find a path to Holy shit. There are two ways to do this or even more ways than that. But it’s like, we’re so opinionated that people go, he doesn’t even have a degree, what the fuck is he doing there?
How could he be there? And these are the things that kind of have been through my mind as I’ve grown. I’ve heard that from people like, what degrees do you have? Do you want to talk about physiology? Do you want to talk about respiration? Do you want to talk about the nervous system? I bet, we could talk about it, you might be better at it than me. Or you might be worse at it than me, but I don’t have a degree, what does it matter? It really doesn’t, it’s just possibilities.
Misbah Haque (1:28:37):
I agree with you. , it’s all its narrative, to make sense of things that we don’t understand. I feel like we as humans, don’t like we don’t sit well with the idea that we don’t understand something. And so there’s a narrative or story that has to happen, and that is crafted to be able to make sense of that for that moment in time. This is something Galpin was saying was like, our understanding of the world is limited by the technology that we have. And that really stood out to me, as you think about, you think about like, a big circle that’s completely empty. And every thing that happens to you throughout like a lifetime, there’s like in that circle. All these stories, one by one by one by one by one. And it all adds up to this thing that we think of as absolute, and it forms the way that we’re kind of thinking. And a lot of us lose that ability to view things as possibilities and we have to label something as right or wrong. It’s just like our way of understanding, our way of trying to speak about the unspeakable, right and we’re trying to make sense of things that maybe we can never make sense of. But as for us as humans, the human brain doesn’t seem to live like that.
I totally agree. I mean, I see no difference in maybe this will hopefully go away. I think it’s gonna go but like, you look at what people say about the Donald Trump thing since I brought that up, right? It’s like, oh, this corporate white male mentality of all this stuff. And it’s like, so let me get this straight. Like you’re, you’re making fun of the white corporate male here yet I look at things and I’m like, look at the hippie, yoga-type vegan type. That’s the whitewashed fucking Indian version of what it’s like to be a yogi. And you don’t see Yogi’s? Are these guys that are these deep masters running around telling everybody how they need to be doing things, but you sure shit got these hippies who have literally like white Evangelia I hate to use this whole term, but it’s just like, it’s so funny to me because it’s literally the exact same thing. But on an opposite thing on opposite worlds.
It’s like this bizarro world. Like the Bay Area. Like it’s huge with this stuff like it’s so progressive, but it’s so progressive, that it’s backfiring. Like liberalism is actually dying. And it’s dying because of this whole movement in the way that had gone. And if you don’t do what we say or believe in what we’re talking about. This is the problem with science is it’s like science is taking on the route of power, which is no different than the route of control that religion took on. And unfortunately, it’s the same exact thing. And we’re going to wind up in the same exact place, and it comes down to literally the only thing predictable about us. And what we do is our behavior and how it’s made, how it’s transcended over time. And if we don’t watch it, that behavior is gonna catch us pretty hard with some heavy-duty stuff.
Misbah Haque (1:31:56):
Man, that was a great rabbit hole we just went down. So I want to, I’ll let you go after one or two here. So I want to ask you, let’s say that you had nothing right? Like everything you’ve accomplished, gone, and he only had $500, and you had a laptop. What would you do with that? Where did you even begin?
To talk about the experience on social media, like so look, social media can be everything we’ve got, is either a great tool, or it’s this addictive thing that we are or this, this the most damaging thing we could have. And so I think social media is such a great example of this, if I use social media in a positive light, I can communicate or share things I’ve learned with other people. And if I get good at it, I can do it in a way that’s going to inspire people to want to make changes themselves or for themselves, right, not in the same way, but in some other way, and take what I’m talking about, and make it even better, right, and get even deeper on that subject.
So I think it would be something like finding sort of internet connection, which you could get free, I take my lap, and I’d start fucking taking some pictures or something and find some deep thing to kind of talk about and try and connect the dots on that could help a few people and develop some sorts of developing this medium in order to help people versus the flip side of that I start getting on social media start giving my opinion about everything as if I’m right. And fucking don’t care about anything other than me getting on there and seeing what somebody else wrote, disagree and write some massive comment on their own platform in order to invoke some fight or whatever. And this is where that goes bad. It’s like we’ve literally lost the ability. A lot of us have lost the ability to live socially alive, very positive way. And there are people who are actually looking to use it and very well thought.
