New York Times Bestselling author Scott Carney discusses the role of pattern interrupts in developing human resilience. Scott shares his personal experiences covered in his latest book The Wedge.
Investigative journalist and anthropologist Scott Carney has worked in some of the most dangerous and unlikely corners of the world. His work blends narrative non-fiction with ethnography. What Doesn’t Kill Us was a New York Times bestseller; other works include The Red Market and The Enlightenment Trap. Carney was a contributing editor at Wired for five years and his writing also appears in Mother Jones, Men’s Journal, Playboy, Foreign Policy, Discover, Outside and Fast Company. His work has been the subject of a variety of radio and television programs, including on NPR and National Geographic TV. In 2010, he won the Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism for his story “Meet the Parents,” which tracked an international kidnapping-to-adoption ring. Carney has spent extensive time in South Asia and speaks Hindi. He attended Kenyon College and has a masters degree in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He currently lives in Denver, CO.
[4:01] Climbing Kilimanjaro Half-Naked
[10:21] What does it mean to be human?
[17:51] Defining the Wedge and neuro symbols
[28:56] Gaining control over your neuro symbols
[34:27] Throwing kettlebells at your significant other
[40:12] Sensory Deprivation Tanks
[48:13] Using Psychedelics as a Wedge
[53:47] Pirts and Saunas Experiences
What Doesn't Kill Us by Scott Carney
The Red Market by Scott Carney
Sandman Box Set by DC Comics
The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Boomer Anderson 0:06
Welcome to decoding superhuman. This show is a deep dive into obsessions with health performance, and how to elevate the human experience. I explore the latest tools, science and technology with experts in various fields of human optimization. This is your host, Boomer Anderson. Enjoy the journey.
Alright, before I get into the backstory behind today’s podcast guest, I want to give a shout out to another listener who left an amazing five star review on iTunes. Dr Tocci, and forgive me if I’m pronouncing that wrong. Sometimes my inner American gets the best to me. Dr Tocci says great info. This podcast is full of extremely valuable information. Well, Dr Tocci Thank you. There’s a lot of work that goes into asking the questions creating the show notes. And it’s amazing to hear feedback like this. If you want to leave feedback as well head over to iTunes or Apple podcasts as it’s known now and leave a five star review, because frankly, it really helps. But let’s get into the backstory on today’s podcast guest. A couple of years ago, I was walking around Zurich, Switzerland, and for those who haven’t been there, Zurich, Switzerland in the winter at nighttime is both dark and cold. I can’t recall if it was snowing, or if it was just gloomy out, but I was listening to this guest being interviewed on another podcast. They’re talking about his New York Times bestselling book, what doesn’t kill us, and I knew right away, I just had to connect with him. Fast forward a couple of years and my guest today is New York Times best selling author, investigative journalist and anthropologists Scott Carney Yes, he wrote the book What doesn’t kill us. But today the majority of our conversation is around his new book, the wedge. It’s a book that I happen to absolutely love. So among the many different topics that we got into, we talked about why someone may want to throw kettlebells at their spouse. We talked about floatation tanks, we talked about cold therapy, saunas, and so much more. A shout out to Marin Zinda for providing this introduction. But the show notes for this one are decoding superhuman calm, slash the wedge and enjoy my conversation with Scott Carney. Alright fam. Before we get into today’s episode, let’s just talk a little bit about some common needs that I have verbal fluency short term memory focus, apparently something to block the noise of the birds outside. But how do I get that or at least All of that, except for blocking the noise of the birds. My go to right now is blue cannatine, four ingredients nicotine methylene blue hemp crystals, as well as caffeine come together in this almost amazing relationship to uplift my energy to give me that focus that short term memory that verbal fluency that I need to do things like podcasts. Not to mention, I get a Blue Tongue and go smurfing all day long, actually, not all day only for three to four hours. It’s the closest thing that I found to NZT and I think you guys should try it out. Head over to https://troscriptions.com/ and get yourself some. Enjoy my conversation with Scott Carney.
Scott, welcome to the show.
Scott Carney 3:59
Hey, thanks. So much for having me.
Boomer Anderson 4:01
You know, I, when your last book came out, I was I remember when it came out because I was in Zurich, Switzerland. And it was winter I was I was walking around and listening to the book, but also listening to a podcast that you did with Ben Greenfield at the time. And so, there was one question that came to mind in that moment that I wanted to ask you ever since which is climbing Kilimanjaro without the shirt? You did it? Would you do it again?
Scott Carney 4:34
Oh, that’s a fantastic question. Um, would I do the same exact hike again with Wim in that in that moment? I don’t know actually. I sort of feel like these things are
possibly best left is once in a lifetime challenges, where where you do them once you find yourself overcoming it and then and then maybe what life should be as like looking for new challenges after that, right? Like, like, all that I would be doing would be comparing that event where I climb up the mountain and I’m mostly naked, and I have this amazing sense of connection to my environment. And the second time, what if it doesn’t live up to that to that one right now? I think I would, I would not do it. Because, you know, I would much rather seek a different challenge where I’m finding myself in a new environment, then then redoing that one, but it’s a really good question. I’ve never actually thought about it before. I mean, is there any challenge in that is kind of near term coming to mind for you that you want to tackle next? Well, right now we’re under like, basically locked down. So I mean, I would I’m really curious to see if the Wim Hof Method works against COVID-19. But I also don’t want to infect myself with COVID-19. So that would be interesting. And that’s sort of like what’s out there because we’re I’m not leaving my like, Like, immediate area anytime soon, so, I certainly have done a lot of really cool things in the wedge, which is the book that we’re we’re doing now. And, and there’s a lot of like personal exploration that I’d love to do. I mean, I want to travel to a lot of places, but again, not anytime soon. These are weird times, right?
Boomer Anderson 6:23
Yeah. Where did it I have to ask this question because Hindi is such an for somebody that lives in Denver, Colorado, Hindi seems like an odd second language. What made you pick that up? And
Scott Carney 6:36
are we gonna switch to Hindi in this group in this call?
Boomer Anderson 6:39
can we can we can I you know, my, my limited experience in India is you know, my Hindi is limited to like TK so that’s
Scott Carney 6:49
okay. That’s a good one. You can get through a lot of charts and also nice one, it means good and also means like everything else. Yeah, so I was a you know, I’m an investigative journalist, but I started out as like A young person and I went, I spent a year in India, in college, where I first sort of experiences very, very different environment, very, very different culture, religious traditions, like everything feels hard in India, which also means that every time you do something and you get it right, you feel like you’ve had a major achievement. So I got a little addicted to going to India, and I spent, I’ve spent about six years there. And over that time, I have, you know, learned a passable, broken Hindi, like, you know, any one who speaks Hindi formally and grew up in that language just laughs at me, but I can get my point across really well. And, you know, I learned mostly from rickshaw drivers, and so, I was initially an anthropologist, you know, I sort of left student life and I was like a vagabond in India for a while and then went to grad school to get my PhD in cultural anthropology. And I went to I eventually left that program I dropped out right at the dissertation phase. I decided that I didn’t want to, because I didn’t want to just write a dissertation that like 10 academic advisors might read. And then beyond the tenure path, I decided to instead use the framing in anthropology to, to write for mass general audience and, and Hindi has actually served me incredibly well, especially for my early books. Yeah, I read a book called The read market, which is about organ trafficking around the world. And I spent a lot of time in India, looking people buying selling human bones, skeletons, surrogate pregnancies. kidney is like, you know, I and I’m, weirdly a world expert on organ trafficking. I mean, you may have not known that
Boomer Anderson 8:45
something that doesn’t come across on your resume right away, but right.
Scott Carney 8:50
And then, but that book, The red market, you know, sort of really established me as sort of a serious journalist in the world. And then you know, and since then, Then I’ve done a lot of just crazy other things. I moved back to America obviously and now I’m working on this sort of more biohacking side of things
Boomer Anderson 9:10
and before we get into biohacking what part of India were you in because I’ve spent considerable amount of time in both Mumbai and Delhi but not much of the rest of the country.
