Driven: Understanding and Harnessing the Genetic Gifts Shared by Entrepreneurs, Navy SEALs, Pro Athletes (& Maybe You).

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I first met today's podcast guest, Dr. Doug Brackmann, at a private conference where he was teaching long-range rifle shooting combined with meditation. Sounds a bit weird and intriguing, right? I thought so too.

It turns out that Dr. Doug has studied and worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs, professional athletes, inventors, adventurers, and Navy SEALs and found that certain people are born with a drive often seen in these types of people. In other words, it's in their DNA. Research has shown that certain genes can manifest resilient and highly focused people who can also be impulsive and easily distracted. While these traits enabled our ancient ancestors to survive, if you have these traits today, it can create havoc in your life and cause diagnoses such as ADHD, ADD, or OCD.

But, what the world tells you is a disability or disorder may actually be your greatest gift. Using his experience teaching the highly driven how to master their gift, Dr. Doug provides the insight and tools you need to master yours. He teaches you how to:

  • Stop self-sabotage forever
  • End shame and doubt
  • Find your wolf pack
  • Use meditation to put yourself on the right path

I just finished his new book, Driven: Understanding and Harnessing the Genetic Gifts Shared by Entrepreneurs, Navy SEALs, Pro Athletes (& Maybe You), and was absolutely glued to the pages, so I just had to have Dr. Doug on the show.

After achieving a dual Ph.D. in 2002, Dr. Doug struck out to research the components of powerful thought and action, culminating in a very successful practice of helping driven “hunters” focus their gifts on a daily basis. He has used an integrated approach of meditation, biohacking, and applied real-world counseling to help thousands of people. Naturally drawn to the driven (often ADD/ADHD spectrum) business owner/entrepreneur, Dr. Doug has worked exclusively with these amazing clients for the past ten years. He is a 20+ year meditation practitioner and continuous student of the rapid advances in science explaining the benefits of specific types of meditation. Dr. Doug describes himself as a functional MRI geek and student of all spiritual practices and religions.

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-How Dr. Doug went from a dual Ph.D. to teaching meditation while shooting rifles…6:50

  • Ph.D. is in organizational psychology and clinical psychology from UC San Diego
  • Pursued the degrees to find “what works” for his personal development
  • Shooting requires one to be present and still; used meditation to shoot at a competitive level
  • Began experimenting with meditation and shooting
  • Taught newbies to outshoot Navy SEALs their first day of shooting
  • This allowed Doug to help people who normally wouldn't seek professional therapy

-What it means to be “Driven”…10:45

  • The Edison Gene by Thom Hartmann
  • DRD-2 a1 gene, “alcohol” gene highly correlated with gambling, ADD, eating disorders
  • Genetic adaptation for survival (Hartmann's theory)
  • Around 10% of people did not adapt to the agricultural revolution 4,000 years ago
  • These are what we might refer to as “unemployable” people today
    • Hunters in a farmer's world
  • Chronic discontent “Reward deficiency syndrome
  • Farmers are easily satisfied with their vocation; hunters are “Da Vincis”

-How to determine if you're genetically predetermined to be Driven…20:00

  • Genetic testing can be misleading; having the gene may necessarily mean it is expressed in your behavior
  • Identifying the behaviors of impulsivity is more telling
  • DR4 gene is the “FOMO” gene
  • National Geographic article on the “wandering gene”
    • There's more game over the next hill; this is okay but over there is better;
    • Shiny object syndrome
  • Thrill-Seeking Gene Can Lead to More Sex Partners
  • It's all feelings at the end of the day

-A polypeptide that relates to Driven people…25:05

  • Neuro peptide Y, associated with risk-takers, inventors, hunters (biggest predictor of making it through SEAL training)
  • Ability to let go of immediate and past failures, move to the next opportunity
  • Associated with resilience (9,999 ways to not make a lightbulb)
  • Changes how you respond to the neurotransmitter noradrenaline

-How the brain of a Driven person is used differently than that of others…33:05

  • Brain has reversed itself on the dominant part over the last 4,000 years
  • Driven people are visually dominant
  • Possess “spidey senses”
  • Activities that promote a visually dominant field are popular
  • The frontal lobes are under-active compared to farmers
  • Driven people “get” the big picture; schools don't focus on the “big picture”
  • Things that seem risky, albeit well-calculated, are complete lunacy to most people

-Why there's “never enough” for Driven people…39:50

  • Dopamine triggers are very short-lived (toxic perfectionism)
  • Nature, nurture, genetics, environment? The answer is “yes”
  • National norm assessment Doug and his wife did
  • Driven Institute
  • Importance of understanding the difference between different personality types
  • A drop in dopamine is the cause of the feeling of inadequacy

