BEST OF 2022: PART 2 – Malcolm Gladwell, Casey Neistat, Peter Attia, Gabor Maté, Sylvia Earle and Many More! | The Rich Roll Podcast

Key Takeaways

  • “When it comes to evaluating the greatness of elite performers, we over-emphasize peak performance and underemphasize longevity.” – Malcolm Gladwell 
  • All anxiety comes from the experience of being separated in childhood (Russell Kennedy)
  • TikTok is both incredible and terrifying: The UI makes it is so easy to find new things. There is no cognitive burden, and no decisions to be made
  • If you are doing no exercise, doing just 3 hours a week has an unbelievable impact on your life. Probably more than anything else you could do
  • Things that mimic estrogens in the body; plastics, phthalates, BPA (bisphenol A) affect fertility, and sperm count, they also affect when young girls start their periods
  • Nutrition tip for hormone regulation: Increase fiber reduces excess hormone exposure & helps produce short-term fatty acids (great for hormone regulation)
  • All of our afflictions (addiction, chronic physical illness, mental illness, dysfunctions, etc.) have a template of childhood wounding
  • All of us are being distorted by social media
    • The solution will always be some version of “turn it off”
    • Don’t turn off everything; turn off the engagement maximizing features, turn off algorithms
  • Chronic trauma can change the brain the same as acute trauma
    • Vicarious trauma—empathetic engagement with other people’s trauma
    • No more news—learn what’s new but stop re-checking the news
  • “Veganism isn’t just about eating plant-based food, it’s about challenging that mindset that values non-human animals as having such little worth that we can do these unspeakably cruel things to them and not bat an eyelid about it most of the time.”Ed Winters

Intro

  • Ultra-athlete & author Rich Roll (@richroll) presents Part Two of his annual yearbook—conversations from some of his best podcast guests of the year (Malcolm Gladwell, Casey Neistat, Peter Attia, Gabor Maté, Sylvia Earle, and many others)

Malcolm Gladwell– Lord Of All Things Overlooked and Misunderstood

  • “When it comes to evaluating the greatness of elite performers, we over-emphasize peak performance and underemphasize longevity.” – Malcolm Gladwell 
  • These two models (peak performance and longevity) can be contradictory but we need to find a way to foster them both
    • Currently, the peak performance model is dominant and that is discouraging a lot of people from the sport
  • Restoring the health of our society
    • The idea of having a standard of performance that spans 20 years matters more than one gold medal
  • Joy is the animating force behind longevity
    • You can’t have a long-standing career at a high bar unless you’re enjoying what you’re doing

Mel Robbins– Anxiety and Self-Love

  • Do you struggle to accept a compliment?
    • There is a connection between feeling anxious and not accepting love
    • If you have a hard time hearing how amazing you are, you have a put a solid wall between you and the other person
    • Just like the galley doors swing both ways—you need to both give and accept love
  • All anxiety comes from the experience of being separated in childhood (Russell Kennedy)
    • Everyone has an experience where they as a kid feel distinct and separate from your caregiver
  • Concept of parental mismatch
    • Even if your parents are wonderful people, the way that they provide emotional support could still be a mismatch with your own needs
    • When you don’t get the reassurance you need as a kid you feel separate from the parent that you are needing to bond with
    • Every time you felt separate from your parents as a kid, an alarm would go off
    • This alarm starts to go off all the time
    • According to Russell Kennedy, every time that happens in your adult life, it’s essentially your “inner child” looking for reassurance
  • Anxiety is fundamentally a neck-down issue, not neck-up
    • Instead of treating it as a signal that something is wrong, treat anxiety as a signal that you need love from yourself
  • Practical tips for self-love and reducing anxiety:
    • Put a hand on your heart
    • Take a towel and rub it back and forth on your back so it feels like you’re hugging yourself
    • Tell yourself whatever you need to hear at that moment to reassure yourself that you’re going to be okay
    • If you are uncomfortable with loving yourself, it makes sense that you are uncomfortable when other people love you

