I climbed mountains with Wim Hof, swam with virtual Great White sharks, learned to juggle kettlebells, used float tanks, took a 5-hour sauna with Latvian shamans, MDMA with psychologists and ayahuasca in Peru. All of this in pursuit of a human pow...
TLDR?: How about watching a 2 minute video instead?
I’m an investigative journalist, anthropologist and author of the New York Times Bestselling book “What Doesn’t Kill Us” and wrote about Wim Hof before he became the international superstar he is today. Before that I was better known for exposing organ trafficking rings and false gurus for Wired, Mother Jones, Playboy, NPR and Men’s Journal. I’m here on reddit today because I just released a new book called “The Wedge.” And, like every author who does an AMA: I’d love you to read it.
For the last few years I’ve been traveling around the world trying to discover esoteric techniques that help put space between stimulus and response--things that allow us to take control over our bodies’ autonomic processes--so that we can thrive amidst adversity. So, I studied the roots of fear in a neuroscience lab in Stanford by swimming with virtual great white sharks, I learned a crazy kettlebell throwing exercise where there’s constant risk of breaking a foot, plunged into sensory deprivation tanks at a brain research institute in Oklahoma, fasted, took a 5 hours sauna with Latvian shamans called “pirtnieks,” did MDMA with my wife in the presence of two clinical psychologists and ended my journey in the Peruvian amazon where I engaged in a series of ayahuasca rituals where I wasn’t sure whether I was going to go mad or find transcendence.
So, yeah, in other words, and completely unintentionally, my life sort of sounds like a summary of Joe Rogan’s greatest hits. (To make things stranger, I also produced a podcast about my wife’s year long search for Bigfoot--which I hear is also a Rogan passion, but I digress). I’ve been doing all these things is because I’m very interested in how humans respond to stress and how repeated exposure to difficult things makes us stronger and more resilient in any circumstance.
I believe The Wedge lies at the heart of just about every human experience. We evolved to use it. It’s a power that we all have when we’re born and start learning to use our bodies, but over time as we get comfortable in our environment we stop using it. My book is an effort to try to dig deeply into the concept and test out different wedges for myself.
I’ve also started a subreddit called r/wedge that I hope can be a place for people to explore this concept deeper and share their own experiences pushing their own limits and honing their own wedges.
Last time I did one of these people were pretty interested in my relationship with Wim Hof and the various things I’ve done in the cold. While I’m sure that some people will think that I’m crazy, give me a shot and I’ll do my best to answer all of your questions.
1:50 PM MT: After almost four and a half hours it seems that the comments are finally slowing down with 617 in the feed. I will check back in a little later to see if I can answer more, but I'm a bit tired after typing pretty much constantly this whole time. Please excuse typos etc. There was a nice mix of skepticism and interest here and I did my best to address everyone along the way.