Using Humor & Sarcasm To Improve Your Life, Revitalize Mitochondria, & Defeat Self-Sabotage – JP Sears – #393
By: Dave Asprey
Why you should listen –
Improve your life and revitalize your body with a healthy dose of sarcasm. Health coach JP Sears dives head first into the science behind humor and why it has such a powerful healing effect on the mind, body, and spirit. JP and Dave reveal why not taking yourself too seriously is a surefire way to defeat your self-sabotaging ways, and why you probably aren’t your own worst enemy, your own mitochondria are!
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Speaker 3: Bulletproof Radio, a state of high performance.
Dave Asprey: Are you feeling all spiritual?
JP Sears: I’m sorry. I wasn’t listening. What?
Dave Asprey: I’m not sure, but I can tell that you’re very focused, grounded, and yet ephemeral, all at the same time.
JP Sears: Ephemeral. That’s my favorite artery, out of all of them.
Dave Asprey: That was a legitimate pun right there. You just scored points for that one, man.
JP Sears: I kind of lost points. I think puns are sort of like, “Eh …”
Dave Asprey: The lowest form of humor, that people laugh at.
JP Sears: Some would say sarcasm. Some named Mr. Wilde would say it’s the lowest form of humor, the lowest form of wit, but highest form of intelligence.
Dave Asprey: I would buy that. I don’t know if that was our show opening, in which case, that would be the first time that I’ve never said, “You’re listening to Bulletproof Radio with Dave Asprey,” but that might be a better show opener, so we’ll figure that one out.
In today’s 24/7 world, you might find yourself feeling a little bit less bulletproof than you like some days. It certainly happens to me. I have a really busy travel schedule, including a lot of time on toxic airplanes full of bad air and questionable food, although I frankly skip the questionable food. One of my top hacks for maintaining that mental performance, and just to feel good and not be too swollen, is to get rid of toxins through my Sunlighten Sauna. In the Bulletproof Biohacking Labs Alpha here on Vancouver Island, where I live, I have a Sunlighten 3-in-1 Infrared Sauna. Why? Because their patented 3-in-1 technology has near, mid, and far infrared, which do different things all in one place. I can get the detox effects, the energy and the weigh loss, and the other things that infrared does for the water in your cells.
When I do that, I’m getting access to a bunch of different health programs. There’s one for detox. There’s one for cardio and for anti-aging, so you can actually control the type of waves you’re exposed to. The near infrared LEDs are important for cell health and anti-aging results. It is controlled with a little Android panel that actually lets you watch Netflix while you’re in the sauna, which is kind of cool. It’s eco-friendly, hypoallergenic basswood and premium craftsmanship. You don’t want some of the toxic woods that release natural, like Mother Nature’s toxins. They don’t use that kind of wood. You can actually access the sauna from the cloud, so you can turn it on before you leave the office, and it’s ready when you get home, which is super cool.
It even includes something called acoustic resonance therapy, where there’s things that shake the seats according to the music you’re listening to, and it turns out that vibration in one of the signals mitochondria in your body listen to, so it’s kind of a cool deal. If you want to check one of these things out, sunlight and infrared saunas are the most effective ones I know of for deep cellular sweating, and you go sunlighten.com, that’s S-U-N-L-I-G-H-T-E-N dot com, and check out the far infrared and full spectrum saunas. If you mention Bulletproof Radio, you get a free set of bamboo carbon towels, and trust me, you’re going to need towels if you start using an infrared sauna. It’s a limited time offer, only while supplies last. Just go to sunlighten.com and mention Bulletproof Radio, or you can also call 877-292-0020, sunlighten.com.
In case you haven’t noticed, if you’re watching on YouTube, you might have figured this out, I have a guy sitting next to me here, who is pretty well known, at least if you’re on the internet, whose name is JP Sears. He’s here at Bulletproof Labs, at my house. We’ve been having to do all sorts of cryotherapy and other crazy biohacking stuff here, and I’m actually going to interview him today about some cool stuff that you might not know about JP Sears, and he might actually answer at least one question without a humorous response, but I’m not sure.
JP Sears: Well, that’s a might with a capital M, and I’m looking forward to getting into things that I don’t know about me.
Dave Asprey: Well, here’s something about the cool fact of the day, which is something that I’ve had in every show, and it says, according to this guy, Oscar Wilde, “Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, but the highest form of intelligence,” but you just stole my cool fact of the day. Did you say you did that?
JP Sears: You’re welcome. Is there anything else I can do to steal your thunder?
Dave Asprey: I’m sure that you’ll find something, JP, but that’s all right. You know what? My thunder was really just like a drizzle today.
JP Sears: I feel like your self-esteem is getting lower.
Dave Asprey: I’ve been wanting to upgrade my self-esteem. Is that possible?
JP Sears: Yeah. Mold-free coffee is the best self-esteem upgrade possible. But I will say this, you are ridiculous in the best way possible. I love it.
Dave Asprey: Thank you, sir.
JP Sears: You mention Oscar Wilde. He has another thought that I absolutely love. He suggests that life is too important to take seriously. One of the reasons why I absolutely love hanging around you, and I tell this to everybody I know when I’m talking about you behind your back, but saying good things behind your book, is you are like a giant child with a very intelligent brain, but I think one of the reasons why you have such a magnetic charisma around you is you exude playfulness, and to me, you embody the idea life is too important to take seriously, which is ironic. You do very serious stuff. You change the world, you change lives, and you do it with a playful mindset. That’s something that’s incredibly inspiring to me.
Dave Asprey: Wow. That’s a massive complement. Thanks, man.
JP Sears: You’re welcome.
Dave Asprey: I appreciate that. I keep going into this cool fact of the day stuff, and we just keep talking about all this other stuff, like me. No, I’m kidding.
JP Sears: Fact of the day, Dave Asprey is cool.
Dave Asprey: You’re rubbing off on me. I’m becoming more egotistical just sitting around you, JP.
JP Sears: You are, but I’m a little more humble than you. I’m the most humble person I know.
Dave Asprey: If you guys don’t know JP Sears’ work, you’ve got to check out his YouTube channel. He’s done basically … I don’t know what to call them, roasts, is maybe an appropriate thing, just hilarious things about Paleo, about biohacking, about vegan diets, about pretty much any sacred cow or sacred vegan cow that you can find, he has slaughtered in the most self-deprecating, hilarious way possible. You must have a YouTube URL or something like … Where do you sent people to find your stuff? Because if you haven’t seen at least some of his stuff … You probably have seen it. You don’t know you’ve seen it, but where do people go for this, because it’s awesome.
JP Sears: Awaken with JP. That’s where you can check out all my stuff on YouTube and Facebook. Of course, if you find me incredibly offensive, then those are the places where you want to avoid going.
Dave Asprey: Well, let’s talk about sarcasm for a minute here. There’s actually real research on sarcasm. The research says something, that it improves creativity and cognitive function. This is neuroscience level stuff. Basically, thinking of it does one thing, and delivering it does another thing. But on the flip side, the stuff that I teach, especially at the 40 Years of Zen, when we’re looking at these advanced ego awareness sort of things, pretty much whenever you’re using sarcasm, there’s an element of anger that’s behind it, like you wanted to say something, so the idea of act with kindness and things like … I have a very sarcastic wit. People listening probably wouldn’t believe that, but-
JP Sears: I’m sure they wouldn’t.
Dave Asprey: I actually toned it way down, because I realized even if I was meaning to be humorous, sometimes, I was hurting people’s feelings. I want to progress through the world with be kind to others as a primary thing to do. Then, it is kind of fun to be a little bit unkind to someone, just because they needed it. Your form of sarcasm is usually, though, not … You’ll make fun of something that I would say needs attention on it, but you end up redirecting it back to yourself at the end of the day. You’re sort of the butt of the joke at the end of the day, versus the person whose belief system you’re insulting, slaying, and otherwise poking holes in.
JP Sears: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: Is that on purpose?
JP Sears: Yeah. To me, it is. I think sarcasm … I hadn’t heard that research, but I totally vibe with it. I do think at the root of all sarcasm … I mean, listen to the word sarcasm, scarcasm. I think it really does have its roots in pain, and I know my humor, it comes from my pain. When I was a child, the way I survived, psychologically, is I learned to make people laugh. The idea of, “If I can make someone laugh, I feel like I matter to them,” so that helped me cover up my sense of insignificance inside with a temporary four or five minute bout of significance coming from the outside. My sarcasm became a way of covering up my pain, so when it comes to expressing humor with sarcasm or satirism, which I think comes from Saturn …
Dave Asprey: Saturn? No. I think that comes from those half goat, half horse … Isn’t Saturn like a-
JP Sears: You’ve offended all the vegans out there already.
Dave Asprey: It’s almost a dish. It’s like half goat, half tofu, and you mix it all up.
JP Sears: That sounds disgusting, but nonetheless, when one expresses their humor, yes, I do believe there’s pain in it. Are we projecting that pain onto someone else and hurting them, or are we essentially owning our pain? Therefore, I think shining the light to help other people get in touch with their pain, rather than having the humor inflict pain on them, that’s why I think self-deprecating humor, I think with a compassionate consciousness toward self rather than using self-deprecating humor to shame self and just hurt our pain even more, I think that’s important to be aware of, so that humor doesn’t become a way of just hurting other people, which to me, it absolutely can. Humor is a powerful energy, powerful psychological energy. Light side is, I think it can be an alchemist of healing and self-awareness, and shadow side is, I think it can be a knife that cuts into people.
