Ravé Mehta – Fear & Vulnerability Hacks: #303
By: Dave Asprey
Why you should listen –
Ravé Mehta is an engineer, entrepreneur and professor as well as an award-winning composer, pianist and bestselling author. His book The Inventor: The Story of Tesla is a bestselling nonfiction graphic novel based on the true story of Nikola Tesla as he battled his mentor-turned-rival Thomas Edison in the AC/DC wars to bring light and energy to the world. Ravé is the founder of Helios Entertainment, an award-winning creative-technology firm that develops socially empowering content to artistically engage kids and adults while inspiring STEM learning through graphic novels, music, films, games and shows. On today’s episode of Bulletproof Radio, Dave and Ravé talk about understanding and overcoming fear, public speaking, Tesla and Edison, different stages of vulnerability and more. Enjoy the show!
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Dave Asprey: Hey it’s Dave Asprey with Bulletproof Radio. Today’s cool fact of the day, is that if you were an average person, which you’re not, because let’s face it, you’re interested in high-performance, high performers and not average performers, but let’s assume you’re an average person and you yelled consistently for eight years, seven months, and six days, you had produced enough energy to heat one cup of coffee, unless of course you’re my mother-in-law, in which case it might be a little bit less time. Just saying. Fortunately, I don’t think she’s listening to this, sorry, if you are.
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Today’s guest is going to be amazing and this is a podcast I’ve wanted to do for a while because he’s an interesting entrepreneur but he’s also really talking about hacking fear. I’m talking about Ravé Mehta, who’s a best-selling author of a book called The Inventor: The Story of Tesla, which is a best-selling non-fiction graphic novel based on Nikola Tesla, who’s one of my personal heroes. He’s also a TED speaker, a professor, and a composer, a pianist, and a guy who’s really focused on what’s going on inside your head.
Ravé, welcome to the show.
Ravé Mehta: Thank you, Dave. Great to be here.
Dave Asprey: Now, we hangout with a lot of the same people. You were just saying that you saw Steven Kotler and Robert Cooper who were two of the speakers from The Bulletproof Conference, kind of a neuroscientist but not looking at fixing problems, with neuroscientist looking at enhancing performance, there’s a new side of neuroscience. How did you get to know all these kinds of people?
Ravé Mehta: We actually just met through other mutual friends of similar interests. Steven, I met over a year ago and he’s just amazing. His books are amazing and what he’s doing is amazing, completely aligned with my interests. Then Robert’s an innovation expert, along the lines of what I do as well, and some of the others, you had a pretty good group, a pretty good crew at your conference. I look forward to seeing you next year.
Dave Asprey: Awesome. We’ll make sure I get you some tickets for next year. It’s one of those things where, when you surround yourself with people who are asking big questions like that around fear, innovation, flow state, and one of the things that’s essentially about you, is you’ve actually focused what you do specifically on each of those things. Then you tied it all to music which is not something that I have the skills to do.
Let’s talk about fear, because this is one of those things that I didn’t realize was affecting my performance as a human in relationships, as an entrepreneur at all in my 20’s. It took me a while to even recognize what it was. What is fear to you?
Ravé Mehta: That’s a big question. Fear to me is the one … Let me back up actually. In my research, I spent 15 years kind of hacking, researching, chasing fear, just to understand what it looks like and how it works. What I found is there’s really just one force, one life force. Sometimes we call it flow, the flow state, that’s what we tap into but I like to refer it to as love. The kind of the binding force that binds everything together, through which everything’s created.
Dave Asprey: Did you say love?
Ravé Mehta: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: Are you some kind of a hippie? I mean your hair’s a little bit long.
Ravé Mehta: No.
Dave Asprey: I’m in full agreement with you by the way, but some people listening are like, “What’s this guy talking about?” You got to go deeper on that so everyone gets it.
Ravé Mehta: I will. If there’s one force that exists, essentially that kind of connects everything, that’s what I’d refer to it. George Lucas calls it the force, East Asia they call it chi, India calls it prana, I just refer to it as love.
Dave Asprey: It’s midi-chlorian mediated. I’m talking about the Star Wars reference.
Ravé Mehta: The Mandorian.
Dave Asprey: Anyway.
Ravé Mehta: There are two forces that act on it, on this life force, which is the source of our flow. One force is fear and that constraints our pipe for how much of this flow or this life force we get in. Then the other is the opposite, what I call or what I refer to as trust, and that opens the pipe, so we get more of this life force or love or whatever flowing through us.
Fear is really, what I discovered is all negative emotions is rooted in fear, whether it’s anger, jealousy, insecurity, greed, guilt, shame, any of that stuff, the source emotion is fear. Then similarly, all positive emotions are rooted in trust, they have confidence, grace, gratitude, humility, confidence, and courage and all that stuff comes out of trust. When I broke it down to just those two fundamental kind of forces acting on the source of our flow, it made it so much simpler for me to work with it and see how I could transform these fear-based emotions into trust and open up or flow.
Dave Asprey: The ends of the spectrum for you are fear and trust.
Ravé Mehta: Right.
Dave Asprey: Trust in what? Like trust in your fear? No.
Ravé Mehta: No, no-
Dave Asprey: What are you trusting in?
Ravé Mehta: You trust, okay, here is a spectrum to trust, it starts with, and the same with fear, fear stats with doubt, leads to skepticism, and ultimately it leads to fear, and then fear paralyzes you. The opposite is trust, it starts with hope and it moves up the scale until you have full trust in essentially the universe, you’re place in it, all the events happening around you. You have a sense of comfort that everything is working in your favor and you may not know all the answers or why, but you have that sense of trust and that’s … When you’re in that state of ultimate trust, that’s when you’re tapped into ultimate flow and we see that. We see that like when we’re really present, you’re in a state of trust.
