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The Neuroscience of Fear & How To Channel It For Good w/ Akshay Nanavati

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“There's no such thing as a bad or good emotion… They're just emotions, and it's up to us to choose what to do with them.”
— Akshay Nanavati

Greetings, SuperFriends!

On today's episode, we are joined by Akshay Nanavati. He is an author, public speaker, and just all around really impressive guy. He has overcome drug addiction, PTSD, from fighting in Iraq with the Marines, and alcoholism that pushed him to the brink of suicide. He's explored some of the most hostile environments on the planet and he has come up with a methodology. It is the same methodology that shares the title with his book, FearVana, which the Dalai Lama himself said “inspires us to look beyond our own agonizing experiences and find the positive side of our lives.”

Akshay and I had a really incredible conversation. He is also very much interested in neuroscience and the science of memory and learning, and so we attack it from that angle. We start talking about fear, and how we can break the patterns of fear, but more importantly, how we can use fear, and how fear can be a good thing in our lives to create improvement and push us forward. It's a very unique and interesting perspective, and I think you're going to learn a lot not just about fear… not just about tenacity and bravery, but also about habits, about learning, about the brain, about neuroscience, and just about how to structure your life in a very very deliberate way. You might also learn a thing or two about how to turn things around if you're someone who's really suffering or has hit a rough patch.


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In this episode, we discuss:

  • How did Akshay Nanavati get The Dalai Lama to review his book?!
  • Who is Akshay Nanavati, and what was his very difficult journey to get to where he is today?
  • What's the big deal with Fear? Why did Akshay focus on it?
  • What is “Fearvana?” and why is it Akshay's worthy struggle?
  • How can you “harness” your emotions for positivity and motivation rather than fear and suffering?
  • What did it take to write Akshay's book? What tips does he have for others?
  • What is “the myth of free will,” and what has neuroscience proven or disproven about free will?
  • What is the neuroscience and psychology behind fear? What does the research say?
  • How does your brain change long term if you practice these habits?
  • A walk-through of the process that Akshay has taken with a client to “rewire” neurology
  • How can you get started and practice “fearvana?”
  • What's one quick “hack” you can do to re-wire an emotional connection on something you don't enjoy?
  • What other things does Akshay Nanavati do to achieve superhuman performance?
  • What's Akshay's morning ritual? What other rituals does he have?
  • How does Akshay Nanavati build and exercise willpower?
  • What's the #1 most important skill or habit you can develop to succeed in life?
  • Why did Akshay quit drinking alcohol?
  • What is Akshay Nanavati's faith, and what does he believe in?
  • How does he “come down” from the intensity of his daily life?
  • A thought on practicing the emotions you want to be able to express
  • How can you get Akshay's book for free?
  • What #1 message should you take away and remember forever?

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

Favorite Quotes from Akshay Nanavati:

“My greatest fear today is stillness.”
“I think the scariest things lead to the best things.”
“You want fear to work for you.”
“It's not that the fear goes away. It becomes easier to manage.”
“A memory gets encoded harder and further into the brain if there's a strong emotion attached to it… Emotion + Attention = Memory”
“What I've learned to do is manage willpower with habits.”
“When I combined faith with will, it has become transformational… Faith in whatever you want to call it… Faith in something.”
“I think ‘God' is the divinity of man, expressed through the things we do.”
“Learn to smile through struggle. You'll actually find greater levels of joy than you could ever imagine, once you do.”



  1. Luiz
    at — Reply

    Thanks, I learned a lot of interesting things in past episodes.

  2. Shivaditya Purohit
    at — Reply

    loved th heart and the depth of the conversation. The way that Dr. Metivier shared from his enormous experience and insights was just amazing. Thank you Jonathan for doing this podcast!! 🙂

  3. Rob
    at — Reply

    Great interview with Dr. Greg Wells! He mentioned a doctor from Colorado around the 42:30 point of the podcast, discussing turmeric and black pepper. I couldn’t make out the doctor’s name. Can you provide me with his full name and maybe his website or contact info. Interested in his products.



  4. Muhammed Sani Ibrahim
    at — Reply

    I am new here, and learning really fast.
    Thank you.

  5. Leonia
    at — Reply

    Maybe oarts of the things he has to share are right, maybe not. If I look at him which impact his nurturing and living style has on himself I see a very old looking man! He is year 1973!! That is not old and he looks definitly much older!! If I would not know his birthyear I would guess that he is in his mid-60ies!! A bit concering for someone who claims his lifestyle is suitable for a long life, isn’t it?

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