The Science of Success

The Skeptics Guide To Meditation With Dan Harris

November 9, 2017
In this episode we discuss how our guest went from a hard-nosed skeptic who thought most self help was BS, to someone who uncovered the evidence based growth strategies that actually work. We talk about our guest’s journey from meeting self help gurus, to spiritual teachers, and neuroscientists to discover the biggest lessons about improving your mind and body, and the simple, scientifically validated tool that evidence demonstrates is the best way to be happier with Dan Harris. 
Dan Harris is a correspondent for ABC News and the co-anchor for the weekend edition of Good Morning America. Dan regularly contributes to Nightline, 20/20, and World News and has covered stories from all over the world including war reporting in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as investigative reports in Haiti, Cambodia, the Congo and more. Dan is the author of the book 10% Happier and his work has been featured in the New York Times, The Washington Post, Dr. OZ, Good Morning America, and much more.
  • How Dan went from being a skeptical hard-nosed reporter who thought meditation and self was was largely “bullshit”
  • What happened when Dan had a panic attack in front of 5 million people on Live TV
  • What it’s like to have your mind get hijacked by the most boring person alive
  • Dan’s journey of visiting self help gurus, religious leaders, neuroscientists and more led him to one major conclusion about how to improve your brain and your body
  • How many self help gurus are correct, but often not useful in a practical sense
  • Simple and scientifically validated tool to deal with the voice in your head
  • The secrets of "contemplative neuroscientists"
  • How to train up the ability to focus, deal with emotions, be nice to other people, be nice to yourself, have patience, and be grateful
  • The radical notion, supported by research, that you can literally train and transform your brain to prime it for happiness
  • Happiness is skill, according to the science, and it can be trained
  • There are thousands of kinds of meditation and it’s not useful to get overly dogmatic about the superiority of one method over the other
  • Dan gravitates towards mindfulness meditation because it has valuable and strong research supporting it
  • The basic and simple strategy you can use to start meditating RIGHT NOW
  • You don’t need to clear your mind - clearing your mind is impossible
  • Think about meditation like going to the gym - if you’re not sweating and panting you're not doing it right, meditation is like bicep curls for the brain
  • The whole game of meditation is have the collision with the voice in your head and return to breath
  • How to defeat anxiety, depression, and panic attacks using meditation
  • What to do if you don’t have enough time to meditate
  • The false belief that meditation is self indulgent and a waste of time
  • The myth that you will lose your edge if you start meditating
  • The different between responding wisely and reacting blindly
  • How do we strike a balance between acceptance/mindfulness and achievement?
  • Non-attachment to results - you are not fully in control of the universe - everything is interconnected and multifactorial - the wise stance for an ambitious person is to recognize that you shouldn’t be attached to results
  • How do we battle back from nihilism if we go to deep down the path of buddhism?
  • We do have some agency to impact the universe, but we aren’t the master of the universe
  • The importance of seeing things as they are instead of as you want them to be
  • It’s not about perfection its about marginal improvement,  a 10% improvement compounds
  • Meditation is simple but not easy