Dave Asprey: Well, I mean, there’s the sort of dick joke comedians with three hour podcasts, where it’s mostly just chewing on stuff, where sometimes, it’s funny, but you kind of feel a little dirty when you’re done listening to it. There’s another side of it, where you’re like, “Okay, it was damned funny, but I feel uplifted by that, instead of angry.”
JP Sears: Yeah, for sure. I think listening, if I can use a big word … Listening. That was tough. Listening to our bio-feedback, like how do you respond to humor that you’re using or someone’s using around you? If you hurt, our feelings don’t lie. I think Carl Yung said it best. Our feelings are the language of our soul. I think they come from a very deep place of truth inside of us. If we feel worse, and heavy, and fatigued from a conversation or listening to people joke, it’s like, “Wow, that was probably hurtful humor.” We can be amused. We can be laughing, but laughing is a form of weeping. It can be us emoting pain, because we’re experiencing pain being inflicted on us with humor.
To me, the light side of humor, it’s one of my favorite. I would honestly call it a psychological biohack. I really would. I think when we can laugh, not at ourselves, but with ourselves, and with other people, you get the whole shot of endorphins. It’s a uplifting experience, and I think also, another angle that humor is a powerful biohack is it helps us not take ourselves so seriously. I’m a big fan of have beliefs, but don’t believe your beliefs. I think when we can use humor as the force of detachment, so we can have our beliefs, but not be so attached, and just believe our beliefs, to me, that’s one of my favorite psychological brain biohacks.
Dave Asprey: So you’re saying humor can make people maybe less tribal?
JP Sears: Absolutely.
Dave Asprey: At the same time, if it’s applied wrong, if you’re only making fun of the other side and not of yourself, then it actually increases tribalism, right?
JP Sears: For sure. Actually, just so I’m clear, what do you mean by tribalism?
Dave Asprey: The way I see tribalism, it’s always an us versus them thing, so okay, I’m Bulletproof, and McDonald’s, they’re bad people. You sort of build walls between people, but end of the day, what those walls do is they make you stop thinking about what you’re doing, about what they’re doing, and make it about good versus evil, which is just a straight-up way to stop thinking and use your emotions, very old, primitive emotions, instead of actually using your rational brain and just realizing, “Oh, maybe we just disagree about what to put on our Goddamn plate for …” Does it really matter?
JP Sears: Yeah. I don’t know who it is, like the Zen people. They don’t make me sound intelligent if I say this is a Zen quote. The Buddhists said this, too, whoever else is dead, whose attorneys aren’t going to sue me for misrepresenting them. The Buddhists said this and whoever else, Abraham Lincoln, probably. They suggest that the source of all disease is a sense of separation. I know that really oversimplifies things, yet I think it’s also a very helpful consideration. If we’re increasing tribalism, us versus them, that separation … And to me, part of the beauty of humor, the light side of humor, is it’s a form of communication, communion, so it decreases tribalism, increases our sense of connection, so if all disease is created by a sense of separation, then maybe health and healing, and an increased quality of life, comes through more connection, connection with thyself, and connection with our community.
Dave Asprey: Well, you definitely cracked the code, because a lot of people, in fact, I think most people who’ve seen your work have no idea that you’re a Holistic Coach Advanced Practitioner. You’ve actually done a lot of your own work on that front, and that translated into a hundred million views on YouTube, which is an insane number. I believe that I have five million, so I’m sort of feeling insignificant.
JP Sears: Who’s the real man?
Dave Asprey: I have no idea what my numbers on YouTube are, but that seems about right, whatever. You’ve definitely done something different, because the virality of the stuff that you say, like when you put together a video like that, people just share it, because you did something that wasn’t maybe as hurtful as just a rant. We certainly see hurtful rants shared sometimes, but it’s a different energy to it, and I think it does get shared more. I don’t know if you or anyone else has done quantitative analysis on that, but there’s something, a different vibe in what you do that I haven’t really seen from other comedians. That was why I wanted to have you on the show, plus, we just got to be friends when you started making fun of biohacking, and I was like, “You have to be on, ’cause …”
JP Sears: Yeah. I love to make fun of what’s important to me. Yeah. When someone’s on social media, and they click share … I’ve been very blessed by whoever’s up there blessing people. I think it’s Santa Claus, still.
Dave Asprey: He’s one of them.
JP Sears: Yeah. He’s my favorite saint, Saint Nick. When someone clicks share on social media, I think, at a deep level what it means is they’ve just seen something about themself that they weren’t aware of. Something that’s very important to me in the work that I do, including the comedy work that I do, is facilitating increased self-awareness. I think the purpose of our lives is to live our life, and I think a lot of us walk around, and we are just a stranger to ourself. We don’t know who we are, but we sit here, and we think we know who we are. Then, we become convinced that we are who we think we are, but I think who we are, the true being inside Dave, the true being inside JP, we’re far more expansive than what we can comprehend.
One of the reasons why I love facilitating increased self-awareness, even if it’s just a little reflection of self-awareness, like you watch a comedy video, you see something about yourself that you didn’t know was there, and you like it, you resonate with it, so you hit share. To me, that self-awareness helps us step deeper into truly living the miracle of who we are, rather than treating ourselves like a stranger while we’re just trying to be who we’re expected to be, who we think we’re supposed to be. I think life is too short to be someone other than ourself.
Dave Asprey: When you decide to share something on social media that’s not your own work, what thought process goes through your mind before you decide whether you’re going to share something or not?
JP Sears: Yeah. That’s a great question. I think a couple things, one, that I receive benefit from this. If I receive benefit from that, that’s a great green check mark, green means go. I think the other thing is, is this a message that’s kind of congruent with my brand? My brand, the comedy, as well as just sincerity, are too components of my brand. I think the comedy’s more well-known. It’s if a congruent message, awesome, but just because something’s a great message, and I receive benefit, doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to share it. Someone might have these amazing orthotics for your shoes. I’m like, “Wow, that’s a beneficial message,” but I’m probably not going to share that.
Dave Asprey: Orthotics aren’t funny. Is that the deal?
JP Sears: Not yet, as far as I know.
Dave Asprey: I think you can break through that glass ceiling for orthotics.
JP Sears: If I can make orthotics funny, then I’m really making … I’d be curious, if I’m allowed to turn that question back on you, what makes you share something on social media that’s not your own content?
Dave Asprey: I have kind of a religious thing, and I’m always working to share this with the staff at Bulletproof, and with the team who support our mission, and it’s just this simple question, what’s in it for you? I don’t mean for you, our staff. What’s in it for you, the audience? My filter is I read the thing, and then is it worth the time that I’m asking someone to invest by looking at it? Will it add more than it takes away? I did a math equation a while back, and it was a really hard one. It had algebra and stuff in it. It was what’s the dwell the time on the website, when people read Bulletproof content, and then what’s the around 50 million downloads on Bulletproof Radio. 50 million hours divided by the number of waking hours is hundreds of human lifetimes.
JP Sears: Wow. That’s so-
Dave Asprey: You, by the way, are at a bigger number than I am, with 100 million YouTube things. I don’t know if you look at your average listen time, but that means that if we’re not adding value with what we do, we’re actually mass murderers.
JP Sears: Wow. I like that. That’s gruesome, but that’s a powerful way of looking at it.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, and that is how I view it. I’m not going to share something if it takes away more than it gives, whether it’s something I wrote, or whether it’s something that someone else did. I see all sorts of shit on Facebook, and I’m like, “No, I’m not going to share that,” even if it might be mirthful, or a little funny or whatever, so that the people who come and follow me on Facebook, or on Instagram, or wherever, that they’re like, “Okay, this was valuable,” and then they become engaged. The engagement levels for Bulletproof people, the comments and likes and things like that are very high as a ratio, because they’re real followers, versus bots or something. It is that constant what’s in it for you, not what’s in it for me.
A lot of times, I think that the unconscious sharing of we’re just going to throw stuff up on Facebook, like what’s in it for me? What’s this going to make me look like? For me, it’s like, “Will this serve you, because if this serves you best, it’s actually going to make me look good, anyway.” I honestly don’t really care if it makes me look good. I get these people who are like, “This offended me, therefore I’m going to unfollow.” The response, and I’d offer this to anyone who doesn’t like this show, same thing, “The unfollow button is right here,” and I draw a little arrow. I’m like, “It’s okay. If this isn’t serving you, I want you to stop listening.”
JP Sears: Yeah, go live your life. Don’t detract from your life just to mindlessly listen to that.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, and don’t hold me hostage by un-liking me. Trust me, I won’t notice.
JP Sears: That’s so true. I love your … I mean, that’s a very caring view. Are you going to just rob minutes, hours from people’s life? If so, wow, that’s taking life. That’s murdering. That gets your attention.
Dave Asprey: That’s the center of marketing.
JP Sears: Or [crosstalk 00:22:43], for sure. There’s some Facebook pages that I personally used to follow, used to being the key word. These become the pages where they’re just doing the constant, like every single hour, we’re going to post something. They’re playing that game. Nothing wrong with that, but what they’re posting, is it adding, or is it subtracting? Unfortunately not all, but some of them detract, so I’m really quick with the unfollow button.
Dave Asprey: Yeah. I am, too. It’s like, “Show me like less posts like this.” I’ve managed to get most politics out of my feed. What pisses me off now is-
JP Sears: Politics, is that a thing now? I didn’t notice.
