Pedram Shojai: Origins & Adapting to the New Human Jungle
By: Dave Asprey
Pedram Shojai is an acclaimed Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Qi Gong Master, herbalist, acupuncturist, and basically a certified badass. Pedram is an ordained minister in the Taoist tradition of Alchemy, and has studied yoga, meditation, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, and healing for over 20 years. He uses his vast experience to teach audiences worldwide about philosophy, meditation, Qi Gong, healing, enlightenment, and the esoteric arts. His first documentary, Vitality, was released in 2012, and this year will mark the releases of his newest projects, a documentary called Origins, and a book titled Rise and Shine.
Why you should listen –
This is a special in-person interview shot live from the 2014 Bulletproof Conference! Pedram comes on Bulletproof Radio to discuss the re-calibration of your stress bucket, the importance of consciousness, the double-edged tool of technology, what it means to be a conscious consumer. Enjoy the show!
What You’ll Hear
- 0:10 – Cool Fact of the Day!
- 0:50 – Welcome Pedram Shojai
- 0:47 – Origins
- 3:11 – Adapting to the new human jungle
- 5:21 – Re-calibrating your stress bucket
- 7:12 – The double-edged tool of technology
- 12:23 – The importance of consciousness
- 14:35 – Victory gardens
- 17:07 – Food systems and the current global ecosystem
- 18:25 – Being a conscious consumer
- 19:40 – Letting the story write itself
- 21:35 – The 100-Day Gong
- 27:23 – Animals in their environment
- 32:18 – Pedram’s recommendations for kicking more ass and being Bulletproof!
Dave: Hey everyone. It’s Dave Asprey with Bulletproof Radio. Today’s cool fact of the day is that the modern brain is actually smaller than a Neanderthal brain and our current theory is that once the brain hits its optimum size for work that it starts specializing and compacting. That’s why the brain now may be a little bit smaller, but it’s as efficient or more efficient. Looking at our origins is really, really important because if you check out today’s episode with
Pedram Shojai, you’re going to hear a lot about how our brain evolves, how our bodies evolve and how we can use this view of evolution in order to connect to the things that are going to make us stronger. Understanding where we came from gives us hints on how we can biohack ourselves, how we can upgrade our performance and just build our environment so that our biology does what it was originally evolved to do. Today, Pedram is actually interviewed by one of the Bulletproof team members and a good friend, Zak Garcia. This episode was shot back in September during the second annual Bulletproof Biohacking Conference in Pasadena. When I was on stage and Pedram was not on stage, he gave an amazing talk there. Pedram went off to our studio and Zak interviewed him, so that I could talk to the audience and Pedram could still get on film, so that we could launch it this week to support his new film called Origins. It’s out now and he’s actually going to give it away for free in an online screening for the whole next week. This documentary is totally worth watching. It’s a great introduction to why we have health problems in our world and also what you can do about it, not just to be healthy, but to actually arrive and to reach that bulletproof state of high performance.
So, enjoy the show. Zak did a great job interviewing Pedram and I’m so grateful that I’m able to put this up this week and that we were able to shoot it with high resolution cameras, so if you check this out on iTunes, you check it out on YouTube, you’re going to find that our quality is really, really good and that’s because we were able to capture this live at the conference. So, enjoy. Thank you.
Zak: Pedram Shojai, you’ve been on Bulletproof Radio before. You studied biology at UCLA. You got your Masters in Oriental Medicine and a Doctorate in the same discipline. You’ve done books and films and you have a very popular Podcast right now with Dr. Sara Gottfried and we’re here today at the Bulletproof Biohacking Conference in Pasadena and you just got off stage and gave a great speech that everybody really loved. Welcome to the show and thanks for being here.
Pedram: Great to be here. Nice to see you.
Zak: You, too. Your last film was called Vitality and it was about the medicine system and how broken it is and that it’s not about preventing disease, but it’s more about vitality and preventing disease from within. Your new film is called Origins. Tell us about that.
