Make Bad Decisions? Blame Dopamine w/ Bill Harris – #362

Why you should listen –

Making bad, compulsive decisions might be behavior some of us just can’t control.  Bill Harris, the Founder of the Centerpointe Research Institute, discusses how the effects of stress can flood the brain with dopamine, leading to poor judgment and compulsive decisions that can have disastrous consequences. In this episode Dave and Bill reveal the best defenses against “terrible choice syndrome” with an arsenal of their most powerful biohacking tools.

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Speaker 2: Bulletproof Radio, a state of high performance.


Dave Asprey: You’re listening to Bulletproof Radio with Dave Asprey. Today’s cool fact of the day is that ambient music could have a really profound effect on your creativity even more so than playing your favorite power tunes. A recent study on creative cognition showed that moderate noise levels increase thought processing difficulty which leads to heightened abstract processing which inspires creative thinking.


Basically, the sounds make you work just hard enough in your thought processing to force you into being creative. On the other hand, loud noises that make you work too hard and that are too distracting can reduce your ability to handle information effectively. Bottom line is sound is one of the environmental variables that you can use for biohacking that could increase creativity or could decrease creativity depending on what you do with it.


Before we get into today’s show, here’s a big announcement for you today. Well, actually it’s a small announcement, like three ounces small. After receiving, literally, thousands of e-mails from people requesting something more portable than our 16 and 32 ounce bottles of Brain Octane, Bulletproof is finally rolling out a three ounce travel size bottle.


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If you don’t love it, they’ll pick it up and refund you everything. It’s made in America, not overseas with all sorts of weird chemicals. You can get $50 today towards any mattress purchase by visiting and using Bulletproof as your promo code. Terms and conditions apply. That’s with promo code Bulletproof. Today’s guest is none other than veteran biohacker, zen monk, musician, composer and all around philanthropist, Bill Harris, the founder and CEO of Centerpointe Research, creator of Holosync. Bill, welcome to the show.


Bill Harris: Hi there, Dave. How are you?


Dave Asprey: I am doing really well. We’re friends. You’ve been on the show before, you’ve spoken at the Bulletproof Conference, you gave away some copies of your book, The New Science of Super Awareness, at this year’s conference and you’re one of our most popular guest on Bulletproof Radio so welcome back.


Bill Harris: I’m glad to be here. There’s always more to share with people.


Dave Asprey: Now, you have your Holosync Program, your audio program for train the brain. Something that I first used … Geez, I want to say somewhere around ’96, ’97, I started using your program and you’ve had over two million people in 193 countries that use Holosync which is absolutely remarkable. Even researching the brain, I wouldn’t say ever since but the entire time, how did you get two million people in 193 countries to use your program? Is there a secret?


Bill Harris: Well, I haven’t done a count lately but two years ago, it was 2.2 million people in 193 countries. Part of that is because we’ve been doing this for a long time. I started researching this in 1985 and in 1989, I started Centerpointe. The first few years probably shouldn’t count, maybe in terms of refining it they did, I didn’t know what I was doing the first few years so we didn’t grow very fast. At a certain point, it did really take off.


I think that the reason Centerpointe has been so … Maybe there’s three reasons why it’s been so successful. One of them is that Holosync really is amazing. In a world of personal growth products that are mostly garbage or warmed over somebody else’s something, I just happen to stumble on something that really, really makes a huge difference. We didn’t know this in the beginning but it creates a profound positive changes in two extremely important parts of the brain.


We can talk about this a little bit later and so, it affects people mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually. It just creates all kinds of dramatic changes. The second thing is that fairly early on, I was fortunate enough to meet some of the best marketing communicators in the world. Some people think marketing is all manipulation and this sort of a thing but I think that marketing is skillfully telling someone how what you have will benefit them and helping them to make a decision that is in their best interest to make.


I met people that are really good at this and now, I’m considered to be one of them so I’m a very good communicator. A good product, really good marketing and then I don’t know, I’ve always been a curator of information. I mean, you’re like this too. Both of us don’t have long strings of credentials after our names but we are passionate enough about all these stuff. Just like you, I read voluminously, I read scientific papers, I take courses, I meet people who are smarter about the brain and things like that and I relentlessly pick brains.


I’m a curator of information. I do all these stuff because I’m passionate about it and then, I’m really good at communicating it to people in a way that saves them a ton of time. It’s easy to understand, people have big a-has and I think part of it is because as I started to figure all these stuff out and figure out how to get myself straight, because I was such a mess, I hit the wall many, many times and made many, many mistakes, screwed up, got stuck on many things and then, I was persistent enough that I figured out how to get around whatever it was.


I had a real appreciation for what it was like for other people to learn this stuff and figure out how to adopt it and make it per their lifestyle. I’m really good at describing that in a way that people go, “So that’s what that’s about.” It really helps people to get better results, to stick with it. I was interviewing Cynthia Kersey not too long ago. She started the Unstoppable Foundation that builds schools in Africa and I give lots of money to her and have built many schools in Africa.


Dave Asprey: Yeah, we’re at that dinner together supporting that.


