from the world's big
Creativity: The science behind the madness
Human brains evolved for creativity. We just have to learn how to access it.
RAINN WILSON: Creativity is absolutely for everyone. I firmly believe this. I think if you're the driest accountant with the plastic pocket pen protector it's in how you interact with the world. There's artistry in everything that we do.
ANTHONY BRANDT: The fact of the matter is we all are born with a creative license. We have this software running in our brains.
DAVID EAGLEMAN: What is it that's special about the human brain that allows creativity to happen? Because when you look at us compared to all the other species on the earth we have very similar brains. I mean obviously we're cousins with our nearest neighbors and all throughout the animal kingdom, it's a continuous family tree, but we're running around the planet doing something unbelievable. You don't have squirrels going to the moon or dogs inventing the Internet or cows doing theater plays for one another or any of the gajillion things that we do. What is below all of that? What is the basic cognitive software that's running in the human brain that takes ideas in and smushes them up and crunches them. It's like a food processor that's constantly spitting out new ideas.
SCOTT BARRY KAUFMAN: So, many of you might have heard of the left brain right brain myth about creativity, that the left brain is not related to creativity much at all because it's really boring and logical and super serious and analytical, and that the right brain is where all the artistic beauty comes out and it's very poetic. Well, the reality is that creativity involves an interaction of lots of different brain networks that rely on both the left side and the right side of the brain.
WENDY SUZUKI: It really is the most creative people are using both sides of the brain together. So, this is an important concept that the brain is subdivided into two major hemispheres. We have two of each structure, almost all the structures of our brain are paired. So, the idea is well one side of the brain is for certain things and the other side of the brain is important for other things and the one thing we can say for sure is yes language is on the left side of the brain. But for creativity it actually makes more sense to me that with a function so broad as that you would benefit from having the most crosstalk possible between all parts of your brain, in fact that's what the neuroscience is showing.
KAUFMAN: When you have lots of different parts of the brain that are communicating with each other to solve a certain task then it's called a brain network. And you find that creativity draws on multiple interacting brain networks. In particular it draws on three brain networks that seem to be absolutely essential to creativity across whatever field it is, whether it's science or its art. One of those brain networks that is important is what's called the executive attention network. And the executive attention network allows you to integrate lots of information in your head at one time, hold stuff in your working memory, maintain strategies that you're currently working on at one time so you don't forget what your strategy is or forget what you already did and then redo it. The executive attention network it's also helpful for inhibiting the obvious responses or the first things that comes to your mind. And so, creativity is important to access remote associations so the executive attention network is going to be helpful to inhibit the most immediate obvious things that come to mind. People who are very good improv artists, for instance, the first thing that comes to their mind is usually not the most creative so they tend to like wait for the second or third thing and that's one of the improv activities. So, the second major brain network that's important is the default mode network, but I like to call it the imagination network because it's highly active every time we turn our attention our focus of attention inward and we focus on our daydreams, we focus on our future goals, on whenever we're trying to take the perspective of someone else. So, it's very important for having compassion for someone else because it allows us to imagine what someone else is thinking or feeling and so that's the imagination brain network. And then the third major brain network that's important for creativity that I think is a very underrated brain network it's called the salience brain network. And that's associated with what is most salient in our environment? What is most interesting to us? Before we think through consciously about a creative activity and even before we activate our imagination there's a process before both of that where we have a subconscious process where the salient brain network tags things as interesting or not interesting in our environment and it either feeds it to our imagination network or to our executive attention network to pay attention to. Creativity involves the interaction of all three, it's when we're captivated by the moment, we're mindful, but we're also imaginative and we're also motivated and passionate to engage in the creative activity.
EAGLEMAN: What's special about the human brain is that we, during the evolution of the cortex, got a lot more space between input and output. So, other animals have these much closer together so when they get some stimulus they make essentially a reflexive response. In humans as the cortex expanded there's a lot more room there which means that inputs can come in and sort of percolate around and get stored and get thought about and then maybe you make an output or maybe you don't. And there's one other thing that happened with the expansion of the cortex, which is that we got a much bigger prefrontal cortex, that's the part right behind the forehead, and that is what allows us to simulate what if's, to separate ourselves from our location in space and time and think about possibilities. What if I did that? What if I had done that? What if I could do that? And so, we do this all of the time and the amazing part is now there are almost 8 billion brains running around the planet and as a result creativity, I mean the creativity of our species has gone up in this mad, amazing way because there's so much raw material to draw on and there are so many of us that are constantly saying what if this, what if that?