Pedram: It was kind of like taking the next step. We took a 30,000 foot view of health and said OK, why is it not working? Why is everyone spending so much money on health and we’re getting sicker? There’s obviously something wrong in Vitality and with Origins we said, OK, look, let’s go to the origins of our civilization and see where we were, what the environment was like when we were at the pinnacle of our evolutionary growth. We had just found all this seafood and we were able to create tools and we started spreading out and the humanity thing became pretty cool. We were lean, we were agile, we were inventing technologies. We were doing this thing. We went to trace back to say what did food look like? What did stress look like? What did the environment look like? How did you have to interact with this environment in order to have all your senses tuned so that you’re keenly aware of your environment, because today people just walk and text and bump into each other and they’re just in a completely oblivious reality and they’re just gaining weight and getting sick. I said look, let’s just go back to start and take a snapshot there and figure out what went wrong.
I think Tom Moltair said in the movie like 72 billion pounds of chemicals everyday coming into the United States alone and it’s just overwhelming our systems. What we’ve done with technology is amazing and I love technology. I’m on technology right now, right? This is how we communicate with our universe and at the same time, too much tech in the wrong way is very damaging to your health, to your psyche, to everything. So really taking a look at this in a post modern way and saying we’re not Luddites and saying OK, down with technology. Let’s all go live in yurts, but then how can we work with technology to not choke out the planet, get cancer and be able to coexist in a way that doesn’t mean having to declare war on people that have water or oil that we want. It was a pretty lofty project. It took 4 years now.
Zak: Wow and you went back to Africa.
Pedram: Went to Africa. Did wilderness survival and big game tracking out there. There’s a lion like 20 feet away, we’re tracking this guy and finally went oh my God, he’s really close. We could see him on the other side of the bushes and then all the hairs on my neck start standing up and I go, “Why are we this close?” Wait a minute. This is actually really scary, because that animal, if he decides to and by time you could load your rifle and you’re not there to shoot it, right? You’re there to observe and you just see the majesty of this animal going OK, I get it. Every single sound of the birds in that environment are giving you information. Are you listening? If you don’t hear an Oxpecker and you’re walking through high grass, a buffalo sees you, you’re dead. Right? Now the Oxpecker doesn’t matter at all, but screeching car tires, that’ll do it. It’ll make you jump. It’s like how we adapted to the new human jungle and what does that mean for the future?
Zak: Right. So your fight or flight response was activated when you were there with the lions. How does that translate into modern day where you get cut off in traffic or your cell phone goes off. You’ve got something going on with your business that freaks you out. Is there a similarity there between that physiological response that you have?
Pedram: It’s actually the same stuff. The problem is though, and we were talking about this last night, actually. There are certain things that happen. I’m a very defensive driver on the freeway, because I have someone who’s driving a lethal weapon swerving into my lane at 80 miles an hour and I’ve got my kid in the back. That’s serious, right? For me, the closest thing to the jungle in modern society is the freeway.
Zak: The 405.
Pedram: The 405, right? Because there’s like chaos coming everywhere and death is like at your doorstep if you’re not careful. You have to be heightened awareness and all this. You’re not texting, you’re not whatever. Outside of that, though, it’s like yes, sure. You walk down the wrong dark alley, you live in a bad neighborhood, that stuff happens, but we’ve insulated ourselves from death. Whereas over there, man, a wrong step, you’re done. You’re lunch. So you have to learn about how to calibrate your stress level.
For us here, it’s like oh, that Verizon bill came in and the kids texted too much. I’ve got to pay all this money. I’m all stressed out versus lion eating your neck. Where do those fall on the importance timeline and where does that fall within the biochemical flood that just happened that told your body the same thing, which was you need to run. You need to get out of here. This is really bad. The same chemicals are surging, but you’re fussing over a cell phone bill. For one of the major lessons there was to recalibrate your stress bucket. You need food, you need water, you need shelter and you better know how to make fire. You’re alive. Outside of that, everything else is a want. It’s not a need. We live in a world of wants and we don’t understand our needs, so a lot of it for me, and then we did wilderness survival. We did a bunch of training with a really awesome guy in California. It just taught you how to exist as our ancestors had for hundreds of thousands of years and then from there, everything else is gravy. Well, I got water. Cool.