Scott Carney 9:19
So I spent about three years in the north in general you know, I spent a lot of time in Jaipur a lot of time in Delhi a lot of time in Dharamsala, Katmandu, also Lhasa so we’re, you know, Nepal, Tibet, those areas, so about three years sort of a traveling around and getting an apartment for like four months at a time in various places. And then I spent three years in Chennai, which is in the southern southern India, and I don’t speak any Tamil my Tamil.
Boomer Anderson 9:50
This experience is very unique, right, especially from kind of the Midwest or Western Midwest, United States. How has that shaped We can transition a little bit into the wedge because you had a very unique statement about the meaning of life that I found fascinating. How has that shaped how you view the meaning of life? And then for those listening, if you don’t mind defining it would be great. But broad, right, let’s just dive into the most existential question right away.
So Scott, what does it mean to be human? I
Scott Carney 10:27
Well, I think that we’re, you know, we’re born into this world with sort of a very wide horizon for the sorts of actions that we can take in life, right. And, and yet, society also has sort of a track and actually different sides of different tracks that you’re supposed to go. But in America, it’s like, you know, grow up, you go to high school, you’d maybe do some athletics in high school, you get a job, or you go to college, you get a girlfriend, you got a good job, you get married, have kids and eventually this ends with you dying comfortably in a bed after Funding your retirement Now that is a path that’s totally fine. People want to go down that path. It’s a great path. You know, it’s tried and true, right? Yeah. Um, but but my view is also you know, I look at life as something like a like a sipper. Okay, like I’m wearing a slipper right now so if you have this down here and birth is at the bottom of the zipper right it’s my it’s my company’s logo.
Boomer Anderson 11:22
Yeah, I love the logo actually.
Scott Carney 11:25
So at the bottom of the zipper that’s where you’re born and that was Africa go super wide and go in every single direction possible but every second every you use zip that up until finally it’s the top of your debt and you’re and it’s narrowing your possibilities as as you go and i think that you know you can you can take different tax like there’s nothing wrong with taking different tax because at the end of the day, your zipper still gonna zip all the way up and you’re still going to be dead. And and I think the meaning the big question in my big, I mean, it’s, I’m gonna say it’s a big statement, but it’s like everyone’s made the statement before. Right, like we’re going to die, you know, you’re going to die, you know that this game that we’re in, you know, if life is a song, it ends in a minor key. And there’s that ultimate reality that that’s happening. And and what life is is essentially, you know, I can say that life is a wedge. And we haven’t even defined what the wedges Yeah, we’re gonna get to but but life is this is this space between birth and death where you get to choose what direction you take. And, and there’s nothing wrong with taking any of those other paths. Because at the end of the day, we all meet the same. The same fate, you know, Neil Gaiman, who’s I love I love the Sandman series. I don’t know if you’ve read it. Yeah. But so he has this one line that always comes back to me, where there’s this character named death in it. And she’s like this punk rock chick, right? And she’s talking to a man who is immortal, right comic book, right. And he’s lived a really, really long period. times look like 800 years. And and and he has just died like Iraq fell on or so I forget how he died but he sounds eyesores stupidly. And he says, Well, I had a pretty long run, right? I did pretty good. And death looks at looks at him and says, You live the same amount of time as everyone, you live the same amount as everyone else, everyone gets just one life. And I think that’s a really, really important because it’s not the length of time that you spend here. It’s not the, the amount of money you accrue. It’s not it’s not, not any of that, that matters. What matters is how deeply you feel things, how deeply you experience life, and how alive you are at right now at this moment right here, which is important. And maybe you can hear some echoes in this of like Hindu philosophy or Buddhist philosophy. You know, that’s probably inflecting my thoughts a little bit.
Boomer Anderson 13:52
And I think for a lot of people listening and myself included from time to time we get caught up in this Well trodden path and all of a sudden we wake up and it’s a year later, it’s a week later Monday through Friday just kind of breezed by, right. And the idea of interrupting that and just kind of enjoying that moment. Right, we talk a little bit about how to do that. And does that constitute the wedge itself? Sure, that’s a
Scott Carney 14:21
that’s a that’s a part of it. Means the wedge has a more bounded definition, because I talked about sensation, how we experience things. But if you think about life, like that, like this, this amount of time that you have, you’re only right here and right now, right? There’s only the actually the present. And we don’t know what the future is going to look like we could be dead tomorrow, right? But we and we also know that we were a different person in previous iterations, even though our experience is continuous, right? You know, we know that we add up every minute of every thought and every experience from birth till now there’s sort of like this trajectory that goes between them, but who we are now Hi, I’m speaking to you is very different than speaking to my wife or speaking to anyone else. Like everything is context everything is actually present. It’s actually right here in this moment. And and if we let that that time pass by without thought, without criticism, it’s sort of what you it’s sort of like what you said like you can go from Monday to Tuesday to Wednesday to December to next January to you know, three years down the line and not really articulate why you’re doing these things. And I think that’s a very The one thing about the about this book as I’m finding ways to interrupt those cycles or find the interrupt those ruts that you get in to, to really appreciate the moment that you’re in right now. And we do that by instituting stress, right? We do that by instituting something which is difficult that you have to face emotionally, physically with your sensory systems. So that you said that If you because if you ignore it, you know, in general, you’re in danger, right? You know that there’s like we have to have this element of something which is which which commands your intention, risk or something like that so that then you look at it and that’s when you feel alive when you’re at this Litmus of a risk and not risk. And of course, we don’t want to take risks that actually damage us. We want the risk that that makes us aware of where we are. And, and one truth is that we’re always at risk, right? It’s just that we often blind ourselves to what the risks are like, I’m at risk right now. You are at risk right now of dying of COVID. Right?
Or, or getting hit by a car or an asteroid or you know, a random in America. So random gunshot right.
Boomer Anderson 16:46
We have this.
Scott Carney 16:49
But like, like, like, like we oftentimes
try to ignore, we accept risks that are there and we’re like, okay, no, those are fine. And when we don’t need Do those again. Are we accept that there is this random chance that we so it doesn’t command our attention, which is also maybe why I don’t want to go back up Kilimanjaro because I sort of know those risks. Right? I know, what’s, what’s out there. So, so one of the things we want to do is push ourselves into new environments. You know, Eleanor Roosevelt once said, Do one thing every day that scares you. And I think that’s a really decent precept to follow. Because we don’t want to, you know, if we only have a limited amount of time, then we should try to pay attention to as much of it as possible.
Boomer Anderson 17:35
And yet for so many people listening to this, it’s very hard to do that. Right. We get caught up in future pacing ourselves or in certain cases, right? If you have depression, you know, looking into the back or looking into the past too much.
Scott Carney 17:49
Boomer Anderson 17:51
At this point, let’s talk about the wedge because this again, you you’re a fantastic storyteller, and I love reading about you throwing kettlebells and Frankly, I was going to do it this afternoon in my backyard but the wedge, how would you define it for people that are, you know, listening to this right
Scott Carney 18:10
now? So it’s a way of separating stimulus from response. That’s the most general way to do it. Where are you there’s something coming in from the in generally the outside world, that that hits you and that your body not necessarily your mind, but your mind could also be part of this, but your body has an automatic response. And I learned this by initially meeting Wim Hof back in 2010 2011. I met him in his Wim Hof thing as you jump in ice water, and you control yourself and ice water. And by doing that you gain command of the automatic parts of your nervous system, the automatic autonomic nervous system. And, and essentially cold water is a standard stimulus like all human bodies respond essentially the same to it, which is you get thrown into the water and then clench up. You know you can think about right now what’s it like to feel a cold shower and your shoulders will probably get tense and your butt will get tense right? And, and and then you dump cortisol and adrenaline to like fight like it’s your fight or flight response to keep you warm in this environment and let you survive. What the Wim Hof Method the genius of the Wim Hof Method is that you get into that stimulus and he also has a breathing program which is actually follows a similar program, you get in there and then instead of tensing up you will yourself to relax. And you say, okay, it’s just cold water. And by doing that what you’re doing at your, at your nervous system level, is you’re switching from your fight or flight responses to your rest and digest response if you’re going from sympathetic nervous system to parasympathetic nervous system. And, and and when you do that, when you flip that switch, you start to gain control of, of power parts of your body that you didn’t know you could control and And and when I, when I first did this, you know, like literally the first time I jumped into ice water was when I was in my like five or 10 minutes in this really cold stream by his house, I saw that as if I was literally putting a wedge between that stimulus in that response. And this is where this whole idea comes from. Like, I’m not even sure it’s not necessarily the best title for this book. But it’s been this image that has been in my mind sensitive that we’re inserting this wedge, and it’s literally like broadening that space between stimulus and response. But sometimes, the way the wedge is really interesting is sometimes you want to remove the wedge, and you want to have an automatic response because it’s not worth it to think about the, the the difference so so what this journey is is is me finding different ways to to separate stimulus from response in both the nervous system but also emotionally, to work with depression, anxiety, on creativity, sort of any anything where you where something outside is impacting something inside, it’s allowing us to have choice.