Dave Asprey: It’s like a religion, but different.
JP Sears: Okay.
Dave Asprey: Because people fight wars over both of them, but I think the order of operations is different. I don’t really know.
JP Sears: I think with politics, they worship more people than just the one guy or gal.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, and neither one of them has anything to do with money.
JP Sears: Nothing. It’s just caring about human nature is at the heart of both of them.
Dave Asprey: This just turned dark, didn’t it?
JP Sears: It did. Dave, why do I have so many unfollows on my channel right now?
Dave Asprey: No. It’s really kind of funny, because I posted something about the FDA recently. It was basically one of Trump’s picks for the FDA is actually a board member of one of the most aggressive anti-aging research institutes out there. I’m like, “This is the coolest thing ever, because if we get like a libertarian anti-aging radical dude running the FDA, maybe we’ll be allowed to have access to therapies that they’re already doing in China and Japan, that are not even on the radar here.” Immediately, people were like, “Oh, welcome to the Trump train.” I’m like, “Jesus Christ, guys. The fact that I like some things a president does, and I don’t like some things a president does, it doesn’t mean that I support the office. It doesn’t mean I support a specific candidate or a specific president. I only care about what they do, and I’ve actually never found a politician who does anything close to what they promise to do. They all do the opposite or whatever’s in their best interest once …
JP Sears: For sure.
Dave Asprey: … they’ve bought your vote by lying to you.” How’s that for dark? They’re going to do whatever they’re going to do. Once I say something, either pro or con, then the tribalism and those religious behaviors come in, and here’s the deal for people listening, like, “Dave, you’re a leftie,” or, “You’re a libertarian.” I’m like, “Actually, here’s the deal. You cannot take the probably 10,000 different facets of things that you believe would make the best system and conveniently separate them into two buckets and say, ‘This is my bucket.’ That’s anti-thinking. Here’s the deal. Think for yourself, and yes, there are times when I absolutely support a decision, and there are other times where I absolutely don’t …
JP Sears: For sure.
Dave Asprey: … and so to try and simplify things into there’s only too sides, oh, for God’s sake. That’s so boring.”
JP Sears: To me, that’d be like saying your body only has two cells. It’s like, “Well, I think we’re a little more complex than that.” That’s part of what adds the three dimensionality to life, and the psychological experience of our social environment, politics being part of it. I’m routinely fascinated with politics and religion, how … And I’m going to see present company included with what I’m about to say, just so you don’t get too offended at me, or get offended. Now, you’re offended that I’m trying not to offend you. “JP, you don’t think I can handle it?”
Dave Asprey: You insulted everyone now, including yourself.
JP Sears: I hate myself right now, Dave. Do you have a biohack for that?
Dave Asprey: We do.
JP Sears: I am absolutely fascinated by the emotional nature of humankind and how our emotions can completely override our prefrontal cortex. We can have a very intelligent person in a discussion, and the name Trump is brought up, like you just said, and all of a sudden, the prefrontal cortex is completely shut down, and there’s just this emotional reactivity. There’s no logical, rational thought happening. It’s just an emotional outpouring, which is fine. I think we need to feel our emotions. I think if you try to suppress them, it progressively kills us, but when we don’t know we’re in a state of reactivity, and we’re trying to solve our emotional reactive issues in a logical discussion about politics, I think most discussions about politics aren’t about politics. They’re too very wounded inner children inside just getting angry, because they’re really afraid inside.
Dave Asprey: That matches my reality. In fact, in Head Strong … And yes, did you see that? I just conveniently worked a plug for my new book in there, because-
JP Sears: It is graceful.
Dave Asprey: The reason I brought up Head Strong is exactly because it’s relevant to what you’re saying here. There’s these three behaviors that I wrote about in the Bulletproof Diet. I call them the Labrador brain, but in Head Strong, it actually goes deeper than that. The three behaviors are what every life form has to do, and it works for mammals, but it turns out, it also works for bacteria, and your mitochondria are bacteria. These are three things you’d be very familiar with and comfortable with. The Labrador Brain, it requires you to eat everything, so you don’t starve to death, because then the species can’t reproduce, okay? Then the one that we’re talking about right here, which is run away from or kill everything that might be a threat.
JP Sears: Wow.
Dave Asprey: This is why dogs bark at random crap. It’s just an inborn behavior. This is the algorithm for anything to stay alive, including a plant. They can’t run away from, so they grow spines to kill you, or they grow poisons to kill you, so you won’t eat them, right? Because otherwise, those species can’t reproduce. The final thing involved in reproducing a species is the Labrador goes, “Oh look, a leg. I’ll go hump it,” so there’s the actual act of reproduction. I’m just trying to figure out, is there anything in your life you’ve ever done that you’re ashamed of, that didn’t come from one of those three behaviors?
JP Sears: That’s a great question. I would guess it’d probably be hard to find something outside of those behaviors.
Dave Asprey: Right, and all of the emotions we’re talking about in political discourse, in religious disagreements, even pro sporting, like, “That’s not my team!” Just those deep emotions, those emotions come from the lowest level bacteria that are running our bodies, which are mitochondria.
JP Sears: Welcome to the club of thinking like a low-level bacteria. What that means to me, to me, that sounds like all self-preservation. If you are different than me, psychologically, something’s different than me, I see it as a threat, so I want to kill it, fight it or flight it. To me, yeah, that’s a very self-preservation mentality, and I think self-preservation’s geared around creating more quantity of life, live longer, don’t die, but to me, self-realization is what gives us quality of life. I think self-realization isn’t about kill what’s different from me. I think self-realization is understand what’s different from me, because I get to expand. I don’t like hanging out with only like-minded people. I don’t grow. I don’t get challenged. I love hanging out with like-hearted people, but preferably like-hearted people, so there’s a acceptance-based relationship. It’s a safe space. But like-hearted people who are also, at least at times, different-minded, not just like-minded. I think when everybody agrees with each other, it’s like, “Okay, I feel more sense of certainty. I feel safer, but I’m not growing. I’m not getting challenged.”
Dave Asprey: That sense of safety there, from a mitochondrial and nervous system, ego perspective, that’s, “Okay, great. Now that’s all safe.” If you look at what these bacteria did when they colonized our cells and essentially took over, like, “Oh look, a mobile Petrie dish. That’s the coolest thing ever. Let’s just move right in and take over, and we’ll decide when a cell dies, when a cell replicates, and we’ll decide how much energy the cell gets.” That’s what they’re doing, so when you allow them to be in charge … It’s like letting the battery in your phone determine what your phone’s going to do. That’s the wrong way to do it. You should be in charge.
Okay, now I organized all these cells full of me, these bacteria, which are in almost every cell in your body. Now, you’re basically a walking biofilm with lots of complex systems in it, and they’re like, “Okay, you need to hook up with other biofilms like me for defense,” which is why you would surround yourself by like-minded people who are the same as you, because you basically formed a distributed biofilm now, and then you’ll reproduce with some of those people, and there you go. Now, you’ve got a tribe, right? Then, if you see someone who’s different, you’re like, “That’s a threat. That’s not a tribe,” but those things are coming from the very lowest level, emergent behaviors in a really complex system.
When you realize that, when you see a like-hearted person, my view on all this is that okay, these scared little stupid bacteria, none of which has much intelligence, but when you put a quadrillion of them together, and they keep doing these behaviors, civilization emerges, right? It’s kind of cool. The self-awareness component of that is that okay, now I see that I have these behaviors, and rather than letting these behaviors happen, I’m going to either reprogram the behaviors so the mitochondria chill the hell out, which is what meditation does, or I’m going to take more control, which I’m going to use my willpower, my energy to rationally catch myself in the act of flipping the guy off in traffic and going, “Actually, I believe my own story, that he cut me off because he thinks he’s better than me,” and I replace it with, “He cut me off because his wife is pregnant in the back of the car, and they’re going to the hospital.” You don’t know. Make up a story that makes you happy, right?
JP Sears: For sure.
Dave Asprey: It doesn’t matter. The story I usually make up is that he robbed a bank, but the bank had bad money in it, so he’s getting away, and that’s really good. No, I’m kidding. I don’t make that up. The bottom line, it doesn’t really matter. It’s all a story, and none of it has any bearing on reality. The like-hearted thing you’re saying, I think, is when you go beyond the survival emergent bacterial consciousness that we identify as our own behaviors, which they really aren’t. Those are low-level operating system things.
JP Sears: That we carry, but they’re not us.
Dave Asprey: Yeah. Yeah.
JP Sears: Yeah. To me, a biohack … And when I’m around you, I call everything a biohack, but to me, truly it is a biohack. When there’s something we disagree with, the biohack is seek to understand it, not disagree with what we disagree with, just creating more resistance, more division, but understand that which we disagree with. Not for the sake of coming to terms of making ourselves agree or disagree, but aiming for the space in between, which in my opinion is just understanding. To me, that’s tolerance. That’s, “Oh, you’re different than me. Let me understand you.” Now, we have peace between you and I at the micro level. I think even parts of our own ego, parts of our personality, disagree with each other at times. I think if we can find that sense of understanding rather than just disagreement and self-conflict, man, then our world becomes a little bit more of a graceful place to live in.
Dave Asprey: Although, inner conflict is where most of us spend enormous amounts of energy.
JP Sears: No, we don’t.