Zak: So, we’re at the biohacking conference and there’s a lot of technology these days that can help us mitigate the stress and understand it better and hack it and when you got up on stage, you started talking about alchemy, which is funny, because Dave and I were talking about this recently. I’m curious to know. How do you think alchemy and the more esoteric spiritual side of things, how do we use the technology today to tap into that and actually utilize the technology in an effort to be more in touch with that side of things?
Pedram: That’s a great question and I think it’s the question of our time, right? I kick it old school. I was a monk. I studied. I sat on rocks and there’s a tremendous amount of benefit I gathered from that. So what’s relevant in a hyper urban situation. What’s relevant with all the stress and arrows flying at us and how do you navigate? I think that the missing ingredient to all of it has always been consciousness. You throw a bunch of tactics at me, but without a strategy, I still don’t have a winning campaign.
If you have a framework of understanding that all of it is about consciousness and figuring out who you are, then things have a frame of reference to be like oh, that’s not going to help me or I want more of that. I use the ancient stuff all the time. Matter of fact, I’m doing it right now. I’m constantly aware of my breath, constantly circulating, figuring out what’s happening in my body and using that. It took me years of practice. Now you could have some HeartMath doohickey on your finger and it’s just like hey dude, you’re out of your zone. You’re like, oh, I’ll bring it back. I think that those tools are phenomenal if you understand why you want to stay in your heart rate zone. If you understand what the whole game is about, then you use everything that you can, as long as it doesn’t have a fallout. There are side effects to drugs. If you have things that don’t have side effects that can benefit you and you understand where they fall in the tactical plan, man, bring it on.
Zak: Talk about some of the side effects of this technology. We know about EMFs and we know about things like that, but what do you see as some of the side effects to using some of these devices. Do you think that if you’re just always hacking too much, can you go too far with it and how do you find a balance between that?
Pedram: That’s a great question. You’re talking to a Daoist. For Daoism, it’s about connecting with nature and being at one with the energies of nature, which bring us back into, you can get into human resonance, you can get into the really slow alpha, sometimes theta hertz frequencies that nature’s kicking back in all the time. A lot of times, my phone is like gigahertz level stuff, especially the home phone. The cell phone, I never put that thing to my head. It’s like this is way faster and stronger than anything that nature could have ever thrown at my nervous system and we don’t know is the answer, so hedge your bet. I keep that thing away from me. I definitely keep it away from my gonads. You know what I mean?
There’s things that we don’t know, so you really want to be really careful about and then there’s a bunch of doohickeys out there that people are studying that are like oh we’ve found that this is great for this. Then you use it and then 5 years later you say oh, it was great for this, but now you have this. Right? It’s so new. It’s so cutting edge that I’d say do everything with a little bit of caution thinking about the why, but then don’t fall behind. We live in a very toxic world and you’ve got to hedge your bet against all the environmental toxins, the EMFs. They’re coming at you all the time. The stress that’s always there. Here’s a good hack. My phone could either pull me out of this conversation with you. Oh, sorry, dude. Hold on. I’ve got to respond to this text right now and have absent presence. You’re like hey, man. We’re in an interview, right?
Pedram: People do that. People are just so stuck to their phones. It beeped, it beeped. Or I could use it as a tool to remind me where I’m supposed to be when I’m supposed to be, leave it in airplane mode when I’m not available and put in, like my mornings, my calendar says walk with wife, dogs and baby because it’s a priority to me. I use my tech to cushion in stuff, so my staff doesn’t book a call with Europe at 6 in the morning, because that’s baby time.