Dave Asprey: Right.
Ravé Mehta: When you move away from being present, you allow fear to come in, all the what-if questions. The more further you’re out in the future, the more room for fear to enter. Being present is just one of the three pillars of fear that I kind of came up with or that I discovered over time. Fear is always based in the future, what if this happens? What if that happens? Many times it’s stimulated by the past and then we experience it in the present. However, when you’re very present there’s no room for fear. That’s when you’re in a state of trust because you’re in flow, you’re completely in the moment. You have to be trusting.
Dave Asprey: When you’re in the moment you can’t be afraid?
Ravé Mehta: No, there’s no room for fear.
Dave Asprey: Exactly.
Ravé Mehta: Right.
Dave Asprey: I totally get that.
Ravé Mehta: The second pillar of fear is, the first is time, the second is attachment. There are two types of attachment. First I was kind of like, “Oh, maybe we shouldn’t have attachments.” Then over time I realized, “No, there’s nothing wrong with attachment. It’s the nature of how we are attached to these objects or subjects of our attachment,” and there are two types.
One is a rigid attachment, something that kind of like a steel beam connecting you to the object of your attachment, and there’s almost these universal forces acting on you that’s creating stress. If there’s enough stress and opposite directions in that beam that’s connecting you to, snaps and you just slingshot away from each other. The whole experience is miserable because there’s stress the whole time.
The other type of attachment is what I call gravitational or orbital attachment. That’s when there’s nothing holding you in place, it’s just your own gravity and the gravity of whatever it is that the object of your attachment that’s keeping you guys within each other’s force or field. When all these universal forces push on you, you just rotate around each other but there’s no stress in the system. As dynamics change you can naturally gravitate away from each other or closer together, but once again, it’s natural, there’s no stress in the system.
Changing from a rigid attachment to an orbital attachment was another pillar of fear that I found would break down fear. The difference between the two is when you’re in a rigid attachment situation, you are focused on the attachment and where it should be. You’re trying to control it. Where in a gravitational attachment, you’re actually focused on yourself in becoming a better person or growing in every aspect, and that’s attracting the right things into your space and pushing the wrong things away. It’s just a slight shift in mindset, instead of focusing on something else, focusing on yourself, and then everything corrects itself.
Then the third is a very specific type of attachment, it’s an attachment to a specific outcome, we call that an expectation. When you have an expectation … I think about expectation as, if you achieve an expectation there’s no real glory or joy because you expected it, but if you don’t, then there’s all these dismay and disappointment and demoralization that takes place that brings your flow state down.
However, what I found if we change our expectations to preferences and leaving the final outcome of how that intention is served, that when you achieve it then there’s this great joy and elation that takes place, and when you don’t you still leave it open for other ways that that’s initial intention being satisfied.
Going back, there’s no problem with having goals. It’s just attaching a certain, very specific form and outcome to that goal may not necessarily be the best interest of your intention of why you set the goal in the first place. Changing the expectation to preference, because expectations is very tied to form, preferences is tied to the intention. Just a subtle shift in mindset opens it up. It turns out, any one of these three pillars, time, attachment and expectation, if you knock any one of those three down then fear just goes away. Because all of them have to be active for fear to exist.
Dave Asprey: Interesting. Does that mean if you have none of those active can you get rid of your fear completely?
Ravé Mehta: Yes, even if you just get one of them, fear goes away. If you’re present then the other two don’t matter because they’re embedded in each other, the other two go away. But if you can’t be present, say you have to plan for something in the future then you move to the next pillar, attachment. If you could change the nature of attachment then your fear goes away, but if you can’t because it’s a short term thing that you need to really control and manage, then you move to expectation. If you could change that to a preference then that gets rid of fear. There’s kind of like a cascade effect.
Dave Asprey: Now, I’ll take a ridiculous example here. I really want to understand fear and I think a lot of people listening to this, everyone knows that fear plays a role in their life. Everyone wants to have control over their fear, and you’re writing a book about how to hack fear. I’m going to go deep on this and you can tell me if I’m being ridiculous, I’m okay with that.
Ravé Mehta: Sure. Sure.
Dave Asprey: All right, now there’s a tiger in mid-air crouching in you or doing whatever, crouching and jumping at you like ready to take a bite. You say like, “Well, I’m feeling like I’m in the present moment, maybe, but I’m sort of attached to the outcome of not being torn to bits.” Great.
Ravé Mehta: Great. Crazy.
Dave Asprey: I would prefer not to be eaten. Am I really going to feel the and bend this fear and act or like … just walk me through. It seems like there’s a visceral kind of fear that’s survival based, that maybe being present isn’t the solution for not being afraid of the tiger tearing me to pieces.
Ravé Mehta: I had a similar experience actually. I was in South African safari and we were observing a pride of lions take out an elephant. As we’re sitting there one of the lion, we’re in our cart and one of the lions actually walked up to me. I was in the front seat, in the front left corner, closest to the ground and it literally walked up to me and I had a picture, because I was taking pictures of it as it was coming closer, until our ranger said, “Stop moving. Stop moving.” He said, “Stop moving. Stop breathing. Pretend you don’t exist.” I could feel the breath of the lion on my forearm and it sat there and it’s just looking and observing. It’s trying to figure me out. It’s trying to figure out probably if I was edible or not.
Naturally, my mind wandered in the future like, “Oh my God, this is going to be the worst way to die,” all those what-if questions. I was in the future. I had the attachment to not dying and my body, and then I had expectation of wanting to survive. But it wasn’t until I pulled myself in the present, I used a breathing exercise that got me very present, got me very settled, and it did feel, I felt comfortable. The trust kind of reemerged in me, I said, “Everything’s going to be fine.” Then it wasn’t within seconds of me feeling that way that the lion walked, got up and just walked away. They sense-
Dave Asprey: Animals.