Dave Asprey: Perfect. The inner equation that I worked out, and I certainly had a lot of voices in my head for a long time, is that the more voices in your head, the more energy it takes to create the voices, and then to manage the voices. It becomes overwhelming. When you can resolve an inner conflict, it frees up the energy that was creating the conflict, and when I say frees up energy, I mean literally electrons in your head for thinking or willing.
JP Sears: For sure.
Dave Asprey: But then, also, the amount of management of rational thinking about this conflict goes down, and you’re like, “Wow. I feel freer,” but what you actually feel is more energy, which equals freedom.
JP Sears: I love that, yeah. I love that. I think a lot of us, we don’t give ourselves permission to actually be conflicted. Instead, we have conflict about our conflict. That’s sort of like natural conflict. I think we inherently don’t allow that to just be, in the sense of, “Oh, I disagree with you,” or, “These two parts of me disagree with each other, and that’s okay.” All of a sudden, if we can do that, that’s okay kind of thing, our conflict creates a sense of peace and connection inside of ourselves. It’s a bit of a paradox, and I think it’s a beautiful thing, just like nutrition comes from compost. The raw sewage creates something that gives you life.
Dave Asprey: Like tofu.
JP Sears: Like tofu, tofurkey, and I like the big game tofanimals, like tofiger, tofuna, tofelephants. I love big game hunting. The tofu animals are also easier to kill, in my opinion, as well.
Dave Asprey: They don’t run very fast.
JP Sears: No. They are very toslow. Anyway, I think when we have this mentality inside of ourselves and in our outer relationships, that it’s not okay to be conflicted, that it’s not okay to disagree, we’re conflicted about our conflict, and that’s where we just really get hung up, but when we can say, “Oh, we disagree about this, and that’s okay. I don’t need to change your mind, you don’t need to change mine, but maybe we can have understanding,” and of course, there it is on the inner world, as well. Man, just like you said, how much more energy do we reclaim when we’re not just fighting our conflict all the time? It’s massive.
Dave Asprey: There’s another side to that, too, which is that if I don’t have an explanation for that, I’m not safe. That’s the source of science trolls. “There’s no rational explanation for that happening, therefore, it didn’t happen.” Sorry, show me a rational explanation for love, right?
JP Sears: Well, I don’t know that love exists, at this point.
Dave Asprey: Right. There’s that point, that it doesn’t exist. The point that I’m trying to make here is that people will oftentimes reject, they’ll literally tell themselves something that clearly happened didn’t happen, because it would require a change in thinking, which creates a sense of lack of safety, which goes right back to those bacteria saying, “Run away from things that are scary.”
JP Sears: For sure.
Dave Asprey: If I was wrong about my beliefs about the way biology works or whatever else, therefore, it’s not going to work. They come in, essentially, with guns blazing, “You’re an idiot. Here’s a study that proves you’re an idiot, because it disagrees with what you said.” That’s all fear, like you were saying earlier, and the question is whether people are able to simultaneously say, “This is the hypothesis that I’m going with right now, which is that things work this way.” This may violate the hypothesis. It may not. It may be a bad data point. It may be a whole new exploration. Whatever of those it is, it’s cool, and if someone else thinks it’s something different, let them do the research.
But you see these crazy people that are out there like, “Let’s ban research on this, ’cause it’s already been proven not to work.” You’re like, “But actually, that’s not how science works.” You don’t ban research on stuff that you think doesn’t work, because then you don’t learn, like we just learned, “Oh, it turns out the immune system does connect to the brain, we just didn’t see it, ’cause it was running next to a blood vessel all this time.” If we had banned research on that because we knew how it worked, holy crap. I kind of get stuck on that.
JP Sears: Yeah. For me, that whole fear-based mentality, I think it becomes human nature, or bacterial nature, within the human, to become addicted to the familiar, and to fight things that threaten my construct of what is familiar. To me, where our exhilaration is in life, it’s not in the familiarity of our comfort zone of what’s familiar. That’s where we have a sense of safety. I don’t even know if it’s safe, but it’s where we have a sense of safety. But man, the exhilaration is when we’re in the mystery, when we’re walking through the proverbial dark forest, when we’re stepping off the cliff, and we don’t know exactly what we’re going to land in, when we’re going to land, if we’re going to land.
Dave Asprey: Oh, you’ve been doing mushrooms again?
JP Sears: I’m doing the mushrooms that make me hallucinate, but I’m not doing mushrooms, so at this point, I’m confused. In my opinion, an ingredient for a great life is we have to be willing to scare ourselves to death in order to actually live, not survive, but live. I think when we’re not willing to scare ourselves to death, what that means is, “I’m going to sit in this coffin of my comfort zone, stay with what’s familiar. I’ll repeat the same patterns of my relationships, same repetitive patterns of my health, same repetitive patterns of my thinking about who I am and what the world around me is.” If we can break out of that coffin and actually embrace the mystery, embrace the unknown, embrace what we fear the most … I think it was last week you posted this awesome video to Facebook, the people on the high dive.
Dave Asprey: Oh, that was so cool.
JP Sears: It was so amazing. You guys, you got to go check out this video on Dave’s Facebook page. Scroll through it, you’ll find it. It was a 15 minute long video, and I don’t even think you have to watch the whole thing, but people on the edge of this-
Dave Asprey: It’s like a 10 meter high dive.
JP Sears: Yeah, a 10 meter high dive, and you watch these people struggle. Some of them just wouldn’t jump. Others were up there for a few minutes. Then, they finally did, and man, is that a metaphoric representation of how we are relating to our comfort zone and resisting the mystery all the time. If we can break through the membrane of the coffin of our comfort zone into the mystery, man, the free fall, that’s where life is at, in my opinion.
Dave Asprey: There’s a struggle that was … The reason I liked that video is you could see the struggle on their face and in their body movements, and the meat operating system, the mitochondria …
JP Sears: Yeah, really.
Dave Asprey: … they’re like, “Do not jump. End of species. If you go down that far, we know, as dumb little bacteria, that you’ll probably die.” The rational brain’s like, “I know I’m not going to die.” It’s the struggle of the rational brain deciding to take ownership of the primitive in order to cause you to jump over. When I watched this video, the reason I actually posted it was you see these grown men who are like, “I can’t do it.” Then, you see this maybe, I’m guessing she was a 17-year-old girl. She looks at the edge, and she looks down. You can tell it scares the shit out of her, and she takes like three steps back. She goes, “All right, let’s do this.” Bam! She just jumps. She had the most balls of anyone who went up there. It was just so cool to see that.
JP Sears: For sure. That video is very inspiring, I think inspiring in two ways, like one, seeing a girl like that, and two, inspiring like having the reflexive, just reactive seizing up and addiction to comfort. It’s inspiring to see that, be like, “Yep, I have that, too.” I want to recognize how that plays out in my life, so I won’t be a bacterial … I won’t be a slave to that bacterial master.
Dave Asprey: I’ve come to the point and have struggles about how do you hack the bacteria, or the mitochondria, which were bacteria, so that you have more energy every day, which lets you have more energy to manage them better, and then how do you change the environment so that you get a battery upgrade? The end result of all this research is I just believe that our ego itself is an emergent phenomena of mitochondria. My career in tech has been managing complex systems and correlating events, and you don’t mean to create huge spikes in the internet when you just change one little bit here, but you make a quadrillion or a googolplex of decisions using these tiny little rules, and you get these incredibly complex, beautiful patterns that no one would predict.
Stephen Wolfram invented a whole new field of mathematics around information theory, information fields, and he’s like, “You want to understand how we make almost anything in nature?” You take these tiny little rule sets, like dumb little rules, and just do them a kabillion times, to use a technical terms, and you get a flower, and you get almost everything you’d expect. The most complex, beautiful things are not that complex. They’re emergent from tiny rules. I believe that a lot of our egoic behaviors, the ones that we’re most ashamed of, are emergent from these tiny little things that are constantly sensing the environment and judging what’s going to keep this Petrie dish alive the longest, even though, quite often what they’re telling you the do is totally not in your best interest, and that the act of becoming self-aware is learning how to feel when that happens, and then deciding whether to use the information from the feeling, or whether to become the feeling, and then act without conscious thought.
That, for me, has been a really big skill, and one I wouldn’t really be very good at without having stuck computers to my head, to have a lie detector test to see when I’m lying to myself. My powers of self-deception are legion, as are everyone else’s.
JP Sears: Me, too, for sure. I love what you’re saying, to me, that’s such a great way to articulate an upgraded consciousness, like being conscious over the unconscious, reactive, self-preservation, mitochondrion bacteria inside of us. I think that’s amazing.
Dave Asprey: You, in your book How to be Ultra Spiritual, which is something that we’re here to talk about, in addition to all the other stuff you’re doing, which just keeps me laugh, you talk about vulnerability. When you’re taking off your comedian hat, but I suppose when you’re acting as a comedian, too, you have … We all have this idea of self-sabotage, that we do things that get in your own way. I want to know what you do to self-sabotage, and then what’s your take, as a holistic trained coach, thinking about self-sabotage. Just walk me through your thinking about that.
JP Sears: Yeah. You know, sometimes the worst form of self-sabotage I do is not recognizing the self-sabotage that I’m acting out. That’s probably the worst thing I do.
Dave Asprey: Recursive self-sabotage, you’re saying.
JP Sears: Recursive, like as opposed to printing?
Dave Asprey: So you’re saying self-sabotage of your own self-sabotage, or blindness of self-sabotage?
