Lab of Misfits’ Dr Beau Lotto features in a special double episode of The You Project podcast with Australia’s leading presenter, Craig Harper and enjoys a warm, honest and good humored discussion about why Perception Matters in all aspects of life and how people should describe themselves as a verb rather than a noun.

Dr Beau Lotto was Craig Harper’s guest on the popular ‘The You Project podcast, which offers inspiration and education to listeners, with great stories, ideas, strategies and lessons from high-performers in sport, business, science, media and health. The playful but thought-provoking discussion was full of good ‘Aussie’ humor and was an obvious hit with listeners, as the episode knocked on the door of the Top 10 in Apple’s global education podcast charts last week.

The two-part podcast kicks off with Harper’s entertaining anecdote about his ‘miracle’ return to better vision after years of wearing glasses which he asks “Dr Beau” to explain. The interaction sets the tone for what becomes an amusing and insightful exchange of thought.

Parker asks, “was there ever a time that you realized you’d got something terribly wrong in your research (or your ideas or beliefs) that you then had to let go of?” “I get things wrong all the time”, replies Lotto. “I love having my assumptions and biases challenged. Interesting things happen as a result of not knowing. In order to ‘not know’, you have to let go of what you thought before.” Dr Lotto goes on to explain how trading certainty for doubt increases the brain’s capacity to adapt, innovate, and thrive in the darkness of “I don’t know”. “I’m exceptional at not knowing, just so you know!” jokes Parker.

Parker confides that he has grown most in periods of flux, uncertainty and difficulty and that he believes we are doing ourselves a disservice when we always take the quick, painless option. Beau agrees, “when things are hard you have more freedom, since only then do you have choices. You can do what you’ve done before, which is obvious. But you can also consider what’s not obvious. You can do something different. Whereas, when things are lovely, you carry on as you have before. Therefore you have less choice.”

“How does someone know when it's best to act on their choices?” ask Parker. According to Lotto, “before we act, we should ask ourselves: Is saying yes or no expanding me or is it contracting me?” Beau explains, If it's expanding me, say ‘yes’.”

“We seem to get our sense of self from what we think we know, or our beliefs”, says Parker. “Like I am a vegetarian, I am an atheist, I am a Christian.” “Yes, it’s amazing how narrowly we define ourselves,” says Dr Lotto. “We tie ourselves to, and identify with nouns. Which is a silly idea as things change all the time. When you identify with a noun, you then have to change your identity when that noun becomes a bad idea,” continues Beau. “Consider  defining  oneself as a verb: To say I am someone who is resilient, I am someone who is adaptable, I am someone who is generous.” explains Lotto. “Someone who is defined by a process, is someone who is willing to evolve and expand. Pursuing a verb opens possibility, rather than a noun which closes it.”

“Do you think we should train for the unknown, the uncertain, the uncomfortable and the unfamiliar?” asks Craig. “That’s the whole point of my work,'' says Lotto. “You only get a stronger, more agile brain if you expose your brain to complexity. It’s like lifting a weight”. 

To listen to the podcast, The You Project #834 and #835, click here and here.


Written by: Hannah Marshallsay



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