• Steven Kotler

To 'those people' who could really make a dent in the problems of the world if only...

Updated: Jan 18

Why I Wrote The Art of Impossible


Lately, there have been questions about my forthcoming book, The Art of Impossible: A Peak Performance Primer. All of these questions have come from strangers. Not one of which I’ve managed to answer.


Put it this way—think of those people in your life who could really make a dent in the problems of the world. The book is a practical playbook for peak performance; a how-to guide that anyone can use to shatter their limitations and exceed their expectations and turn their biggest dreams into most recent achievements.


And that was merely the first question. The next question was the one that this blog is failing to answer. It’s about as simple and straightforward as the first question. Why did I write The Art of Impossible?


The reason I’m failing to write a blog about why I wrote The Art of Impossible is that, as author David Foster Wallace reminds us, “The most obvious, important realities are often the ones hardest to see and talk about.”


Then again, since this really seems like a question I should be able to answer, I’m going to try to talk about something that’s hard to see.


I wrote The Art of Impossible because I got tired of watching absolutely amazing people give up on their dreams before they ever gave their dreams a real shot. I got tired of mourning lost potential. I got tired of being heartbroken by what if. In other words, I wrote The Art of Impossible because I needed people to see the invisible.

This takes a little more explaining….


I have spent the past thirty years—first as a journalist, next as an author, now as Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective—studying those moments in time when the impossible became possible. My goal was to use the tools of neuroscience and psychology to understand what was going on in the brains and bodies of people who were doing that which had never been done. In sport and science, in business and culture, in art and technology—this was my subject.


What is the single largest lesson I learned during all of this: We are all capable of so much more than we know. Put differently, the reason most of us don’t chase our dreams is that we don’t believe that we can catch them.


The problem is simple: human potential is invisible, especially to ourselves.


In slightly different terms, there’s no secret. Everyone is hardwired for peak performance. All human beings are biologically-designed to tackle incredibly large challenges. In fact, everything we might consider “peak performance” is quite simply getting our biology to work for us rather than against us. That’s it.


And here’s the truth—as a reporter, as an author, and as a peak performance researcher—I have met tens of thousands of people who are all fired up to solve the impossible. Smart talented people who are on crucial missions, fighting poverty and inequality, climate change and environmental devastation, hunger and illness.


The ones who succeed, well, you read about them in my books. But the ones who got close, but got tired. The ones who have the solution if they could only get out of their own way.


Those people—that’s why I wrote The Art of Impossible—because those people deserve a playbook and finally, here in the early twenty-first century, the science of peak performance has advanced to the point that such a playbook is actually possible.


So click this link and buy a copy for yourself….because 2020 was an impossible year for all of us and 2021 is when we fight back. But, more importantly, buy a copy for anyone in your life who just might, if only…



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