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324 Peak Performance Aging with Steven Kotler, NYTimes bestselling author of Gnar Country

Wednesday 10th July 2024
FYD EPISODE 324 Steven Kotler

The story we’ve been told our entire lives is that as we get older, we decline physically. But what if we could become more legendary as we age? We discuss this and so much more with our legendary guest, Steven Kotler.

Science-based Human Performance Guru Steven Kotler is back in his fantastic new book Gnar Country: Growing old, Staying Rad. Steven lays out how cutting-edge discoveries in embodied cognition flow science, and network neuroscience have revolutionized how we think about peak performance aging.

In this radically different conversation, you’ll learn how to embrace peak performance aging in your life. This is a fun, fascinating and deeply insightful conversation with one of our favorite thinkers.

You’re listening to Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different. We are the real dialogue podcast for people with a different mind. So get your mind in a different place, and hey ho, let’s go.

Steven Kotler writes a book about me

The conversation starts off about the new book that Steven has written, called Gnar Country.  Christopher expresses his gratitude to Steven for writing the book and acknowledges his admiration and respect for him. However, Christopher also tells Steven that it has challenged his comfortable outlook on life.

The book centers around the idea of not being “dead before you’re dead,” encouraging readers to embrace mission-style challenges in the second half of their lives. Steven clarifies that he doesn’t mean Christopher has to go surf Mavericks, a famous surfing spot known for its enormous waves. But rather that engaging in difficult and fulfilling activities can be transformative. For Steven, the second half of life is presented as an opportunity for growth and exploration.

Getting back to Gnar Country

Christopher, who had been easing into a more relaxed lifestyle, confesses that he was getting used to being “dead” in a figurative sense – finding comfort in smoking at home, enjoying the garden, and taking leisurely walks. However, after reading Steven’s book, he feels inspired and reminded of the adventures he used to embark on with his friend Al Ramadan. Christopher mentions how he and Al would take annual trips for adrenaline-fueled activities like surfing, skiing, and scuba diving.

Coincidentally, as Christopher reads the book, he receives an email from Al Ramadan, proposing a future surf and dive trip for their group of friends. This timing strengthens Christopher’s belief that the universe, through Steven and Al, is nudging him to return to thrilling and challenging adventures in “Gnar country”.

Steven Kotler on Park Skiing in your 50s

The conversation then focuses on Steven Kotler’s experience of teaching himself park skiing at the age of 50. This is despite conventional beliefs that learning such skills becomes impossible after a certain age. Steven explains that there has been scientific research done in the past 20-25 years that challenges the traditional view of aging, which assumes a gradual decline in physical and mental abilities. He emphasizes the “use it or lose it” principle, stating that with continued training and practice, individuals can maintain their skills far longer than previously thought.

As a skier himself, Christopher initially finds it incredulous that Steven attempted to learn park skiing in his 50s. He recounts a personal experience of attempting a park maneuver in his early 40s and how risky it was as he continued. Christopher expresses his surprise at Steven’s determination and adventurous spirit, acknowledging the challenges and potential dangers associated with park skiing.

This further showcase Steven’s pursuit of pushing boundaries and defying age-related limitations by taking on the challenge of park skiing in his 50s, which is pretty rad, in our opinion.

To hear more from Steven Kotler and how to live in Gnar Country, download and listen to this episode.


Steven Kotler is a New York Times bestselling author, an award-winning journalist, and the Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective.

Steven is one of the world’s leading experts on human performance.

He is also the author of 11 bestsellers (out of fourteen books), including The Art of Impossible, The Future is Faster Than You Think, Stealing Fire, The Rise of Superman, Bold and Abundance.

His work has been nominated for two Pulitzer Prizes, translated into over 50 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.


Check out Steven’s new book!

Gnar Country: Growing Old, Staying Rad

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different™! Christopher loves hearing from his listeners. Feel free to email him, connect on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and subscribe on iTunes!