Boomer Anderson 21:05
Mm hmm. And I love that. And there’s certain things that I specifically would love to just hear your thoughts on in terms of anxiety and how to separate that, because that’s very relevant to this audience. But we’ll get into that in a second. You had some, some time with Stanford professor Andrew Huberman. And you know, you talked and he had a great story about, I believe, was cage diving, right and sort of fear. And your reaction to it. Do you mind just talking us through it? There’s a specific term in there that you use called neuro symbols, and maybe why those are relevant in this process of creating wedges?
Scott Carney 21:45
Sure. Yeah. And neural symbols are really the highlight concept of the entire book. And I got this. This idea not only from Andrew Huberman who sort of walked me through the nervous system, but also but two professors at Wayne State University out of music and by Bob de Walker, who. And I think that these are sort of general neurosciences, science ideas, and we’ve sort of put a term on what’s going on here. And, you know, think about how you experience reality, in at the most fundamental and most neurological level, like when you’re born, you are, you know, you’re a baby, you’re looking at your body and your body is basically autonomic at that point, like, you can’t really control your arms, you can’t really control your, your, your, the way, you’re blind, basically, and you’re sort of like, the stuff is there, but you have to work it to sort of understand how it all comes together. And absolutely every part of of that process is a wedge process. It’s like changing something from autonomic an automatic to something which is under conscious control. Now, what a neural symbol is, is is, is it’s basically the bits and bytes of humans. cognition, you know, it’s the software of human cognition versus the hardware how we’re, um, we’re all wired together. And, and everything that you experience is both an emotion and a sensation tied together into one little cognitive package that then when you put billions and billions of these little cognitive packages together, you can form complex thoughts and, and, and everything else we do. And I want to explain the very first time I want to use the example of ice water. And I want to tell you the first time you experience ice water in your life, and I want to walk you through this to sort of explain how this all comes together, please Now, now, let’s say you’re like a teenager, you’ve never you’ve never jumped in the snow but you’ve had some experience with cold before, right? And, and you jump into this into this environment. And the first thing that happens is the environment itself is cold and that touches your peripheral nervous system and such as the nerves on your fingers and your skin. There’s some sounds that come through this as well. You’ve seen various stimuli. And all of that comes in from your periphery, into your central nervous systems off your spine. And it rockets as a chemical signal into the lowest part of your brainstem into the limbic system. This is what they call the lizard brain. And in the lizard brain, I’m going to use a metaphor, let’s call the lizard brain a library. And in the head of this library, there is a librarian and we call her the limbic librarian. She sees this signal come in, and and and all it is, is is a volume. This is and it knows it’s an intense signal. And there’s a quality to it, which you cannot identify, because it just comes in there. And she’s like, Oh, look, I’ve I’ve never seen this before. And she looks through her library of neural symbols that are out there. And she says, Well, I’ve never had ice water before. So what she does is she kicks up. She’s trying to figure out how to respond how you the rest of your brain should respond to this. And she kicks it up to essentially a bookbinder into the heroin. Big system which is like a centimeter away from your limbic system. She sends it there and says, What’s this weird sensation? And and the bookbinder looks at this and says, and has this quality of ice water, it’s a really loud signal. It says, Well, I don’t know, you’ve never you’ve never seen it. So what she does, but this bookbinder does is bonds it to your current emotional state. So the sensation of cold water is bonded to your emotion and for various reasons cold water, and there’s an instinctual emotion that comes out with it, which is unmitigated fear and horror right. And it’s pretty is probably actually comes because there’s earlier neural symbols from you actually exiting your mother went from a warm to a cold environment, but regardless, unmitigated terror and horror and it says, okay, cold water, unmitigated terror water, she kicks it back down to the bookbinder, she’s like, great, I now know it. I now have a neural symbol for this sensation. And she sits on a shelf and you go and you go about your life and you experienced this cold water. Now, here’s the most important thing about neural symbols is that the next time you jump into ice water, you next time you experience this, that signal comes into the limbic library, and she looks at it and says, Oh, I already have this book. And she goes and pulls off that earlier neural symbol and it says, it means unmitigated terror and horror. And then you go about your life so that you are experiencing right now in that moment, your earlier emotional state. And this is the fundamental bitten bite of all human cognition, like, you know, don’t judge because basically, your brain is just this organ sitting in the middle of your skull floating in a salt bath. And everything it experiences has to come in through your peripheral nervous system. So everything goes through this process. And every emotion you you feel, is bonded to a sensation. And if you do that enough times just like a computer program, and so the ones and zeros it’s sensation and emotion. And, and, and this I This is really the fundamental process to understand in the wedge because what we’re trying to do it is, is the next time you get into that ice bath, you’re never actually going to get rid of the unmitigated horror and terror of an ice bath. Okay, I still have I also look at an ice bath and I’m like, I’ve done a lot of ice bath hours. And it’s still the hardest thing I’ve ever done to turn a hot shower to a cold knob, because I still have will always have that neural symbol in my brain. However, I have also put many, many more neural symbols into my brain where I have experienced the cold shower in different ways. And I have I have said, Look, I don’t want to do that there’s this anticipation of not wanting to but I also know that I feel amazing after and I’ve also can sit in a cold shower and say this is not cold. This is the the physical sensation of joy. And that actually creates that’s another emotion fixed with another sensation. And that bookbinder says, Okay, we’ll put that in there. So my shelf of cold water is that actually really wide. And I get to choose which book I want to do now. And that’s really what we’re doing with the wedges. We’re trying to make a bigger library for your sensations so that you have some choice in which book you want to pull off. And a lot of us because we’re so addicted to comfort, so addicted to serve a narrow band of experience, we don’t bother to put new books on the shelves.
Boomer Anderson 28:20
So using the analogy of books on the shelves, but also the when you’re you’re speaking of this in the cold showers, something that immediately comes to mind with regards to my life, and I know a lot of the listeners is public speaking, right in public speaking, I know you mentioned in the book is sort of one of these things that inherently for a lot of people, for many people, it’s it’s terrifying and right maybe it goes back to evolution and being thrown out of the tribe and being eaten by lions or whatever it is. But
Scott Carney 28:53
everything goes back to being eaten by lions.
Boomer Anderson 28:56
Fundamentally, we’re just worried about being eaten by lions. But when you’re rebuilding this and instituting maybe we can take people through step by step like how would you look at public speaking because you do a lot of it and rewiring yourself, so that maybe not rewiring, but putting more books on that shelf. How do you look at that?