Bill Harris: Yeah, exactly. She said something right at the end of her interview, she said, “Do you want me to tell you the secret to being unstoppable?” She had a bestselling book called Unstoppable and her foundation is the Unstoppable Foundation. She said, “You want to know the secret to being unstoppable?” and I said, “Yeah, sure.” “Don’t stop.”


Dave Asprey: That is a profound secret. Your comments there, if I boil it down, is have a product that works really, really well and be really good at explaining how people can benefit from it. That seems like the recipe for success. It’s the same thing with [inaudible 00:11:06].


Bill Harris: Don’t stop.


Dave Asprey: That’s a [crosstalk 00:11:08] point, yeah.


Bill Harris: Last year was our 27th anniversary and I’ve seen so many other people in personal growth-related or human potential-related businesses who’ll do something for awhile and then they’ll stop and do something else. First of all, you’ve got to have something that’s really good. If it’s not really good, you’re just a poser in my opinion and there’s a lot of stuff like that out there. If you have something that’s really good, why stop? Keep going. I mean, that’s how I’ve created this huge, iconic brand Holosync and Centerpointe. Everywhere I go, it’s embarrassing almost and I’m sure this happens with you too, everybody knows me. People walk up to me in whole foods and say, “Thank you so much for Holosync.” I’ve never seen the person before but people know who I am because of all this and I didn’t do anything PR-wise to try to make that happen, I just kept making a really good product and putting out good information and helping people and that just happened. Everybody knows what Bulletproof Coffee is too.


Dave Asprey: Yeah, it’s happening and it’s a similar spirit there. Let’s talk about your new book, there’s a subset of our listeners who are interested in how does one become successful like that. In fact for you guys, I’m going to do a different podcast on business because most people listening to this, you care about performing better at everything. You want to have control of your own biology but you may not, frankly, care even a little bit about how to be an entrepreneur but that’s my other big passion so I’ll do a podcast on that for you but I will separate it from this one so that you don’t have to hear me drone on about business if you don’t want to but I’ve just had to ask Bill because two million people is big. Now Bill, you’re holding up your book, The New Science of Super Awareness. Tell me about it.


Bill Harris: For the longest time, I was trying to communicate to people what Holosync does and one of the things that I said to people was that when you listen to Holosync, it raises your threshold for what you can handle. When you’re under your threshold, you feel pretty good, everything seems okay. When life pushes you over that threshold, wherever it is, you start to become stressed. You start to exhibit various dysfunctional, coping mechanisms and you don’t feel very good.


It occurred to me a long time ago that what Holosync is doing is pushing that threshold higher but I didn’t know why. A lot of times what people are doing is trying to regulate their environment, nothing wrong with that, but there’s only so much you can do in regulating your environment. We live in a stressful environment. The world is a stressful place and there’s lots of things about the world that are stressful to human beings.


You don’t have enough air for [both of your 00:14:26] lungs, you die. There’s all these different constraints being a person. I don’t know, the last half of the ’90s? I began to get more and more interested in the brain and how the brain worked. I was interested in it already because Holosync is based initially on changing electrical brainwave patterns. I certainly knew something about the brain but all these research started coming out about the brain.


I, being a geeky guy and like I said earlier, I’m reading that stuff and being a curator of information that [people are learning 00:15:07] and then, I met Daniel Amen who has taught me a ton about the brain and I met Michael Merzenich who is the godfather of neuroplasticity and Norman Doidge who wrote a very famous book about neuroplasticity and many, many other scientists and people that knew a lot about this and it began to come together for me why Holosync works so well.


It’s a little more complex than this but I simplify it just because it makes it easy to hang your hat on this. There’s really two things that traditional meditation does really well. Meditation is a fantastic biohack. Meditation calms the limbic system and it enhances the prefrontal cortex. The problem with an overactive limbic system is that there’s really two main categories of problems: one is that when your limbic system is overactive, you go into fight or flight, the stress response.


You create all the cortisol and all these other stress hormones which are very inflammatory for your body, really bad for your health, cause you to age faster and they cause you to feel like crap. It’s just bad news. Plus blood flows away from your brain when you’re in fight or flight to your extremities so you can fight or flee and your IQ goes down, you make bad decisions. When you make decisions through your limbic system, it’s only luck if they’re not a bad decision.


Then, there’s messes to clean up because you made bad decisions and also, you become a raging asshole when you’re in fight or flight a lot of times so it’s hard on your relationships and all kinds of things. That’s one downside to having an overactive limbic system. By the way, almost everybody who’s in prison is there because they have an overactive limbic system. Almost everybody that has chronic problems in any area of their life, it probably can be traced back to an overactive limbic system.


The other problem though is that when your limbic system is overactive, you tend to be under the spell of a very powerful drug of Dopamine. Dopamine causes you fixate on whatever the latest bright, shiny object is whether it’s a sexy smile or chocolate éclair or something you think you should buy or whatever it happens to be. All those things that we crave that aren’t good for us. All those things that we regret getting involved with later on. Because when you’re under the spell of Dopamine, you cannot look at long-term consequences.


I mean, if you’re trying to setup a Bulletproof biohacking lifestyle, you will not be able to stick to it if your limbic system is overactive. It doesn’t matter how much you know about it or how motivated you are or Dave Asprey is your best friend or whatever, you’re not going to be able to stick to it if your limbic system is overactive because every time something crosses your path that you start to crave, you will not be able to do anything about it. You’ll just go ahead and walk by the bakery, crave at the whole foods, you’ll just say, “Wow, look at all those things.


