Influence & Ownership Over Your Physiological & Psychological Being (PART 1) | Andrew Huberman on the Jocko Podcast

Check out the Jocko Podcast episode page

Key Takeaways

  • The principles of philosophy can be gained both experimentally and educationally
    • This is the whole preface behind the conversation. Jocko sees Andrew Huberman as someone who can academically explain the science behind his instincts.
    • Part 1 of our Podcast Notes set the stage for the exploration of this intersection.
  • Learn about Andrew Huberman’s incredible life story, from a bum skateboarder to a Ph.D. in Neuroscience


  • Dr. Andrew Huberman, Ph.D. (@hubermanlab) is a Professor of Neurobiology and Ophthalmology at Stanford University School of Medicine
  • These two podcasting giants collaborate for five hours’ worth of conversation, so stay tuned for Podcast Notes parts 2 & 3. Check out more of our coverage of Andrew Huberman and Jocko Willink in the meantime!
  • Host: Jocko Willink (@jockowillink)

Experimentation (Jocko) 🤝 Education (Huberman)

  • The principles of philosophy can be gained both experimentally and educationally
    • Going straight into the military, Jocko never had the chance to study principles of philosophy
    • In a live event early in his career, he said Lemmy from Motorhead was his favorite philosopher.
    • But though his own trials and tribulations, many of his own conclusions on life are incidentally similar
  • Jocko sees Andrew Huberman as someone who can academically explain the science behind his instincts
    • Jocko wants to prove or disprove his life experiments, so it inspired this podcast between these two legends

Intro Example of Experimentation and Education

  • Your eyes are part of your brain—they set the aperture for your vision and thinking
    • When you narrow your view, you can see more minor details. But when you broaden your view, you can parse more information.
    • Jocko has been teaching ‘how to broaden your view’ forever in the military just because it worked for him, but he never understood the physiological science behind the utility
    • When you stare down the barrel of a gun, your view is narrow and focused, “you don’t see anything else” – Jocko Willink


  • “I do have a drug, and it’s adrenaline” – Andrew Huberman
    • Andrew never needed to drink. He’s always been able to say what he wanted to say and have an internal wild side.
    • There’s a beautiful and dangerous balance of clarity and energy that you can experience with adrenaline
    • Andrew actually has a mutation in an adrenal-related gene that gives him the capacity to produce more adrenaline and function on very little sleep (about 12% of males have this mutation)

Who is Andrew Huberman? His Life Story from Bum Skateboarder to Ph.D.

  • “I was born at Stanford Hospital, I trained at Stanford, I work at Stanford, and I’ll probably die at Stanford—in hopefully a long time from now!” – Andrew Huberman
  • Andrew’s father was an immigrant from South America who was a physicist. He was brought over on a Navy scholarship to the US.
  • Andrew attended Gunn High School in Palo Alto, which has an infamous reputation for having the highest suicide rate in the United States
  • Was one of very few kids at school to have divorced parents, which his parents managed very poorly
    • His life at home was practically non-existent
  • Dropped all his school sports activities for skateboarding mainly because you didn’t need your Dad to go (who had moved away)
    • Hung around a tough crowd in SF, but luckily Andrew was never really tempted by the drugs or alcohol—he was there just to skate.
    • Many of the skaters actually ended up being incredibly successful, including Danny Way and Rob Dyrdek.
    • Ended up skipping most of his classes during this time. Before the school system could put him in a foster home, he permanently ran away from home to be with this community of feral kids (it’s the best source of comradery he had).
  • But eventually, he did get put in a home for “truant troubled kids”
    • Called his boss from Ermico Enterprises, which is the company he’d been hanging around with, to see if he could help him get out. He said ‘You called me? You’re the most normal guy I know, including me! I can’t help you.’
  • He was let out under the condition that he would go back to school and do therapy
    • His therapist encouraged him to exercise, so he started swimming, running, and lifting weights
    • One time, his therapist asked him to show him a skateboard trick. This is the first time in Andrew’s life that a male adult took interest in something he did.
  • Had a girlfriend at the time who showed him a picture of a big football player, Andrew figured he better start working out harder to look like the player in the picture
    • Started working at a café part-time and used some of the money on a workout program by Mike Mentzer, an American bodybuilder.
    • Andrew spoke personally to Mike on how to eat and train—the results came quickly. Went from about 150lbs to 215lbs in about 3 years from 16 to 19.
  • His girlfriend went to University of California, Santa Barbara (even though he was a senior in HS at the time)
    • He would visit her often and somehow managed to still graduate high school
    • Began taking fire science classes at Mission University because he figured firefighting might be a good career path
    • Miraculously scored over 1000 on his SAT
  • Applied to UCSB saying he’d like to run a fire station one day and become a firefighter. He told his life story and somehow got accepted into the university (standards were a little lower then).
    • It was a total disaster – he got into fights, was thrown out of the dorms, and his relationship was on the ropes
    • Andrew looks back and gives this advice: “If there’s a woman who is beautiful, dedicated, sweet, and kind…it’s worth investing in those early relationships and going through some developmental milestones together. If you think you have to break up just to explore, think twice.” – Andrew Huberman
  • The girlfriend moved home for the summer, but Andrew stayed. He squatted in random houses, delivered bagels for work, and skateboarded
    • Got into a big fight with knives and bottles over the 4th of July weekend
    • The cops showed up and just said, “good job” – This made Andrew feel horrible about himself
    • Finally drew the line and called himself a loser
  • Took a leave of absence from UCSB, moved home, went to Foothill Community College, and cut off his friends from the skateboarding world
    • He started studying relentlessly
    • He did well enough to transfer back to UCSB
    • He was either studying or lifting all the time, with one cheat day where he went out and partied
    • But, he decided one day was too much, even one night of partying made the rest of his week hell
  • Met a professor who was teaching a blend of psychology and biology, there was no technical term for neuroscience yet
    • The professor studied applicable topics (like how to treat the brain in an overdose), drove a big black truck, and was in shape; so Andrew wanted to be like him
    • This professor served as his inspiration to turn his grades around and focus on neuroanatomy—even convinced him to go to graduate school at Berkeley
  • Worked with a scientist at Berkeley who practically gave him the keys to the kingdom—the laboratory
    • He ran experiments all day every day and blared punk rock music in the lab, specifically Rancid, which he acquired a taste for in his skateboarding days
    • Studied neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to change) on animal experiments
  • Andrew got his Ph.D. and headed to Stanford to do his postdoc
    • To stay out of trouble in his old stomping grounds, he picked up a job with Thrasher magazine and wrote articles about the local music scene—the extra cash was nice.
    • Never understood paying rent when he could just sleep in the facility
  • Was hired as an assistant professor at UC San Diego
    • Stuck with his old habits, slept on a couch in his lab at least two nights a week
    • Had a house, a bulldog, and a laboratory of his own. Quite the come up from having nothing.
  • Was then recruited back to Stanford as a tenured professor. He’s been there about seven years and it’s where you’ll find him today.
  • Lex Fridman encouraged him to start the Huberman Lab podcast as a way to continue sharing his passions
  • Andrew still holds the cultures of skateboarding and punk rock close to his heart

To Be Continued…

  • These two have really set the stage for an awesome conversation! Check back for Parts 2 & 3 as they get deep in the weeds on all things Influence & Ownership Over Your Physiological & Psychological Being.
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Notes By Drew Waterstreet

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