Pedram: My calendar is my friend and my calendar helps me triage and really curate what I want in my life. It’s because of my perspective, because everyone’s got the same phone in their pocket, but most people are slaves to their tech, so you have to be able to use it in a way that helps you do the things you want in life versus push you around like the world does all the time.
Zak: You’re sort of outsourcing your cognition in that regard and allowing that tool to do something that can actually make you a better father, make you a better human being and you don’t use as much of your mental power to decide everyday what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it and then you can spend that time making an impact with the films and the other projects that you have going on. For regular people that are just out there, they’re listening to this right now because they want to learn something that they can use in their daily life to make a little change here and there, to hack their day to be more productive, to kick more ass. You’re using that technology, but you’re also cognizant of the side effects of it is what I’m hearing you say.
Pedram: It’s a tool. If I have a sword, you kick back 5,000 years, I got a sword. I can either kill food, I could kill an enemy or use it to cut my food or to skewer. It’s just a tool. It could be a lethal weapon or it could save your life. I look at my phone. I look at my car, I look at all these things in that way and say it’s a thing. What does this thing do for me? Again, it goes back to the fundamental question, the gauntlet I threw up on your stage a little while ago, which is what is any of it without consciousness. The real question is who am I and why is that important? We’re talking about immortality and alchemy and all these things. The only thing that’s immortal is your consciousness and it’s eternal. Trying to hang on to this flesh means really nothing to me, because I understand who I am and where I come from and I am no different than you and everything around us. It’s all life. Until you get to some of the mystical stuff, a lot of the other stuff doesn’t have a frame of reference to snap into, especially with the esoteric. With the new stuff, it’s all over the place. It’s wild, wild west. You just got to watch your ass.
Zak: Right. You went from making a film about vitality and about health and did that lead you into the questions that you had about the origins and is that why you went there or did you have this kind of planned, that it’s like first I’m going to do this and then I’m going to talk about the origins?
Pedram: I wish I could say that I’m that well deployed, but my practice in life is to follow the bread crumbs. It always opens up at the next level, the next query opens up in front of me and it becomes self-evident and it becomes a wonderful idea. The fact that I spent the last 2 days in the sun doing hard labor, tearing out my lawn and making it a garden is because we’re doing a victory garden initiative with this movie and who am I to tell people to do that if I haven’t done it myself, so it’s like OK. I had a camera crew and we were out there doing it. It just, all of these things become self-evident because the universe is asking for us to move and I just work here.
Zak: The victory garden, talk a little bit more about that.
Pedram: What we’re doing with this movie, which is going to be really fun and for me, the reason we do what we do at Well dot org, because everything I do should help the world. As we launch the movie, we’ll have a summit with these expert interviews and just wonderful stuff to support more information and that ends right before Thanksgiving, so we’re basically taking back Black Friday. We’re doing a Green Friday initiative, helping people direct people to companies that are doing the right thing, helping the planet and giving back. We’re taking 10% of the proceeds into a victory garden initiative in the spring, where we got all these amazing urban farmers that are going to go and help different communities start home gardens and then film it with their iPhones and push it up to Facebook and challenge each other to do it. Basically, we’re taking the food system back from these monkeys who just poison us and don’t care and they’re profit driven and they do not have moral authority, so we have to take it back and that’s it. I’m doing this for my son and his kids and the future of our planet. We’ve had enough.
Zak: This is like taking the ice bucket challenge and asking people to do it with creating a garden and making real food in their backyard.
Pedram: Yes and use that water in your garden. Don’t waste it. Right?
Pedram: We were having a drought in California, so I’m looking at my lawn and going what am I doing? Right? That’s it. Pull it out. Water fruit. Have a kid grow up with fruit, so it’s a fundamental hack in how we live our life with presumptions about how things are supposed to look. I got this doctor house and it’s pretty. So what? It’s useless, so I live here and it’s supposed to be a living, breathing reflection of who I am. Tear it up. Garden there. This over there. This waterfall is going to have a Qigong over here. Tear it up. Every little piece that’s like a blind spot in your consciousness is a stone that needs to be turned and as you do it, there’s plenty of energy and vitality right under it. You’re like, wow, that was really cool. That was liberating. Now we have a whole video series that comes from there. We have 2 TV shows next year and 2 more movies. Like I said, I’m following the bread crumbs. I’m just doing the right thing and in doing so, the next story becomes self-evident.