Casey Neistat– Influence vs Creativity

  • “It feels like influence is much more valued than creativity and that sucks.” – Casey Neistat
  • TikTok is both incredible and terrifying
    • The UI is so easy to find new things
    • There is no cognitive burden, and no decisions to be made; like when you scroll through Youtube to see which thumbnail is the most attractive 
    • If you are not interested you flip it and you’re on to the next
  • From a creation perspective, there are no barriers; they give you special effects, soundtracks, etc.
    • The top of the funnel is wider than it has ever been
    • Now it’s purely about metrics, and not about how you achieve them

Whitney Cummings– Perceiving Trauma as a Superpower

  • Codependence is usually rewarded because you are useful, the same as work addiction
  • People can’t grow if you do everything for them
    • When you think you are helping someone or helping them save time, you’re just patronizing them and telling them that you don’t trust they can do it on their own
    • You are slowly killing yourself solving a problem that’s not yours to solve
  • Don’t go to the problem for a solution
    • If your problem is someone else’s behavior, you go to a program for a solution (for Whitney it was Al-Anon)
    • We are addicted to taking action; the solution to helping someone else might be doing nothing
  • Perceiving trauma as a blessing instead of a liability
    • Once you understand your traumas, a lot of behavior starts to make sense
    • All the things you do, you can reroute to be tools for advantage
    • Changing your perception about your trauma can give you superpowers

Peter Attia, MD– Longevity and Human Performance

  • Having clarity about what you want to do allows you to start building the foundation for that capability right now
  • Peter has two sons (five and eight years old) and playing with them is hard
    • They play on the floor (building legos), and his father who is 85 can’t engage with kids like that
    • His dad is mentally sharp but he can’t get on the floor
    • Can you get on the floor and play with your kids for 30 minutes without your back breaking and get up?
    • That takes a lot of intra-abdominal stability
    • You have to be able to initiate intra-abdominal pressure to maintain that position
  • Archery is a big part of his life; he hopes to be able to pull a 50-pound bow in his marginal decade
  • He loves driving race cars
    • Tolerating insanely hot temperatures in a race car; you need cardiovascular fitness to tolerate that
  • The two factors of longevity: lifespan and healthspan
    • They are not independent vectors, the overlap is powerful
  • 3 buckets: cognitive, physical structure, emotional
    • Everything has to be built on the physical bucket, the stability component
    • The 3 pillars that stand on the foundation: strength, an aerobic base (a proxy for mitochondrial efficiency), peak aerobic/anaerobic piece
    • Think of your VO2 max, Zone 2, and your strength
  • Exercise—The sky is the limit
    • If you are doing no exercise, doing just 3 hours a week has an unbelievable impact on your life. Probably more than anything else you could do
    • Peter would hate it if the message ends there; if you could do 10 hours a week of well-structured exercise you could achieve a lot more

Gemma Newman, MD– What Is Women’s Health?

  • How does women’s health advice differ from general health advice?
    • It’s not different in terms of nutrition, but there are various physical considerations that men don’t have; periods—women are bound by that natural cycle from puberty to menopause
    • Menopause is a big life transition that doesn’t happen in the same way for men (wild hormonal fluctuations)
    • For men, it’s much more gradual
  • Hormones affect everyone, and they affect every aspect of our lives (mood, energy, skin, sperm count, etc.)
    • They are integral for all humans, but for women, there are a lot more considerations (periods, having children, menopause) and they do require extra thought and attention
  • What role do nutrition and lifestyle habits play in this?
    • Why early periods? It’s not just nutrition, it’s also the environment
      • There are extra hormone exposures in our environment that we haven’t been able to consider before (e.g. toxins in our food and skincare products that are dysregulating our natural hormonal cycles)
      • Hormone mimicking effects. Things that mimic estrogens in the body; plastics, phthalates, BPA (bisphenol A)
      • They affect fertility, and sperm count, they also affect when young girls start their periods
  • Best practical things you can do right now:
    • Increased fiber; avoiding constipation and reducing excess hormone exposure
    • Helps produce short-term fatty acids (great for hormone regulation)
  • Our fat is also hormonally active (people don’t talk about this enough)
    • Our fat cells produce estrogen
    • More fat cells= more exposure to estrogen (affects both men and women)