I could eat some of them in the car, on the way home, it’s going to be fantastic,” and there you go. Then of course, it causes inflammation. It gives you a sugar crash, you feel crappy, you gain weight, etc. etc. all these negative things and then you go, “God, why did I do that?” Overactive limbic system. Spending money you don’t have on things you don’t need, bitching out someone you love or your boss, just countless things that people do. I got divorced several years ago and it was so stressful. Stress causes your limbic system to become overactive.


Anytime you go through a stressful period, unless you’re doing some things to counteract this, like Holosync, like 5HTP and L-theanine and GABA and other things that can help calm your limbic system, your limbic system is going to become overactive. Despite the fact I wasn’t taking supplements then and actually, I had not been doing Holosync very often then either, I have to painfully admit. This is quite a few years ago but I got about six speeding tickets very quickly and I had my driver’s license suspended for a couple of months.


Dave Asprey: Is this a first public confession here, Bill? [crosstalk 00:20:24].


Bill Harris: I may have said this before but I didn’t know at the time but I realize in retrospect that all that stress of coughing up $5 million and having this horrible divorce and all these stuff, right after the economy crashed in 2008 and that was stressful too. At any rate, despite even the things I was doing, my limbic system became overactive. Actually, what I did, I knew Daniel Amen pretty well and at a certain point, I didn’t even connect this to what was happening in my life, I just had this idea that I should get a brain scan. I mean, I wasn’t saying I’m having a problem, I need a brain scan. I was saying, I think it’d be interesting to have a brain scan. I hadn’t even connected my brain and my life.


Dave Asprey: You won’t see the problem. It’s very sneaky, it’s so [crosstalk 00:21:23].


Bill Harris: Yeah, that’s right. Anyway, I had a brain scan and the first thing he said to me was, “Are you using your own product?” and I said, “Well, I’ve gotten so busy, blah, blah, blah,” and he said, “You better start using Holosync again.” He told me a few other things to do including getting a hyperbaric chamber which we’ve talked about before which I did. I didn’t have the hyperbaric chamber at first but within three days of listening to Holosync, about 80% of all the stuff I was experiencing from being so stressed just went away. It took about three days. In fact, I became so convinced all over again of how amazing Holosync was just from that. Anyway, I’ve gotten off track. I was talking about the two things that the limbic system, when it’s overactive, does.


It causes you to make really bad Dopamine-driven decisions and it puts you into fight or flight which is great if you’re actually in a life-threatening situation. If that’s the case, then the downside of being in fight or flight is probably worth it temporarily but the idea is that after 30 minutes or an hour or whatever, all those chemicals are out of your body and you saved your life and it was worth it. When you go into fight or flight, because somebody said something critical to you or you can’t find your cellphone or some other dumb thing that is not life-threatening. A lot of people are just in chronic fight or flight all the time and they don’t even know because you get used to it.


Anyway, one of the things that meditation does and Holosync, about eight times better and faster, is calm the limbic system. Man, once your limbic system gets calm, you go around being so patient and kind to people and things that bothered you really easily before don’t bother you and all that sort of thing. The other part of the brain is the prefrontal cortex which is the source of executive control, long range planning, creativity, learning from mistakes, flow states although in a weird way because in a way, most of your prefrontal cortex goes offline when you’re in a flow state but I don’t know if we have time to discuss that or not. At any rate, your prefrontal cortex is also very sensitive to stress.


When you become stressed, your limbic system becomes overactive and your prefrontal cortex becomes less active. In fact, your limbic system actually grows larger when you’re stressed and your prefrontal cortex actually shrinks. When you do certain things to enhance the prefrontal cortex and calm the limbic system such as Holosync, the prefrontal cortex, one of the job it has that I didn’t mention and that is supervising the limbic system. The limbic system, as I know you know, fires faster than the prefrontal cortex. When you go by the bakery case in whole foods, your limbic system tells you, before your prefrontal cortex can engage, “Wow, those look really tasty. I should get some.”


Then your prefrontal cortex, if it’s strong enough, kicks in about a third of a second later. If it’s strong enough, then you’d say, “Yeah but the consequences of doing that are not worth it. It would taste good and be fun for about 20 seconds while I’m stuffing that in my mouth and chewing it and then, all the negative consequences and the regret will kick in,” and then, you walk past. You and I are probably two of the most disciplined people about what we are or are not willing to eat. People are always amazed. Somebody just sent me a huge box of Godiva Chocolates and I opened them and took a smell and then, I took them into the kitchen here and I’m going to let everybody else that works here, if they want to, eat that. I’m not going to eat that stuff.


Dave Asprey: Aren’t you a fan of chocolate?


Bill Harris: Yes but not Godiva Chocolates although it’s very tasty chocolate. I do eat chocolate sometimes but …


Dave Asprey: The source matters enormously [crosstalk 00:26:20].


