Why Learning Is At The Core Of Peak Performance

Steven Kotler
by Flow Research Collective
August 1, 2023
A gentle reminder: Never trust the dopamine.
Steven Kotler

Today, I am interviewing our very own Steven Kotler on learning. It is an intimate fireside chat where Steven talks about the right mindset for learning as well as truth filters.

The first thing we cover is that the foundation for learning is having a growth mindset. 

The growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way — in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments — everyone can change and grow through application and experience.

Having a “fixed mindset” on the other hand alters our underlying neurobiology, making the acquisition of new information exceptionally difficult. 

So before we can begin learning, we need to believe that learning is possible.

Secondly, you will learn what truth filters are and how you can apply them.

What really matters is that you create a rigorous truth filter when you learn. You can’t learn and grow on bad information.

Plus, there are performance benefits to consider. Being able to trust the information you’re working with lowers anxiety, doubt, and cognitive load—which are three things that loosen our focus, hamper our ability to get into flow, and block learning itself. 

It is safe to say: This is a truly exciting episode!


In this episode, you will learn about:

  • Mindset in the context of learning (2:01)
  • You need a growth mindset to learn (4:31)
  • Identifying mindsets (7:12)
  • Fixed mindset (7:40)
  • Important aspects of mindset when it comes to learning (9:26)
  • There's a sequence to learning (10:47)
  • Truth filters (12:08)
  • The data gathering method (21:23)
  • Rapid experimentations (28:22)
  • Developing a skeptical questioning mindset (32:54)
  • Rational optimism & optimistic skeptic (33:56)


Steven Kotler is a New York Times-bestselling author, an award-winning journalist and the Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective. He is one of the world’s leading experts on human performance. He is the author of nine bestsellers (out of thirteen books) His work has been nominated for two Pulitzer Prizes, translated into over 40 languages, and has appeared in over 100 publications, including the New York Times Magazine, Wired, Atlantic Monthly, Wall Street Journal, TIME and the Harvard Business Review.

Rian Doris is is the Co-Founder & COO at the Flow Research Collective, a research and training institute focused on decoding the neuroscience of flow states and training leaders to achieve peak performance. Rian lives at the intersection of entrepreneurship and academia—from starting his first business at age 18 to studying Philosophy in Trinity College Dublin and an MSc in Applied Neuroscience at King's College, London. Rian has been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, TedX and Big Think.


  • Steven’s book: The Art of Impossible 
  • Website: flowresearchcollective.com
  • Steven’s Instagram: @stevenkotler
  • Rian’s Instagram: @riandoris

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