Dr. Gabor Maté– How Trauma Fuels Disease

  • What does Gabor Maté mean by “toxic culture?”
    • The nature of the culture itself, the way we bring up children, the expectations we put on human beings
    • We are living in a culture that doesn’t support healthy human growth
    • Modern life is driving us apart from ourselves and others and fueling mental and physical disease along the way
  • All of our afflictions (addiction, chronic physical illness, mental illness, dysfunctions, etc.) have a template of childhood wounding
    • They are not separate biological events happening in discrete individuals, but a representation of a process inside each of us that manifests a relationship to our environment (childhood environment & the culture we live in)
    • The global rise in ADHD diagnoses, autoimmune diseases, addictions, mental health conditions, etc.
    • All of these tell us more about the culture than the individual
    • It’s just about individual biology, it’s about life in a culture
    • “The more experience of racism that black American women have to endure the greater the risk for asthma.” – Gabor Maté
    • Health represents life in a context and not just a biological event
  • The science and practice gap
    • The problem is not with the science; there are tens of thousands of scientific studies that prove how emotional environments and social conditions affect our biology
    • The problem is that we don’t put the science into practice

Robynne Chutkan– The Long-Term Effects of COVID-19

  • The long-term effects of COVID-19—people were not expecting it
    • Post-viral syndromes are not new but COVID-19 is a new virus so we are still getting familiar with the post-viral landscape
    • Now there are more than 200 different symptoms that are associated with long COVID-19
    • Some of the most common ones are fatigue, respiratory symptoms, brain fog, etc.
  • There are clear microbial differences in a lot of the patients (CFS literature)
    • Severe microbial abnormalities in the majority of the people who went on to have chronic symptoms
    • The virus itself can induce dysbiosis but the binding of SARS cov2 to those aace2 receptors can induce dysbiotic microbial changes
    • Autoimmune markers—many of the patients never had the autoimmune disease before
    • The role that EBV plays in long COVID-19 is still unclear

Max Fisher– How Social Media Rewired Our Brains and Our World

  • Using social media influences our sense of right and wrong even when we are not on them
    • All of us are being distorted by social media
  • Max learned about this once he scaled back on his social media usage
    • He felt the change in his mood, how he thinks about politics and news in general
    • A quick tip: Don’t read news via social media—use regular websites or podcasts
  • A mass experiment performed on all of us in real-time
    • The social-media giants: free speech < profits 
    • They won’t renounce the thing that makes them money
  • What is the solution? Where do we want to end up?
    • The solution will always be some version of “turn it off”
    • Don’t turn off everything; there is a lot of good that we don’t want to give up
    • Turn off the engagement maximizing features, turn off algorithms
  • The 2006 pre-news, pre-feed, and pre-likes social media didn’t have a lot of these features that cause addictiveness and changes in our behavior

Sylvia Earle– Hope & Mysteries Of The Deep

  • Why is ocean health so critical? Why should we care?
    • 97% of the earth’s water is found in the oceans and the rest is freshwater
    • The leftover 3% is constantly being recharged by the ocean 
    • Water evaporates into the clouds and falls back on the land and the sea
    • All life needs water
      • No blue=no green
      • No ocean=no humans
  • In a very short time, we have derailed an amazing system that has taken four and a half billion years to assemble
    • We are doing it with a smile on our face
    • There are laws to reinforce it (protecting shipping laws, industrial fishing, etc.)
    • “There are laws actually giving subsidies to kill the ocean.” – Sylvia Earle
  • How does Sylvia hold on to the sense of hopefulness?
    • What reason is there for hope?
    • Every individual can take action that together magnifies into a movement
  • We have done this in the past about smoking and wearing a seatbelt and when our lives were threatened by COVID-19
    • We learned fast with COVID-19, and we have to do it with climate change
    • Recovery is possible if we work towards protecting the nature