Bill Harris: Yeah, right, right. If you’re eating it and it’s got a lot of sugar and all that stuff in it. Once you get yourself purified, you might say and you eat a little bit of something that is inflammatory in some way, you instantly feel it. If I can eat the smallest amount of sugar and I sneeze repeatedly within 10 minutes and so, I just don’t do it anymore. At any rate, I keep getting track off here.


Dave Asprey: You’re not off track, I don’t think because what you’re talking about here is you’re talking about awareness. Your whole book is about super awareness and what you’ve done is you’ve developed an awareness of when your prefrontal cortex versus limbic system is most active. That resonated with me very much because when I went to see Daniel Amen, maybe 14 years ago? I had no metabolic activity in my prefrontal cortex, I was basically limbic all the time. I was a successful entrepreneur going to Wharton to get my MBA so it’s not like I was dumb but I was very, very sympathetic, overdriven. My limbic system was on fire and my prefrontal cortex had zero metabolic activity when I tried to concentrate and it affected my test scores, it affected all kinds of stuff. The awareness you’re talking about, the awareness of how food affects you, awareness of what’s going on when you relax and all that, that’s the core part of your book and [crosstalk 00:27:45].


Bill Harris: Awareness is a prefrontal cortex activity. The more enhanced your prefrontal cortex is, the more awareness you have. What I always say about awareness and this is probably the main thing that I teach is awareness creates choice. When you are not aware, which really means limbic system and other parts of your brain that are autopilot kind of things are running the show, when you’re on autopilot, you’re just going to repeat things that have been programmed in your brain: ways to respond, ways to feel, ways to engage with food or people or whatever it is.


A lot of times, those automatic pilot ways of doing things are very unhealthy and they have all kinds of bad consequences. When you calm your limbic system and enhance your prefrontal cortex, the awareness kicks in. Once you’re aware, I find that there are four categories of things in particular that you become aware of: how you feel, how you behave, which people in situations you attract or become attracted to and what meanings you assign to things. Those four things, anything you become aware of, at least that you’re doing or creating, becomes a choice. Otherwise, it’s running on autopilot.


This is what happens when people become super aware which is why I called it The New Science of Super Awareness. When you become super aware, how you feel becomes a choice, how you behave becomes a choice, which people and situations you get attracted to or attract to you becomes a choice and what meanings you assign to things. We could go through all four of those and talk in more detail but those are really, as far as I can tell, the only real things in your life you can have a choice about. You don’t have a choice about what other people do. Most people have a different agenda than you have and you may have noticed that they’re not always lining up to be kind to you or to help you get what you want.


Sometimes what they want conflicts with what you want. There’s nothing you can do about it. You can influence people to a certain degree but there’s so damn many of them and you don’t have access to that many of them either. You can’t do anything about all the physical stuff in the universe, cosmic rays and gravity and the fact that human bodies are sensitive and you need a certain mixture of gases to stay alive, you need a certain amount of air pressure, you need food and water. There’s all these things that if you go outside a certain capsule’s limitations, you can’t stay alive. The biggie that you can’t do anything about is the fact that everything in the universe is impermanent.


You and everything else eventually falls apart, ends, whatever. You can’t do anything about that either but you can do something about how you feel, how you behave, which people and situations you attract or become attracted to, what meanings you create. Once you’ve got that, the people that you see out there and I’m not just talking to you, I mean all the people listening, the people you see out there that you envy, that you admire, that you’re saying, “Wow, I would love to have that kind of consciousness or that kind of willpower or that kind of whatever, kindness, compassion, etc, focus, concentration, motivation, whatever it is.”


The people you see with those kinds of things, those are people who are more at choice about those four things because they’re more aware. Some people were born with a naturally more enhance prefrontal cortex and a naturally calmer limbic system. I wasn’t one of them. I will tell you that I have a naturally overactive limbic system. When I do Holosync regularly which I do now, thank you Daniel Amen for getting me back on track, and I take a lot of GABA, I take a lot of L-theanine, I take a lot of 5HTP, I take a lot of melatonin and many other supplements. I mean you’ve eaten with me and seen my big bag of stuff I take three times a day. If I don’t take all that stuff though, my limbic system can easily get the best of me. You often tell people that I’m one of the original biohackers and all sorts of stuff, I used to watch …


Dave Asprey: Durk and Sandy.


Bill Harris: Yeah, Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw. They used to be on afternoon talk shows like The Merv Griffin Show and stuff like that back in the I don’t know, the ’70s. They had started Life Extension [Foundation 00:33:17]. They were telling people to do bizarre things, they were saying BHA and I think, it’s BHT.


Dave Asprey: BHT, yeah.


Bill Harris: There’s all these preservatives that they put in breakfast cereals and everything, they’d say, “This will preserve you too, you should take this.”


Dave Asprey: It does stop Herpes, cold and chicken pox which is useful but it’s a side note.


Bill Harris: At any rate, they were experimenting with all these stuff long ago and really getting other people interested in it. Then, they sold Life Extension to Bill Faloon many, many years ago and there’s just a lot of information out there about this sort of thing but the general public doesn’t know much about it. People like you and Life Extension and Daniel Amen and Mark Hyman and Jonny Bowden. There’s a number of people who are evangelists for the kind of diet and the kind of other lifestyle practices that will allow you to have a brain that’s really healthy and that can perform optimally. You were with me at that one XPRIZE Foundation board meeting and I become real involved with XPRIZE since I joined the board and gotten to know Peter Diamandis. One of the things that he is in, and I don’t remember if we’ve talked about this but I think I probably told you about this, is a company called Health Nucleus.