Zak: When you were in Africa and you went back to the wild and you were tracking lions, you were living off the land.
Pedram: There we couldn’t live off the land because we had a concession from the tribe that basically we weren’t there to shoot animals and eat them. We were there to learn their behavior and track them, so we had to bring in food. Then afterwards, when we went to a different place, we learned to live off the land. Certain places, like this whole paleo thing, it’s like I’m going to get out there and hit a deer with a spear and I’m a man. If everyone did that, it’d be over in a heartbeat. There’s not going to be any deer. There’s not going to be any woods. You know what I mean? It’s really fun to get all nostalgic about how cavemen used to roll, but when you get down to the nitty-gritty, we have 7 billion people on the planet and we have to look at food systems and what that means. I’m all about decentralized organic Ag and all sorts of wonderful solutions, but if I’m going to go out there in the name of making a movie and eat some antelope, I just took that food away from the lion, who I’m there to support and take care of and tell his story. It’s a complicated time, man. It’s hard to do the right thing, because we’ve messed up so many things.
Zak: What’s the message of Origins that you’re looking to get across to the audience? What do you want people to walk away after they watch this film, what do you want them to walk away with?
Pedram: Very clear is that here’s this wonderful, beautiful planet that we’d like to keep. Here’s what we’ve done and this is why no one feels well and people are falling apart and you, as the consumer, have all the power. As a conscious consumer, if you vote with your money, vote with your dollars, vote with your intent to say I’m supporting this company, because they’re doing the right thing, what you’re doing is you’re giving them more power and energy and creating more jobs in a sector that’s going to make a difference versus giving the same old bad guys money so that they can buy politicians and buy air time and poison us and distract us. We get a new president every 4 years. You swipe your credit card maybe 15 times a day and every time you’re voting. It’s really about engaging an army of conscious consumers who wake up and do the right thing.
Zak: What was the question that you were asking yourself then when you were making this film? What were you looking to get out of that experience of making that film and did you get that question answered or did it just lead to more questions? Is it the bread crumb thing and it’s going to lead to the next?
Pedram: Yes. My directors and things, they hate me. I’m just such a pain in the ass to work with, because they’re like, dude, you need a script. I need a script before we start. The story’s writing itself. We’re going to sit in front of Mark Hyman and Dave Asprey and all these genius people and ask them a bunch of questions and usually it’s not when I’m trying to lead the witness that I’m going to get the gold. They’re going to say something and I’ll be like oh, really? Well tell me more about that and then it brings out this wonderful thing and then it writes itself and it becomes a living, breathing story that’s being told by the universe through my genius friends and then it becomes a thing. Once I feel comfortable with it, I’m like this is the movie. Then we can follow bread crumbs to the next one. I’m unconventional in that way, but I couldn’t do it any other way, because this isn’t about my propaganda. This isn’t about Pedram saying this is the statement we’re going to make and this is what we’re going to say because of this, this and this. Right? It’s like let’s go ask the smartest people in the world what they think about this and then let’s have that tell a story.
Zak: Is that why you focus on making documentaries, because you can do that?
Zak: Because there’s different ways of telling stories. You could write a script and tell a beautiful story or you can let it organically grow into something that could take you somewhere that you didn’t expect to go.
Pedram: Which is exactly what happens. Which is exactly what happens in these movies. I think we’ll get into a couple feature like basically scripted films because you can do a lot with those in the next couple years. Right now I got another book deal, I got 2 more movies. There’s so much going on that, again, if you look at my calendar, there’s no room for feature film number 4 and so I don’t even go there. I don’t need that stress. My wife doesn’t need that stress and my voice will start changing, because I’m going to sound time compressed. I just know better than to even go there for a couple more years.