Scott Carney 29:18
Well, I mean, oftentimes, I mean, not everyone has trouble with public speaking. But some people just can just go through it right. Because their first experience, they go, look, I was affirmation, but a lot of us have these negative experiences at some point in our life. You know, it could be from public groups, it could be from childhood memories or really anything like it could be a million things that make you have a difficult time public speaking, because honestly, when you’re up on that stage, there are it’s not just you in the public, it’s you and your heartbeat, it’s you and the the ambient air temperature, the light quality. I mean, there’s so many neural symbols going on at once that a lot of the many different things could be triggered. During an anxiety response there, but what you do want to do is you want to, to to, well, if you can find, if before we get to the thing that really scares you, let’s say that is the thing that scares you more than anything else. I would actually start with other areas of the wedge First, I would first start with with another practice, such as cold such as heat, such as these throwing kettlebell things to show you that you can get into a fear place and then you can switch that fear to a positive emotion. And I think just knowing that you have that capability is a very, very powerful thing. And you know, the kettlebell throne, which we’ll probably talk about at some point, um, one of the things that happens is, is people have heard now Scott throws kettlebells and he’s gonna break his foot like this. Everyone has thought had this thought you’re throwing kettlebell sounds like breaking feet. Well, when I tell you, we actually throw it to another person and you pass back and forth and you’re like, well, you’re gonna break multiple feet now.
Boomer Anderson 30:56
Yeah, shattering kneecaps, it’s like there goes
Scott Carney 31:00
Totally. But one of the things that’s so amazing about this, this kettlebell throwing thing is actually the practice is fairly easy to learn, it’s unlikely you’re going to break your feet because it’s a little slow. But nonetheless, there’s that fear of danger in it. Fear of failure. And the fear of failure is a broken foot, there’s the real consequences of breaking your foot. But in general, you find that you can do it. And you can also learn trust with another person. Because if you’re throwing back and forth to another person, you’re both facing the same fear and you have to cooperate. And that’s really what the lesson is out of throwing kettlebells. Now, if you learn that you and all of a sudden it goes from fear to be like, Oh, I’m having a lot of fun. I’m in a flow state. I’m actually this is a blast. It turns out the kettlebell throwing is actually a lot like dancing at the end of the day. It’s actually a blast. You know, people go skateboarding all the time, too. And you think, oh, skateboarding or break your head. And then look, these people are having a lot of big blast skateboarding. I mean, this is a process in lots of things. So I would say before you address, whatever that main fear you have publicly Speaking let’s say, try taking another fear even one that’s, that’s minor, even one that you didn’t even know you had but has sort of this visceral response and realize that you can change it. And I think having that idea where something that is not a fear, but then you make a little fear and then it turns into fun is hugely powerful, because it’s showing that you can change when you have fear, it’s a sensation, right? It’s not just a cognitive thought. It’s an actual feeling in your body. It’s that puckering of your butt. It’s the the clenching of yourself and it’s you going from clenched to release. And, and when you get onto that stage, you’re going to be puckering there to write, you’re going to get up there and you’re going to be thinking, oh my god, this is going to fail. And whatever, I don’t even know where it’s going to go for you until you might think that you’re, you know, you’re gonna go broke or everyone’s gonna make fun at you or you know what there’s, there’s or someone’s going to post something bad on Twitter about you, I mean, all this stuff is going to be going through your head. But once you know that you can switch from one to the other. I mean, honestly, one of the things that makes you fail in public speaking is fear. You know, if you if you want to have a panic attack, don’t do it on stage. That is
Boomer Anderson 33:15
easier said than done.
Scott Carney 33:19
But once you do start realizing that you’re not panicking, when you’re on stage, you end up in this flow state you end up having been if you’re able to get past that fear, all of a sudden, that stage experience becomes fun. And the words come out because honestly, if you’re up on stage, you It should be something you know about, it should be something you are an expert in because otherwise, why the fuck would you be up there of course. And, and, and it’s really once you dump that anxiety and you accept that even you can make mistakes on in front of an audience and usually the audience is forgiving. I mean, you know, probably 95% of the audience’s that are out There are very, very forgiving. And, and you can you I mean, you could just get into it. I mean it’s it’s the same anxiety thing and once you learn you can flip it in one sphere. You can flip it in another I would also say don’t start to make your first talk at a Tony Robbins stage for 40,000 people
maybe start a little smaller than that.
Boomer Anderson 34:21
Just 20,000 right.
Scott Carney 34:23
Yeah, right, exactly.
Boomer Anderson 34:27
Let’s talk a little bit more about the kettlebell swing because I think people are throwing it’s not swinging swinging would be pretty, pretty easy by comparison. How would you recommend people start with this because in the book, you outline it, but I know that there’s a bunch of people listening to this right now that want to just go out and throw kettlebells How would you get started? So right now, we’re jamming away with Scott Carney, about all things the wedge. For a moment, I just want to take a break and talk about enhancement. And for me, what do I use For cognitive enhancement, you heard earlier me talk about Blue Cannatine. But another tool in the toolbox that I love comes from those folks over at Neurohacker Collective. You guys know I’ve been a fanboy since really their inception a couple of years ago. I use the original stack almost as soon as it came out. I use quality of mind but caffeinated and caffeine free. still use caffeine free on the reg so to speak. And of course they’ve come out with a turnus as well as an energy drink. I love all their products. I encourage you to go out and try some head over to https://www.neurohacker.com/ use the code BOOMER and you’ll get 10% off your order or if you subscribe 15% off. Let’s get back to that conversation with Scott shall we.
Scott Carney 35:50
So it’s easiest to do if you want to do it with another person initially. There are ways to throw kettlebells alone which sort of kettlebell juggling, and I think it’s a useful skill and I do it when I can’t find a partner to throw with me.
Boomer Anderson 36:06
Do you get your wife to throw with you? No,
Scott Carney 36:08
I do. I do. Although we do have different sort of strength profiles and she prefers a lighter Bell I prefer a heavier Bell and the lightest Bell but I want to throw is is above where her
Yeah, we can do it but we can’t do it as long as I can with somebody sort of an equal strength profile. However, I will say that throwing between couples is probably the most intense of them all because, you know, there’s the stakes are even higher, right? I don’t want to break my foot. I really don’t want to break her foot. Yeah,
Boomer Anderson 36:41
because if that happens, then your your relationship becomes very hectic for a little while.
Scott Carney 36:47
Well, I mean, it’s it’s about empathy. It’s about the relationship. So I don’t want to hurt my wife. Right? Of course, of course. If it’s a more
Yeah, I mean, it’s not about what how this plays out. I really, just don’t Want to hurt her? Yeah, and, and when you’re what’s so fascinating about this is when you have a couple, it’s not only about throwing kettlebells looking awesome and Instagram or something like that piece of bullshit, what it is, is, it’s about developing trust and couples oftentimes have a really hard time at first throwing kettlebells because in your relationship, you have all of these little islands that you don’t want to go to, right there’s little islands of discussions that like I you know, it’s best not to go there is we don’t want to do that. And, and those islands I think are healthy. And a lot of times, sometimes you just don’t want to go to these places. And it’s better for the functional relationship not to it but it also there’s a subtle undermining of trust there. Because if I go to that island, it’s gonna, you know, we’re going to have this this thing. So actually your relationship troubles play out in how you swing a kettlebell how you throw a kettlebell because you have to trust that the other person is going to throw you a good throw, that you’re going to catch it and be able to return it Well, and and usually what happens is couples have a really hard time at first throwing kettlebells. And then over time they learn a new way to communicate physically through the object of a threat. Now this is what’s so fast and sick of the Voodoo of kettlebell throwing is that is that the threat is the kettlebell in motion and both your eyes are looking at this kettlebell and there’s like a ritual where you start where the first swing, Sam throwing the kettlebell to you. I go, it goes between my legs and then the kettlebell goes up, like my shoulder height. And I’m looking in your eyes as this is happening, what’s the first and then the second swing, we’re still looking at your eyes and then when the bell gets to its Apogee at the highest point, we both move our eyes from each other where we’re connected to the bell, and then the bell goes back. And then you know, the receivers look at the bell the hallway and obviously the person throwing can’t look at it the hallway because it goes behind your butt. And then you and then the third throw is where it comes up and you’re both together. heathered your attention is tethered to this bell, it flips through the air goes into someone, the other person’s hands, and then they return that energy. And because of the way because everyone is thinking, I don’t want to break my foot and I don’t want to break the other person’s foot start to coordinate automatically and you start to learn trust through this, this proxy between the two of you. And you know, I love getting like big dudes, like big scary looking dudes facing off with them with a freaking cannon ball in my hand. And usually this is a violent, so this is what we did love being confrontational. Yeah. And, and you’re throwing this bell and instead of like throwing with aggression, you throw it with love, and you throw it with all of your best intentions because you want that person to catch it and you want it to come back. And if someone wins and kettlebells you both actually lose. And that’s the that’s the message that comes out of this. And I love that and you know, sometimes Tony, the guy who taught it to me Got Tony. Sorry, Tony. It’s Michael. It’s Michael Castrogiovanni his best friend’s name is Tony. And and and we’ll he’ll do is after you’ve been doing this a little while right after you’ve gotten some things he’ll throw it to and as he strikes I love you Scott, which is always a little off.
