Home » Hacking Yourself: Dave Asprey (Full Transcript)

Hacking Yourself: Dave Asprey (Full Transcript)

Shave your head. Definitely should do that. And then spend some time at a Buddhist monastery in Nepal and go climb mountains in Tibet. That’s Mount Kailash, the headwaters of the Ganges and the Indus.

So what I did is I explored Eastern approaches when the Western ones largely failed me. Because when I weighed 300 pounds, I worked out six days a week for an hour and a half a day.

I wasn’t eating tons of calories. I was eating a low calorie, low fat diet, and I couldn’t lose the weight. I could get strong, but I was always fat.

And it was only at that point when I realized, wait a minute, I’m an engineer. Here’s what I’m doing. I’m sorry, the assumptions that if I work out more and eat less than I’m going to magically get thin and stay thin or that my brain will work, are simply wrong. My data has disproven that.

If people say something is this way and you can just prove it one time, then the assumptions are wrong. It might be a good model, but the assumptions are wrong.

And that’s what led me to look at the actual causes and the actual assumptions.

You might even try fasting in a cave to understand what’s going on. Yeah, did that too.

And then you get into the technology, because there’s no data about what happened in the cave. Well, I sat there for four days. It was hungry and drink some water and generally it was hot.

And yeah, I learned some more about the inner awareness – what’s going on inside your head.

But when you hook electrodes up to your head and you learn in seven days to do what an advanced Zen meditator takes 20 to 40 years to do, computers make things a little bit easier. It’s like having bumpers and lights on the side of your meditation pathway.

So if you’re meditating, you have no idea if you’re doing it right. But if a computer tells you, ‘Hey, that wasn’t good’. Suddenly you can do things that really were not available without an enormous investment of time and energy. 

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You can even get data about how your brain is performing right then. I’ve had an EEG machine at home since 1998, you don’t?

And I met some of the leaders in various fields of psychology, trying to understand, not just the physical parts of this, but what are the motivational parts? What makes you perform really, really well?

And where I ended up after that, after spending $300,000 and 15 years and becoming a bio-hacker, I’ve had an amazing career. I’ve run strategy for companies with billions of dollars in revenue.

I’ve been a spokesperson for companies. That a startup we sold for $600 million. All of this kinds of crazy stuff.

I became expert at managing this though, which is what led me do that. And I’ve upgraded my intelligence. I can pay attention all day long. I have tons and tons of energy. I went on five hours or less of sleep for two years straight, eating 4,000 calories a day without exercising and grow six-pack.

I thought I was going to gain a few pounds and just disprove the calories in, calories out thing. But I did not expect to go to the six-pack and I didn’t expect to do it for two years. I just felt so awesome that it was worth doing.

And most of all, what grows when you understand biohacking is effortless willpower. When you have enough energy, you can apply the energy in all the right places.

Biohacking? This is the art of controlling yourself and the things that affect your biology are the things outside your body, the things inside your body and the software in your head.

The problem is that if you don’t get an understanding of what’s going on out here and in here, you’re not going to have what it takes to really work on what’s going on up here.

So what kind of technology would you use here?

Quantified-self. Measuring what’s going on in the body. So you can have a picture of it because you probably, unless you’re very odd, don’t know how to measure the spacing between your last heartbeat and this heartbeat and make a ratio of the two.

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But there’s great data in there. And if you show that data to your nervous system, you can change your stress response.

Little things like that could never be done without ubiquitous, cheap sensors and big data, and knowledge of biochemistry to understand where the energy in your cells come from.

And most of all, real-time feedback to tell your body to behave itself. 

So how do you biohack?

This is really the meat of what I want to share with you all today.

When you have enough energy in your body, in the cells themselves, the body will first take care of the oldest system in the body. This is the reptile part of your body. Very, very old stuff, a slug and a snail and a lizard have some of these basic things.

Once that happens, you start to take care of the mammal part of your body. And this is where we get in trouble.

This is your midbrain. Let’s think about everybody’s favorite mammal, a Labrador retriever is a good example, nice floppy dog, only vaguely related to the wolves we just saw.

What does a Labrador do?

“Look a stick!” There’s your distractibility, bit of a problem for you maybe, it is for most humans.

And “Look spoiled meat. I think I’ll eat it.” You ever say, “You’re not going to eat the bagel and then eat the bagel.” There’s your Labrador in action. 

And best of all, ‘Look a leg. Let’s go hump it.’

Those would be the three behaviors that they get people in trouble the most. And all of those are coming from your mammal brain.

Because we are amazing survival machines designed to survive locusts, plagues, earthquakes, probably comets, if you go back far enough. We can survive entirely as mammals.

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