BRANDT: When I look at my heroes in composition they are all incredible risk-takers. And it's a constant reminder that you can introduce something new to the world and be certain of the results. And so, tolerating the risks, living with the risk, even enjoying it is, again, part of being a creative person.
KAUFMAN: Creativity requires both intelligence and imagination. Creativity requires our ability to know what has come before so we can stand on the shoulders of giants, it also requires the ability to have great foresight and vision to imagine the world the way that it could be and when we combined the two I think that makes us much more likely we'll have creativity.
ETHAN HAWKE: The beauty of jazz music is that there's no plan. There's a plan, there's an architecture. Let's take something obvious like my favorite things, John Coltrane is my favorite things. If people know one jazz thing often they'll know that one. And he takes this famous song and they all start riffing on it and the musicians start riffing on it and they find a new melody inside it and it changes and it changes and then mysteriously comes back around again. And spontaneity mixed with discipline and intelligence it evolves into something you cannot plan that is more sophisticated and more interesting than something the intellectual mind can plan. When you're really being creative at your best you've used your discipline to open up your subconscious.
WILSON: If it's a pure expression of yourself no matter what it is or what medium, it's going to shine. It's going to resonate. You could look inside of yourself and you can have a canvas and you can paint a dot in it, but if that's where your creative purpose is taking you then it needs to be that dot.
EAGLEMAN: We are vessels of our own space and time so the particular things we create have to do with what we have absorbed. So, if you compare 19th century Japanese music to 19th century French music to 19th century Kenyon music and so on, you'll see these are extremely different but it's not that a composer over here couldn't have done what a composer over here was doing, it's simply that it wouldn't have stuck in their culture, it would have been strange and wouldn't make sense. Why? Because what we're doing is building on the foundations of what has come before us.
HAWKE: In a way you're channeling yourself and you're channeling your own questions and your own seeking, which is deeply connected to your own. We all have it. We all have an essence, a center that is us. We have it the day we're born and when you can access it then you can access the subconscious and that's going to be more powerful and more true than anything your intellectual mind has to say.
BEAU LOTTO: Because nothing interesting begins with knowing, it begins with not knowing. Uncertainty is such a difficult dangerous thing that evolution has created a brain that tries to avoid it all together to the extent that we have things like conformational bias. Well, we'll start looking for evidence to confirm what we assume to be true already, that we would rather hold onto assumptions that we know don't work because that is safer we think than questioning them and stepping to a place that we don't actually know. We do almost everything to avoid uncertainty and yet the irony is that that's the only place we can go if we're ever going to see it differently. And that's why creativity, seeing differently, always begins in the same way it begins with a question, it begins with not knowing, it begins with a why, it begins with a what if.
EAGLEMAN: What good creators do is they cover the spectrum, this is as true of individuals as it is for companies, they cover the spectrum where they're doing some things that are sort of nearby and some things that are wackier and wackier and this is how they feel out the border of the possible, this is how they figure out what's going to stick with their society. Because the thing about any sort of creative act is that you never know what's going to stick, what will actually make a difference in your society.
SUZUKI: Then the question is, well, how do I up my creativity? That's what everybody is interested in.
EAGLEMAN: The key is that humans are really different from one another and for one person taking a hot shower might work and for another person a cold shower, one person works well in the morning and another person at night, for one writer they should go and sit in the coffee shop where it's loud and another writer it works better for them to sit alone in their quiet office and write. So, I suspect there's no single piece of advice that's going to apply to everyone.
WILSON: When people have "creative blocks", and I know my share of friends do as well if they're at some stuck point they're not sure what to do with their lives or their writing or their photography or their filmmaking or whatever it is that they're doing I think the best advice is you have to change your life up completely, to go on a trip, go spend a year being of service, be willing to take some major drastic action to get you out of your comfort zone and go inside not outside. I think our society is all about focusing on the externals, oh these people like me, I'm successful because of these people, they view me as being good and we need to take that vision and instead of expanding it outwards we need to look inside ourselves.
- An all-star cast of Big Thinkers—actors Rainn Wilson and Ethan Hawke; composer Anthony Brandt; neuroscientists David Eagleman, Wendy Suzuki, and Beau Lotto; and psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman—share how they define creativity and explain how our brains uniquely evolved for the phenomenon.
- According to Eagleman, during evolution there was an increase in space between our brain's input and output that allows information more time to percolate. We also grew a larger prefrontal cortex which "allows us to simulate what ifs, to separate ourselves from our location in space and time and think about possibilities."
- Scott Barry Kaufman details 3 brain networks involved in creative thinking, and Wendy Suzuki busts the famous left-brain, right-brain myth.
Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.
So far, 30 student teams have entered the Indy Autonomous Challenge, scheduled for October 2021.
- The Indy Autonomous Challenge will task student teams with developing self-driving software for race cars.
- The competition requires cars to complete 20 laps within 25 minutes, meaning cars would need to average about 110 mph.
- The organizers say they hope to advance the field of driverless cars and "inspire the next generation of STEM talent."
Indy Autonomous Challenge<p>Completing the race in 25 minutes means the cars will need to average about 110 miles per hour. So, while the race may end up being a bit slower than a typical Indy 500 competition, in which winners average speeds of over 160 mph, it's still set to be the fastest autonomous race featuring full-size cars.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"There is no human redundancy there," Matt Peak, managing director for Energy Systems Network, a nonprofit that develops technology for the automation and energy sectors, told the <a href="https://www.post-gazette.com/business/tech-news/2020/06/01/Indy-Autonomous-Challenge-Indy-500-Indianapolis-Motor-Speedway-Ansys-Aptiv-self-driving-cars/stories/202005280137" target="_blank">Pittsburgh Post-Gazette</a>. "Either your car makes this happen or smash into the wall you go."</p>
Illustration of the Indy Autonomous Challenge
Indy Autonomous Challenge<p>The Indy Autonomous Challenge <a href="https://www.indyautonomouschallenge.com/rules" target="_blank">describes</a> itself as a "past-the-post" competition, which "refers to a binary, objective, measurable performance rather than a subjective evaluation, judgement, or recognition."</p><p>This competition design was inspired by the 2004 DARPA Grand Challenge, which tasked teams with developing driverless cars and sending them along a 150-mile route in Southern California for a chance to win $1 million. But that prize went unclaimed, because within a few hours after starting, all the vehicles had suffered some kind of critical failure.</p>
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indy Autonomous Challenge<p>One factor that could prevent a similar outcome in the upcoming race is the ability to test-run cars on a virtual racetrack. The simulation software company Ansys Inc. has already developed a model of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on which teams will test their algorithms as part of a series of qualifying rounds.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"We can create, with physics, multiple real-life scenarios that are reflective of the real world," Ansys President Ajei Gopal told <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/autonomous-vehicles-to-race-at-indianapolis-motor-speedway-11595237401?mod=e2tw" target="_blank">The Wall Street Journal</a>. "We can use that to train the AI, so it starts to come up to speed."</p><p>Still, the race could reveal that self-driving cars aren't quite ready to race at speeds of over 110 mph. After all, regular self-driving cars already face enough logistical and technical roadblocks, including <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53349313#:~:text=Tesla%20will%20be%20able%20to,no%20driver%20input%2C%20he%20said." target="_blank">crumbling infrastructure, communication issues</a> and the <a href="https://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/would-you-ride-in-a-car-thats-programmed-to-kill-you" target="_self">fateful moral decisions driverless cars will have to make in split seconds</a>.</p>But the Indy Autonomous Challenge <a href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5da73021d0636f4ec706fa0a/t/5dc0680c41954d4ef41ec2b2/1572890638793/Indy+Autonomous+Challenge+Ruleset+-+v5NOV2019+%282%29.pdf" target="_blank">says</a> its main goal is to advance the industry, by challenging "students around the world to imagine, invent, and prove a new generation of automated vehicle (AV) software and inspire the next generation of STEM talent."
A new Harvard study finds that the language you use affects patient outcome.
- A study at Harvard's McLean Hospital claims that using the language of chemical imbalances worsens patient outcomes.
- Though psychiatry has largely abandoned DSM categories, professor Joseph E Davis writes that the field continues to strive for a "brain-based diagnostic system."
- Chemical explanations of mental health appear to benefit pharmaceutical companies far more than patients.