Misbah Haque (1:34:10):
Is there a specific platform or medium that stands out to you that you would go with?
I’d probably still use him in performance to a large degree. I just found it. i People like seeing improvement in themselves. And I think physical improvement is something that is very tangible for people like shit, I lost some weight, like I’ve just noticed that or I look better, or I’m stronger, or I got faster. Or I walked for 20 minutes today versus 10 minutes the day before and like I’m improving, right? I think for me, that’s what the attraction was with your performance. And I look at it more like human potential. And I don’t want to discount people who don’t, who aren’t competing at the elite level, I do a lot of work with a lot of different people and a lot of corporate people, and a lot of very powerful people. And they always go, Well, yeah,I’m not an elite athlete. And it’s like a podcast issue with a guy, he’s like, I’m not an elite athlete. But I wake up at four or five o’clock in the morning, I get my stuff done, I work out and I go to work, and then I come home, and I’m absolutely are an elite athlete. You are, you are absolutely the difference between you and an elite athlete is an elite athlete goes trains, he sleeps, shifts, trains, eat, sleep shifts, trains, eat sleep, shit strains, you go on, on, on, on, on, on on, and you got to learn how to balance this thing and work it to where you can actually see performance or see change and see positive change. And it’s like, or de stress yourself to some degree and allow that body to kind of get to a better place. And I think, recovery plays just as important a role in human performance and showing people even what recovery is, from a different way of looking at it Hey, how did Brian Mackenzie land on breathwork. And it’s like, I came from arguably one of the more hardcore areas of what fitness and sport was, and is, is to now into this breathwork space, because I saw what low hanging fruit this was for people who were actually high performers. And we’re missing something. And we’ve seen massive problems inside the elite world of sport and fitness, that are the same things we see in the general population.
Misbah Haque (1:36:48):
My next question is exactly like piggybacking off of this, the way that I asked you, what medium would you choose? Like that could have gone another route? And you could have been like, well, Instagram, right? Or Snapchat, right? You could have taken that question a completely different way. Right? So is there something you feel like you wish people would ask you more about something they don’t ask enough about? And I like to relate this to exactly that? Where it’s like, when somebody’s asking you the wrong questions like a photographer, you’re asking the photographer like, hey, what kind of camera should I get? Versus like, how do I take better pictures? Right, this higher level thinking? Maybe? And I’m sure you, you probably get a ton of questions on both ends, they’re like deeper level questions that might be more fun for you to answer versus questions that are like, I don’t know, like, about the equipment that you’re using. Does anything come to mind for you? In that context?
I’m sticking my head in. Why do you do what you do? Like, what’s the deeper layer of that? This is that conversation with IBM and the deeper layer of what they’re doing. They just want to go do something to do it heard somebody is doing it, like the whole psychedelic evangelic evangelical movement at this point, like, I’ve heard people who are doing psychedelics like every month, and it’s like, dude, like, here’s another whitewashed version of what fucking something become, to a large degree, right? And it’s like, who knows, but like, if you have to go do psychedelics, like, this is just my opinion. But it’s like, you’ve got to go do psychedelics every month, or something, you’re not listening to things, these things that are supposed to be listening. So I think the message is, why are you doing what you’re doing? And I think the question it’s like what’s the deeper layered why it is doing what you’re doing? And what, what drives that, we’ve gotten to a lot of that you’ve been rails cast deeper. But I really think it comes down to why do you do what you do?
What do you see as necessary to share or do what you’re doing? What are those deep two things and for me, it largely just comes down to, I just want to share things like I want to share what I learn. And like, I, I think that’s just a fundamental process to our most basic, the most basic of things we know the cellular level, it’s to share information and then reproduce to a large degree, like, that is what cells do and that is what we do, and that is what everything does, and everything dies and everything lives and it’s like it comes alive and then it dies and then it’s that’s the process and I really think there’s just this thing that we want to share something and we’ve gotten caught up in the game of and I am a no different man because I sat at this helm for quite a while. It’s like I’m right. This is what I’m doing. And this is what’s right. And this is what you should be doing. And this is and it’s like, no, people should be experiencing it all, they should go along, they should go short, they should lift light, they should do whatever it is they feel is necessary. I really just want people to. I think my deeper layer is I just want people to want to learn.
