Understanding and Harnessing the Genetic Gifts Shared by Entrepreneurs, Navy SEALs, Pro Athletes, and Maybe YOU
by Douglas Brackmann, PhD | Lioncrest Publishing © 2017 · 346 pages

Alexandra got this book for me after she saw that Ben Greenfield recommended it. Douglass Brackmann got a dual PhD in 2002. Then he “struck out to research the components of powerful thought and action, helping driven ‘hunters’ focus their gifts.” We explore the paradoxical truth of Optimizing and actualizing as a Driven person (hint: discipline equals freedom), the fact that you have a great story to write (and you need structures to channel your energy), the Mastery Mindset (how’s yours?), the reality that better has no finish line (that’s worth repeating: better has no finish line), you and your sword (forging time!), and the Mastery Path (you on it?).

A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself he always seems to be doing both. Enough for him that he does it well.
Lawrence Pearsall Jacks
I have always been driven to buck the system, to innovate, to take things beyond where they’ve been.
Sam Walton

“Once those of us with these Driven traits can reconceptualize our purpose so that it maps to our genetic blueprint and begins to harness our latent potential, we can be excellent at what we do in the world as it is now. Again, we are not broken; the world around us is designed by those different from us, and we forgot, over time and over generations, what our purpose in society was.

It was a collection of Driven brains that put a man on the moon and created the iPhone. It is the Driven who can take an idea and create a company that will dominate the market within months and years. We are Driven. All that energy, which is not very useful when a class of children learning their ABCs, is channeled into a force that cannot be stopped when leveraged correctly. These individuals become super-charged with purpose and focus. ...

The purpose of this book is not to make scientific inquiry into these [epigenetic] interactions. Rather, the goal is to inform the reader that these behavior patterns are a normal variant of human behavior. The Driven are not broken. They possess exceptional gifts. When you understand this, you can move beyond the social stigma and personal shame often associated with these differences. More importantly, you will be able to follow the Mastery Path, the lifelong path toward learning to use the powerful advantages you, as a Driven person, possess. As someone who is Driven, you are uniquely suited to the Mastery Path. On the Mastery Path, you will learn to harness your gifts and thrive even if the world does not seem a fit for you.”

~ Douglas Brackmann, PhD from Driven


Alexandra got this book for me after she saw that Ben Greenfield recommended it.

Douglass Brackmann got a dual PhD in 2002. Then he “struck out to research the components of powerful thought and action, helping driven ‘hunters’ focus their gifts.”

He tells us that “nearly 10 percent of the population possesses a genetic difference that, with the right environmental conditions, manifests in a powerful, unstoppable drive.” The genetic difference is tied to what’s known as the allele genes DRD2-A1 and DRD4-7R. I’ve done some genetic testing and I know that I *don’t* have the DRD2-A1 allele (which influences dopamine functioning and, according to Brackmann’s approach leads to “Driven” characteristics).

The tests I’ve done didn’t measure whether or not I have the DRD4-7R allele but, well, as you might have noticed, I’m kinda driven. (Hah.) Brackmann tells us that our environmental upbringing can also influence our tendencies (of course). For me, hanging out in the womb of an anxious mother (love you, Mom!) and being raised in a family with an alcoholic father would have definitely helped create the conditions to kickstart some Drive. (#OMMS!)

Driven people who may inspire you include all the classic heroes across a range of domains—from Albert Einstein, Galileo, Mozart, Leonardo da Vinci and Walt Disney to Alexander Graham Bell, John F. Kennedy, Magic Johnson, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk.

We’ll save the details of all the genetic stuff for the book/another discussion. (Get the book here.)

For now, I’m excited to share some of my favorite Big Ideas from the book that can help ALL of us with a Drive to Optimize and actualize in service to the world by creating the right conditions in our lives to harness our latent potential and give the world all we’ve got. So, let’s jump in!

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About the author


Douglas Brackmann, PhD

Psychologist, bestselling author of Driven