Boomer Anderson 40:18
Yeah, I mean that should have gone right if you’re not expected.
Scott Carney 40:22
Right It usually catches you off guard but it’s also really important to to have a physical practice which is also an emotional practice. Yeah, this symbol, right. This is this is the the connection. I’m trying to get all these good vibes and I’m trying to to fit it into something which is dangerous and fearful. Mm hmm.
Boomer Anderson 40:42
One of the other practices that you went through was sensory deprivation tanks. And yeah, I do too. And I was introduced to them by a boss A long time ago who basically said you need to try this and here in Amsterdam, we have a great center for us, but The history of sensory deprivation tanks is fascinating you cover in book, but how did that play in as sort of a wedge to you? How did that directly go into your life?
Scott Carney 41:12
So most of sensory, most of the wedge that I’m in the practices that I look at, are me getting into an intense physical environment, where I’m looking at the outside world, and there’s a stress of some sort. He called fear. There’s some psychedelic stuff in there. But it’s like, it’s usually a big signal coming from the outside world, and then you’re trying to demodulate yourself in the presence of that signal. The sensory deprivation tank is actually the very opposite idea. It’s, it’s putting yourself in a place where there’s so few signals coming in from the outside. Well, that’s, you know, it’s not true isolation, right? There’s the meniscus of the water on you. There’s humidity. There’s, there’s various external signals coming in, but it’s about as tuned down as we’ve been able to find to get a human right and In this environment, what actually comes out are your internal sounds. That’s what they that’s what psychologists and neuroscientists called interoception you start looking inwards to all of a sudden, I can hear my heartbeat, I can hear the blood flowing through my veins, I can hear the creaking of my joints, I’m 40 years old, so all my joints creak. And, and there’s, like, you suddenly become aware of your internal body as an external environment. Because remember, your brain is just floating in your body, right? And, and you realize all the signals that your body creates. Now, when we take that into the idea of neural symbols, now I gave you the cold water symbol, which is a really, really powerful strong signal that sort of override the results because the volume is so high, but you’re also feeling even sub perceptually 100 stimulus right now, you know, again, Light air pressure, temperature smells, and, you know, on and on and on the feeling of your clothing against your skin. And there’s just a million sensations that more or less you don’t pay attention to. But it doesn’t mean that your brain is not registering them. And it’s basically the library and be like, yep, seeing clothes before. Yep, seen air before. Yep. And she doesn’t really care about it. So she’s not processing new information. However, in an environment, like let’s say, you have a stressful experience, I like to use the apocryphal story of a soldier in Afghanistan, walking down the street, you know, and there’s a million things going on. There’s the quality of life, there’s the T seller, Hawking T, there’s some flowers over there, and there’s some children playing there’s all these sounds of just like normal street life going on. And all of a sudden, the roadside bomb goes off next to him and his friend gets killed. Man, he’s thrown to the ground and he has some injuries. And what happens in this instance is That all of those earlier sensations that were just passively being processed by your brain are suddenly bonded with the terror and the trauma of that experience and wired straight you know that the limbic bookbinder, the Paralympic bookbinders bond bound all those books and said oh my god flowers, tea cellars unmitigated trauma and horror. And so that now when the soldier goes home and and you know, let’s say they fully recover from their wounds
they’re walking down the street and they have a panic attack they don’t know where this panic attack just suddenly came from this is what PTSD is. But what it what what was happening is the quality of light was just somehow similar like so this minor unrelated to the roadside bomb, but your your your brain had processed the quality of light and that triggered the panic because it brought them back to their trauma. Now one of the other things that happens all in almost all trauma cases is that You have such a high spike of adrenaline. So your fight or flight spot response goes crazy because you’re trying to survive whatever situation that is that the adrenaline hits your heart, your heart suddenly, is, is so loud, you can start to hear your heart in that traumatic situation. You can hear your blood pressure because everything in your body is trying to give you as much energy as possible. And in that trauma experience, you actually bond, your heartbeat to the trauma and you can’t escape your heartbeat, your heartbeat is always going to be there. So what happens in the sensory deprivation tank, which is so fascinating, and it’s in the research is done by Justin Feinstein at the laureate lab for brain research, one of the only float Research Center in the world where he took all of these people with generalized anxiety disorder and severe anxiety disorders and some soldiers but also just like car accidents, and rapes and all those other horrible things that can happen to a person. Put them into a sensory deprivation tank and after just One hour, they’re like, Oh my god, I can hear my heartbeat. And I’ve been so nervous about my heartbeat now I can hear my heartbeat in an environment which is totally safe because the the float tank. I mean, if you’re coming to a float center that’s not safe. That’s really really bad, right?
Boomer Anderson 46:15
It should be a safe place to be.
Scott Carney 46:17
Yeah, it’s just calm, empty place and all of a sudden you become aware of your body. And then when they these people got out the fascinating thing with the studies that he’s done is he sees 100% improvement not that phrasing is a little hard. So he does a, a pretest pre questionnaire to the people who go to the float tanks. And then he does a test after the float tank and then a month after the float tank, and he found that every single person improved on their anxiety and depression after just a one hour float tank and that those those changes persisted for at least a month after that float just because they were able to get 160 minute
Boomer Anderson 46:55
Scott Carney 46:56
160 minutes out
which Which is much better than an SSRI which is absurd selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor a general like Prozac and just say the fucking brand names
Boomer Anderson 47:10
you can go for it it’s it’s fine
Scott Carney 47:14
it’s so much better than what the chemical interventions are because we’re dealing directly with sensations and when you have anxiety if you don’t think about anxiety as a as a you don’t experience anxiety as a cortisol and adrenaline mismanagement protocol in your body you’re not you don’t sit around be like oh my adrenaline spiking right now that’s that’s that’s horrible. I have anxiety what you do is like, Oh no, I feel my heartbeat I have this sensations I feel tightness I I’m scared about the future. That’s what anxiety feels like. The beauty of float tanks is it works on the sensory level, which is so much more. I think fulfilling in a way to deal with it at that level, then then deal with the chemical level and I’m not saying that we are Nothing get rid of Western medicine get rid, there’s no nothing. There’s no use for SSRIs like that. Um, but I’m saying this is a very complimentary practice. And in some ways even better, because there’s no side effects to flow tech.
Boomer Anderson 48:13
You mentioned PTSD. And one of the, I guess, hot topics, and particularly the health optimization space that we’re talking about is the phase three trials that maps is going through with on MDMA. And, yeah, but there you go. But in terms of a wedge, and this is something that I have experimented with in my own life and found extremely effective in short periods of time. psychedelics is a wedge. I’d love to hear just how you’ve used them how you heard other people use them, etc.
