Biohacking for Career Leverage

??????????????????????After 6½ months on the autoimmune protocol (3 months of that in ketosis on the Wahls Paleo Plus) I’m living in a state of peak experience most of the time.

I wrote a post about it, called Nutritional Biohacking for Peak Experience & since then I’ve been discovering what this state might do for my career.

Keep in mind, I’m a person without an autoimmune condition.

I’ve recently been working on an evaluation project for an AIDS organization. I attended an intravenous drug user’s conference & did 5 straight hours of intensive interviews with participants. I had 16 deep conversations, one after the other & afterwards I felt so energized, I went home & did 8 hours of transcription.

I was in a state of flow the whole time.

Relevant Detail: I’m a massive introvert (who can pass for socially normal) but being around people does not energize me.

However, being in a state of flow does.

Mihaly Csikszenmihalyi describes flow as a state in which “concentration is so intense that there is no attention left over to think about anything irrelevant, or to worry about problems. Self-consciousness disappears, and the sense of time becomes distorted.”

That’s what happened to me during those 5 hours of interviews. I was slightly, peripherally aware that workshops were ending & beginning, that lunch was being eaten, that workshops were convening again. If I hadn’t run out of interview forms, I wouldn’t have stopped.

It didn’t make sense that 5 hours had passed. I would have thought maybe 2, but more likely that time had somehow ceased to be relevant.

According to Csikszenmihalyi, flow provides “a creative feeling of transporting the person into a new reality… to previously un-dreamed of states of consciousness”. Like being in a state of peak experience, much of the time.

Now, I know that some people probably wouldn’t be able to get into a state of flow doing evaluation at an intravenous drug user’s conference, no matter how long they rocked the Wahls Protocol.

Some people just aren’t that into evaluation.

We’re all nerdy about something & evaluation makes my nerdy heart sing. Which is a precondition of flow.Flow 1

But even in daily life, when I’m not even close to doing what I love,  I’m perpetually in danger of flow & peaking.

Csikszenmihalyi’s model of flow looks like this:

But back in the SAD old days my psyche looked like this:

Flow 2In the dart-board of life, there was almost no way I was going to get into state of flow, except fleetingly, if conditions happened to be briefly & absolutely perfect.

And when are conditions absolutely perfect?

Here’s my flow pie now:

Flow 3Increased access to a state of flow is awesome, obviously, but there’s also this other thing.

Ready? It’s going to get wiggy.

I seem to have an increased capacity to channel prana.

So, I’m not just using my own expertise in my working day, but my ability to vector some life force energy into whatever I’m working on has increased exponentially.

An example?

After completing a total of 26 in-depth interviews with intravenous drug users, I met with the organization’s steering committee, which is comprised of peer-leaders who all also have first-hand experience as drug users, to do some analysis.

Together, in an hour, we generated everything we needed for a comprehensive logic model for the program.

Afterward I spent another hour & a half tweaking & formatting.

Several long day’s work. In less than 3 hours.

Even though I was there, I wasn’t sure how it happened. I feel as though I can take almost no credit for it.

The whole thing felt as though it was just coming through me. Like the channels were sufficiently clear & all I had to do was hold space & let the situation manifest itself.

I was exhausted afterwards.  As if I had just put in several long days. But I wonder if that’s because my circuits aren’t accustomed to conducting such powerful current. Maybe I can increase my voltage. That what I’m going to experiment with next.

So, career-wise:

  1. Increased capacity for flow;
  2. Increased capacity to channel prana.

Results in more fun, more learning, better outcomes, better connections & more efficiency.??????????????????????

Also, increased energy in the morning results in better hair.

Or at least my own conception of better hair.

Or increased good humour about my hairstyle attempts.

“The flow experience, like everything else, is not ‘good’ in an absolute sense It is good only in that it has the potential to make life more rich, intense, and meaningful; it is good because it increases the strength and complexity of the self.” ~Mihaly Csikszenmihalyi



18 thoughts on “Biohacking for Career Leverage

    • Glad you asked: getting to that point is kind of what my whole blog is about! My process started when I went paleo a little over 2 years ago & it accelerated on the Autoimmune Protocol & then on the Wahls Paleo Plus during the past 6 months. Some people have commented that they have added MCT oil (for example) but they aren’t getting lift-off yet. There’s no magic supplement or quick fix. It simply takes time to heal your gut & I’m now completely convinced that awesome gut health = awesome mental health. I’d start by trying the AIP or the WahlsPaleo+ & then hacking my own variation. Things I do on an almost daily basis to optimize: bone broth (I’m all about the bone broth), a balance of sulfur-rich, coloured & dark green leafy vegetables each day according to the Wahls guidelines: with an emphasis on the dark green leafys, organ meat, fermented food (kombucha, sauerkraut), oil pulling, hydration, low-intensity exercise & sleep. MCT oil is good, too.

  1. No meditation? Sticking to a daily meditation schedule seems to be non negotiable for me. Otherwise our protocols are very, very similar. (No coffee or MCT oil for me). Just wanted to second that what you outline on your blog really, truly WORKS!! And I have an autoimmune disease…
    Thanks for your updates!

  2. Petra – thanks for reminding me about the state of flow – something else I need to add to my list of aspirations… Very happy for you, my friend – and especially interested that you achieved this state, and seemed energised, while doing tasks perhaps traditionally suited to ‘extroverts’.

    Totally get that introversion thing (just as an aside, I have a theory about blogging being well suited to introverts…)

    Go you!

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  7. Just found your blog, working my way from the first post forward. I’ve been mostly paleo for about 6 months. I have Crohn’s, fibromyalgia & degenerative disc disease (at 40 recommended fusion surgery on my lower back since after 17 yrs as a police officer the surgeon said I have the spine of an 80 year old woman – can you say massive full body inflammation?) so fully disabled but when I stay paleo I feel like a regular human being. Thanks to you the idea of AIP & Wahls actually seems doable, so thank you so much. But, the reason I felt compelled to send a message was your picture. Where did you get that AMAZING Cthulhu necklace? I must have it!! I must! Geeking out.

    • Geeky things first: find the steampunk necklace here: (Bonus: it’s cheap!). And hey, it’s so encouraging that you’ve been experiencing improvements while paleo. The AIP & WahlsPaleo+ seem really daunting at first, but it’s just about adapting to a new pattern of living. They old pattern got most of us in a lot of trouble, so new is good! If paleo makes you feel better, I’d b curious to know what happens for you on those protocols. While you’re reading back posts, please keep in mind that some of those document biohacking experiments that didn’t work well. Feel free to check in with me about anything we’ve done & what our results were, if it’s not clear.

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  12. Very interesting! We are looking into Wahl’s Paleo Plus for health, I think that’s what I googled and found you.
    I’d loved to get to the point you described here. I haven’t felt anything that lasted that long, since my college years!

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