Dave Asprey: Yeah, I’ve had the full scan of [crosstalk 00:35:01] full of human genome.


Bill Harris: Yeah, it’s a $25,000 all day long, the most complex series of tests that you can possibly take and I did that a number of months ago. I’m 66, almost 67, I literally have the health and the vitality and the endurance and all that of somebody who’s about 35 or 33 or something like that. I was walking up this flight of seven stairs in a parking structure with my daughter who’s 32 the other day and she was like going, “Whoa, who is this guy?” I mean, I was beating her at the stairs and she was breathing hard and I wasn’t. The information that’s out there today, this is not science fiction anymore. You can keep yourself young and really have a sharp brain and all those sorts of things.


Dave Asprey: You are a really high energy guy. We’ve known each other for a few years now and we see each other probably five times a year, you’re always full of energy. It’s cool and I’ve transformed myself too. I used to get really tired all the time and I have more capacity than ever before so that, you can absolutely do. Is that a brain state thing or is that a biology like your whole body state of thing, do you think?


Bill Harris: Well, I think it’s some of both but I mean, some of it is hormonal and everything. The master controller really is your brain. Daniel Amen is very fond of saying, “Everything about you comes from your brain. Your moods, your emotional responses, your skills, your talents, your superpowers, your ability to set and achieve goals, your ability to bounce back from failure, your happiness, your unhappiness, your success, your failure, your creativity, your confidence, your motivation.” He’ll go on forever naming all these things and of course, other parts of your body are also involved but I have found that if you get your brain optimized, pretty much everything else falls into place. Certainly, if you get your brain optimized and there’s something else that’s out of whack, it’ll be obvious, more obvious, what it is.


Dave Asprey: It’s hard or it’s harder to get your brain optimized if your body is really broken. Like if you’re not making enough energy, your brain won’t do what it’s capable of doing.


Bill Harris: Sure, you’re talking about mitochondria now I assume and that sort of thing. Of course, [I’ve dialed 00:37:46] the same information that you are too and I take all this pro-mitochondrial supplementation and everything and it definitely makes a difference. Testosterone levels are a big difference. I just had my testosterone checked and it was a little bit over 900 which is for somebody in their 30s.


Dave Asprey: Are you supplementing or no? You don’t actually take testosterone.


Bill Harris: I am doing some things to drive that higher but I just bought a Vasper machine which I haven’t taken possession of yet but Dan Sullivan who’s in his 70s.


Dave Asprey: Yeah, Dan’s a mutual friend.


Bill Harris: Peter that makes the Vasper machines, he told me that Dan who is a strategic coach, Dan’s testosterone was 300 about. He’s 72, not bad. 300 isn’t bad if you’re 72. Well, I think it’s bad if you’re 72 but the doctors don’t think it’s bad but after six months using this Vasper machine which does some things to trick your body into making more human growth hormones and testosterone and so on, his was up to 800.


Dave Asprey: For people listening, Vasper’s a really expensive machine.


Bill Harris: $40,000.


Dave Asprey: Yeah, more than $40,000 but you do cardio with cooling at the same time which prevents salicylic acid build up and it prevents heat stress on the heart.


Bill Harris: The pressure too on this pressured cuffs.


Dave Asprey: They’re cooled pressured cuffs, right?


Bill Harris: Right, right.


Dave Asprey: It’s an unusual thing and it’s something that we have at Bulletproof Labs whenever we can open Bulletproof Labs. I’m still working on that for you but it’s a powerful technology like this but the idea is by changing the signal that goes into the body. When you’re 70, in your 70s, you’re not supposed to be able to do the stuff that Dan Sullivan does.


Dan has been coaching entrepreneurs for more than 35 years. He’s one of the guys who’s helped me learn how to be a good entrepreneur. In fact, Daniel Amen and his program, I think just about most of the really successful entrepreneurs I know have worked with Dan Sullivan at some point or another.


It’s an interesting perspective that when you meet guys like you, Bill, you’re 66 and you travel around all over the place doing philanthropy and giving talks about the brain and you’ve got the energy of someone a third your age and you meet Dan Sullivan, the same thing. He’s just bubbling with energy. I don’t know if you’re 18 or you’re 20 or you’re 40, you want to have that kind of energy even then and when you’re old, it’s even more precious. You guys are examples for what’s possible.


Bill Harris: When you’re in your 20s, the idea that you’re going to be in your 50s or 60s or 70s just doesn’t seemed that real to you. I think about this and in some ways, I think, “Wow, it’s really going by fast.” Then other times I think about it, I think, “You know, actually when I think about all the stuff that’s happened and all of the different periods of my life I’ve gone through, it has been a long time.” It’s like I’m saying impermanence is one of the things you can’t do anything about. You can extend it and I’m hoping to live, at least, to 220 and be in good health and still be productive.