Challenging the Chemical Imbalance Theory of Mental Disorders: Robert Whitaker, Journalist<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="41699c8c2cb2aee9271a36646e0bee7d"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-8BDC7i8Yyw?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>This is a far cry from Howard Rusk's 1947 NY Times editorial calling for mental healt</p><p>h disorders to be treated similarly to physical disease (such as diabetes and cancer). This mindset—not attributable to Rusk alone; he was merely relaying the psychiatric currency of the time—has dominated the field for decades: mental anguish is a genetic and/or chemical-deficiency disorder that must be treated pharmacologically.</p><p>Even as psychiatry untethered from DSM categories, the field still used chemistry to validate its existence. Psychotherapy, arguably the most efficient means for managing much of our anxiety and depression, is time- and labor-intensive. Counseling requires an empathetic and wizened ear to guide the patient to do the work. Ingesting a pill to do that work for you is more seductive, and easier. As Davis writes, even though the industry abandoned the DSM, it continues to strive for a "brain-based diagnostic system." </p><p>That language has infiltrated public consciousness. The team at McLean surveyed 279 patients seeking acute treatment for depression. As they note, the causes of psychological distress have constantly shifted over the millennia: humoral imbalance in the ancient world; spiritual possession in medieval times; early childhood experiences around the time of Freud; maladaptive thought patterns dominant in the latter half of last century. While the team found that psychosocial explanations remain popular, biogenetic explanations (such as the chemical imbalance theory) are becoming more prominent. </p><p>Interestingly, the 80 people Davis interviewed for his book predominantly relied on biogenetic explanations. Instead of doctors diagnosing patients, as you might expect, they increasingly serve to confirm what patients come in suspecting. Patients arrive at medical offices confident in their self-diagnoses. They believe a pill is the best course of treatment, largely because they saw an advertisement or listened to a friend. Doctors too often oblige without further curiosity as to the reasons for their distress. </p>
Image: Illustration Forest / Shutterstock<p>While medicalizing mental health softens the stigma of depression—if a disorder is inheritable, it was never really your fault—it also disempowers the patient. The team at McLean writes,</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"More recent studies indicate that participants who are told that their depression is caused by a chemical imbalance or genetic abnormality expect to have depression for a longer period, report more depressive symptoms, and feel they have less control over their negative emotions."</p><p>Davis points out the language used by direct-to-consumer advertising prevalent in America. Doctors, media, and advertising agencies converge around common messages, such as everyday blues is a "real medical condition," everyone is susceptible to clinical depression, and drugs correct underlying somatic conditions that you never consciously control. He continues,</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Your inner life and evaluative stance are of marginal, if any, relevance; counseling or psychotherapy aimed at self-insight would serve little purpose." </p><p>The McLean team discovered a similar phenomenon: patients expect little from psychotherapy and a lot from pills. When depression is treated as the result of an internal and immutable essence instead of environmental conditions, behavioral changes are not expected to make much difference. Chemistry rules the popular imagination.</p>
Why Depression Isn't Just a Chemical Imbalance<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fbc027c9358dad4a6d9e2704fc9ddb04"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/GAC9ODvSxh0?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Many years ago, my best friend tried to quit smoking. He asked for help. While I'm no addiction expert, I offered what I knew from my fitness toolkit: breathing exercises and cardiovascular training, methods for strengthening his body and mind that could, I hoped, inspire him to take better care of himself in general. He replied, "No, I meant something like a pill."</p><p>A few years later, he quit for good. After failing the cold turkey method a number of times, it finally stuck. Maybe it was watching his children grow up—the reason my parents quit when I was young. This method is not easy, however. It challenges you; it forces you to confront your demons; it drastically affects your brain chemistry. Yet, in the long run, it sometimes works. </p><p>Sometimes pills work, too. But often they do not. The journalist Robert Whitaker, author of "Anatomy of an Epidemic," discussed the clinical trial process <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/antidepressants-dangers" target="_self">during our recent conversation</a>. While the FDA process appears thorough from the outside, pharmaceutical companies only need to prove that a drug works better than placebo, not that it works for the most amount of people. He continues, </p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Let's say you have a drug that provides a relief of symptoms in 20 percent of people. In placebo, it's 10 percent. How many people in that study do not benefit from the drug? Nine out of 10. How many people are exposed to the adverse effects of the drug? 100 percent."</p><p>Even though some pharmacological interventions show little efficacy, and even though Xanax, an addictive and destructive benzodiazepine that only showed <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5846112/" target="_blank">short-term (four weeks) efficacy</a> in clinical trials, is being prescribed for many months and years, doctors continue to use the language of clinical neuroscience to describe mental health issues. If chemistry is the problem, people will turn to chemistry for the solution. </p><p>Perhaps we should, as psychiatrist Dean Schuyler <a href="https://bigthink.com/surprising-science/antidepressant-effects" target="_self">writes</a> in a 1974 book, recognize that most depressive episodes "will run their course and terminate with virtually complete recovery without specific intervention." The problem is that idea isn't profitable. As long as the gatekeepers continue to use the language of chemical imbalances to describe what for many is just an episodic case of the "blahs," we'll continue creating more problems than we solve.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.
