Skip to content

Book Review: Art of Impossible by Steven Kotler

Book Link: https://www.amazon.com/Art-Impossible-Peak-Performance-Primer/dp/0062977539

Flow Triggers

  • Intrinsic Drivers (Curiosity, Passions and Purpose [Massively Transformative Purposes])
  • Autonomy (Freedom to do)
  • Mastery (Challenge-Skills improvement)

Curiosity

  • List down 25 items that you are curious about. For example, you will spend your free time on researching a topic or problem, read a book on a subject, attending a lecture, watching a youtube video and keeping track of the topic in news or social media like Twitter.
  • Make sure that the listed items are specific enough so that your brain can look for patterns. If the topic is too broad (e.g. Application Security), then it will be hard to discover what exactly you want to explore.
  • Hunt for the curiosities intersections. Discover the overlapping areas between the different items that you have listed.
  • Curiosity by itself is not enough to trigger any motivation. You need to stack one curiosity on top on another. The more you stack, the more powerful the list of stacked curiosities will be to motivate you to research and learn more.
  • Whenever you recognize a new pattern between what you are curious about, your brain reward you with Dopamine.
    • Helps you to focus on the task
    • Detect more patterns by improving signal-to-noise ratio
    • Makes us feel good about doing an activity.
    • Enhance our memory on a specific subject.
  • Spend time on these intersections. Allocate 20 to 30 minutes daily on listening to podcasts, watching videos, reading articles, books, lectures, doing practical projects related to any aspects of the intersections.
    • For example, if you are interested in how solving Leetcode problems can help to improve your programming skills. You might try to read a few pages on a Data Structure and Algorithm (DSA) topics. Then try to solve 1 related question to the topic that you are reading. Or you might read a specific book on the programming language such as Fluent Python and see how you can write better code.
  • Engage in these curiosities everyday. This will allow your brain to adapt and process the new information in the new subject slowly. This method is similar to “incubation” stage where your brain is joining the old information with the new information to form more patterns. Let our brain naturally make these connections without forcing our brain to make any discoveries.
  • Pay attention to these two things while you are engaging in your curiosities:
    • History of the subject. If you note down the historical details of the subject, your brain will create a narrative that help you to snitch the details into a coherent story that you can remember easily without effortful memorization.
    • Technical Language. There are precise definitions for jargons in the field that you need to understand in order to make better connections between what you are exploring. To communicate and understand the subject better, you need to note down the jargons definitions. The experts in the field use the jargons to explain something precisely.
  • Go Public. Before going public, make sure you spend time playing around the intersections of your curiosities. At least have some unique perspectives and ideas before going to public (online forum, book clubs, meetups etc.)

Purposes

  • Write down your massively transformative purpose (MTPs). The purpose (reason why the work is done) that is large and audacious, and bring significant change to an industry, community or to the planet.
  • Look for areas where your core passions intersect with the MTPs. You want to look for the overlap between passion and purpose.

Personal Notes:

Although the book presented like an algorithmic process for triggering flow that help to accomplish the daily tasks, the process is not so linear. You might not know what are your MTP (massively transformative purposes) while reading the book. This discovery of your MTP might take time and explorations of your curiosity.

How do you even have 25 list of items that you are curious about? It can be things that you learn from books, online courses, youtube videos, internet forums, social media or from friends etc. Everytime you consume the information, take note of what you are curious about and the questions that you want to ask further on a specific area.

Published inLearningProductivity

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.