Illustration via 99designs
Seeing clearly the cacophony of your own inner landscape is how you are no longer owned by it.
— Dan Harris
After ABC News anchor Dan Harris (@danbharris) had a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America in 2004, he knew he had to make some changes. He found himself on a bizarre adventure to rein in the voice in his head that provoked his on-air freak-out and found a solution in meditation. A lifelong nonbeliever, meditation was something Dan always assumed to be either impossible or useless.
In 2014, Dan published the book 10% Happier, which takes readers on a ride from the outer reaches of neuroscience to the inner sanctum of network news to the bizarre fringes of America’s spiritual scene and leaves them with a takeaway that could actually change their lives. In 2017, Dan followed up with Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-To Book.
In 2016, Dan launched the 10% Happier company with co-founders Ben Rubin, CEO, and Derek Haswell, VP Product. The company was rebranded to Ten Percent Happier in 2019.
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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…
Want to hear the episode I did with mutual friend Jerry Colonna (the coach with the spider tattoo)? Listen to our conversation, in which we discuss being complicit in creating the conditions in life we don’t really want, nagging self-doubt, finding time for self-discovery, confronting the difficulty most of us have with saying “no,” acknowledging compassion from a distance, journaling, guilt versus remorse, and much more.
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris
- Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-To Book by Dan Harris, Jeffrey Warren, and Carlye Adler
- Memento | Prime Video
- ABC News’ Dan Harris on Ambition, Mindfulness, and Reaching Peace of Mind | Daily Stoic
- Yerkes-Dodson Law: How It Correlates to Stress, Anxiety, Performance | Healthline
- How to Handle Coronavirus Anxiety | Special Edition | Ten Percent Happier
- Tim Ferriss, Host of ‘The Tim Ferriss Show,’ Author | Ten Percent Happier
- Insight Meditation Society
- Spirit Rock – An Insight Meditation Center
- The Jewish-Buddhist Encounter | My Jewish Learning
- What is an American JewBu? | The Jerusalem Post
- Ram Dass, Going Home | Netflix
- Becoming Nobody | Prime Video
- Books by Mark Epstein | Amazon
- Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman
- Do the Jews Own Anxiety? | The New York Times
- Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) | Wikipedia
- These Go to 11 | This Is Spinal Tap
- 9/11 FAQs | National September 11 Memorial & Museum
- Reporter’s Notebook: Inside the Taliban | ABC News
- Israel-Palestine Conflict: The Intifadas, Explained | Vox
- The Iraq War | Council on Foreign Relations
- Iraq: Was it Worth It? | ABC News
- Dan’s Panic Attack on Live Television | ABC News
- Panic Attack vs. Anxiety Attack: What’s the Difference? | Healthline
- The Wolf Of Wall Street | Prime Video
- The Pentecostal Church: 10 Things Christians Should Know About the Pentecostal Church | Christianity.com
- The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
- The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
- James Arthur Ray’s Cult Retreat Causes Sweat Lodge Deaths | Crime News
- Going to Pieces without Falling Apart: A Buddhist Perspective on Wholeness by Mark Epstein
- Buddhism | Ancient History Encyclopedia
- Debate: Does God Have a Future? Sam Harris & Michael Shermer vs. Deepak Chopra & Jean Houston | Nightline
- Conscious: A Brief Guide to the Fundamental Mystery of the Mind by Annaka Harris
- Mindfulness Meditation: What It Is and How to Practice | Verywell Mind
- What Does Mindfulness Meditation Do to Your Brain? | Scientific American Blog Network
- Buddhism Without Beliefs: A Contemporary Guide to Awakening by Stephen Batchelor
- How Did Casper the Friendly Ghost Die? | Mental Floss
- Transcendental Meditation (TM)
- Homo Sapiens Sapiens | Britannica
- My Healing Journey After Childhood Abuse (Includes Extensive Resource List) | The Tim Ferriss Show
- Huffy Bikes
- Feeling Angry? Try This | The Science of Happiness
- Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality by Anthony de Mello
- All You Need Is Love by The Beatles
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) | Mayo Clinic
- Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss
- Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World by Timothy Ferriss
- Psychedelics — Microdosing, Mind-Enhancing Methods, and More | The Tim Ferriss Show #377
- Island by Aldous Huxley
- The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell by Aldous Huxley
- The Concept of No Self in Buddhism | Tricycle
- 360-Degree Feedback | Wikipedia
- Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment by Robert Wright
- Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris
- Real Happiness: A 28-Day Program to Realize the Power of Meditation by Sharon Salzberg
- You Belong: A Call for Connection by Sebene Selassie
- The Overstory: A Novel by Richard Powers
- Cub Scouting | Boy Scouts of America
- The Last Waltz | Prime Video
- Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band | Prime Video
- The Go-Go’s | Showtime
- BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky | Netflix
- No Direction Home: Bob Dylan | Netflix
- Song Exploder | Netflix
- Losing my Religion by R.E.M.