-Practical solutions for Driven people to function in society…44:51

  • Begin with understanding your identity as a Driven person
  • There is no sense of “self”‘
  • Focus on “what” you are, not “who” you are

-The only thing that will truly help a Driven person…49:01

-The type of meditation best-suited for Driven people…56:35

  • This meditation is based upon the reality that the present moment is safe
  • Eyes open meditation for the driven
  • Everything you see in the present moment is in reality
  • Eyes are what keep the world safe for Driven people
  • Safety is not a feeling, it is a statement

-The breathwork Doug teaches to Driven people…58:48

  • Learning to “tolerate” safety
  • PTSD trauma comes into the body when there is safety
  • Body releases trauma via tremors in various body parts
  • Meditation changes physical reactions to fear
  • We resist that which is uncomfortable, even if safety is uncomfortable
  • Lottery winners can't physically handle that much security and safety

-Plant medicine protocols that may be useful for Driven people…1:04:33

  • Use a great deal of caution
  • They will bring up a lot of your trauma, even stuck in your DNA
  • Understand the difference between work and medicine
  • Get out of the body's way of healing itself

-How to learn more about Dr. Doug's work…1:08:56

-And much more…

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

Dr. Doug Brackmann:


– Other resources:

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Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for Doug or me? Leave your comments below, and one of us will reply!

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9 thoughts on “Driven: Understanding and Harnessing the Genetic Gifts Shared by Entrepreneurs, Navy SEALs, Pro Athletes (& Maybe You).

  1. Eric Jones says:

    There was a five-minute pause Erie I’m not sure if I like it, but I suppose I should grow accustomed to it.

  2. Matt says:

    I went to the website but yeah the links on it don’t seem to work right. It seems outdated. I would like to know more about Doug Brackmann and his work so I am just going to order the book.

  3. James says:

    Loved this episode, thanks guys. How do you lookup DRD2 A1 and DRD4 7R in the 23andMe raw data?

  4. Mary says:

    Enjoyed this podcast on driven people but there was no mention of women who are driven. There’s more stigma for these types of women. I wonder if there are fewer. It’s been a difficult life because I’ve always felt different and have a hard time making female friends. I would love to read Dr Beckmann’s book but don’t do well with reading. Does Dr Beckmann have videos or lectures available. Also any other suggestions besides guns and meditating?

    1. Mary says:

      Opps! Sorry Dr Brackmann

  5. Derek says:

    The 5 minute silence was Erie don’t know if I like it but I need to get used to being at peace

  6. Don says:

    Was a big fan of what Dr. Brackmann discussed in this podcast and appreciate all of the work put into it. However, I followed up on the “national normed” assessment that he mentioned around minute 42 of the podcast, and only found one related assessment on Dr. Brackmann’s website (listed below) which turned out to be BS. No matter the combination of answers selected, the result was always “welcome to the wolfpack” indicating that every answer combination was representative of a “driven” person. Not sure if there is an updated/accurate version of this assessment somewhere, but access to a legitimate assessment would serve to support his findings instead of feeling like a marketing scam to sell more books.

    Link to “Highly Driven Assessment 2.0”:…

    1. Mitch says:

      Doug had an old website , which is down now, which had the assesment questionnaire. I did it and got the results emailed to me. There were 4 categories , Farmer , Hunter , Explorer , and Flow seeker. And we are a % of all of them. So you get a % rating in each category. I was highest in Flow Seeker , which makes total sense for me , since I have always felt most alive when on the football field , tennis court or in the Dojo.

  7. Mike says:

    Right from the jump, Ben warns you not to read Doug Brackmann’s book if you are an NPR listener, you should instead listen to “Freakonomics.” Pretty much the thesis of today’s podcasts are that people can be divided into two groups. The “Hunters” and the “Farmers.” The Hunters are the “He Man” types, that crave adventure and are always on the go. They are not the 9-5 types and can’t be tied down. The Farmers today are the “cubicle workers” who are content to sit all day long and work till retirement. Ben generously says “We probably need both.” Being an NPR listener, I’m probably pigeonholed by Ben into the Farmer group. I’d like to think of it as the “thoughtful” group, but that’s just me. Brackmann also put’s the “Creative” types into the “Hunter” group and mentioned Leonardo da Vinci as an example. Actually Leonardo was a lifelong vegiterian and gay, so I’m not sure he fits the rugged “Man of Action” Hunter type that Doug and Ben outlined in their talk.

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