Ken Rideout– Mindset, Non-Negotiables & Self-Accountability

  • You don’t have to run 10 miles a day; start with walking 1 mile a day minimum
  • Set realistic goals, work towards them, and become dependable for yourself
  • The idea of non-negotiables; commit to something and following through with action
  • This will build self-dependency. It’s shocking how much that can help you in your life
  • When Ken wakes up, there is no doubt in his mind that he will run
  • Mental discipline is a muscle just like anything else
  • Fear is a powerful emotion, if you can learn to deal with it and harness it as your tool you will be successful

Colin O’Brady + Jenna Besaw– Become the Hero of Your Own Destiny

  • Things occur when you just keep pushing forward incrementally
  • The more sweat equity you put into anything, the more opportunities you’re creating
  • The person you least expect to open a door for you is the one who does

Paul Conti– How to Understand, Heal and Prevent Trauma

  • Trauma is something that leaves the brain different going forward
    • It’s not just anything negative that happens
  • Post-trauma resilience
    • Something that really hurts us inside isn’t something that we’re built to be resilient to 
    • Something that doesn’t do that but strikes us as only negative, we can be resilient to
  • Trauma is not only an accident, the death of a loved one, or physical abuse
    • Those same brain changes can happen in other situations as well
  • E.g. being framed as less than in the world
    • People who have been subjected to that for a long time have the same kind of clinically evident brain changes as people with acute trauma
    • The world is not a safe place (internalization)
  • Chronic trauma can change the brain the same as acute trauma
  • Vicarious trauma—empathetic engagement with other people’s trauma
    • No more news—learn what’s new but stop re-checking the news
    • We are just inviting more trauma into our lives and lessons that say we can’t keep ourselves safe in this world
  • A special message of encouragement by Paul Conti
    • “You don’t have to be afraid of what’s inside of you.” – Paul Conti
    • Especially after trauma, we often get very afraid of what’s inside of us
    • There is no need to be afraid of trauma, and there is also no need to rush headlong

Earthling Ed Winters– Are You Against Animal Cruelty?

  • We look down upon violence towards pets like dogs and cats but we turn a blind eye to the cruelty that’s afflicted on farm animals and animals exploited in other ways
  • Watching Earthlings- an hour and 40 minutes of footage that shows what happens to animals
  • The issue of what we do to animals is not just about food
    • Food is a symptom of the problem; the problem is the mentality issue that creates the justification for these systems to exist
    • The fact that we view no-human animals with such little worth that we justify everything horrible we do to them
  • “Veganism isn’t just about eating plant-based food, it’s about challenging that mindset that values non-human animals as having such little worth that we can do these unspeakably cruel things to them and not bat an eyelid about it most of the time.” – Ed Winters

Chip Conley– Regenerative Communities

  • Chip Conley co-founded the Modern Elder Academy— a program in Mexico for people going through midlife transition
    • Regenerative communities—let’s get rid of the idea of retirement communities
  • Four key pillars of the MEA curriculum:
    • Reframing aging—maybe your best years are ahead of you
      • Some things get better with age—emotional intelligence, spiritual awareness, maybe even your body (if you work on health and nutrition)
    • Shifting your mindset—focus on learning instead of winning
      • 10 years from now, what will you regret if you don’t learn or do it now
    • Learning about transitions—life is full of transitions, how to architect through a transition (changing careers, getting a divorce, retirement, menopause, etc.)
    • Regeneration—regenerative cell therapy, understanding regenerative purpose, regenerative agriculture and farming, harvesting with your neighbors
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