Episode 53 | The Secret Brain Hack Today’s Best Leaders Use to Unlock Their True Potential

with Dr. Robert Cooper

David Hassell interview David Hassell interview


AWE Episode graphic Robert CooperAWE Episode graphic Robert Cooper
In a very literal sense, you’re about to have your mind blown.
Or perhaps more accurately – this episode will blow your mind and then help you rebuild a better one.
This week we have Dr. Robert Cooper, a bestselling author and researcher who holds a PhD in general psychology and neurology, and the proponent of a practice called “upwiring.”
In this amazing interview, Dr. Cooper introduces us to the concept of “livewiring” – the idea that we’re constantly remaking the structure and function of our entire nervous system in realtime.
The livewiring breakthrough led Dr. Cooper to the concept of upwiring – the practice of remaking your mind in a directed, purposeful way. The research has shown us that we all have the power to unlock hidden capabilities, push through obstacles, and generally perform better and lead richer, more fulfilling lives. And it’s easier than you might think.
Dr. Cooper isn’t just a respected researcher and performance coach – he’s a certifiable performance stud. He was an All-American swimmer at the University of Michigan, a U.S. Marine and jet pilot during the Vietnam war, and – oh yeah – he’s currently completing his second doctoral degree.
The good doctor shared some incredibly simple yet effective strategies for practicing upwiring in our daily lives. We also cover stories from Robert’s upbringing that shaped his identity and inspired him to unlock the hidden potential in himself and others.
Key Takeaways
  • Dr. Cooper tells us about his upbringing and the role played by his two grandfathers, who inspired him to always challenge himself and fully realize his potential. 4:45
  • Dr. Cooper tells us how his experience as a Marine in Vietnam showed him how deep people can reach within themselves when confronted with extreme circumstances. 7:02
  • Dr. Cooper explains how he became curious about how the best leaders use setbacks and difficulties as a catalyst to bring out more in themselves and their teams. 7:35
  • Dr. Cooper tells us why being engulfed in information gives us the illusion that we’re actually learning, even though we’re not. 9:15
  • Dr. Cooper talks about the expectations of having such accomplished mentors in his life as a young man, but how ultimately their influence led him down the path he continues on to do this day. 9:48
  • Dr. Cooper explains why he believes that we only live in a tiny corner of our possibilities as human beings, and why our brains are hardwired to recognize the best of what’s common not the best of what’s possible. 11:26
  • Dr. Cooper explains the phenomenon of cognitive tunneling, and how of very strengths are blocking us from developing. 13:40
  • Dr. Cooper explains why he believes our biggest mission every day is to surpass the best we’ve ever been. 14:49
  • Dr. Cooper introduces the concept of NFC, or “need for cognition” – a curiosity about the hidden capabilities within us – and why we need a moment of reflection before we can actually learn anything. 16:50
  • Dr. Cooper reveals a strategy for inspiring curiosity in ourselves and others, and explains why we need to constantly ask ourselves the question, “Compared to what?” 19:00
  • Dr. Cooper explains why he believes most of the people he works with (some of the highest performers in the world) are only at 10-20% of their capacity to shine – as well as why certain leaders pull away from everyone else. 21:35
  • Dr. Cooper takes us through the fascinating world of neuroplasticity and the phenomenon of upwiring – the extraordinary opportunity we all have to remake ourselves for the better, everyday. 26:45
  • Dr. Cooper relates an amazing story about studying with the famed psychologist Abraham Maslow, and explains why every morning you have to choose to face our fears, again and again. 34:10
  • Dr. Cooper describes a strategy for upwiring, and why the greatest catalyst for positive growth is negative resistance. 38:09
  • Dr. Cooper explains why those who can take a split second pause when faced with a challenge or confrontation have an advantage and will more successfully live up to their potential. 42:20
  • Dr. Cooper explains why the first 22 minutes of every day are the most important. 49:35
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