The Art of Impossible Actionables

I have heard Steven Kotler's work 2 years ago, and implemented his Habit of Ferocity worksheet. Recently came across his course 0 to Dangerous, which then pointed me to his book The Art of Impossible.

I went through the sales funnel of 0 to Dangerous, and abandoned after the sales call as the salesperson was very pushy, using all my words to point me towards the Buy decision. Some of the evidences he used, like 5x my productivity based on a 10-year-old McKinsey report was also misused. He also name-dropped Elon Musk and Bill Gates as some of the people who benefited from their techniques, which I don't doubt, but I don't think they went through the course which they were selling me on. Finally, the price was exorbitant, 8.5k USD, and he used the age-old contrasting technique by sharing that corporates paid $14k USD for the training.

However, out of this distasteful experience, 1 good thing came out of it - I read the Art of Impossible, borrowed from the library. It is thoroughly researched, well-reasoned and comes with highly practical advice. What follows is the practical recommendations from the book:

The Passion Recipe

  1. Make a list of 25 things I'm curious about
  2. Identify spots where these 25 curiosities intersect and overlap
  3. Devote 10-20 min a day on feeding those curiosities for at least 21 days
  4. Add social reinforcement to your passion and take things public
  5. Write down 15 massive problems I want to see solved and identify places where they overlap with my passion

Daily Habits of Flow

  1. Schedule the 1st 90-120 minutes of my day to work uninterrupted on the most important task. Apply my strengths in a new day and push myself into the challenge-skill sweet spot.
  2. At the end of the day, spend 5 minutes planning the next day's schedule. Make a checklist of goals, ranked from most difficult and rewarding to least. Include personal tasks like "gym" and "hot bath".
  3. Use 5 minutes for gratitude practice. List 18 things I'm grateful for, or 3 and write a paragraph on 1. Feel that gratitude deeply in the body.
  4. >20 mins a day for meditation.
  5. Read 25 pages in a subject that is not my main field of practice.
  6. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep.

Weekly Habits of Flow

  1. 1-2x a week, get in 2-6 hours of high-flow activity like dancing, singing etc.
  2. Exercise 3x60 minutes
  3. Do 3x20-40 minutes of active recovery, like massage, sauna, meditation and light yoga
  4. Train 1 weakness for 30-60 minutes, with the goal of being my best at my worst
  5. Get feedback on my work, esp that done in the flow block (30-60 minutes)
  6. 120 minutes spent on social support, helping out with the community

Subscribe to Seah Ying Cong (YC)

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.