Featured Solutionist: Steven Kotler
Steven Kotler is a man of many accomplishments. He’s a New York Times bestselling author, an award-winning journalist, and a two-time Pulitzer nominee. He’s a prolific storyteller, an entrepreneur, and, as Forbes put it simply, he’s “a unique guy.” But here at Planet Home, we also know Kotler as one of the main characters of our origin story, and his new novel, The Devil’s Dictionary, is out April 19, 2022 in celebration of Earth Day.
Searching for a Solution
In 2017, Kotler had already been working in the environmental space for twenty years. He was working through an idea he had to bring together minds from the tech industry and the environmental world to develop technology-based solutions that would address the challenges faced by our planet.
“There was a real advantage I saw in this crossover. The environmental problems we’re trying to solve need technology, and technology can help us scale environmental solutions in a way that would meet the needs of this moment,” Kotler said. “I wanted to create something that would help bridge that gap.”
Another question on his mind, “How do I bring the environmental message to more people?”
The answer, as it turned out, would be discovered through the collision great minds with different perspectives.
Going with the Flow
More people than ever before are concerned about the planet’s well-being. Studies show that, in the last seven years alone, global concern around environmental issues has risen by an average of 13%. In some countries, concerns have risen by as much as 30%.
But what has sustained this cultural shift over the past few decades? Can we harness this same energy to drive change in the next decade?
Yes, and the key ingredient, according to Kotler, is flow. As Executive Director of the Flow Research Collective, Kotler describes flow as our biologically built-in ability to achieve peak performance in the face of great challenges. Flow amplifies focus, creativity, and productivity. Kotler says that flow can make the impossible, possible by unlocking human potential at both the individual and collective levels.
Given the range and magnitude of our planet’s challenges today, it may often feel like we have an impossible task on our hands. But, Kotler explains that evolution shaped humans to perform at our best flow, especially when our survival calls for innovation.
“Flow amplifies everything you need to innovate, be creative, and make more resources, which is exactly what we would need to solve grand environmental challenges,” he said. “It also amplifies empathy and environmental awareness. This allows you to fully appreciate the world and feel connected to it. If you feel like the world is separate from you, you’re not going to be able to fix it.”