Ravé Mehta: They sense-
Dave Asprey: Animals sense that.
Ravé Mehta: They sense it and so do we. We sense it too. We’re not necessarily conscious of it all the time but we all sense each other’s feelings. The question in that scenario is, what led up to the tiger or lion wanting to pounce on you? Because it wasn’t like all of a sudden you’ve gone into a state of fear when he’s mid-air. There is a series of things that would attract it towards to you possibly, that could lead to you being in that state. In that state if your present you would know what to do. You can move out of the way. You know how to maneuver because you’d be in a flow state, you wouldn’t be paralyzed.
Dave Asprey: I think it was Alberto Villoldo who’s a shaman and a culture anthropologist, he’s been on Bulletproof Radio. He’s a friend. If I’m quoting him right he said something like, “If you get bitten by a snake you go to the doctor. If you don’t know what to do and you’re bitten by the snake go to the doctor. If you know why you got bitten by the snake you go to the shaman.” Which kind of illustrate what you’re saying, like if you’re living in the state of fear, I believe anyway, and it’s been my experience that you attract the things you don’t want into your life. If you’re living in a state of flow or a state of presence or a state of gratitude or whatever the antidote that you have is, for fear in your life, at least most of the time. Like if your technical term is, “Good shit happens.” Is that kind of where you’re going with this?
Ravé Mehta: Yeah, I mean, I feel like we give off feels and everything’s getting off a field and we attract the fields that we’re giving off. Essentially they’re like-
Dave Asprey: Give off fields. All the scientists listening to this and doctors, like give off fields. What kind of a field? Do you know what kind of field?
Ravé Mehta: Energetic fields. I feel like there’s a … This is not, I mean, this is provable science. You could do multiple testing and multiple tests at different thought pattern, or even the, I forgot his name, Mokimoto, who tested the crystal and water. Where he put emotions on the water and the different crystal formations form when they’re frozen. Our thoughts have energetic qualities and we give off these energetic qualities all the time and there are things receiving that. Things that kind of correlate with it come into our space and those that don’t move away.
Dave Asprey: It’s rough because if you would look at Lynne McTaggart’s work around the field, there’s great amounts of evidence that there’s something going on but we haven’t, at least in my knowledge, figured out how to directly measure those fields using instruments outside of us, which is you’re getting. But we can measure, what I would guess happened with your lion. That’s actually a magnetic field and it does come off your heart and it is trainable. That’s something that I do. Do you work with heart rate variability at all?
Ravé Mehta: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: Let’s talk about what you do with heart rate variability. What do you do with that? Because that’s one of those dreaded measurable, you can see it, you can feel it, you can look at it with a magnetic field detector, and we know that it interacts with other people. Let’s, for the skeptics listening, this is something that is beyond the field of skepticism where it’s measurable, quantifiable, and we know it affects other beings. Let’s assume that it’s magnetic even though it may be a lot more than that and we’ll go from there. Just to help people do a thought experiment here around fear. Go ahead.
Ravé Mehta: The way I work with heart variability is I use different breathing techniques to help me get into different states to give off different, I guess, heart feels, I guess, for lack of a better word. Having gone through an extensive process of measuring the different feels or frequencies that we’re giving off, but I could definitely notice a change in different techniques. This goes all the way back to even like vedic sciences in our culture. They figured this out thousands of years ago.
Dave Asprey: It’s not new.
Ravé Mehta: It’s not new. We’re just using different instruments to figure out how it works and a different lens. As a yoga teacher and practitioner, I mean, I’ve been using breathing techniques and meditation techniques for a while and really managing my own state with those. There’s a video game that Deepak Chopra showed me once, a couple of years ago. He use one of those finger clips to track your pulse. It was called the bio-sensor but really a pulse tracker. In the game he would have you do different breathing techniques, and as you got, your heart beat got the range of what they’re looking for, based on those bio-sensor, whatever you’re trying to accomplish would start to happen. Like the balls in the grass would start to juggle.
Dave Asprey: I knew that game.
Ravé Mehta: It train you in different techniques to move through this journey, so to speak and-
Dave Asprey: The game, by the way for listeners, my buddy Kyle runs it. It’s called Wild Divine. It was the first bio-feedback video game. That’s the one you’re talking about.
Ravé Mehta: Exactly. That’s exactly right, and that was years ago. That’s fairly ahead of its time, I would say.
Dave Asprey: It was like late 90’s, I think when it came out or something like that.
Ravé Mehta: Exactly, very ahead of its time but in a similar way he’s using the heart rate variability to show some kind of direct feedback from a video game standpoint.
Dave Asprey: You worked in the video game industry, didn’t you?
Ravé Mehta: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: That’s why you’ve seen it. It was not a major success. I was going to say, that’s okay.
Ravé Mehta: No, it wasn’t but I don’t think … A lot of things I’ve done and I’m sure you’ve experienced sometimes if we’re too early, it’s all timing, right? It doesn’t mean it’s not a good product quality, it just means the timing is off, the market is not ready or the audience isn’t ready for it.
Dave Asprey: As a yoga teacher you recognized that when you do different breathing exercises they do something to your heart, like you see your heart open in meditation. That’s more than a few types of meditation teaching. You’re doing this and that does affect heart rate variability and then you’re noticing that it has an effect on the people or the things around you, right?
Ravé Mehta: Sure.
Dave Asprey: In the case of the lion you were in a state of fear because it’s a normal thing to happen when you feel like a carnivore is sniffing your arm to see if it’s made out of bacon. Then you overcame that using your breathing exercise, and the second you overcame it the lion’s like, “Oh, not food.” Because it doesn’t have the fear of food, right?
Ravé Mehta: Right.