Zak: Right now, you’ve talked about doing this gong, this 100 day gong. Tell people how they can use this format in their life and talk a little bit about how it’s helped you in your life.
Pedram: Sure. I started doing this 15, 20 years ago, a Qigong master said here’s a set, learn it. Cool. Now you have to do it every day for 100 days. If you fail, you start over. I’m like well, that’s interesting. You know, miss day 6. Start over. Miss day 12, start over. Miss day 46 and swore to myself that I would never miss another day and started over and just boom, 100. Then I was like wow, that was really cool. Let me do that again. Then I started layering on. What else can I add to this beyond the Qigong. I should do my meditation, I should do stretch, I should do my push-ups. I started to work with it myself for about a decade until what happened was people were like dude, what the hell are you doing? You’re like kicking ass. It was like yes, you know, I got my discipline. Then I realized that it was building will power, it was building discipline and it was keeping me focused. As I started doing that, then I took time management, goal setting and all these things and put it in there and realized that the reason why most people fail in life is because their intention and their attention are not connected. You have all the will in the world and be scattered in your focus and basically you have a bucket of water, you just sprayed it over a huge field. None of the plants got enough water. Everything withers and dies. Versus boom, laser light focus with your power, make it happen.
If you’ve ever failed a diet. If you’ve ever bailed on an exercise program, if you’re trying to get ahead in your career and you haven’t done it, this practice is very helpful and I’ve helped thousands of people now. It wasn’t me saying let me create this thing. It was a bunch of people saying what the hell are you doing? Share it with us, which is nice, because again, it’s organic. It’s not speculation. It’s worked. It’s worked for me. It’s worked for a lot of people, so I feel comfortable sharing it, because a lot of people. It’s not just some guy who’s like doing some make money thing and whose teaching it. It’s like that’s interesting. So you made a bunch of money and now you’re teaching people how to do it? He’s like no. I was in the shower and I thought of this thing and I started selling it to people and now I’m rich. I’m like you had a get rich quick scheme while you were broke that you sold to people that wasn’t tested and you’re using that as the platform for now for your riches? That’s parasitic. You’re not a living example. You’re a punk. That model doesn’t work for me because it’s just bullshit.
Zak: How can people apply the gong practice into their biohacking for instance? We were at the biohacking conference. There’s a lot of people. There’s so many toys. There’s so many cool things you can do to increase your performance, to be a better human being, but it’s the same challenge. You get started on a path, you lose your attention. You had the attention, but your attention strays and you’re onto the next shiny object, the next cool tech toy or whatever is out there. The new iPhone comes out. You start playing with that. Right? Have you used the gong in that regard in any way to stay on point with something and how can people do that? Do you have something on your site that people can get? Is there a resource out there?
Pedram: Yes, absolutely. We have a free workbook for people that’s there and I’ll hook it up with you guys.
Zak: Yes. We’ll put it in the show notes.
Pedram: We have free resources there. You can put anything you want in your gong. You can say look, take my collagen every morning. If you miss it, you start over, but the problem is and you really hit it on the head is the crisis and the curse of modernity is there’s too much good stuff and people become hungry ghosts and they’re just like a little this, a little of that and they never get anywhere. It’s like the classic example of digging for a well and you go 10 feet and you say screw this. There’s no water here and you go over here and you go over here and you have a pock marked land and you never got water. Any one of these practices that you’ve proven to work for you, do it for 100 days. Make it part of your daily ritual and reap the rewards and the benefits and say OK, do I keep that in or do I keep that out? Did that enhance my life to the point where I now keep doing it or what, but if you don’t actually do the things, you’re just a hungry ghost. This is the problem I see with most people on diets and exercise, in the healthcare world when I was running all my medical clinics is they knew what to do, but they were just waiting for the next thing, when the thing that they needed was already in their lap. Just do that. Why not? The gong really helps with that.