JP Sears: Yeah, blindness of self-sabotage. To me, it’s kind of like the idea you can’t get out of a prison that you don’t know you’re in. If you’re self-sabotaging-
Dave Asprey: Like Facebook.
JP Sears: Absolutely, but we know we’re in Facebook. But I got to check Facebook real quick. Do you mind if we pause this for 20 or 30 minutes?
Dave Asprey: I should do the someone thing, too. We’ll just …
JP Sears: But aspects of my self-sabotage that are common, overworking. I find a lot of purpose, playfulness in my work, and there is a part of me that overworks for the sense of chasing a sense of value that isn’t going to be found through work. Yeah. I can really deplete myself burning the candle at both ends. To me, self-sabotage is typically a symptom, so whether we’re self-sabotaging psychologically, so it’s like reoccurring patterns of depression, sadness, anger, disconnection, or we’re acting out behaviors of self-sabotage, overworking, eating foods we shouldn’t, hanging around people that don’t serve us. To me, self-sabotage is always a symptom, and from my delusional perspective, it’s a symptom of unresolved emotional pain and/or disempowering beliefs of ourselves. I think our self-sabotage, it’s an expression that validates a disempowering belief of self or a pain of self.
Dave Asprey: That’s pretty deep. For you, you’re saying you basically burn yourself out when you’re self-sabotaging.
JP Sears: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: Okay. For people listening, do you have a tool you recommend or some way for them to identify their self-sabotaging patterns, the ones they’re not aware of?
JP Sears: Well, there’s a line of … A question, and a simple question, that I love to ask people is, “Okay, what do you do?” Recognize your self-sabotage. That’s question number one. Question number 2, which I think is so much more important than what do you, but it’s why do you do what you do? If you pretend that whatever your sabotage is, there’s a part of you that has a damn good reason why it acts out that self-destruction. Sometimes, we make up the story like, “Ah, I’m doing this thing, and it doesn’t serve me.” Well, I think we’re intelligent people. We wouldn’t be self-destructing if it didn’t serve us in some way, by serve us meaning it kind of compensates. What do you do, and then get curious, why do I do this?
Question number three is how does part of me benefit by doing this? Okay, I might say, “I’ve been in a relationship that’s just … We’re always fighting, and it’s just obvious. This relationship died three years ago.” Okay, so that’s my reoccurring patterns of relationship dysfunction. Why do I do this? Is this replicating a sense of familiarity from my childhood? Do I feel like I’m just perpetually not good enough for her? Then, the third question, how do I benefit from that? Do I find a sense of comfort in the discomfort of the incessant conflict, for example? For me, a curious mindset is very important to get to the story under the story of our self-sabotage, get beyond the symptoms to the root in our heart of why we do what we do.
Dave Asprey: I’ve looked at my own things, certainly burning myself out is something that I’ve been a professional at for a long time. That’s one way to avoid dealing with feelings is, “I have to work more. Just one more email. I’ll be fine.” Then, you collapse, and then you rinse and repeat. Oftentimes, at least when I was really motivated in my 20s, it was more fear of failure than anything else, but I made $6 million when I was 26. That’s a pretty good motivation, if you equate failure with death instead of learning, you’re going to go down that path. I certainly would do that. I came across a tool called the Enneagram. Have you ever looked at that?
JP Sears: Yes, I have. I don’t know much about it. I’ve got a book on it. I haven’t read it. I’ve had other people do … But I’d love to hear how that’s worked for you. I don’t know much about it, at all.
Dave Asprey: I can tell you that I don’t remember my Enneagram number, which means to me-
JP Sears: My intuition tells me you’re a six.
Dave Asprey: Sure. I don’t even remember what the numbers are, but when I read the book and did the test for the Enneagram, it was really insightful. It was the only Myers-Briggs style scoring system that had the psychospiritual component, but what it said is it said here’s how you manifest when you’re doing things in the good place for you, and here’s how you can tell that you’re starting … Like here’s your self-sabotage patterns. It actually would tell you step one, step two, step three, step four, with shocking precision.
JP Sears: Oh, is that right?
Dave Asprey: It’s E-N-N-E-A-G-R-A-M, for people that are listening. I’m not trained in the thing. I read the book. I did a workshop with it a long, long time ago. I just remember thinking this the most complete, so if you’re looking for self-sabotage, like why do I do that, I can tell you, self-sabotage is a major issue for almost everyone, and it’s going to be invisible, because what you’ll do is you’ll say, “I’m doing it for a reason,” which is a story that you made up, or you’ll say it’s someone else’s fault, like, “They’re making me do it.” That’s that inner awareness thing, which can only really be released by reading How to be Ultra Spiritual by JP Sears. I worked that plug in seamlessly for you, didn’t I?
JP Sears: Yeah. It was graceful. I think you redefined grace. In fact, I think I can hear classical music playing right now, even though it’s not playing.
Dave Asprey: You know, we’re going to cut some in, so it’s actually playing later.
JP Sears: Ah, very cool.
Dave Asprey: So you [crosstalk 00:51:50].
JP Sears: Please cut this part out, where we’re talking about we’re going to cut in it, just so people-
Dave Asprey: It’s called the third wall. We’re not supposed to violate the third wall, but violating third walls is part of your kitsch, isn’t it?
JP Sears: I don’t know what it means, but the answer’s definitely yes.
Dave Asprey: I think they call it … It might be the fourth wall. I get my numbers wrong, but there’s some sort of wall between you guys watching and listening. I’m not really a TV guy, but I heard someone say it once, and it made me feel smart.
JP Sears: Then, it’s true, if it made you feel smart.
Dave Asprey: Your weird humor is rubbing off on me, and it makes me feel dirty.
JP Sears: Oh, you’re welcome. I appreciate that compliment. It’s the nicest thing anybody’s ever said to me.
Dave Asprey: Speaking of compliments, I do have a copy of your book, pre-released copy of the book, and I turned over the book to the back of the book, because what I found is that if you look at the cool picture on the front with the flower in your hair, and you look at the back of the book, you can actually say that you’ve read the entire book, because you just pretend like you didn’t even have to open it. Okay. I’ve actually read it, read the book. The back of it had an interesting quote from a guy I’ve heard of, “Loaded with laugh-out-loud humor and intelligent exploration of the spiritual delusions many fall prey to. Enjoy JP’s perceptive underlying insights while you laugh beyond all understanding,” from Tony Robbins. That’s pretty high praise. Tony gets asked to say stuff about books every five seconds of his life, I imagine …
JP Sears: I’m sure.
Dave Asprey: … and doesn’t really respond to those emails, I would also imagine. I’ve never asked him to say anything about mine, but he once said something nice about Brain Octane. I was like, “Holy shit, Tony. That’s amazing.” You had some other people on here that I wanted to quote, because I thought some of these were almost as impressive-
JP Sears: They’re all high-vibe people, yeah.
Dave Asprey: “Combines the wisdom of bearded Jesus with the playfulness of baby Jesus,” and that was a quote from, it says here The Holy Mother of God.
JP Sears: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: Wow.
JP Sears: That’s a powerful endorsement. It almost rivals Tony’s endorsement, but that’s powerful, in and of itself.
Dave Asprey: “It’s funnier than the Law of Karma,” The Universe. This is high praise for a book. It really is a cool perspective. It is a funny book, and the idea that you’re working this stuff in, where people can pay attention to their weaknesses, they can look at what’s going on, but through the lens of humor. It’s actually a hard achievement to do. You pulled it off, which is cool.
JP Sears: Well, thank you, my friend. I appreciate that. To me, humor, it’s a language, and I think it’s a language that we tend to have our mind’s defenses surrendered when we’re talking about humor. Like if I start talking, you and are talking in the serious, “Yeah, we’re going to get a little bit resistant,” especially if you start sharing new perspectives with me, like we were talking about earlier, like, “Ooh, that’s different. Let me resist that.”
There’s something about the energy of humor. There’s a non-threatening energy, so I find that the human psyche tends to be relatively less defended when we’re talking in the language of humor, so if we embed deeper messages in humor, which from my bias perspective, I do my best to do that in my book and my videos, then it’s like we can bring the messages into our psyche. They can penetrate deeper, and we can consider them, because we’ve been undefended. We haven’t rejected them before we’ve even considered them, like we might do with new ideas, new perspectives that are essentially told to us through the language of seriousness. I know humor is not the only language, but to me, it’s a very powerful language, underused language.
Dave Asprey: It maybe makes people feel safer about facing some of these. I remember when I was first getting into the personal development side of things, I’d done a little bit of performance-oriented neurofeedback, but I hadn’t don’t any EMDR. I hadn’t done [inaudible 00:55:25]. I was basically in this place where, “Yeah, I’m pretty angry most of the time, but any other emotion, there’s no other emotion. Eff all that, right?”
I went and I did a lot of personal exploration around those things. I wouldn’t look at anything other than through a rational lens, and a lot of people, who are actually suffering the most, have learned that if you just make everything go through the slowest part of the brain, which is the thinking part, even though it takes a lot of energy to do that, then everything works, and then you just kind of ignore everything underneath that. This is metabolically expensive. It will cost you, but it’s an invisible cost, and it burns a lot of energy in a way that isn’t making you stronger. It just wastes it, and it’s energy that you could use just to watch Breaking Bad reruns over and over. It’s just free energy that’s just sitting there.