- The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
- Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
- The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Seriously sustainable<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MDIzNS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMjM4NTMzMX0.BCEfYnn6C3z1zUHIS38xOWjXktgamNBi5iyqklSMYK8/img.png?width=980" id="ea524" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="50533380eeb18eb5833b6b6aa3abec38" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Solar Foods<p>Solar Foods makes Solein by extracting CO₂ from air using <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/90356326/we-have-the-tech-to-suck-co2-from-the-air-but-can-it-suck-enough-to-make-a-difference" target="_blank">carbon-capture technology</a>, and then combines it with water, nutrients and vitamins, using 100 percent renewable solar energy from partner <a href="https://www.fortum.com" target="_blank">Fortum</a> to promote a natural fermentation process similar to the one that produces yeast and lactic acid bacteria.</p><p>When the company claims its single-celled protein is "free from agricultural limitations," they're not kidding. Being produced indoors means Solar Foods is not dependent on arable land, water (i.e., rain), or favorable weather.</p><p>The company is already working with the European Space Agency to develop foods for off-planet production and consumption. (The idea for Solein actually began at NASA.) They also see potential in bringing protein production to areas whose climate or ground conditions make conventional agriculture impossible.</p><p>And let's not forget all those <a href="https://www.bk.com/menu-item/impossible-whopper" target="_blank">beef-free burgers</a> based on pea and soy proteins currently gaining popularity. The environmental challenge of scaling up the supply of those plants to meet their high demand may provide an opening for the completely renewable Solein — the company could provide companies that produce animal-free "meats," such as <a href="https://www.beyondmeat.com/products/" target="_blank">Beyond Meat</a> and <a href="https://impossiblefoods.com" target="_blank">Impossible Foods</a>, a way to further reduce their environmental impact.</p>
The larger promise<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MDI0MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NjU4MTg2OX0.7dZZYT5WEV_EupBuLVFwHynarTiz8RYR9aJtC6Ts2C4/img.jpg?width=980" id="3415d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2e6eebe06d795f844752f9e9d30040d7" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Solar Foods<p>The impact of the beef — and for that matter, poultry, pork, and fish — industries on our planet is widely recognized as one of the main drivers behind climate change, pollution, habitat loss, and antibiotic-resistant illness. From the cutting down of rainforests for cattle-grazing land, to runoff from factory farming of livestock and plants, to the disruption of the marine food chain, to the overuse of antibiotics in food animals, it's been disastrous.</p><p>The advent of a promising source of protein derived from two of the most renewable things we have, CO₂ and sunlight, <a href="https://solarfoods.fi/environmental-impact/" target="_blank">gets us out of the planet-destruction business</a> at the same time as it offers the promise of a stable, long-term solution to one of the world's most fundamental nutritional needs.</p>
Solar Foods' timetable<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MTEzMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU5OTU1OTMwMn0.wnXh56iO_77x2XKV2uIPf78BKw4AJLUpmiyq_JBVGvo/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=172%2C146%2C62%2C135&height=700" id="0297c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="125c9a98ec818f5c241fa28ef1423e67" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Lubsan / Shutterstock / Big Think<p>While company plans are always moderated by unforeseen events — including the availability of sufficient funding — Solar Foods plans a global commercial rollout for Solein in 2021 and to be producing two million meals annually, with a revenue of $800 million to $1.2 billion by 2023. By 2050, they hope to be providing sustenance to 9 billion people as part of a $500 billion protein market.</p><p>The project began in 2018, and this year, they anticipate achieving three things: Launching Solein (check), beginning the approval process certifying its safety as a Novel Food in the EU, and publishing plans for a 1,000-metric ton-per-year factory capable of producing 500 million meals annually.</p>
The protein powder Solein. Image source: SOLAR FOODS
SEAL training is the ultimate test of both mental and physical strength.
- The fact that U.S. Navy SEALs endure very rigorous training before entering the field is common knowledge, but just what happens at those facilities is less often discussed. In this video, former SEALs Brent Gleeson, David Goggins, and Eric Greitens (as well as authors Jesse Itzler and Jamie Wheal) talk about how the 18-month program is designed to build elite, disciplined operatives with immense mental toughness and resilience.
- Wheal dives into the cutting-edge technology and science that the navy uses to prepare these individuals. Itzler shares his experience meeting and briefly living with Goggins (who was also an Army Ranger) and the things he learned about pushing past perceived limits.
- Goggins dives into why you should leave your comfort zone, introduces the 40 percent rule, and explains why the biggest battle we all face is the one in our own minds. "Usually whatever's in front of you isn't as big as you make it out to be," says the SEAL turned motivational speaker. "We start to make these very small things enormous because we allow our minds to take control and go away from us. We have to regain control of our mind."