What was it we were talking about? We’re talking about something earlier about being more productive and I didn’t say this because we were in the midst of something else but I think one of the biggest biohacks, in a way, is creating challenges, creative challenges for yourself and then, meeting them. That releases so many beneficial chemicals in your brain and in your body. We’re talking about being a successful entrepreneur, that’s what it was. That’s one of the benefits of being an entrepreneur is that you’re faced all the time with challenges. I just set a goal, maybe 10 months ago or so, to do $100 million in sales a year at Centerpointe.


Dave Asprey: Wow, that’s a big goal.


Bill Harris: Which is about 100% increase and so, I’m positive that we’re going to do it but I’ve always set goals that just seemed ridiculous. One of the things that happens when your limbic system is calmer, it doesn’t scare the shit out of you to do that. When I was younger and my limbic system was overactive, my hands would shake. People would say you need to write out your goals so I’d write them out but my hands would be shaking and I’d be saying, “God, I’m going to look so stupid when I don’t achieve this.” My limbic system was just making me afraid. It was thinking of all the things that were going to go wrong. If you want to get rid of negative thinking, calm your limbic system. Now you see, I don’t think that way. I just think, “Okay, how am I going to do that?”


As soon as you start saying stuff like that, then ideas start to come to you and it starts seeing resources that you weren’t noticing before and you start seeing opportunities you’re not noticing before and you start to feel motivated and you get energized and you take action. When you take action, like Cynthia Kersey said, the way to be unstoppable is don’t stop. You get passionate about something and then, the idea of stopping doesn’t even occur to you and pretty soon, you’re achieving something that seemed ridiculous when you set out to do it. There’s so many benefits of getting your brain to work right. We started talking about this wonderful book. It really is a wonderful book, everyone who has read it is really blown away by it. You know Alex Mandossian, don’t you?


Dave Asprey: Yeah.


Bill Harris: I gave away copies of this book at a Mastermind that he invited me to and he read it about five times and then, he called me and said, “This is the best book I’ve ever read in my life.” He showed me it and he had all these stuff underlined. He underlined so much that it was all underlined, almost and in fact, he’s helping me do this virtual book tour thing about this book because he was so high about this book. It’s a really great book. What my goal in this book was to make all these new brain science discoveries available to people in a very easy to absorb way. Of course, I’m talking about Holosync in here a lot also because I think it’s the greatest tool that’s come along for optimizing your brain although there are certainly many others. I love all these supplements I take and I love my hyperbaric chamber and there’s many exercise that helps you optimize your brain, sleep helps you optimize your brain, eating a Bulletproof diet helps optimize your brain, all of these lifestyle things kind of fit together.


Dave Asprey: They really do, Bill and you tie a lot of them together in your book but you talk about neuroplasticity as well which is something that listeners on Bulletproof Radio understand but you go into it pretty well. It sounds not too long ago in the year 2000, the Nobel Prize for medicine was granted for the discovery of neuroplasticity. In the 80s, when you started your work, they really didn’t seemed to think it was a real thing at the time.


Bill Harris: Well, there were people that were talking about neuroplasticity back then but they were the outliers that everybody poo-pooed. Do you know that they poo-pooed Daniel Amen which they still do to some extent for using brain scans to diagnose some things but it works?


Dave Asprey: Yeah, Daniel Amen saved my life. Like his stuff is very legitimate.


Bill Harris: Yeah, of course. Of course, it is. He often says that people that treat emotional problems and mental problems, they’re the only people that don’t look at the organ they’re treating. He looks at it and it’s very obvious. The three big discoveries that I talk about are that everything comes from your brain. Second, scientists now know what parts of the brain are involved in both all the qualities and abilities that people want to develop and all of the qualities and negative things that people want to get rid of. They know what parts of the brain are involved. There’s more and more and more information about how to change those parts of the brain. Things that were used to be completely a pie in the sky to develop. If you’re not creative, you’re probably not going to become anymore creative no matter how many creativity courses you take but now, that’s not the case.


You can become more creative. You can learn to get into those states. You can become an amazingly accelerated learner. You can become really calm and patient if you’re really the opposite of that. All these things are attainable and that’s what this book is about is how to attain those things that used to be attainable because it’s possible now. It’s a spectrum lifestyle thing because it does involve sleep and diet and exercise and all these things. One of the things I talk about in the book that I think would be really interesting for people and maybe your people are already hip to this is I talk about the Walter Mischel and the Marshmallow Test. Back in Stanford in the ’60s, he put these little kids at a bare table in a bare room and put a plate in front of them with a treat on it.


One of the treats was a marshmallow and it became known as the Marshmallow Test although they let the kids choose what treat they really wanted. Then they said, “You can eat that marshmallow right now if you wanted. I’m going to leave the room though for a little while,” and it was up to 20 minutes in some cases. “If you can wait ’till I get back, I’ll give you two marshmallows,” and some could wait and some couldn’t. About 30% of them could wait and 70% of them could not wait. Then later, he got the idea of following these kids to see if there was a difference between those who could delay gratification and those who couldn’t. They found that those who could delay gratification got this huge list of benefits.