Mindset behind sharing
Misbah Haque (1:40:23):
You want to spark curiosity and people to kind of chase to kind of close the loop on that. What is the mindset that we should kind of have when it comes to sharing? You touched on it there? Without being that I’m right, I’m right, I’m right type of thing. But what do you think is like, at its essence of sharing is the reason that we love to do it’s a part of human nature, how do we go about doing that in a way that is productive and not disruptive?
Science works because science is wrong. Science just tells us what we know now, or what we understand now. And we’re gonna learn a lot more about that, if we actually go at it with an open mind, knowing that what we found out is not anywhere near what we could know about it. There are much deeper layers to everything, and there is not one person even there are all these profound Einstein types that have existed, right? Who are far who’ve done far more and will have far more done far more than I have, but it’s like or in most people, but it’s like, even they recognized things are going to change. And people want to figure out more about these subjects and deeper layers of these things. And what we understand about the universe now is not what we’re gonna understand 10 years from now. And what and run around thinking that we understand everything there is to understand, it’s like Dr. Andy Galpin man, like he one of the first stimulating conversations I had with him was, he’s like, look because he studies muscle, muscle fiber type. It’s when I start when I walk into a room, and I hear somebody talking about muscle fiber type, I automatically know, they don’t know what they’re talking about.
Because we don’t know anything about muscle fiber type. I’ve been studying this, I’ve got a Ph.D. in this stuff. And it’s like, this is what I do. And it’s like, we don’t know, like, we’re finding new things out all the time. We don’t people’s fiber types can, can change and do all this stuff. And people like primarily slow-twitch, and it’s like, you have no like, and people just say things that I’ve said things like my lactate threshold, or lactic acid, like, oh, the lactic acid was burning in my leg running. And it’s like, you found out that’s not actually what happens. That’s not the truth. And so being able to a know that I don’t know everything about it, and be that there’s more to learn about it. And see, to just be humble about it, I think is key. And that invokes that curiosity. The thing is curiosity. Always keeps those things together. Curiosity never goes. I know this. And this is what this is curiosities. Like, check this out. And look how this connects. And what else can we learn? Or what else? What more can I learn? What can I do next?
Misbah Haque (1:43:37):
Amazing. How are what should we leave listeners with today? What is we touched on a lot, but what is maybe one thing you’d like for them to walk away with?
I mean, just ending on the Curiosity note is pretty huge. If you remain curious, you are going to learn, you won’t be able, if you can remain curious for a year. I will put money on it, that you couldn’t dream where you’d be in what learned in one year.
Misbah Haque (1:44:15):
That’s so true.
And be willing to just take that leap. And when you feel the opportunity and know that it’s and it’s and there’s risk and that it’s and then it’s difficult. Go that that’s yes. Comfort is the illusion as Greg Glassman has said, like it comfort is an illusion, man. It just is and we get caught up in it. And it’s good to be there for a period of time and to partake in that but it’s also we’ve got to get uncomfortable so that we’re willing to make some changes.
Misbah Haque (1:44:49):
Amazing, man. Well, where can we point people to work if we follow your journey and support what you’re up to.
The easiest is probably Instagram or my sweet handles in Instagrams @iamunscared Twitter at Brian Mackenzie. And then Facebook is Brian, or not backslash, anaerobic. I got that early. And then endurance has everything we’ve got going on right now. And then you should see a lot more coming out soon on state and what we’re doing, Dr. Huberman and I are doing there.
Misbah Haque (1:45:20):
Awesome, man. Well, thank you so much for doing this. Once again, it was a phenomenal conversation as it was last time. If you haven’t listened to the last episode, I highly encourage you to go back and check that one out before this one. Once again, thanks a lot, man. I appreciate it.
Thanks for having me.
Misbah Haque (1:45:38):
Thank you so much for listening, guys. I appreciate you taking the time tuning in and lending me your ears. Two things I want to leave you with before you head out. Number one: if you are a coach or gym owner, head over to be airbornemind.com, and check out some of the free resources we have for you there. Myself and a clinical psychologist are partnering together to create a course called “The Art of connection through questions”. It’s something I’ve loved and studied and has fulfilled me for years. And to be able to finally put this together in a way that’s going to help other coaches and gym owners connect deeply with their clients is super fulfilling for me. So if that sits well with you, head over to the airbornemind.com and check it out. Number two, leave a review on iTunes. It’s the best compliment that you can give and it would mean the absolute world to me. But other than that, hope you enjoyed this one. Until next time.