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The Peter Attia Drive

Sep 23, 2019

In this episode, Dan Harris, correspondent for ABC News and co-founder of the Ten Percent Happier meditation app, speaks openly about his struggles with self-centeredness, addiction, depression, emotional volatility, and the deep-rooted insecurities that drove him to career success. He tells the story of how a panic attack on live TV lead him down a path of self-discovery culminating in a meditation practice which has since transformed his life—in terms of his own personal suffering, his relationships with those closest to him, and his ability to be kind and compassionate (which has its own selfish advantages). Dan also shares some very practical advice and tips for new meditators, dispels some of the myths around meditation, and gives people some things to look forward to as they progress with their practice. Last but not least, we talk about the importance of not passing shame and trauma to our kids and the role that mindfulness and meditation plays in that.

  • Dan’s meditation book, and the panic attack on live TV that started it all [8:00];
  • Addiction: the spectrum of addiction, the socially acceptable forms, and Dan’s own battle with addiction and depression [13:30];
  • Dan’s drive for self-protection, a defining moment of childhood, and how his upbringing shaped him [20:30];
  • A selfish reason to be kind and compassionate [28:30];
  • Using mindfulness to avoid being controlled by your emotions such as anger and grandiosity [36:15];
  • How Dan found meditation, and how he went from skeptic to someone willing to try it [40:45];
  • Advice for new meditators, misconceptions about meditation, and the difference between changes in state vs. changes in trait [48:00];
  • Difference between being “mindful” versus being “present” [55:00];
  • The overlap between psychology and Buddhism, who is the real Buddha, and a Buddhism 101 lesson [57:45];
  • What convinced Dan to finally try meditation, and how did his first session go? [1:05:30];
  • Lessons from Dan’s 10-day silent retreat: “You’re trying too hard” [1:12:30];
  • How Dan’s meditation has evolved over 10 years of practice [1:27:30];
  • Dan’s 360 Review: A painful process illuminating his selfishness, and putting him on a path to more kindness and compassion [1:30:45];
  • How to quiet mental suffering in tough times, and how meditation has helped (and not helped) Dan get through some of the hardest moments of his life [1:41:30];
  • How Dan’s practice has made him a better husband [1:47:45];
  • How to prevent the transference of trauma and shame to your kids [1:50:45];
  • Does past trauma drive successful people? Can a person be successful professionally if they give up that negative insecurity that is driving them? [1:56:00];
  • The pillars of emotional health, and how to help yourself when you feel insecure [2:08:30];
  • Why it’s important to let your kids see that you are a flawed human [2:11:30];
  • Learning from the incredible (but flawed) Peter Jennings [2:15:15];
  • When is Dan’s next book coming out? [2:21:15]; and
  • More.

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