EP. 2: ON CREATING AN UNDEFEATABLE MIND: DR. ALEX LICKERMAN

An undefeated mind isn’t one that never feels discouraged or despairing; it’s one that continues on in spite of it – Alex Lickerman

Over the last twenty years Dr. Alex Lickerman has watched thousands of patients struggle with sickness, issues from colds to cancers. He’s treated the sickest of the sick at a renowned academic medical center located in the heart of one of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago. Caring for and observing his patients he says taught him the most important lesson he’s ever learned…

That our capacity to suffer may be immense, but so is our ability to endure it—if we’ve taken effective steps to develop our strength.

Alex is a former assistant professor of medicine, director of primary care, and assistant vice president for Student Health and Counseling Services at the University of Chicago. He currently leads a direct primary care private practice called ImagineMD in Chicago. He’s the author of the best seller “The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self.”

Alex has been quoted in Crain’s Chicago Business, Playboy, The Chicago Tribune, Men’s Health, The New York Times, and TIME, and has had articles appear in Psychology Today, Crain’s Chicago Business, USA Today, Slate, The Huffington Post, Counselor Magazine, and Medicine on the Midway. He’s also been a guest on NPR’s On Point.

I loved talking with Alex, he reminded me of Sam Harris. His message is a simple one and a reality check for all of us.  

Stop hoping for easy lives and instead to focus on cultivating the inner strength we need to enjoy the difficult lives we all have.

We talk about this is in detail on the podcast. How does he cultivate inner strength? How do we cultivate it?

“Everything that happens to us has with it the potential to provide us a benefit… even the worst tragedy imaginable. There are benefits that can accrue.” 

Alex thinks your purpose is not an endowed one but rather an evolved function. He says eventually you find all reasons lead to the same place, to the one core reason for living, the reason against which we measure the value of everything we do:

To Be Happy

“I think that from the ancient Greeks on down there’s generally been agreement that the ultimate goal of human flourishing is happiness…in fact neurologically even psychologically we’re unable to escape the drive to be happy.”

Give the show a listen, you’ll be glad you did.

Show Notes

[00:05:38] On concierge medicine

[00:10:30] How he came to write the book “The Undefeated Mind”

[00:13:35] On Nichiren Buddhism

[00:16:54] A discussion about chanting, it’s benefits and differences from meditation

[00:23:49] Summarizing what chanting does for him personally.

[00:35:29] Turning poison into medicine

[00:39:34] Dealing with loss and grief

[00:45:07] On the ultimate goal of human development

[00:46:00] Why happiness supersedes the goals of survival and reproduction

[00:50:55] On the benefits of adversity

[00:55:52] On dealing with discouragement and the writing exercise

 

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