Dave Asprey: That’s an example of where you totally hacked your fear in a very substantial way. Now, let’s say that I’m … Let’s go to another example. This is one where, a few of my clients have this and they’re super successful, it’s like, “If I go on stage I’ll die.”
Ravé Mehta: Right.
Dave Asprey: Right, like, “I have stage fright, like I will not go in front of a group of people and talk.” I’m like, “well, it’s kind of what you do if you’re going to be in a leadership role, is you need to be able to talk about what you’re doing, and to be able to be in a state of flow when you do it.” The fear blocks the flow or the flow cancels the fear. What do you tell someone who wants to hack that kind of fear?
Ravé Mehta: Sure. It’s funny did a show called ASPIRE, which was different than any of my other shows. It was a piano concert coupled with kind of like a TED-like series of talks, where I curated the piano pieces to the different talks. What’s different about this is this time it was just me. It was completely me, it’s me and a mike, me and a piano and there’s no other distractions, there’s no PowerPoints, there’s no other dancers on stage, no visuals. It was raw. Intentionally, I was wanting to push my boundaries.
It’s probably I would say out of everything I’ve done, I mean, I’ve jumped out of plane, swam with sharks, dove off cliffs, I mean everything I’ve done you know almost eating by a lion, that was probably the scariest thing I’ve probably ever done, and because it was raw. I had to be so vulnerable that I had to just expose myself and be who I was, otherwise it wouldn’t have worked.
I would say for someone that’s going on stage, the key to being on stage in front of a bunch of people and being a great performer or a great, having great presence is vulnerability. It’s so counterintuitive to everything we’ve been taught. We layer our self with all these armor, or identities, who we are, who we think we are, and after a while it starts to get heavy and we start to block this quality that makes us unique and special, it makes us real. People feel that. People can feel the difference when someone is laded with armor and then when they are stripped naked. In every case a person’s more attracted to a person that’s much more vulnerable and open and authentic than the other way around, no matter how amazing they are.
Dave Asprey: Now that’s a very, very deep statement. Vulnerability is something you shouldn’t be afraid. If you’re an animal, let’s say that you’re a deer. If you’re vulnerable you’re going to be constantly searching for the threats because you have no defenses. You’re saying that for people to be most effective on, especially on a stage like that, they need to be vulnerable. How do you, especially for men, this is really challenging. It took me years to learn how to be vulnerable. I’m probably still working on it on certain levels but, actually for both genders but I know men just have a bigger problem with this because of the way our culture is. How do you recommend people practice being vulnerable? How do you get into a vulnerable state if it’s not a state that feels natural for you?
Ravé Mehta: Sure. One of the things I figured out is we get into these flow holes. We’ll be in a life-threatening situation or a challenge that we want to achieve. We get present, we get in the moment, we’re in a state and we do what we need to do, we get through it and we celebrate afterwards but now we’re no longer in that state, like Danny Way when he jumped the Great Wall of China. He’s in a flow state from the few jumps and then after that he’s in the hospital because he shattered his leg.
How do you sustain your flow state? How do you level up your flow state? Was the next question I has like, now I know how to get in flow states. I can get to those no mind states, but how do I keep it? That’s where vulnerability, that’s where I figured out vulnerability was the pathway to that, because the more authentic we become, the closer to our authentic selves, the higher our flow rate levels up automatically.
Then it went back to, well, vulnerability is scary because we’re afraid of getting hurt. We’re afraid of getting hurt in any way, physical, emotionally, spiritually, whatever sense. What I’ll add to that is vulnerability with awareness, with trust. Trust is never meant to be blind, in other words vulnerability is not meant to be a naïve vulnerability. It’s meant to be a vulnerability with awareness and you can achieve both.
If you’re aware which means you’re in flow, then you could be open and still be completely high-performing or safe, whatever the case is. What it does is it strengthens your emotional immune system. We have our physical immune system but we also have an emotional immune system that never gets exercised if we constantly have our armor on. It just gets weaker, the minute that armor gets ripped off like if we have fallen to a health crisis, you don’t have the energy to hold on to that armor anymore. The ego just has to melt away because it takes a lot of energy to hold on to it. All those emotions just go away. Then you really feel like how … Then you really vulnerable, you really get a sense of that. Everyone will go through a health crisis because everyone dies. At some point they will experience some kind of crisis in their life and they get a sense of that vulnerability. It’s almost like by design it was created.
Dave Asprey: You obviously don’t know my transhumanists friends.
Ravé Mehta: I know a few. I know a few.
Dave Asprey: I imagine you must, who believe they’re not going to die, which would be a state of invulnerability, which means if that does happen they might be in for some rough times. Is that what you’re saying?
Ravé Mehta: Yeah, I mean they have an expectation. It depends if it’s a preference or an expectation, if we’re not to die that’s one thing but let’s assume that they will die like everyone does. It’s a safe assumption.
Dave Asprey: All right, I’m not going to name who it is but one of the very major figures in that field. I met him-
Ravé Mehta: Ray Kurzweil?
Dave Asprey: No, I won’t name who it is but a guy I respect greatly. One of the original transhumanist. I met him before he called himself transhumanist. We’re talking about anti-aging and all that stuff and I’m like, “Look, we’re all going to die,” and he was horribly offended. I’m like, “No, listen. The universe will come to an end, like we’re all going to die. It doesn’t matter what you do, like it is inevitable because of the fact that we think the universe will collapse back end.” I actually think I pissed him off because of that. It’s like, “No, really, like I believe you can extend human lifetimes a very large amount. I’m planning on at least 180 but come on here, like the planet will crumble at some point.” I’m getting off topic here. I took you out of your flow as well. You were going through this whole process around fear of death and what’s going to happen there with vulnerability, let’s get back to that.