They had better grades in school, they had higher SAT scores, an average of 210 points higher score. That’s like 20% higher, more than 20%. Higher income, lower body mass index, more friends, better relationships, better cognitive function, intelligence, more self-control. They could resist temptation better obviously, less distractibility, they were more self-reliant, more resilient. They could bounce back when there were setbacks, less drug use and other addictions, an ability to reach their goals and all that. The ones that couldn’t delay gratification had problems in all these areas. Then I think it was 2007 but maybe even later 2011, at some point though, they got the idea of doing brain scans. They brought as many of these people as they could find, now in their 50s, and did brain scans and they found that those who could delay gratification had calm limbic systems and enhance prefrontal cortices.


Those who couldn’t delay gratification were having all these string of problems in their life, Dopamine-driven decisions and all these other stuff that I talked about earlier, they had overactive limbic systems and underactive prefrontal cortices. If you want to have a really productive, happy together life, this is the, to me, the biohack. Enhance your prefrontal cortex, calm your limbic system. One of the reasons why I wanted to wedge that a little bit in is one of the things that this implies is more willpower. Now, I know people that I’m trying to educate about using supplements for instance. Then, they’ll start using them and then, the next time I’m meeting with them, I say, “Where are your supplements?” “I don’t know, I forgot to blah, blah, blah.”


They have not enough willpower to create an organized way to make sure they take them or they start to use Holosync and then they stop or they can’t sustain exercising. All those blowing off lifestyle things is an overactive limbic system and a weak prefrontal cortex. Once you get that willpower thing going, then all the rest of this becomes easy because then you can add all those lifestyle things that are very important. I will give up something else that I really like in order to make sure I get enough sleep. If I end up going to sleep really late, I will e-mail my assistant and say, “Cancel my early morning appointments because I have to get at least seven hours of sleep.” I just will not, I will refuse, unless the house is on fire, to not do that. I have lots of willpower but I wasn’t born that way, I’ll tell you.


Dave Asprey: You and I, both at the end of the day, study willpower because you talk about self-control, you even talk about awareness. Like all of that is driven by willpower and willpower is driven by do you have the level of energy it takes to overcome the desire to do something lazy or something else so it’s an equation there. One of the things that I discovered makes me and many other people more limbic active is unstable blood sugar. When your blood sugar crashes, your body is like, “You’re going to die. There’s not enough energy in the brain.” It triggers the hormones that activate the limbic system: adrenaline and cortisol.


Bill Harris: Eat carbs.


Dave Asprey: Yeah, eat carbs and then you get another crash so you end up basically spiking and crashing your limbic system multiple times a day. It’s no wonder that you do things you’re embarrassed about later. You yell at your family, you eat 16 eclairs but at least they were good, no but you go through this whole cycle and then you feel guilty about the whole thing. You get a poor night’s sleep because you did all this and you just do it over and over and pretty soon, you’re fat and unhappy. That happens over and over and it’s driven by …


Bill Harris: I’ve been fat and unhappy. I’ve been there. I actually, right now, weigh about the same as I did in high school. I think I might have weighed two or three pounds less in high school. At one point, I weighed 207 pounds. I know you beat me on that one, you weighed more than I did.


Dave Asprey: Yeah, I’m a little taller so …


Bill Harris: That’s it. You’re a little taller.


Dave Asprey: I’m just big-boned, Bill.


Bill Harris: As far as this book is concerned, if people go to especially if they spell it right with an E on the end of the point. The word center and the word point with an E in the end of the point. You can get a free copy of this. There’s an icon right at the top or near the top of the page and if you click on that, it’ll take you to a page where you can download a PDF or if you want to pay the shipping and handling, we’ll send you this paperback version or you could come to the next Bulletproof Biohacking Conference. I don’t know, the last one I brought hundreds of books and sat out there in the foyer. I need a biohack, Dave, for signing hundreds of books without your hand cramping up and your handwriting getting really bad.


Dave Asprey: I just did that in Japan last week. I was there, I sold 160,000 thousands of the Bulletproof Diet there without knowing it so I went there for a signing and yeah, after awhile, your hand gets tired. It’s awesome. It’s the best fatigue to have.


Bill Harris: I always learn a lot from meeting people and in the early days of Centerpointe, I was the one on the phone talking to everybody. Now, I have a staff of people who’s on the phone talking to everyone and answering e-mails and some of it filters through to me and I have some courses where people have a lot more access to me but I’m not on the firing line as much. When I go out and speak, I’m not like the primadonna who disappears backstage right away. I want to mingle and talk to people. I was just at Mary Morrissey’s Dream Builder thing in Dallas which is amazing by the way and I couldn’t take a break. It was like when you’re doing an event and you’re running it, you can’t take a break unless you escape backstage because everybody wants to talk to you and they don’t realize, “I have to pee now.” I needed a couple of minutes of silence where I sit down but it wasn’t even my seminar and I was surrounded by people because probably 20% of the people there were Holosync users.


Dave Asprey: It’s interesting when you make a big impact on people’s lives and you’ve reached a lot more people than I have, Bill. I understand what you’re talking about. People, they genuinely want to say thanks and it’s an honor to be able to be there to do it but also sometimes, it’s like, “Yeah, just need to take a breathe now.” It happens.


Bill Harris: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Anyway, go get a copy of this book. I know you will love it. It really, if I do say so myself, it’s a really great book and I really poured a lot of myself into it. Now, I’m thinking of the next one.