Scott Carney 48:47
So the the way I like to think of the wedge is there’s three places that you could insert a wedge into into a person’s experience, right, which is, the first one is changing your environment. ice water flow. Tank, whatever. And then from there, you change your reactions to that environment goes through your chemical pathways goes to your brain. You’re trying to modulate your response. So changing environments is a huge one that’s like most of what the wedge practices that I talked about. Another place is your intentions. When you’re sitting in that ice water, you say, instead of unmitigated feeling horror, I am going to experience this as joy, right? It’s like literally just facing your intentions at that sensation, and like hard wiring a neural symbol into it. Those are two places that that we sort of covered so far. The third space is the actual chemical pathways between your peripheral nervous system and your limbic system, or sometimes other areas in your brain to depending on what we’re doing. And with MDMA, what we’re doing is a chemical intervention at the sensory level. So before your brain processes something, MDMA essentially puts a filter on it, where everything is positive, like, like MDMA is force it MDMA is the wedge because It changes the literally the way you experience sensations become positive. This is why when you hear about parties where people are all rolling on MDMA, they’re all like touching each other and feeling each touch feels amazing. Well, because MDA wired you to make that feel amazing. And, and there’s like almost no bad touches on MDMA, because people are so I’m sure you can have bad touches MDMA, but but you’re generally so predisposed to be wired in a way that’s positive. Now what I did was MDMA with my wife with two psychiatrists in the room who had never actually seen them. And they’d used MDMA. So they knew what the effects were like on them. But they had never seen it in a clinical setting. So it was sort of like, it’s like maps, right maps is is is the people doing clinical trials on it, but this is just seeing what like everyday clinicians would see if they just did MDMA in a therapeutic setting. Yeah. And so my wife and I have actually a really good relationship over All, you know, over I think we’re very strong and we do all of these crazy practices together, I sort of dragged her through them, you know, she’s the real hero in many ways. But what but everyone has these islands where you don’t want to go to right there’s always like, no even the best relationship as all these islands that you don’t want to touch and that, that concern of great and sometimes they can grow bigger and and healthy relationships have these two, but it’s still better to be able to address these and so, so what we did is we went on MDMA and and it sets in and everything no matter what in the clinical setting, because we’re not gonna be touching each other in front of psychiatrists. That feels really awkward. You don’t lose your your personhood when you’re on this. But you instead you interpret everything as as positive as possible, so that when we’re having a conversation, we can say things that are really really difficult to each other. And and then you address them in automatic in the most basic Artificial in positive ways possible. So for instance, and this is not something that we actually talked about, but but let’s say I said, I hate your mother, to my wife. Usually, if you say I hate your mother, that’s gonna be like, yo, fuck you, I hate you. Like, cuz you’re gonna have this automatic response, but instead, you could have that thing and be like, Oh, yeah, I understand, you know, it’s so hard for you. Let’s, you know, let’s talk about that. Let’s unpack this, you know, I don’t want you to hate my mother, because of x, y, and z, you know, and you’ll have this like, really productive conversation around a really difficult situation because the MDMA has forced empathy, it’s forced to things you have to feel empathy in that situation. And that is what is so magical about MDMA. And then, at the end of it, you know, you come down and actually the down of MDMA. I mean, some people have no, no hangover, but a lot of people feel really shitty after an MDMA trip, and you sort of have to anticipate that, you know, you sort of say, I’m doing this in this way. political space and then I know I’m going to have a hangover. But at the end, the benefits will will come. And incidentally, don’t do this with SSRIs if you’re on an SSRI, it’s actually very, very dangerous to do this. And we get into the chemistry of that at some other point. But but the SSRIs, also chemically putting you in a different state, and it’s opposed chemically to the, to the MDMA, and it can put you into this very, even a potentially fatal situation. That aside, when when when we’re after you’ve been through this experience, and you had this conversation, you come out of it and and you remember the all the empathy you remember the words you said and now you’ve had a productive conversation with the psychiatrist that we were with said that it was like watching eight or nine months of couples therapy happen over the course of a three hour period.
Boomer Anderson 53:47
Yeah. I mean, the same experience right. I was by myself with a therapist and it was whenever you year’s worth of therapy condensed into three hours you walk out Have it and I’m 100% better as a result of it and it was fantastic. Speaking of dragging your wife to places and doing interesting things, you brought her to Latvia and I have to give a shout out to Maurice because he introduced us. Martha Zenda amazing dude. Yeah, he’s incredible person and he brought her to Riga you went and did a lot vn pips I believe I could be pronouncing that right.
Scott Carney 54:29
Boomer Anderson 54:30
it’s pronounced pierrots here It’s okay. I apologize, Maurice. I should know how to pronounce that a little bit better,
Scott Carney 54:36
which I could be mispronouncing it Latvians hard. So yeah, it’s
Boomer Anderson 54:39
not the easiest language so to learn. How does the experience of the peers but also just sauna in general, which they are different, we can go into the differences. How does that work into a wedge in that sense?
Scott Carney 54:55
So you know, I’ve done a ton of ice water stuff right over you know, this The first book What doesn’t kill us was all about ice and ice and breathing protocols. And, and and so what I wanted to do in this book is find all of the other sensations out there at least I can’t find them all, but I can put a roadmap through some of the highlights of other sensations that you can work with. And I knew I really wanted to do a heat, because obviously all throughout all through the circumpolar regions of the world, every indigenous group has some version of the sauna. Yeah, right. You know, the Finns do the Russians do the Lothians do in North America, we have all the sweat lodges that are here. And and every one of those groups is found that these are very, very useful things to do. And it’s not just about heating yourself up. It’s something about the community that that is that gets created around these now. I initially wanted to do a Lakota sweat lodge. One of the problems with that is when I started reaching out to many, many different tribes not just Lakota, but also Ojibwe and the other other tribes that have these traditions. Basically everyone said, yeah, we don’t want you culturally appropriating our work which, given the torturous history between you know, guys who look like me and Native Americans, you know, I get it, I understand. Yeah, yeah. I was a little bummed out, but I definitely got it and I but as I was doing this research, actually, Mars reached out to me, it’s like, Scott, I want you to come to my biohacking conference in Latvia. And as payment, I’m gonna put you in a five hour sauna. And like, most people would be like, that doesn’t sound so cool. To me. I was like, jackpot. This is great. And it’s a lot the the One of the fascinating things about Latina is when you ask like, basically everyone I asked like, what’s your religion? You know what it was? You’re just about everyone I asked said they were pagan. Yeah, like a pagan. Like, no one says that in the States.
Boomer Anderson 57:02
Now the word pagan doesn’t come up very often right?
Scott Carney 57:06
I mean, it comes up in like, yeah, and so this is like a lot of fans like spend time forging mushrooms in the forest and like they’re really amazing culture and it’s very, you know, it’s sort of related to like what you think the druids would be in the United Kingdom and its various like Earth feeling and, and the pierces was a very, very old tradition they have which is their you know, it’s their version of the finished sauna sauna as a finished word. Salah they say yeah, and and they have basically two shamans, with my wife and I and we get there and we don’t know what to expect. We know five hour sauna and that’s all we know. And we get there. The first thing these these, they call them picnics or picking I’m going to mess that up appears next.
Boomer Anderson 57:56
It’s okay I already screwed up.