- Guardians of the Amazon (Full Documentary) | YouTube
- Newbury Comics
- Dan says his career has been guided by a motto his dad handed down to him: the price of security is insecurity. What has this meant to Dan over the years? [05:59]
- What is the Yerkes-Dodson law and what does it imply? [09:11]
- Considering the motto Dan inherited from his father, what mottoes would Dan pass on to his own children that might be a little more helpful in guiding them through their first 20 or 30 years? Here’s motto number one. [11:34]
- Why do so many Buddhism-oriented meditation and mindfulness teachers come from a Jewish background? Enter: the JewBu. [17:16]
- What were the years leading up to Dan’s infamous live panic attack on Good Morning America in 2004 like, and what were the primary factors contributing to the event? Did he see it coming, or was it as much of a surprise for him as it was for the rest of the audience? [24:18]
- After the panic attack, Dan was–against his wishes–assigned to cover faith and spirituality, and this was when he discovered mindfulness meditation, which he credits with correcting his course and changing his life for the better. But was there anything else of value he, the son of atheist scientists, picked up during this time? [33:43]
- How covering Pentecostalism and meeting Eckhart Tolle set Dan on the path toward discovering meditation. [36:35]
- How did the next steps of Dan’s journey lead him to Mark Epstein’s Going To Pieces Without Falling Apart–his first real introduction to Buddhism and meditation? [42:34]
- Ideally, what is the frequency of Dan’s meditation practice, and what does he recommend for a beginner? [47:59]
- What does Dan with meditation look like compared to Dan without meditation, and how can falling off the wagon from time to time actually be helpful to the practice? [50:57]
- What kind of meditation does Dan practice? [54:26]
- The “bicep curl” and my experiences with transcendental meditation. [1:02:24]
- The biggest revolution in Dan’s own practice. [1:04:48]
- What is Dan’s relationship with anger? [1:07:25]
- Before 2010, how would Dan have answered our mutual friend Jerry Colonna’s question: “How am I complicit in creating the conditions I say I don’t want?” Would the answer be different today? [1:12:01]
- Admitting he hasn’t always been good at prioritizing attention to friendships, would Dan consider himself an introvert? [1:14:47]
- How did Dan go about writing 10% Happier and find success with it in the already crowded self-help category? Was he aware of how much effort would go into it at the risk of a comparably small reward if it didn’t make its mark? [1:19:52]
- What book is Dan working on now? [1:27:10]
- The struggles I’m going through with my own project around surviving childhood abuse, and why Dan hopes I stay the course and get it out into the world. [1:29:48]
- After witnessing the role religion plays in the lives of many when he himself grew up in a house that didn’t embrace it, in what ways does Dan contemplate his own place in the cosmos? [1:35:39]
- How are meditation and psychedelics similar? I have some thoughts on Aldous Huxley’s Island and the idea of “gratuitous graces.” [1:38:39]
- What does the Dan of today think the Dan from three years in the future would have to say about the way he’s spending his time between now and then? Would he be satisfied? [1:42:48]
- How would Dan’s wife complete this sentence?: “Dan, I’m so proud of you for…” [1:48:25]
- Books Dan has gifted most to others. [1:52:55]
- Favorite documentaries? [1:55:58]
- What is Guardians of the Amazon? [1:57:20]
- What might Dan’s billboard say? [1:58:46]
- Parting thoughts. [2:00:58]
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