Zak: Helps you stay on track.
Pedram: It’s a deal, not with me, but with yourself. You’re making a deal with yourself, say I’m going to do this every day for 100 days. If I fail, I start over and it’s going to teach me to stay focused and stay disciplined. Once I can do that, and I start people, usually I say 1 item, maybe 2 items in your gong, because you’re going to fail, because we all bite off more than we can chew. As you get better at it, you do more. My gong takes me 2 hours a day and I have 8 items on it. I was up at 5:40 this morning doing my Qigong and meditating and in between grabbing the baby while my wife was in the bathroom. You know, you fit it into your day because you have to. I don’t want to wait until I get home tonight to have 2 hours of personal work to do and then feel sorry for myself or get mad and say screw this, this is too hard. I’ve set it up that way, so if I don’t build it into my day, I’m going to complain about my life by tonight. I’m good at it now.
Zak: There’s a really powerful quote that I pulled out of watching the movie Origins and it has to do with animals and their environment. What was that and why was it so important to the film?
Pedram: It was an animal that forgets how to survive in the very environment that it evolved in is lost. It’s stupid. It’s crazy. Most people are afraid of nature. They’re afraid of the dark. They’re afraid of going out in the woods and they’re completely at a loss for what to do in this living, breathing, thriving, budding environment that provides us food, provides us medicine, provides us shelter and provides us everything. It has done so for hundreds of thousands of years and within 2 to 3 generations, we’ve completely unplugged. We’re walking around texting on our phones, bopping into people in big urban environments and not even connecting with food.
The real essence of that is look where we were, look where we are and it took me 4 days in a wilderness survival class to know how to do food, shelter, water, fire well and I’ve been camping and stuff my whole life, but I was like teach me these skills. I don’t know anything. Boom, boom, boom, boom. Done. This baseline anxiety of an animal that doesn’t know how to fend for itself starts to go away. Same thing with martial arts. I don’t teach martial arts because I want people to go out and beat people. I want people to not be afraid of conflict and be like they can handle themselves. I’m never in a conversation where I’m like oh, oh. Is this guy going to get me? I can handle myself. I never get into fights, because I’m confident. I can handle myself in life, because I know how to survive and I know how to adapt to the changes in the natural environment because I’m watching nature. I don’t want to smother nature. She’s my friend.
Zak: That’s awesome. Film making is an arduous process. Dave is working on the mold documentary and I’ve been helping with that and it’s difficult. It’s challenging. There’s always something new that pops up. For you and you’ve been around the bend a couple times, this is your second.
Pedram: Finished the second. We’re pre pro on the third.
Zak: OK. How do you hack that? Where’d you go from the beginning with your first film and what do you understand now. Is there anything about process that you can talk about that has helped you be better at that and be more efficient?
Pedram: Absolutely. First, it’s clarity. The first movie I started just getting a bunch of interviews, hundreds of hours of footage and just letting people ramble. It was arduous. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing and I was working with people who didn’t and finally I brought on good help to help make the movie. I’m not a filmmaker. I’m a priest, I’m a doctor and I’m a bunch of other things. I’m not a filmmaker. I had to bring on people and as of the second one it’s like OK, here’s the main through line and here’s the adventures we’re going to do that are going to help accentuate this and tie it all together. You sit and you spend a lot of time thinking about where the movie is flowing and you want to subtly coax it in a direction for positive social action.
I don’t consider myself in the entertainment business. You want entertainment? I’ll juggle for you. You know what I mean? I like the fact that entertainment is a thing, but I’m not in the entertainment business. I’m in the edu-tainment business. I’m here to help people wake up instead of walking around like zombies so they can step up and take some ownership for the future of this planet and the future of our children. For me, it’s really figuring out what points we can leverage to help people go yes, that does sound stupid. Why do we do that and then show them where they can make a better decision and not do that. To answer your question, man it’s always going to be a lot of work. It’s a lot of work, but the literal translation of Kung Fu is hard work. I’m trained to do hard work. You get in those deep stances and they suck. Eventually, life throws things at you and you’re like eh, it wasn’t that bad. I remember when he was kicking me in the stomach and telling me to breathe out. It’s like, you know. You’ve been in combat. It’s like life stress bucket recalibrates when you do real things, so you can understand where to triage things. So we’re busy. We’ve got a movie to make. Let’s go.