Scott Carney 58:00
And they, you know, they meet you and they’re wearing these like, Greenfeld hats right. And the first thing they do before you even get in the sun and the sun is like running in the other room right and this is a two room place it’s like this really upscale spa like you know it compared to like you know that Japanese tradition where they take pottery and they put gold in the in the fractured pottery to make it look really awesome. It’s sort of like that, like it’s really high end luxury space nice with these Druids running it and and the first thing they do is they say okay, we want you to first have a tea ceremony with us and we sit down and we we drink this weird teas like teas made out of the look stuff in the local environment like Wormwood and and they give us bread made out of like pine needles and and honey that’s infused with like local flowers and all of it tastes like weird and familiar at the same time. It’s just like a weird meal. Okay, and and we have this weird meal Then we, my wife and I, and actually Maurice is with us at the very beginning of this and he leaves shortly after. We all stand in a circle. And he they say, the parents next say Close your eyes, and we close our eyes. And then they start dancing around us like what else? Like it’s super weird, but they have like rain sticks and like chimes and like a cacophony of weird sounds like they’re shaking branches, and it sounds like it’s raining. One of them like plays like thoroughly so I’m like one of those music boxes. Like it’s a super weird coffee and we’re just sitting there, they close your eyes and just pay attention to the music and, and in my mind, I’m thinking this is super weird, and like, flighty and crazy. And they dance around us for like five minutes. Like, like, you know, keebler elves, and, and, and as I’m paying attention to the oddity of this, what I didn’t notice is when we opened her eyes, I didn’t notice that one of them opened the door to the sauna, and the Another one which is probably running at like 250 degrees because I had it running really fast. I didn’t notice that the room that we were in was ridiculously hot yams out. I just been sitting there paying attention to though that those weird sounds and then and then when I opened my eyes, I felt totally normal. And then I realized I was hot and I started sweating. And so they certainly confused my sensations with the word their weirdness and then Mars goes to leave and and they say okay, take off your your clothes and I’m an American and like, we’re totally weird about nudity. But yeah, we do that and we get we get naked in front of these two people we’ve never met and they don’t even speak English, like they know like eight words of English as far as I can tell. And these what else and assure of these us, my wife and I nude into their song and we lie down, and then they start like the, the next part of the ritual, which is where they, you know, you lie down and they’re shaking like
Boomer Anderson 1:00:58
branches over trees. In the branches, right?
Scott Carney 1:01:01
Totally, yeah, it’s like it’s like birch leaves, and they start hitting you in pine needles and, and all of a sudden, they’re like, hitting us and rubbing honeys on us and stuff like that. And it’s the same stuff that we ate before, but in the new form, so it’s not like the bread they’re using, but they’re using stuff made out of the same ingredients that we had just eaten, and that they’re putting it on us as we are heating up, the sun is probably at least 180 degrees, probably up to like the 226, somewhere in that range. So pretty hot. And as we heat up, they’re doing that same sort of distraction thing on us that they just did with their dance by hitting us and as we approach our red lines, that moment where you’re like I’m just too hot and usually the sensations that go with this are claustrophobia. You can use HTC red, and it gets dark around and you you want to like run out of the sauna. That’s the sensations with overheating as we get to that point. The shamans seem to know that we’re getting there. And then they sprinkle cold water on our forehead and we they bring us just below that point. And and they do this there’s a very mechanical way you can do this. If they’re standing there, and they put their hand on you and you feel hot to them, they know that you are hot, you’re feeling hotter than they are. So they can use these proxies as ways to understand how you’re feeling. And and then then then then after this, then the weird shit happens. Yeah, this wasn’t enough, then the weird things really happened is that as they start, like, rubbing honey on my chest and hitting me with with branches, I start to experience synesthesia, which is the mixing of, of your sensory systems. So as they hit me with a branch, I smell the branch hitting me. I hear the smell. And I like all of these signals, like I see The sound as it as it hits me and it’s, it’s like even with language I’m like struggling how to explain it like I mean, my brain doesn’t want to make the sentences like how can you see us out this point I am and it’s all blending because they’re using the same environmental objects that they had before we switch we experienced by eating them. And now we’re explaining that we ate the pine needle now the pine needles smacking me and I’m tasting it because it’s in my hands coming up through my esophagus. And somehow the magic of this while under heat stress blends, and, and, and, and then they do things like after you’ve, you’re in there for like an hour. Then you go out into the cold pond and they dumped you underwater for a second. And then they put you in the back in the sauna. And then there’s like just a bunch of stuff they do, but it’s always confusing your senses. At the end of all of this are like well, why would you do this? Well, everything feels really new. It feels like all of your sensory system is like cleaned out. When you get out of this situation you feel like refreshed in a way that is that you can’t it’s so even hard to explain what is being refreshed because it’s like your sensory systems are being refreshed. And the other thing that that heat stress has been shown to be extremely good at his depression so people who are naturally depressed heat stress is one of the is a way to this make you happier and and there’s a guy named Charles race on at University of Wisconsin Madison, who has shown that people who are depressed have actually a higher body temperature than people who are not depressed like their the naturally their body runs like a degree or so higher than people who are not not depressed. And and if you actually are able to lower their body temperature to a normal range, their depression alleviate this is crazy. And you should google Charles res on art. s o n, to sort of look into this, but I also talked about it in the wedge. And the reason why saunas are so great is because you artificially raise the roof, the temperature, and then you get used to this new temperature, and then you reset back down to a normal temperature baseline. That’s why saunas are so amazing.
Boomer Anderson 1:05:20
This is fantastic. For somebody who has a very limited amount of time, let’s say to pursue a wedge, is there any path that you recommend them going down in terms of, of all of these experience that that you had, whether it be cold or hot, or psychedelics to me took a little bit longer? What do you what do you recommend?
Scott Carney 1:05:44
So I, when I wrote the wedge, I wrote this as this is my journey. These are the things that that spoke to me because of the place I was in my life at the time I was writing as the times I wanted to do this, and I think that everyone needs to find their own journey. I think this is very, very simple. important is that the wedge is the book is not the 10 techniques to make you awesome and fit in every single way and to be a perfect human. That is not the goal of this. The goal of this is to show you ways that I’m interacting with the environment, the ways I’ve used these things and the way that you can take those underlying concepts and apply them to just about any practice. But what you need to do is find something that doesn’t have a very loud neural symbol that you already have wired in, like if you’re like a arachnophobia, don’t go start handling spiders to become like a spider master like that. That’s going to be hard and maybe not super beneficial. But what you are trying to find are new frontiers that you can approach in a safe manner and that’s super important. Like you know, I do things that look a little dangerous but I always do them in a sort of a managed and controlled setting as possible. And you want to you want to find those borders to push now I have 10 things at work. Awesome for me, and 10 like experiments that, you know, like one thing is like a potato fast, right? Nothing but potatoes for a week. Because it was boring, right? Because I wanted to have a really boring palette and see how that changed. The way I experienced flavor and it did it was really interesting. You can try that. I think kettlebell passing kettlebell partner passing is a very low barred entry. And I think that it’s something that you can get a very visceral and immediate effect right now. But I also think breathing practices. You know, Wim Hof has this great program. I really love the Wim Hof breathing method. I also think the opposite breathing method, sort of the potato method is also great. pranayama like yoga, do hot yoga. I mean, but but when you do these practices, be mindful of the sensations. That’s really the most important thing. Be mindful of how these sensations and emotions get bonded, and that adds and deepens your practices,
Boomer Anderson 1:07:59
Misery. Ms in the last book was very much an investigation into a discussion around the Wim Hof Method. And I remember listening to you with Ben and you had a ritual around the Wim Hof Method at that time. Has your ritual change, and if so, how in terms of breathing practices?
Scott Carney 1:08:22
I do. I’ve done the same basic breathing protocol for about 10 years. And I think the Wim Hof. I don’t go usually I don’t go super intense. I do three rounds of Wim Hof breathing. And then I do one additional round I do the push ups like it’s the basic wind protocol and I usually take a cold sort of hot shower that I turned cold for like a minute or two at the end. That is my most basic daily practice. And it really works for me, like I’ll find that if I am, you know, the other day, you know, COVID we’re in the era of COVID right and like, like a week ago, I was like really just pressing the refresh. button on my internet getting fights, getting in fights with people on Facebook for no fucking good reason like for because we’re all basically not fighting each other we’re trying to be like make the world control. Right? We’re trying to like the President has the wrong idea or the senator has the wrong idea. And if I just told you how wrong it was, I’m gonna change it and this is a very human thing to do. And it’s totally unproductive because we don’t have control over the world like like, you know, we don’t have control over whether or not this disease spreads around the planet or whether or not the public health responses rational or not like that is not something we can do. What we can do is affect how that anxiety feels us and and and literally what I was doing on Facebook was trying to use that as a practice to control my anxiety so I figured I could change the world in some lower lizard brains part of myself wanting to do that. And and what was so and I thought about it all All night, like rolling all night in the morning still was thinking about it. And then I did my my normal Wim Hof practice and it interrupted that. That’s awesome that because when you’re doing the breathing, if you’re not focusing on the breathing, you’re not. I mean, it’s hard not to focus on breath, it is very practice. And so that interrupted it. And then, you know, my anxiety was then suddenly, like gone. I was like, Oh, look, I, you know,
Boomer Anderson 1:10:24
I just sort of let go, of,
Scott Carney 1:10:27
of all of that, that stuff because there’s nothing I can do about the world. There’s nothing you can do about the world, we have certain actions we can take. If we concentrate, and we do our best efforts, we can have a certain effect in the world and maybe some people can have bigger effects. I mean, obviously a president can have a bigger effect on the public health policy than scot free can. But nonetheless, for the vast majority of us, it’s this experience of saying, look, the outside world I can’t change the stress, but I can change I can put a wedge to how that stress affects me. And then how you respond to them. When you do that, then you can actually be more effective in what you’re you can actually sort of think of a constructive response. Or you can let go and say I just have to let the the tides of this, of whatever the consequences that’s just sort of roll over me because simply refreshing your browser is honestly not going to do. We all know that. Yeah.
