Published on Feb 24, 2017 via Bigthink.com
How long would it take you to master a new language? A year? 18 months? Longer? For a special operator in the elite Navy SEAL Team 6 it used to take six months of study, but thanks to a combination of physiological and neurological optimization, it’s now down to six weeks – then they’re off in a foreign country navigating the cultural terrain, and engaging with locals and allies. High-performance expert Jamie Wheal spent time at ‘The Mind Gym’, the Navy SEAL training facility, while researching his new book in collaboration with Steven Kotler, Stealing Fire. Here he gives us just a taste of the advantageous technology that is cracking open seemingly super-human skills like accelerated learning, and raising the bar of human performance. Jamie Wheal and Steven Kotler’s book is Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work.
Transcript: Out of all the organizations we’ve studied the Navy SEALs are probably right there on the cutting edge of deploying advanced technology to accelerate their performance in the field and to accelerate their performance in forming and leading teams. There are probably three major areas in their bodies and brains they focus on. The first is neural electric activity, so what is happening in our brain wave states as we go into stressful situations, our heart rate and the quality of our cardiac rhythms, so not just how many beats a minute are our hearts beating under stress but literally what is the quality? Is it anabolic meaning and healthy and positive or catabolic meaning unhealthy and destructive in my cardiac rhythm. And then even galvanic skin response so how much is my system under stress or strain and sweating kind of the same metrics that are used in lie detector tests, polygraphs and those kind of things. And they actually have very robust vests filled with sensors that will allow teams to go through operations and have commanders being able to see on a laptop up to 50 operators at once and being able to monitor all of their activities in the field, see who’s fallen down, see what their core body temperature is, see a host of biometrics.
Full transcript here – more on the book below
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It’s the biggest revolution you’ve never heard of, and it’s hiding in plain sight. Over the past decade, Silicon Valley executives like Eric Schmidt and Elon Musk, Special Operators like the Navy SEALs and the Green Berets, and maverick scientists like Sasha Shulgin and Amy Cuddy have turned everything we thought we knew about high performance upside down. Instead of grit, better habits, or 10,000 hours, these trailblazers have found a surprising short cut. They’re harnessing rare and controversial states of consciousness to solve critical challenges and outperform the competition.
New York Times bestselling author Steven Kotler and high performance expert Jamie Wheal spent four years investigating the leading edges of this revolution—from the home of SEAL Team Six to the Googleplex, the Burning Man festival, Richard Branson’s Necker Island, Red Bull’s training center, Nike’s innovation team, and the United Nations’ Headquarters. And what they learned was stunning: In their own ways, with differing languages, techniques, and applications, every one of these groups has been quietly seeking the same thing: the boost in information and inspiration that altered states provide.
Today, this revolution is spreading to the mainstream, fueling a trillion dollar underground economy and forcing us to rethink how we can all lead richer, more productive, more satisfying lives. Driven by four accelerating forces—psychology, neurobiology, technology and pharmacology—we are gaining access to and insights about some of the most contested and misunderstood terrain in history. Stealing Fire is a provocative examination of what’s actually possible; a guidebook for anyone who wants to radically upgrade their life.