For me, it was definitely anger, but behind anger, there’s always fear, but I was really not open to hearing any of that crap. But when you look at it through humor, all of the defensiveness goes away, because who can be defensive around the right kind of humor, anyway? That’s a cool way to maybe make people face things. One of the people I had first started working with said, “Oh, you need to read this book called Heal the Shame That Binds You.”
JP Sears: Oh, by John Bradshaw, love the book.
Dave Asprey: Famous book, right? But I was like, “I don’t have any shame. Screw you guys.” Toss the book to the side. What kind of a weakling would have shame?
JP Sears: Exactly.
Dave Asprey: Like, “I got nothing to be ashamed of. You know how successful I am?”
JP Sears: Shame is for small children, not real men.
Dave Asprey: Exactly.
JP Sears: Dammit.
Dave Asprey: Totally. I remember that. In fact, I still never read that damn book. I’m kidding. It was one of those things where that wasn’t accessible to me, because I was very cognitive. It’s not that you stop thinking for yourself. I got to the point, and I’m still at that point, where I’ve an engineering brain, studied a subset of artificial intelligence and computer science and all that. There is a completely rational part of the world, and part of my inner world, and there’s also a completely irrational part of it, and the inner conflict that comes from those, I don’t have it anymore, because I’m like, “Look, there’s these stupid bacteria at this operating system of the body that’s irrational.” It’s an animal. It doesn’t follow logic. It doesn’t have context, and at the same time, there’s a rational side of me, which I like to identify with more, but the fact of the matter is there may be a complete gap between those things, and it doesn’t matter.
JP Sears: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: I could do things that make my animal happy, that make no sense. “Yes, I’ll sit in a drumming circle.” There’s no double blind studies in rational reason, that you should do almost all the things that you like to do. That was my perspective just on maybe why humor works, because it can let you get past that resistance to looking at yourself.
JP Sears: Yeah, and part of what I heard you say is humor can be a bridge. It bridges the … It can be a massive canyon. The 18 inches between our head and our heart can sometimes be just like 10,000 miles of distance, essentially. I heard you say humor can be that bridge. My delusional perspective about you is you’re a very intelligent guy. Maybe that’s not so delusional. I think you could crush Forrest Gump in an IQ competition.
Dave Asprey: I’d work hard.
JP Sears: I think for a lot of high-cognitive functioning people, there might be a couple thing that happens. One, I just wonder, did you develop your high caliber cognitive function essentially as a compensation to escape the pain in your heart, and/or maybe that was just there, and it was going to be there all along, but it becomes an easy escape mechanism, and to me … I just get curious about that. I don’t know if any of it’s true, but to me, the most beautiful thing is you have taken painstaking efforts to bridge that gap. I would imagine you could just be in your head all day. Life would seem pretty good, but there’s something that’s called you to the adventure of your heart, and you’ve bridged the gap. It’s beautiful.
Dave Asprey: Oh, thank you. I don’t know how other people feel, if they live all in their head, but I think that there’s usually kind of a background screaming going on, that you’re living in your head to avoid, that you’ll eventually be called to pay attention to. Otherwise, you’ll be miserable.
JP Sears: Yeah. On that note about how other people might feel who live in their head, to me, one of the potential feelings, because I’ve spent so much time in my head in my life, the worst feeling is the feeling of not feeling feelings, numbness. To me, it’s the most tormenting sensation, so when we’re walking around numb, it’s like we see life, we know life is going on, but we’re not experiencing life. I think our emotions are inside of us for a reason, to give us the three-dimensional experience of life, rather than just knowing about life.
Dave Asprey: Well, numbness is a perception, unless you actually have a severed nerve. What’s going on is the mitochondria that sense the world around us on a microsecond by microsecond basis, they’re still taking all that in, and then they communicate it at the cell level, and some of those cells communicate it at the nerve level, and all this environmental stuff changes in the body, and you’re capable of sensing all those. What the numbness is is actually a full on disconnect. Your sensation of numbness is that either you intentionally cut off, or you decided on some subconscious level that that is noise, not signal, and that you’re just not going to listen to it.
JP Sears: So it’s there, you’re just not paying attention.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, and people who are more on the autism, ADD side of things, the signal to noise ratio isn’t where you want it to be, so they already have a hard time figuring out what the signal is from their nervous system, versus just random whatevers. So they just toss all that crap. It’s too much work. I don’t want to deal with it. The idea is if something feels like too much work, well, what if you had something that was capable of putting out a lot more power? Then, it wouldn’t feel like too much work, and that’s why Head Strong, the whole thing of hacking your mitochondria, is what if they just made more energy? Then what felt like a lot of work wouldn’t be a lot of work. It’s just the fundamental laziness, but it applies even to something like being aware of where your numbness comes from.
See, I didn’t think we’d go quite this deep. This is kind of cool. I want to know, though, you’ve got a hundred million YouTube views. You have your Ultra Spiritual book. You have your, actually, your friggin’ hilarious the-shirts, spiritual as hell and all those things. You’re a creative guy, and I’ve seen you on stage, a couple different times. There’s a creative process. I haven’t done it on film before or on Bulletproof Radio, but I’ve asked Stephen Jenkins from Third Eye Blind, like what do you do to prepare for a concert before you go onstage? He promised he’d come on one of these days and talk about that, so I’ll get that on air at some point. I’d like to know, what do really successful performers do in order to make your material? What’s your process to get into JP Sears with a flower in your hair?
JP Sears: Yeah. You know, I think there’s a few different phases of the creative process. I would say the most raw of the creative process is coming up with the video ideas and then developing a script, or writing the book.
Dave Asprey: How do you come up with an idea? The creative process is hard.
JP Sears: Bringing in the raw materials, that process is seemingly random, like the creativity comes to me when I’m not trying to be creative. Airplanes, for me, are a big source of creativity, or a big … It’s a time when a lot of creativity happens. I don’t know why. It might have something to do with I’m somewhat uncomfortable, but just ideas flood to me when I’m on airplanes.
Dave Asprey: You want to know why?
JP Sears: Yeah, let’s hear it.
Dave Asprey: At least in the model that I use at 40 Years of Zen, and in my own life, the fount of creation is theta state. It’s where you go for dreaming. Intuition and creativity sit there, and most of the time, when you have a dream, you don’t remember it.
JP Sears: Right.
Dave Asprey: There’s actually software that I use, called NeuroMinder, that trains you to remember what happens in that state, but when you go on an airplane, you’ve got relatively poor quality of lighting, but you’ve also got white noise, like all that stuff going on, and you are relatively uncomfortable. You’re so uncomfortable that you can’t go to sleep very easily.
JP Sears: Right.
Dave Asprey: What’s happening is you’ve got white noise and essentially a background annoyingness that helps your body drop into a theta state, and you’re uncomfortable enough that you don’t fall asleep, where you won’t get all the value from it. It pops you into that mode.
JP Sears: Fascinating. So yay. Luckily, I’m on airplanes enough that I get to take advantage of that. That’s where the eQ materials come from, and then the next part of my creative process is taking the big idea and filling in the microcosm, if you will, of that idea. For me, I dedicate the first one hour of my day, after my morning routine, and I’m woken up, the first hour of my workday is devoted to writing, so scripting-
Dave Asprey: Like the artist way, just getting it out of your head writing, or more focused work writing?
JP Sears: No. It would be like making a video script, writing the book, but something that I’m really applying my creativity to a project that’s got material to it.
Dave Asprey: I find it kind of irritating, Naveen Jain, when we was on, who … By the way, Naveen Jain is the founder of InfoSpace, and the guy who’s behind Moon Express and the new company called Biome. He just invested in Bulletproof this week, which is cool.
JP Sears: Right on.
Dave Asprey: Well, this week when we’re recording, but anyway, now I have this cool billionaire investor guy on board, which is awesome, joined our advisory board. Naveen, when I interviewed him, I’m like, “What are your morning habits?” He goes, “Why the heck would you want to know my morning habits?” I’m misquoting him, but he’s like, “Only a loser would want to follow someone else’s morning habits. You know why people do the habits? It’s the thinking that matters.” I kind of want to ask you about your morning habits, but I also don’t want people to think, “Oh, I’ll be just like JP Sears if I just follow his habits,” because your habits work for you, but your habits might not work for them. That said, what are your habits? No. You said your first hour, but you don’t wake up in bed and write, do you?
JP Sears: No. No, I don’t. First thing I do is I take a cold shower, that is so stimulating.
Dave Asprey: Hot then cold, or just cold?
JP Sears: Just cold.
Dave Asprey: Wow.
JP Sears: Yeah, hardcore-
Dave Asprey: Viking.
JP Sears: Yeah, brother. Then, from there, I do some gratitude journaling, so I write down … Actually, this is a dimension of the routine I got from Tony Robbins, three things I’m grateful for, but to bring it just from head, and integrate it to my heart, feel the feelings of gratitude.
Dave Asprey: The sensation of gratitude. Well said.
JP Sears: For sure. Then, I write down three creative projects that I’m working on, to just energize what’s important to me, creatively. Then, I take a 30 minute walk. I come back and make Bulletproof coffee. I’m not just saying that because I’m talking to Dave. I’ve been on Bulletproof coffee. I love it.
Dave Asprey: Awesome.
JP Sears: Yeah. Getting into ketosis or close to it, I don’t measure my blood, but-
Dave Asprey: You don’t need to. If you just burn Octane, you’re getting some ketones just by definition.