Boomer Anderson 1:11:21
Scott, you’ve been incredibly generous with your time and I just want to close out with just final three rapid fire questions. Sure. What book has most significantly impacted how you show up to life?
Scott Carney 1:11:34
How I show up to life.
There are so many there. I mean, the story of the human body is coming into my mind right now, which is talks about this idea of evolutionary mismatches, and how like sort of archaic bodies are responding to modern stresses and weird ways that just came into my head. But I read a lot of like science fiction ideas I read I read a lot of philosophy I sort of like dabble in lots of things. My favorite book is old man in the sea, by Hemingway about, about a man and a fish of a simple story about a man and efficient love and loss. And, and yeah, I mean, I say read widely and and, and, and yeah, there’s not just one book. It’s like a it’s like a sea of bucks.
Boomer Anderson 1:12:26
What are what is your top trick for enhancing focus?
Scott Carney 1:12:34
I was thinking about this really recently, the times when I am most focused, right? Because I have a life where I have a lot of free time, right? I can structure my time and I can like days about and not focus on anything because there’s no stress, pushing me to focus and I found that if you actually create an artificial stress for yourself You know, like, like a like a something like a deadline? You know, how often did you in college? Do you pull an all nighter before a paper or an exam? Because you knew that exam was coming. So you had to go do that. I think there’s something about that, that the realization of consequences, which put you in that state where you could do that, because you could have done that all nighter four weeks before that, that test was coming. So I think that’s something Have you heard of the Pomodoro method I love like creating a I use something called self control and I love that name on my computer where it stops all the browser’s the internet coming into your mind it like sort of like puts a block and all that stuff. And there’s a timer countdown and you create this artificial time looks like I can days and just think about all the weird shit that I usually think about. But when I have this timer on, I am going to focus and it’s sort of it’s a weird it’s a weird hack that it works. But it does work. He’s like, okay, now I have a deadline. And especially giving us our limited ones is smart, like 1520 minutes. Like, I feel like a good day of writing. I get like 1000 words written. And honestly, I can do that in 15 minutes. But I can always spend the full day trying to find that 15 minutes.
Boomer Anderson 1:14:17
Yeah. What excites you most about the health world right now?
Scott Carney 1:14:22
I really am enjoying the fact that there are a lot of medical practitioners that are more open to thinking outside the box now than probably anytime in the last 50 years. I think that there’s there’s a real opportunity right now to take the benefits of Western medicine, and then bond those with these these other ideas of out of the wellness committee, not the crazy ones, right, because there’s crazy. There certainly is. But there’s also crazy ideas in the medical community. Right and One of the things that I find so important, and I have a whole chapter on this in the wedge is about the placebo effect this idea, it’s like a dirty word in in western medicine. Oh, his recovery just had to do with the placebo effect, it must have not been real, which is like, bizarre to me. Because if you got better, it doesn’t matter if it was something called the placebo effect or not. And if you look at like randomized control studies that are placebo controlled, oftentimes you’ll have a drug that is like 30% effective, which is considered generally pretty good for a drug for a chronic. And they’ll say, look, this was 30% effective at removing symptoms of whatever it is they’re studying. I like using Rogaine, which is the hair Hair Club for men hair regrow and it’s something like 27 28% effective in in most men who try to regrow hair. And the placebo is like 20% effective. So it’s like well, the hair growing potential Role game is, is like, what’s the power of the mind what’s going on in the mind to get me to 20%. Even if that eight percents pretty cool on Western medicine, let me focus on that 20 and find other ways to accentuate these things. And I think that’s really important. It’s also important to modulate that by the understandings that not just any fucking balls, crazy idea you have is actually going to make you better. So there has to be sort of this like, balance between the two. But I’m finding a lot of doctors really, really good smart people with real amazing credentials, and being willing to sort of engage with that gap and lead credence to it. I mean, obviously, there’s studies on Wim Hof Method, which are really, really promising and amazing. And, and I think that as long as we do it, cautiously, we could end up in a really interesting paradigm where we can accelerate the healing powers of the body.
Boomer Anderson 1:16:55
Amazing. Scott, where can people find out more about you this book You know, where can they where can they get it?
Scott Carney 1:17:03
So I would love you to come to my website, which is Scott Carney com scottcarney.com. And subscribe to my mailing list where I occasionally and not really as frequently as I should, but occasionally write cool things. But you can get a sample chapter of the wedge there and read it and then I can hopefully occasionally write some smart ish emails out into the world. That would be the most amazing thing for me. But also there’s Instagram and Twitter, you just Google can pick all that stuff up. You can get my book on my website, scottcarney.com and also all of the other places. People get books. If you really like my voice, my exceptional voice. I will buy you can read I will read you my audiobooks of the wedge or what doesn’t kill us. I think the most important thing at the end of the day, the reason I Do this I want people to, to get in touch with their bodies to find out that there is some element of control, and that our senses are telling us things that are that are that that’s real and useful information and that we can use those as guides. And I think that even if they just listen to this podcast, and they they try something internal.
Boomer Anderson 1:18:25
I think that I’ve done a great job. Scott, this is amazing. The book is incredible. I can’t wait for everybody to hear this and go out and get it because it’s an awesome book. And I love that you’re dedicated to the experimentation, that’s for sure. But thank you again for taking the time Scott. It’s been an absolute pleasure.
Scott Carney 1:18:45
Thanks, Boomer. I really appreciate it. This has been fun and I hope you enjoy lockdown as much as
Boomer Anderson 1:18:50
to all the superhumans listening out there have a safe lockdown and have an epic day. Wow, there are so many gems. In this episode, I had a lot of fun speaking with Scott, and I think I’m gonna go and we’ll try to throw kettlebells in the backyard. We’ll see what that’s like in this whole shelter in place environment that we’re all in these days. But I enjoyed that conversation. And I’m hoping you did too. If you got anything out of it, share it on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, wherever you are, just tag decoding superhuman, because I’d love to hear from you. If it inclines or speaks to you really head over to iTunes and leave a five star review. All of those really, really help. The show notes for this one, which you’re gonna want to check out if you want to get Scott’s book The Wedge which I encourage everybody to read. All right, decodingsuperhuman.com/thewedge. Thank you so much superhumans, and have an epic day.
One of my favorite tools for cognitive enhancement, especially after long plan rides, is Blue Cannatine. The delivery mechanism is unique (buccle troche). It is especially effective for me on improving short-term memory, focus, and verbal fluency. It’s the closest thing that I found to NZT and I think you guys should try it out. Enter the code BOOMER for 10% off your purchase. Full disclosure: I am involved with the company (I like the product that much).View Company
I’ve been fascinated by blood flow restriction training for a very long time. And the guys at Bstrong did some really cool innovations with their technology. I use it just about every day, high reps, low number of sets, a few exercises. And in 20 minutes I have a fantastic workout, which I know is triggering an anabolic response and who doesn’t like that. So if you want to get your Bstrong blood flow restriction device, head on over to bstrong.training and enter the code BOOMER for 10% off.View Company