The Art of Impossible
Read in 24 min.
Listen in 30 min.
Learn the key ideas of the book by Steven Kotler

The Art of Impossible

How to achieve a flow state and peak performance

Humans have always sought to achieve the impossible, discovering that when they manage to go beyond their limits, they are capable of things that were previously thought of as unachievable. What’s more, there are events that can push us to raise the bar, overcoming previous limits, such as scientific discoveries, or record-breaking sports achievements. So, is there a formula we can apply to help us achieve the impossible? This is Kotler’s opening question in his book The art of impossible, that takes a broad view of the world, from athletics to extreme sports, to great innovators and the business environment, ending with a map of how our brain works. This is an in-depth guide, with techniques and practical advice, to achieving peak performance, through the powerful state of flow.

The Art of Impossible
Read in 24 min.
Listen in 30 min.

The first method to go beyond your limits comes from the world of sports: peak performance

Peak performance is the main topic of this book, which is a guide to going beyond your limits. The concept of peak performance comes from the world of sport and is used to describe a perfect performance in which an athlete is able to give his best, and produce extraordinary results. This is part of an improvement process for athletes, but can also contribute to the improvement of society, in that breaking new records shows that it is in fact possible to achieve results that have never been achieved before. However, for this to work, the mind and body must be connected, and this allows a person access to their hidden skills, and to discover what they are really capable of.

The author begins his guide by telling us about his approach to the world of journalism, as an expert in extreme sports, such as surfing, snowboarding, free climbing, and skydiving, and explaining how he ended up spending time with people who were constantly going beyond their limits. One story involves a fall and several broken bones, but the experience enabled him to be amongst athletes who were capable of showing the world new tricks, and who were always pushing their boundaries.


The key ideas of "The Art of Impossible"

The first method to go beyond your limits comes from the world of sports: peak performance
There are two kinds of impossible: the one with a capital ‘I’ that affects everyone, and the one with the small ‘i’ that has to do with the limits we set ourselves
What is the secret of successful entrepreneurs? Let’s find out how the impossible is dealt with in the fields of finance and neurology
Is there a formula to achieve the impossible? How can we be sure to achieve our best performance without being influenced by our environment?
The four cognitive abilities that intrinsically guide us
From sports psychology we get flow, a suspended mental state that can help us go beyond our limits
All activities can be divided into games, both finite (with rules and boundaries), and infinite (those without). We can be influenced by a habit of feeling inferior
What are the components of motivation? There are guiding factors for our choices, objectives to aim for and plenty of grit to see them though
Which stimuli act on a deeper level and where do they come from?
Our choices are influenced by a series of external, internal, and societal factors
Our common guiding values in ascending order, from an interest in the discovery of passion to mastery
There are 7 main neural networks that coordinate our reactions when we are in great danger, or feel strong emotions or passion
There are a series of components that can help us achieve our own impossible, including lifelong learning and continuous learning
A growth mindset: the advantages of an open mind to help stimulate learning
Truth filters is a technique used by journalists and entrepreneurs to help us develop the right approach to any given situation
5 steps to learn to master almost any subject
Making a checklist for the impossible and ticking off your successes helps to achieve new goals
90 minutes of concentration per day allows us to empty our mind, concentrate, and define our objectives
Take-home message
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