JP Sears: Yes. I use a crapload of Brain Octane, grass-fed butter … Like I’m telling you what’s in Bulletproof coffee. Do you know about Bulletproof coffee? I do find it makes a noticeable difference for my mental sharpness, my brain energy, and my physical energy. Typically, then I’m not eating my first solid food until one in the afternoon, at the earliest, sometimes two. Yeah. Then, I take my coffee, and I start my creative writing, whatever the one hour of creativity is.
Dave Asprey: Do you take any other smart drugs?
JP Sears: No.
Dave Asprey: I’ll give you some before you go.
JP Sears: Okay.
Dave Asprey: There’s some that can help.
JP Sears: Is crystal meth a smart drug?
Dave Asprey: No. It’s just a stimulant. We have real smart drugs.
JP Sears: No. No other smart drugs.
Dave Asprey: If you’re open to it, I will give you some. I make neutral [inaudible 01:08:17] that are not drugs, some of the Bulletproof stuff, but I mean like an actual pharmaceutical smart drug sort of thing, that is legal to give you, because they’re over-the-counter stuff.
JP Sears: Interesting. Those kind of scare me, and I’m not educated on them, but I’m curious. What would be the one you’re thinking of?
Dave Asprey: Aniracetam. The ones in the racetam family are exceedingly safe, and they increase memory I/O, at least that one does, and they don’t have addictive things, at all. They’re not stimulants. The biggest side effect, they amplify caffeine a little bit. Some of them, they reduce acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter. They use more choline, because your brain works faster. They’re essentially neuroprotective. Your chances of living longer when you take them are higher, so I’ve been on this stuff almost every day for nearly 20 years now.
JP Sears: Oh, wow.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, and there’s different varieties in that family. If you want to try some, I’ll give you some, and then I’d just say take it with your Bulletproof in the morning, when you want to really create something amazing, and just see what happens. Your risks are relatively low on these, and these are things … And anyone can order online. I don’t sell any of them. I can’t tell you where the safest place to buy them is, because there are always sites-
JP Sears: Probably Tijuana, Mexico is the safest place to buy anything.
Dave Asprey: I usually get a smoothie made out of them there. They just put a few Viagra, a few aniracetams, blend it right up with some cactus.
JP Sears: [inaudible 01:09:42]. Yeah, I’m fascinated. I’d love to learn more about that.
Dave Asprey: All right. I’ll get you some. Some of the most creative people I know, they do get the boost from having … It’s not just ketones, like Brain Octane and all that, but nicotine can help, too, even if you’re not a smoker. I wrote a few blog posts about how you can use nicotine as a smart drug. When you think about it, almost every great work of literary fiction was written with copious amount of coffee, nicotine, and sometimes alcohol, which is not a performance enhancer. There is something about that, so I’m a huge fan of microdosing nicotine. I’ve never smoked. Smoking is bad for you. I would never smoke.
JP Sears: Sure.
Dave Asprey: But that one compound is better studied than caffeine. If I was to pick the most studied smart drug on the planet, it’s nicotine. Maybe I’d take modafanil, which I took for like eight years, and also will blow your writing away, but it’s a bigger gun. For you, that’s probably too big, but-
JP Sears: Are you saying I can’t handle it, Dave?
Dave Asprey: I’m just saying you don’t want to handle it.
JP Sears: Okay. Thank you. I feel better about myself, now.
Dave Asprey: I can’t imagine that calm, the kind of calm, centered voice on modafanil and some caffeine. It’d be more Beavis and Butt-Head, and just less JP. I don’t know if that’d be the right vibe for you.
JP Sears: Yeah, that changes my character, my personality, like, “You are someone different.” Yeah.
Dave Asprey: The one thing that a lot of people tell me about modafanil, not nicotine, is … And something I felt, as well, your mind works so fast that it’s irritating, because people are talking so slow.
JP Sears: Is that right?
Dave Asprey: You know what they’re going to say. If they could just finish saying it, then you could go onto what’s next. You actually have to manage that. It can be, especially the first couple weeks, it can be almost like a sense of rage.
JP Sears: Is that rage?
Dave Asprey: Because, “Why is everyone around me so Goddamn slow?” I took Adderall for about a month. I had a prescription for it a long time ago, just to try it. It was a horrible drug for me.
JP Sears: Was it?
Dave Asprey: I was taking small doses, and like, “Please don’t touch me.” It was not good. It’s not ampy like that, but it’s just like everything is fast. At least you’re fast, but everything else is slow, and that’s not a good feeling until you just get used to running at a high speed.
That said, I did give … I didn’t give. I explained how this worked to a guy doing a really long, detailed proposal for the Dalai Lama. Another guy, who’s written a very successful book about the global brain … In fact, he was on the show. I think he talked about this. I hope he did, Steve Omohundro. Sorry, Steve. I think you did talk about that in your blog. Steve’s a friend and AI researcher, and another person, who’s a clinical hypnotherapist. Each of them had 100mg of modafanil for the first time. I just told them how the stuff worked, and they had their own doctor prescriptions and all that kind of stuff. Then, they all came back a week later, like, “I just took that one dose,” and the Dalai Lama guy’s like, “I finished the proposal I’ve been working on for weeks and weeks. I finished it all at once, and it’s the best writing I’ve ever done, and they accepted my proposal.” Steve’s like, “Two chapters of my book!”
JP Sears: That’s awesome.
Dave Asprey: So for creative stuff, I haven’t taken the stuff in about four years, because I measured my brain. After eight years of being on it, my brain runs at that speed without it, as long as I follow the Bulletproof Diet. If I go out and eat inflammatory foods, I’m back to my slow, normal self, but on university grade levels, you can’t do that, so if you’re writing your opus, I’d say go for the racetams, add in some modafanil, a little spray of nicotine, and a double Bulletproof coffee, but just don’t go on stage the next day, because you wouldn’t be yourself.
JP Sears: I might develop a new character.
Dave Asprey: Angry JP.
JP Sears: That’s fascinating. That guy got all hopped up on all that, and then he did a marriage proposal to the Dalai Lama, and the Dalai Lama said yes. Is that the moral of the story, that I gather?
Dave Asprey: It’s the moral of the story.
JP Sears: I’m a good listener.
Dave Asprey: After that, he was one with everything. That was pretty good. You got to give me credit for that.
JP Sears: I digress. Did you hear the joke about the Dalai Lama ordering a hot dog?
Dave Asprey: I already know the punchline.
JP Sears: Yeah. It’s just going to be a terrible joke. I won’t even say it ever, but you’ve probably heard it. If you haven’t, it’s not really worth listening to, certainly by Dave and JP.
Dave Asprey: All right, so I interrupted you by suggesting an upgrade to your Bulletproof coffee there, which was terribly rude as the inquisitive questioner here.
JP Sears: Yeah, and I’m offended.
Dave Asprey: I’m just trying to add some value to your otherwise valueless work. See, that kind of thing, it doesn’t feel good to say it, because I know you don’t take that seriously, but even so, I don’t like to say kinds of things. When I said that, I felt bad.
JP Sears: I love that you felt how it felt to you. Was is sarcasm? Yes. Did it hurt me? No, but it hurt you, and I think it’s so awesome you could feel that, be like, “Oh, coming from that angle, I don’t want to do that again.”
Dave Asprey: Yeah, but it was still kind of funny.
JP Sears: Yeah. I think the funniest jokes are the ones where you have to tell other people that they’re funny.
Dave Asprey: I got to master the one eyebrow raise. You’ve kind of got that pretty well …
JP Sears: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dave Asprey: All right. If you’re watching this on YouTube, that was funny, because we were having a little eyebrow war there, but as it was on your commute, you’re like, “These guys are kind of weird.” All right, so we talked about your morning. You do the Tony Robbins gratitude journaling. You use Bulletproof. You don’t eat until two, which is very similar to my morning, although I don’t do the gratitude stuff in the morning. I have children, so my gratitude practice involves, “Put on your shoes. Put on your shoes. Put on your shoes. Get in the car,” and you just repeat everything five or six times, and eventually, it happens, and then you’re grateful that it happens.
JP Sears: Yeah. It’s like a mantra that actually works.
Dave Asprey: Then, I come back, and I do biohacking stuff, so I’ll do the gratitude stuff in the evening. Okay, so you do that, and you structure your writing so the first hour is essentially new scripts, like your most powerful writing is the first hour, and then you go into work mode after that?
JP Sears: Yeah. Yeah, so work mode. My writing is part of my work, but I don’t even like to call it work. That’s why I call it the creative time. Yeah. Then, I’ll go into work, so it might be interviews that are scheduled, clients, meetings, filming videos.
Dave Asprey: Okay, cool. When you are going to be either shooting a video or going live on stage, what do you do to get in the zone for that?
JP Sears: Very different. With a video, like calm down, just find my center, breathing like meditation, like I just need calm and slowness. When I’m going onstage in front of an audience, it’s just the opposite. I want to get hyped up. I don’t go onstage yelling and screaming-
Dave Asprey: You don’t seem hyped up in front of audience. That’s your character.
JP Sears: Yeah, but I like to just really raise my energy, even though I don’t project my voice loud and move around with a lot of dynamic motion, but I just love to enter the stage being kind of like as high frequency as I can. Also, part of my go onstage practice is remind myself, “I am here to give. This isn’t about me.” I find when I try to make this about me, “I want this to go good, so everybody’s pleased, so I feel better about myself,” that’s when I start to feel a little anxiety, a little nervous. It just takes me off my center, but when I remind myself, “I’m here to give. This is for the audience,” it just puts me in a much better state, similar to what gratitude journaling would. It puts me in a giving frame of mine.