Ravé Mehta: Yes, I found that the more vulnerable I am the more flow I have access to, which levels me up my flow state, which allows me to do more. It gives me more potential because I don’t have, I’m not using that energy to hold on to thing, to false identities or to get too attached to them anymore. I have all these energy available to me that I can use to create and explore and discover and do productive things, things that will level me up, expand my being.
Dave Asprey: When I do neurofeedback, like the 40 years of Zen program with electrodes and lie detectors for seven days where I’m basically looking what’s going on in my brain, you find that there’s a problem because when you work on being in a vulnerable state, the parts of your brain that you don’t normally, you have control over unless you’re trained to have control over them, they’ll immediately snap you out of vulnerable state because those parts of your brain’s responsible for keeping the meat of your body alive, like it’s the meat operating system that does it. I’ll be like, “I want to be vulnerable,” it’s like, “Yeah, right, over my dead body.” There’s this inner dialogue like that. I know so many people are so defended like, how do they crack through that defense? How do you hack that?
Ravé Mehta: There’s two things that, there’re two part of this. Let’s go back to fear for a second, fear and trust and then trust, I coupled trust with awareness, and fear with ignorance. Those are the two sides. Say I’m walking down the street and I see a pothole in front of me. When I look at a pothole, I noticed it and I walked around it. Now in that process, could have looked at the pothole and be scared, “Oh my God, what if I tripped? What if I slipped? What if I break my ankle? What if I fall and hit my face?” Or I just noticed that there’s a pothole there and the solution is to walk around it.
Now let’s say there’s a snake in that pothole and I walked up to it. Now there’s a little more fear-inducing element. The same thing, I still walk around the pothole. The difference is, in that case I could have been scared, “What if that snake bites me? What If …,” once again, “What if I slip? What if I fall? What if it’s poisonous?” Or I could notice it and be aware of it and then move around it.
That’s where trust and flow comes in as you just know what to do, because fear, if you hit the fear state sometimes we move back and forth between fear and trust, fear and trust, and that’s what we call hesitation. When you’re not hesitating … When you hesitate you’re moving back between awareness and paralysis, awareness-paralysis, awareness-paralysis. Fear is paralysis and trust is awareness, but when you’re afraid you’re stuck. You’re stuck, you don’t know what to do but then when you snap back into trust, that’s when you move around and solve, find solutions for whatever the situation is.
I think the same thing in vulnerability is a form of trust, because for you to be vulnerable you have to trust that you’re going to be okay. Then when you’re vulnerable and you’re trusting then you’re aware that, what’s going on but the minute you hit something and all of sudden you hit a fear state, you stop. You get paralyzed and then the hesitations, the dance between awareness and the paralysis.
Dave Asprey: People can feel when you’re vulnerable. All of the best presentations I’ve ever given are when they’re like you come through without the defenses up, then there’s a certain type of person who sense vulnerability and then tries to exploit it, we call them bullies. They exist in high school and grade school and they exist as adults too. They’re the ones who are always tearing other people down instead of saying, “I don’t agree with you,” it’s like, “You’re a scumbag,” or whatever. There’s somewhat 2% of the population who are sociopaths and stuff like that. What do you recommend or in your own experience just hacking fear, what do you recommend people do when they go into state of vulnerability and they come across one of these people who looks to exploit vulnerability?
Ravé Mehta: Sure. When I say vulnerability I do not imply a weakness.
Dave Asprey: No, no, not at all. If you show up as vulnerable, like there will be people who are like they’ll try and take advantage of you. You don’t have to let them.
Ravé Mehta: No, because you’re creating an attractive force, you’re going to draw people to you because people are attracted to vulnerability and authenticity, I mean, and it goes back to being aware. There’s this other … I’ll give you an example. There’s this other thing I talked about in ASPIRE, my show, where I talk about how to tap into flow states and vulnerability is in one of these talks. Another one is the power of yes and it talks about how yes, just even the word yes, increases your ability to tap into flow state. You have more flow just by saying the word yes. Most people … The second most recognized word in the world is no, Coke is the first one but no is the second one.
Dave Asprey: Really?
Ravé Mehta: Yes, this is true, at least it was. I don’t know if that changed. I’m sure it hasn’t changed but it makes you wonder that there’s so many people saying no. At least the world understands no but very few understand yes. I took them through an exercise where they had to say yes after everything I said. You can see the energy in the room just increasing yes by yes. Every yes they said it increase but then I took them through the same exercise having them to say no to everything I said. That first time they said no the game is over. They can see the extreme cut off between this beautiful journey, and fun journey and eventually they took by saying yes all the way through. There’s immediate heart stop, “No,” that they said and cut off all information all potential to them from the minute they said no. You can say yes, that is … Say yes leads you to opportunity and potential but you can say no by saying yes. I would say yes to you and we could do in through an exercise and then you can ask me some ridiculous question.
Dave Asprey: All right, but take me through that. I’m sure people listening would love to do that. By the way, if you’re watching you’ll probably get more out of this. If you watch on YouTube just because we’re seeing each other but … All right, what do I do? I have to ask you a ridiculous question or the other way around?
Ravé Mehta: Just ask me whatever you want me to do or whatever you feel and I’ll try to demonstrate what I mean.
Dave Asprey: All right, I’m going to try and break this just because I’m a hacker as well. Let’s see, does your mom know that you’re an accountant?
Ravé Mehta: Yes, she does. I have financial accounting classes that I’m taking at school.
Dave Asprey: Cool. I supposed being an accountant is a terrible confession but it could have been does your mom know you’re an ax murderer?
Ravé Mehta: My mom knows that I have no criminal record.
Dave Asprey: It didn’t sound like a yes.
Ravé Mehta: Well no, but the point being is I’m directing you into … I’m not saying, “No, my mom does not know that I’m an ax murderer.”
Dave Asprey: By not saying no you’re leaving it open and then you’re qualifying it, I get what you’re saying, all right.