Zak: Awesome. You’ve been on the show before. You know that the question is always asked at the end and what are the top 3 recommendations that you would give to people so they can kick more ass. Based on what you’re working on now and where you’re going and what you’ve really been focusing on in the past year or so since you’ve been on the podcast, what are your top 3 recommendations for people that they can do to just kick more ass in life?
Pedram: I would say do what I did yesterday, which is move a lot of dirt and do a home garden. I’ll tell you. I’ve got a new workout routine. It’s called work. Oh, my God. It’s like putting the work back into workout. I mean, I moved a lot of dirt yesterday. I didn’t bring any help. Just shoveling, trading sides to work my obliques, wheelbarrows, the whole thing and not only did I feel great and get some sun, I’m directly connected with the organic soil and the food that’s feeding my family. It might be supplemented with farmer’s markets or whatever, but it’s like connect back with the earth through food, number 1.
Number 2, connect back with your breath and step into the now, because that’s where all the power comes from. Drinking from infinity means stepping into the living, breathing moment, because the universe keeps moving and we want to stay in some time that was 5 minutes ago or 5 years ago and all of our power just gets stretched and diluted and we can’t be here now. All of this biohacking, if you don’t understand where consciousness interfaces with life, you’re going to be lost, because at the end of the day, this thing will slough. You will not have a body and it’s not about physical immortality. It’s about immortalizing your unconsciousness. Right?
Zak: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Pedram: And number 3 is people are afraid to actually live their dreams, because they don’t think that they’re capable of it. If you’re stuck in some job-job and you’re doing all this biohacking and trying to liberate yourself physically, what are you going to do with that energy and what are you going to do with your life? I was running medical group. I was getting pissed off that I was in the sick care model and although I was making good money, I was feeding the best, so I gave up a pretty posh life to do the right thing. Now I’ve got a great life and I get to travel the world, do whatever I want to do, but I threw that gauntlet. Don’t be afraid to live your dreams. Don’t be an idiot, right? But make a definitive plan. Learn skills and step into where your potential lies and live a big life, because I don’t know if there’s reincarnation. I don’t know if there’s life after death or any of that kind of stuff, because I’m still here, but I can tell you that if this is the only chance that you get at this game called life, don’t be mediocre at it.
Step up, step in, live big, live your dreams and stand up. So many people are afraid. They’re complaining about the world, but they won’t take a stand for what’s right, but they’ll slowly kill themselves with cigarettes or bad food. They’ll have self-sabotage that destroys their vitality that eventually drags them down into the earth and they’ll kill themselves in boredom or whatever, but they won’t put their life on the line and stand for what’s noble, right and appropriate in our society. Take a stand and don’t let these dark, shadowy parasites run the media and run our lives in a way that keeps us as sleepy zombies. I think that the more people do that, the more the gig will be up and we get the garden back. We get the garden back. This is our planet. This belongs to our children. I’m just tired of hearing these buffoons on TV trying to keep people asleep and that’s why I do what I do, but just because that’s my thing doesn’t mean that that’s your thing out there. Find your thing and live your dream and do your hacking and build your vitality and tap into who you are and your potential so that you have the power to do so.
Zak: Awesome advice. Thank you so much, Pedram for coming on the show …
Pedram: Great to see you, man.
Zak: … and thanks for coming and talking at the Biohacking Conference. It was amazing and for those of you at home that missed it, we’re going to have all the speakers from the Biohacking Conference on video for you to check out. Just give us a little bit of time to put it together, but it will be available. Thanks again.
Pedram: Great to see you. Thank you.
Zak: All right.