Dave Asprey: It’s interesting. Being of service of others is one of the things that reliably gets some people into a flow state. Some people have to be in fear of death, of falling down a mountain with a failing parachute or something to really get in the flow state. But for the rest of us, who aren’t going to get mortally wounded, it’s a pretty reliable way to do it, so for you, just that mindset. Same thing, I don’t have any stress onstage, because I’m like, “I’m here to give,” but if I’m like, “I’m here to take,” I might have anxiety, but I don’t know. That’s just not what I do anymore. I hear you there. You get super hyped. You do some breathing before you go onstage. Then, you just go on, and you deliver.
JP Sears: Yeah. Yeah.
Dave Asprey: How conscious are you while you’re delivering it? Are you doing the memorize thing? Are you thinking of everything? Are you watching the audience? What do you do with your mind?
JP Sears: Yeah. I’ll give you a couple answers. If I’m going onstage to do comedy, typically, my stage time, I’m either doing comedy or I’m giving a sincere discussion from my heart. When I’m doing comedy, much like the nature of a lot of standup comedy, I do have it scripted. I’ve got my quote unquote “routine”, but I like to be so solid on that, that it’s something to launch off of, so I love engaging with the audience, just improving, when there’s little interactions. To me, it’s so beautiful, so being able to be present with people, essentially have the routine so ingrained in my nervous system that I don’t have to think about it, so I can be more present, and I just love that feel. I think it gives a better product, if you will.
If I’m going onstage to deliver more of a sincere discussion of my heart, whether it’s about authenticity, healing, growth, whatever it might be, I’ll know the topic that I’m going to talk about, I’ll probably know some key points or principles, but I like to be very unscripted. I like to be very spontaneous and get into the flow state, connecting with the audience, so it can be a true communication, not just a monologue. Even if I’m the only one talking, communication, to me, is different than a monologue. It’s like I’m feeling, I’m receiving, I’m looking at the body language, and sounding airy fairy, but feeling the energy of the audience.
Dave Asprey: Any effective presenter and any effective teacher in a live setting has a sense of the feedback from the room. It’s probably electromagnetic, because we know that your heart rate variability will change in response to those around you, and theirs will chance in response to yours. I became a more effective speaker when I learned to train my heart rate variability. I have a higher amplitude heart rate variability, and it’s called coherent, so it’s non-chaotic. People are like, “I don’t know why, but it feels calmer.” The room will resonate with you if you do it right. I think you have to be in a flow state to do that, as well.
JP Sears: Very cool.
Dave Asprey: Then, when you’re aware of that, if you say something that takes you out of the zone, it’s because it probably took the audience out of the zone, and you’re kind of at one with them, in some sense. Is that a description of what you’re doing?
JP Sears: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: You may not be doing heart rate variability exercises, but does that sound the same?
JP Sears: Yeah, 100%, absolutely. It’s just like if you’re dancing, you’re going to be paying attention to your dance partner, and the dance will go well. It’ll be enjoyable. It’ll be graceful. It’ll be a beautiful, artistic expression if you’re paying attention to your dance partner. To me, being on stage, you have a dance partner. It’s not a one person thing. It’s a collective consciousness of everybody that’s in there, so man, I think half the talk is receiving what the dance partner’s giving you.
Dave Asprey: Very well said. Wow, I never thought about dancing with my audience, but maybe that’s because your audience is more attractive than mine?
JP Sears: I actually have a very attractive audience. Thank you guys very much.
Dave Asprey: That’s [crosstalk 01:21:33].
JP Sears: Dave, let’s get to the bottom of this. Are you saying your audience is ugly? Are you saying fans of Bulletproof Radio are unattractive?
Dave Asprey: I was implying that, but I didn’t actually say it, but it was an alternative fact, so it was okay.
JP Sears: You love Donald Trump. Conversation’s over.
Dave Asprey: Oh, man. Now, you’ve polarized everyone. The problem is, I don’t know which pole I’m on. I’m very confused now.
JP Sears: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: I’m going to do some self-sabotage right now.
JP Sears: Dave loves you guys. He does, I promise.
Dave Asprey: On that note, I can’t think of a better way to end the show. You guys should check out How to Be Ultra Spiritual, JP’s new book, and no, actually, JP didn’t pay me or twist my arm to say anything about his book. I’m actually just saying things because I always bring authors on who write good stuff, because I’m assuming if you’re willing to spend an hour of your time listening to Bulletproof Radio, that you probably care about what’s in your head, so I will suggest things that you might want to put in your head. This is a good read, and it’s funny, and hey, Tony Robbins agrees, so who’s going to argue with Tony Robbins? He’s like 99 feet tall or something. He’s taller than me. Don’t argue with that guy. He’ll pound your face.
JP Sears: Thank you for the beautiful words about the book. I so appreciate you.
Dave Asprey: You’re welcome. I appreciate you coming up to the Labs and hanging out for a day. We’ve cryotherapied you and done all sorts of other crazy stuff for you.
JP Sears: Yeah. A hardcore workout in four minutes? That is amazing.
Dave Asprey: I noticed you’re looking a little bit less weak than normal.
JP Sears: Oh, Dave, I didn’t even know that you would notice. Ah, I’m getting tired. By the way, you’re looking less weak than normal, too. You’ve got some girth on your arms, brother.
Dave Asprey: I’ve been doing SERMs, Selective Engine Receptor Modifiers. I wrote a post about it, and I tried a stack of them a while back. It didn’t take that much, so I added another one, and I put on 19 pounds of muscle in a month.
JP Sears: Wow.
Dave Asprey: I did four workouts, so that was-
JP Sears: Only four workouts over the course of a month?
Dave Asprey: It was stupid. Yes. I wasn’t trying to put on 19 pounds of muscle. If you guys ever see me in person, I’m not a small dude. I’m 6’4, and I’m already imposing enough. New York Times said I was almost muscular. I’m like, “That’s what makes you live a long time, is when you’re almost muscular,” like enough muscle mass, but not enough to stress the heart. My shirt barely fits. I had to buy a new suit. I’m like, “This sucks. I don’t want to be Hulking out of my clothes.” But it was nice, because I lost some fat at the same time, but I cannot claim it was just that exercise. I did one electrical stem and three of the computerized resistance training ones that you just did downstairs, and a couple yoga classes in there, too. It was like … So I’m going to be doing another round of those at some point, just for fun. I don’t want to get any beefier than this.
JP Sears: [crosstalk 01:24:28]. Yeah, watch it. I digress. The last thing I’ll say, one of the effective workout routines that I’m doing is I take my shirt size, and then I wear a shirt two sizes smaller than that. I can’t say enough for how much bigger that makes my muscles look.
Dave Asprey: It’s working for me right now.
JP Sears: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: I washed this shirt in hot water, and I gained five pounds of muscles.
JP Sears: Yeah, so wearing your wife’s shirts, I think is working so well for you.
Dave Asprey: Yeah. The back straps are particularly attractive, I think.
JP Sears: I think they are. Thank you for having me on, Dave. This has been a treat.
Dave Asprey: It’s been great fun, JP. I look forward to hanging out next time we get a chance to hang out, and hopefully, you’ll be at the next Bulletproof conference. We’ll see if we can get your travel to line up.
JP Sears: I’d love to.
Dave Asprey: Before we sign off, How to Be Ultra Spiritual, where do people go to get this? Are you doing some sort of a book launch? We didn’t plan any of this. I just [crosstalk 01:25:21].
JP Sears: Yeah. You can really get it anywhere books are sold, Amazon, Barnes & Noble. You can also go to howtobeultraspiritual.com, but really anywhere you want to get it online is the best place.
Dave Asprey: All right. Have an awesome day, and since you’re listening, and all of that, if you liked the subset, which I got to say, we went places that I don’t normally go in these episodes, a lot of personal development stuff from someone who’s both trained in professional development and comedy, which is cool. Go to iTunes, take five seconds to express some gratitude, and just leave a little five star review, because it really helps people know that this is a good podcast and that it’s worthy of their time. Then, just share it with a friend. Say, “Hey you should subscribe to this.” That’s one of the biggest things you could do to say thanks to an author, is you buy a copy of their book, or you tell someone else about them, and that’s what lets good ideas spread. Thanks for doing that. Before we sign off, got to ask you the Bulletproof question. You’ve heard enough episodes of Bulletproof Radio. You already know the question, don’t you?
JP Sears: I’m going to pretend like I don’t know.
Dave Asprey: Oh, awesome. Fake sincerity, that’s so cool.
JP Sears: Actually, I don’t know. I haven’t been taking enough Brain Octane.
Dave Asprey: So you haven’t actually ever heard the show before. Is that what I’m hearing?
JP Sears: So you’re saying you do have a podcast?
Dave Asprey: Lovely.
JP Sears: I thought all this equipment was just for show.
Dave Asprey: Here’s the question, if someone came to you tomorrow and said, “I want to perform better at everything I do. What are the three most important pieces of advice you have for me?” What would you tell them?
JP Sears: Great. Make yourself intentionally uncomfortable every damn day, just like we mentioned, mediate, and then practice the living heck out of whatever it is you do. I am into hacking the system, and I also am a fan of kind of like the old cliché 10,000 hour rule to mastery. Man, I think that deserves respect, so practice your craft.
Dave Asprey: Love it. Thanks, JP.
JP Sears: You’re welcome, brother.