Ravé Mehta: The idea of … There’s what I call … I call this yes-ing. You say yes to things. When people ask you to do things or ask you to explore things you start with yes because you want to open that information flow to you. Then when they start to ask you things that start to fall out of your realm of interests, then if you get good at this you could say yes, still say yes but redirect them to moving into the realm where you are interested in. When you’re asking me, say you ask me, “Hey, can I bring you a cup of coffee right now?” Clearly that’s not possible because I’m here and you’re across that coast, across the other side of continent, but I can say yes next time I see you I’ll bring you a cup of coffee.
Dave Asprey: Yes, yes with an asterisk, I get you there.
Ravé Mehta: Right, you can condition your yeses and then redirect their behavior, but when you do that what happens is they feel validated and they become much more open to your conditions.
Dave Asprey: How does that tie back to fear and vulnerability?
Ravé Mehta: The point being is when you had … I had a six-year old that I was mentoring and this is our situation set-up. He was from a divorced family, have a lot of built anger and resentment. I put him through this emotional self evaluation, where every time he gets angry I told him to sit on the couch until he’s not angry anymore, and then come and rejoin whatever we’re doing. After a few times of doing that he started recognizing when he’s getting angry himself, to the point where he would put himself on the couch and then after a while he just stopped getting angry. That’s within a three week period of time. He became self evaluative of his emotions, he became self-aware.
Now he had a bully in school and this bully is a female but she’s like heavier woman, bigger girl, and she’s bullying him and his friends and whatnot. He had so much confidence to that point that he actually went to the bully and told her, “Hey look, the reason you don’t have any friends is because you’re so mean to everybody and if you weren’t so mean to everybody then you would have more friends. In fact, I want to be your friend but you don’t let me be your friend because you’re so mean.”
Next thing you know, the very next day … He spoke truth because he’s vulnerable too. The very next day that girl started being nice to everyone and then a week later they all were playing together like there was no problems, like it never happened. That’s an example from a first grade level but first graders are, they’re rough. They can be rough as they imbibe all their parental and other environmental factors and they don’t have a filter. Just by being vulnerable and being confident and speaking truth, I guess in that case, and letting them know that you’re a good person, just show that. It kind of melted those walls and then she transformed. It was pretty powerful. I was pretty amazed that he even admit that himself when he told us the story.
Dave Asprey: That’s pretty cool. I want to talk more about your ASPIRE piece, because you’re one of the few guys that I know who’s talked about expressing scientific knowledge through arts or being a metahuman. Talk about those concepts, like why do you need art to express scientific knowledge?
Ravé Mehta: Because I feel like we learn through stories. I mean we imbibe information. We imbibe facts and whatever, we don’t connect to it as deeply until there’s some kind of story that either we create ourselves, or that we relate to. We’re pattern-searching machines and we’re looking for connections essentially. When we look at scientific data there’s two levels of it. There’s one that we observe it, as an outsider we notice it and that’s it. Then there is the data that we actually experience and can connect to and that’s way more valuable than being just an observer, because you can do stuff with that.
I feel like art is a way of bringing that experience into a connection into, whatever information I’m trying to communicate across. I found it to be really effective, like the graphic novel of Nikola Tesla. That’s story has been told in lots of different books but the way kids connected to Moses is because of the art, the visuals. The visuals brought, and not just kids, adults too. I mean, they visuals is what attracted people into the story and then the story tells the facts of history.
I learned this in the gaming industry. You can build the best game, the most amazing game with the best game mechanics but it’s the art that sells you, that hooks you in. Once you get hooked and then it’s the mechanics and the actual game play that keeps you there. I don’t know, art sells and then the truth changes you. I guess, the mechanics of how I feel, like we as humans absorb and learn and express.
Dave Asprey: The book there, I love that you chose to do this. I wanted to switch gears and talk about the book anyway, you’re timing’s perfect. You wrote about something that very few people know shaped, really much of our world we know today, which is the fight between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison. Where basically we’re pretty sure that, well, Tesla stole some stuff from Royal Rife and Thomas Edison stole some stuff from Tesla. All three of them probably stole some stuff from each other or the more enlightened perspective on that maybe is that when ideas come they typically emerge in at least three places.
A lot of people don’t believe that but a friend of mine, Mark Lemley a Stanford Law Professor, actually wrote a paper documenting that within our pattern system that many new ideas emerge in multiple points just like it was time for them to come out. One person got the pattern but there’s usually a couple other people working on it. We have good evidence this is the way.
Anyway, we have these three guys and you chose the two big ones, Tesla and Edison, and they fought about alternate current versus direct current, which is the dumbest thing you’d ever think of to fight about unless you’re an engineer. Tell me why this is important and why you did a graphic novel about it.
Ravé Mehta: That’s because … It wasn’t that specific battle that I was focusing on, it’s more of the human emotional journey that he had to go through, that we all go through. That story is really the story of any creator, artist, entrepreneur, inventor, anyone that wants to put an idea to this world, even someone that wants to create a family, it’s still creation, and all the hurdles you have to go through to get there.
You have economic hurdles. You have these little hurdles but the most … but the hurdles that every single person goes through is emotional ones, the ups and downs and then how do you persist through that? The bigger the stakes, the higher those hurdles are and the higher that roller coaster of emotional turbulence you’re going to run into. Then it goes back to fear. If you know how to move from fear to trust then you could take these high amplitude of waves and make it soft waves, and move through that space much quicker and more efficiently. His journey was, I think of in a sense, he brought light power to the world but it’s completely relatable to everyone’s journey, whether you’re, especially artists, creators, and inventors and entrepreneurs. It had so many layers to it that I just felt like that story had to be told in that many levels.