Dave Asprey: [inaudible 00:57:27] creativity is a side effect of all the stuff you do which means you have to keep writing books. I do recommend like you’re listening to the show, the Bulletproof Radio episodes are free, Bill is giving away a book that he wrote. This isn’t like a free crappy, I wrote it in 20 minute kind of book, it’s actually a real book and it’s …


Bill Harris: Yeah, this is 280 pages long, something like that.


Dave Asprey: It’s a solid book. He’s giving it away for free because he published it himself.


Bill Harris: There’s also a link in this to countless videos and also, there’s an audio version of the book. There’s a link in it to that. If you don’t like to read, you can listen. There’s all kinds of other things in here. If we put everything that was in here, it would have been 500 pages long but I put a lot of it as links and so on.


Dave Asprey: Just knowing you, Bill, you’re doing it this way out of a sincere desire to get people to have this information. Of course, we all know and our audience knows that some of them will probably end up becoming Centerpointe users because it works and you talk about it but the book is anything but a brochure of that. I found it to be a really impactful, useful, well-considered read and since it won’t cost you anything to download and read it which is cool, do it and if you like the paper version, Bill will send it to you essentially for a nominal cost. It’s different than going out and having to actually buy a book but it is a very valuable book. The book is available on Centerpointe, and it’s called The New Science of Super Awareness.


Bill Harris: Also, I interviewed you for a documentary that I’m making about new brain science discoveries and it was awhile ago and we got a little sidetracked but we’re getting ready to go into post-production on that. That’s going to be coming out pretty soon and as I remember, you were brilliant in that interview and we’re going to want to see you and Dr. Michael Merzenich, the grandfather of brain research. He’s in it and Daniel Amen is in it and Dr. Joseph Annibali who runs another one of the Amen Clinics is also a brilliant guy. He’s in it, some people using brain research for leadership, developing leadership and all kinds of cool stuff in there.


Dave Asprey: We should have got 40 Years of Zen in there. Earlier this year, I opened the newest version of this with custom hardware and custom software in Seattle. It’s a five day experience but I think when we were filming that, I hadn’t quite opened the facility yet.


Bill Harris: I can’t remember if we talked about or not.


Dave Asprey: Too bad if we didn’t.


Bill Harris: We might have. It was awhile ago that we ordered that. It was months ago anyway.


Dave Asprey: It’s amazing. Just to me, it’s an honor to be in a video with luminaries like these guys so thanks for putting it together, Bill and thanks for being on Bulletproof Radio. I’m not going to ask you the question that I asked every guest because you’ve already answered it twice, I think, on Bulletproof Radio so I don’t know that I have another …


Bill Harris: Boxers or briefs, is that … ?


Dave Asprey: It’s usually the top of your recommendations for kicking more ass at life. If you only had three pieces of advice for someone, what would it be but you’ve already answered it pretty darn well. I don’t know that we need to do it again.


Bill Harris: There’s a number of things that everybody needs to do and you’re telling them pretty much the same thing. The thing is do it. Don’t sit there and think about it, take action. Once you start taking action at anything that you’re going toward, the other actions appear. At some point, you start to get really enthused because you start to see some results. You start to biohack and you start to feel better and you think more clearly and all these stuff happens and pretty soon, you’re going, “Wow, this really works.” It’s really good to think back to before you were doing it and remember how many aches and pains you had and how much brain fog you had and how you get tired in the afternoon and these sort of stuff and realize, “Wow, it is better.”


Dave Asprey: It’s all gone. It feels natural when it goes away so you don’t notice the absence as much as you notice it when it comes back like, “I used to feel that way all the time but wait, I don’t anymore.” That’s a big one.


Bill Harris: Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Dave Asprey: Bill, thank you so much for being on Bulletproof Radio. People can go to to download The New Science of Super Awareness for free and you can certainly check out the Centerpointe Holosync technology there. I’ve been a lifetime member for a long time, I definitely use it and it’s [crosstalk 01:02:15].


Bill Harris: Yeah, you can try Holosync for free too. I mean, we have two ways to do that. One is a one-time demo but what I would suggest is that people do our Holosync five-day challenge. You’re listening to it once everyday for five days and I have a video everyday, just a very short like four minute video and then, there’s a big Facebook plugin where people are saying what’s happening. My God, I couldn’t believe it when I go to read what they’re saying and people are just raving about it. This is just like from one or two times, “God, I’m getting all these creative ideas. I can’t believe how calm I am. Two days ago, I was freaking out about my life and today, everything just looks wonderful.”


Dave Asprey: Your brain can do fantastic things when it gets the right programming, no doubt about that.


Bill Harris: Absolutely, absolutely. Well anyway, thanks for doing what you do, Dave. I remember when you came on the scene and how great it was when we finally met in person and we’ve become good friends. I really feel fortunate to know you and you’re doing great stuff, keep it up.


Dave Asprey: Likewise, Bill. I appreciate being your friend, appreciate you sharing your time and your new book for free with Bulletproof listeners. It’s been great fun getting to know you.


Bill Harris: You bet. I have to interview Daniel Amen here in 25 minutes so I got to get off.


Dave Asprey: Give him a hug for me. Bye.


Bill Harris: All right, take care.


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