87% of employees worldwide are not engaged on the job, which leaves 13% who are fulfilled. This Masterclass demonstrates how developing the habit of ferocity is the way to becoming part of the 13%.
Steven Kotler, a Lyme Disease survivor, started healing through what he described as an “out-of-body” experience. His healing story began with a friend persistently asked him to go surfing at a time when he wasn’t even able to walk across a room. 15 days after he began surfing, he could walk again. He attributed his success to a “flow state” during surfing. He says that spontaneous healing is caused by flow states. (We now know that surfing is full of flow triggers.) To this day, there is no known cure for Lyme Disease. However, Steven currently is fully functioning.
Steven says that performance is more of a state of consciousness than skill sets. Unfortunately, human beings, according to Steven, are wired for survival and mediocrity. As stated before, surfing contains flow triggers, but it is also exercise. Exercise changes our state of mind by quieting our prefrontal cortex/inner critic. The “voice” tires from the exercise. You’ll know you are in flow state when you notice this “inner critic” diminish. Your brain has shifted from beta waves to alpha waves.
In discussing his book, The Habit of Ferocity, Steven outlines several steps, such as stimulating the flow state, that lead to acquiring ferocity. He recommends listing 25 topics that intrigue you. When you’ve pinpointed your passions, your attention, focus, and productivity become automatic. Then the key ingredient is to find the place where your passions intersect. For example, if you love to teach and write, your passions could intersect through a blog.
Three intrinsic motivators are autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Steven describes Autonomy as “control over your own fate” and “a desire to steer your own ship.” He says that Mastery is the “desire to steer your ship well,” and Purpose is the “desire for the journey that matters.”
Two flow “triggers” are passion and autonomy. In fact, Steven cites Google as an example of a company that utilizes this principle, otherwise known as 20% time. 20% time allows employees to spend the equivalent of a day a week devoting themselves to a passion project of their choosing. It’s not surprising that Google has reported that they couldn’t take away this 20% from their staff — even if they wanted to!
In your own life, you can get this same benefit by setting aside 1 hour a day of autonomous time.
Grit is one of the main components of ferocity. Part of building grit is to, as Steven says it, “be your best when you’re at your worst.” In his Masterclass, he shares activities he engages in to exhaust himself before he practices his speeches. He claims that it is difficult to be creative when you’re exhausted, which is it why it is essential to mimic factors like jet lag in a practice setting. When he arrives at the event, he is at his best, even if factors beyond his control have set up roadblocks. On the other hand, it is in the state of fear and anxiety that options decrease. He includes the Navy Seals quote: “[When you face a challenge,] You don’t rise to the occasion, you sink to the level of your training.”
As we change and grow, so does our life. Steven states that we reinvent ourselves over and over and over. He encourages us to focus our productivity toward our dreams. Flow follows focus. Three questions to ask ourselves are the following:
- Are you doing everything you can to become the greatest version of yourself?
- Are you doing everything you can to achieve the impossible?
- Are you doing everything you can to close the gap between your inferior and fully realized self?
What would you include on your list of 25 “curiosities” or interests?
Where do your passions intersect?