The guy had some … He had it, I mean it shows that he had a destiny and he pushed through. He almost died when he was young. He had cholera and his brother died from it. Everyone’s died from it but at the last minute he somehow just had a miraculous, he’s miraculously healed himself because his father once said, “Okay, I’ll let you go to university,” instead of his religious, pursuing his religious schooling. All of a sudden all the flow came back to him, he just, and it healed him. That happened several times throughout the story. He almost died but somehow he just continue to move through those spaces. I feel that story is really important on so many levels that, and it focus the point … the point, I think, was his human journey.
Dave Asprey: The human journey is definitely powerful to Tesla and I have a lot of his old papers and stuff. I’ve studied his work. A lot of people don’t know that Tesla was looking at biology as well as electricity. He’s famous for his electric stuff but some of the first vibrating platforms were made by Tesla. In fact, there’s a famous story, this is like the Bulletproof Vibe. I manufacture a vibrating platform that’s the great, great, great, great grandson, granddaughter, grandchild of the kind of research they were doing, but Tesla had, if memory serves, in his lab a vibrating platform. If you put it down to 8 hertz it would basically make you poop on yourself, like very reliably. I’ve played with different frequencies and it has a very stimulating effect to put it that way, disaster pants frequencies.
He would actually warn people coming in his lab like, “Don’t stay on there too long, don’t do this,” like, “It’s strong.” Because he was looking at the effect of vibrations and there’s sound vibrations, there’s physical vibrations, there’s light vibrating or particle, we saw him figured that one out, there’s music, like there’s all these things. But Tesla was about the vibrations as much as he was anything else. That’s why I’ve always been interested in him because it’s like electric plus biochemical.
The reason that I think the AC/DC thing, which is the context for your story is interesting, is that direct current doesn’t create the electromagnetic fields that are harmful but alternate current does. There was a big fight around, “Do we have a direct current electrical grid or do we have an alternate grid?” They chose one that was economically interesting but biologically harmful, as far as I can tell at this point. Certainly not biologically optimal. The degree of harmfulness, I don’t know, but it doesn’t appear to be ideal, let’s just put it that way.
I appreciate that you have put the story together around a really fascinating thing that’s affecting people but it’s really about an interesting person. Is there a cool fact about Tesla that no one knows that you came across when you were doing this?
Ravé Mehta: There is this quote I say in ASPIRE. I’m going to pop it back to ASPIRE a little bit. I talked about, and this to me, this really connected with me because it’s really powerful. We talked about how we are these, essentially we’re cosmic specs to this universe. If a meteor came in, just wiped out the planet, the universe wouldn’t miss us, it would move on. It will continue to move on and continue to unfold in the way it’s already doing so.
But then it kind of takes me back to like, “Well then, what’s unique about us? Why are we even here? What’s the point?” Then it came to me … It didn’t hit me until Tesla said this but he said that, “If all the forces of the universe,” I’m paraphrasing a little bit but he said that, “If all the forces …” No, “According to the law of conservation of energy, you can’t create energy or destroy energy. Therefore all the forces of the universe will cancel each other out to maintain complete balance and harmony of the universe.” If that’s true, then the only thing left is thought, and therefore a single thought can determine the entire motion of the universe, because it’s outside of those physical matters, outside of the physics of how the universal forces work, matter, energy, so on so forth.
That’s like, “Wow,” if that’s true, a single thought, unfortunately a lot of our thoughts on this planet cancel each other out so we end up with trickles of what could be a powerful thought, a powerful collective thought. But if a single thought has that much influence on this universe, it has a ripple effect, our thought can be heard or felt across the universe. What’s interesting is we know this because we now implement double-blind experiments because we know that our thought affects the outcome on a more local level. We have what we call, what’s the word when … It’ll come back to me but when-
Dave Asprey: The random, the random generator kind of stuff or something?
Ravé Mehta: No, no, no, like when we’re in a, when we heal, like to say we’re sick and all of a sudden we feel better because someone told us something.
Dave Asprey: Spontaneous healing kind of stuff?
Ravé Mehta: No, it’ll come back to me. It’s a common word in medical industry. The placebo effect.
Dave Asprey: Placebo, of course.
Ravé Mehta: We talked about the placebo effect like all of a sudden we believe something, we believe we are better or we’re taking a sugar pill that’s healing us and then we’re healed essentially, at least for that time frame. That’s because our thought is affecting your outcome. Unfortunately, the medical industry avoid or invalidates the placebo effect but I think the placebo effect is a part of the healing process. In fact it’s more powerful than all the stuff we take.
There’s so much research I can talk about that but there’s … it’s our thought, our thought and emotional states are affecting, and once again, they’re affecting the outcomes of everything around us. Then it goes back to the fear and trust. The more trust, the more we are in a state of trust, the more powerful and impactful those thoughts are to move us to a higher frequency or a higher potential and then vice, and then opposite for fear.
When Tesla said that like, “Wow.” We are not only insignificant cosmically but we’re extremely precious and extremely powerful and influential on what happens to the universe. It kind of reverse the lens on me, like “Wow, every person’s thought, feeling, action, emotion matters, and it has a direct impact on everything that’s going on.”
Dave Asprey: They do indeed and one of the things that I teach, is that it’s not enough to walk into the boardroom and act the right way, because it doesn’t work very well. If you walk into the boardroom and you acted the right way, and you are the right way, you feel the right way, you’ll get what you were looking for, like things happen the way they’re supposed to. I always believed in the model of if you do the right thing, you do what you’re supposed to do for the situation, you get what you want, and it turns out there’s multiple levels to it.
I think we’re both saying the same thing, whether it’s from a field, and I tend to agree with you, it is from a field, it’s one we either haven’t measured or maybe an information field. If you look at some of the very new random, I don’t want to call them random, new highly unusual science around information field density, there’s probably something in there about it. But honestly, I haven’t studied enough to know, but I do know that in the practice of doing what I do as an entrepreneur and a dad and all the other stuff, like you’ve got to have the behavior and the inner part in alignment, otherwise things don’t move.
