The Science of Success

Proven Strategies of Mindfulness and Self-Compassion with Dr. Ronald Siegel

May 4, 2017

In this episode we examine how mindfulness practices developed independently in cultures across the world, discuss how evolution shaped our brains to focus on survival instead of happiness and fulfillment, we ask what is success? How do we define it? What is the failure of success? We go deep into how to practice self-compassion, and much more with Dr. Ronald Siegel.

Dr. Ronald Siegel is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School, where he has taught for over 30 years. Ronald also currently serves on the Board of Directors and Faculty of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy. He is a longtime student of mindfulness meditation having authored and co-authored several books on the topic including The Mindfulness Solution, Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, and more.

We discuss:

  • Lessons about mindfulness from the Harvard medical school
  • Why did mindfulness practices spring up independently in cultures across the world?
  • You didn’t evolve to be happy (and why that’s super important)
  • How evolution shaped our brains to focus on survival and not happiness and fulfillment
  • How our minds are like Teflon for good things  & Velcro for bad things
  • Type 1 Errors and Type 2 Errors (and why our minds evolved to make way too many Type 1 Errors)
  • How evolution sculpted our brains to be incredibly concerned about social ranking and hierarchies
  • Why we focus incessantly on what other’s think about us and how we compare to other people and how that drives much of what happens in the world around us
  • The pain of “I, Me, My Mine” and how constant preoccupation with ourselves is a major cause of pain and suffering
  • When we are preoccupied with proving ourselves, it harms our connections with other people
  • What is success? How do we define it? What is the "failure of success?"
  • The major misconceptions about what will make us happy
  • The importance of connecting with others and engaging more fully in this moment
  • The dunning-Kruger effect and how it clouds our understanding of mindfulness
  • “High-resolution consciousness” and how you can create it
  • The relationship between mindfulness and thought
  • A huge amount of psychological suffering has to do with our thinking
  • Thoughts are mental contents rather than realities
  • Happiness stems from being FULLY PRESENT and ENGAGED
  • Fantasizing about future/past etc creates suffering
  • How does mindfulness relate to meditation? What’s the difference?
  • Train the mind not to push away the unpleasant experiences
  • We go through exercises explicitly design for cultivating acceptance
  • How mindfulness helps you break out of a cycle of comparison and cultivate loving self-acceptance
  • Identify the feeling states in your body and notice each time you get feelings of inflation and deflation
  • The vital importance of self-compassion
  • Feel your feelings and trust that it's OK to feel them
  • Who was the King of England in 1361? (and why it's ESSENTIAL to understand that)
  • The concepts of narcissistic recalibration and the hedonic treadmill
  • The scientific reality that everything is a wave function
  • Consciousness is a stream of experience that fluctuates up and down
  • And much more!


If you want to master meditation and mindfulness, listen to this episode!