Ravé Mehta: You have to have that presence of mind.
Dave Asprey: That’s how things happen.
Ravé Mehta: Right.
Dave Asprey: That’s, of course challenging to teach as you know, because you’re a yoga teacher where, finding whether you can stand on one leg and close your eyes and all the other things that you do in yoga.
Ravé Mehta: You know that’s funny you say that. When I found a way I teach in what I found to be most effective as to allow them to experience the differences. Like that yes example, where I took them through the yes journey and I took them through the no journey, which was a very short journey, they immediately felt the difference. I didn’t have to explain anything, they just knew and applauded as a result. It’s very obvious. What I teach, and even that six year old I told you about, I was letting him discover when he was in different emotional states and become aware of that.
This whole fear journey, expedition I’ve been chasing for the last, over a decade now, all I’ve really done is put myself into states that where I felt like I’ll be confronting fear for me. Observe my emotions as I’m confronting it and then as I’m not confronting it. Look at the Delta the difference between the two and see what is changing and then finding the pattern between that. That’s how I unraveled a lot of these things that I’m writing about now. It’s really pointing out the differences. If someone can’t, exactly, they’re not equipped or trained to identify those internally then it’s just pointing it, pointing them to look there. Then they start learning really fast and once again, once they start figuring how to notice the differences and emotional thought states they could learn anything at that point.
That six year old, his first day at first grade he’s learning single digit addition, 2 + 1 = 3. At the end of four months I spent probably an hour, an evening with them for like four nights a week. I got them up to basic algebra. He was solving equations 2/3x + 195 = 268, and solving for X and then graphing it. Doing all sorts of math. He knew his squares, his square roots. He knew pretty much everything up to basic, what would normally be like sixth up to eight grade level in four months.
That’s because I was teaching him patterns, pattern recognition and internal processing, and internal Delta identification. That just opened up to learning more languages and everything else just started getting better. He started imbibing more confidence with himself, talking to bullies, all sorts of cool, interesting things start to happen.
Dave Asprey: It’s amazing what I think confidence will do. We’re coming up on the end of the show, Ravé, and I want to ask you this question. I think you have a unique perspective on it. This one I’ve asked every guests in more than 250 episodes, so no pressure. Doing all the stuff you know or all your experiences, if someone came to you tomorrow and they said like, “I want to perform better at everything, like I want to kick ass and whatever it is I want to do. What are the three most important things I need to know?” What would you say?
Ravé Mehta: I would say, and I actually just had this question. I can tell you the result but I would say, one, focus on trust. Start exercising your trust. You can do this by various ways, say yes, starting with the word yes, and so and so forth. Two, find what you really care about. Try to start off with your authentic self from the beginning, instead of moving into these spaces where you feel like other people want you to do something else. Figure out what you really care about, passionate about, because the sooner you get there, that’s when your life really begins. Everything else is just a journey to start your life. Once you figure that out you have a really fun time ahead of you.
Then three, I would say would be try to understand people and that’s … everything has to do with interacting with people or the environment, whatever you’re interacting with, try to understand. First is judge and assess and whatnot, because the more you understand the more knowledge you gain and the more appreciation you have. That all falls in that trust realm. It just moves you naturally to trust and the more power you have, because you can’t, it’s very hard to direct things or manage things into or create things without understanding what all the other elements are. We are so quick to judge and assess that, which is a fear-driven emotion that we missed out on so much in life.
I would say those three things. I’d say, learn to trust. Figure out what you’re … what’s most authentic to you, you’re passionate about. All that stuff will change over time but keep following that, keep tracking that and try to understand.
Dave Asprey: Cool. Thanks for sharing that and now share a couple more things. You have a new show, ASPIRE, you have Flow, which is premiering, and you have your book about Tesla. Where can people find out more about your work? Give me some URL.
Ravé Mehta: Sure. The Inventor Series is the Tesla graphic novel and I’m developing other graphic novels as a series, as a part of that, flowtheshow.com is for the upcoming show, which is kind of like yoga cross cirque du soleil to my piano concert. Then the ASPIREshow.com is the URL for ASPIRE, which is one again a piano concert curated to a series in TED-style talks all around unlocking the secrets of human potential.
Dave Asprey: Beautiful. Awesome. Thanks for being on Bulletproof Radio. I totally appreciate it.
Ravé Mehta: Thank you. Great, it’s fun.
Dave Asprey: If you enjoyed today’s episode, do me a favor, go out and checkout Ravé Mehta’s work. It’s pretty interesting stuff, and when his book on hacking fear comes out, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be an interesting read. Because whether you really know this or not, the reason your procrastinate, the reason you don’t do the things that you want to do, is oftentimes fear, but it’s not the kind of fear that you can easily see or recognize, but it’s in their somewhere.
If you spend your time hacking your fear in one way or another, including the ways Rave about, well, you will kick more ass and that’s what the show is all about. Have an awesome day.
What You Will Hear
- 0:00 – Cool Fact of the Day
- 0:41 – SeatGeek
- 3:15 – Introducing Ravé Mehta
- 5:05 – Understanding fear
- 13:20 – Survival-based fear
- 17:56 – Heart-rate variability
- 22:15 – Public speaking & flow state
- 29:00 – Hacking vulnerability
- 32:18 – Defending your vulnerability
- 38:05 – Art expressing scientific knowledge
- 40:06 – Tesla vs. Edison
- 45:33 – Tesla’s perspective on thoughts and energy
- 52:37 – Top 3 recommendations for kicking more ass and being Bulletproof
SeatGeek promo code: Bullet
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