Rian Doris, co-Founder & COO, Flow Research Collective


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Rian Doris is the co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of the Flow Research Collective, studying, deconstructing and training peak performance and flow states for leaders.

Alongside 8X Nationally Best-Selling Author Steven Kotler (one of the world’s leading speakers, researchers and authors in neuroscience and peak performance), Rian has drawn from his own personal challenges with mental health and performance to create the science-based approach in their research and training.

I’m especially thrilled to have connected with Rian and the Flow Research Collective because they are boosting the evolution of leadership by training leaders to understand their own brains on a neurobiological, psychological and chemical level.

Rian shares an abundance of useful resources in this conversation, linked below, but most notably, be sure to check out his TEDx Talk, Why Hustle Doesn’t Lead to Success. It’s a goodie:)

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Topics discussed in this conversation include:

  • Rian’s background and a childhood dealing with a head injury growing up in Ireland

  • Motivation and interest in personal development, philosophy, consciousness, flow states and peak performance

  • Tony Robbins

  • Rian’s educational background in Philosophy and Masters Degree in Applied Neuroscience

  • Keith Ferazzi & Never Eat Alone

  • Thought leaders who brought mindfulness to the west:

  • Steven Kotler & Stealing Fire

    • (all of you interested in this conversation should read this book!)

  • Steven Kotler’s rigorous scientific approach to flow

  • Peter Diamandis

  • How Rian went from an admiring fan to business partner with Steven Kotler

  • How Rian’s struggles with mental health and performance due to his brain injury has helped him understand and connect to the work at the Flow Research Collective so deeply

  • What is “Flow”?

  • How flow effects performance, wellbeing, creativity, learning, happiness, etc.

  • Martin Seligman, father of positive psychology

  • Training consciousness shifts into flow

  • 22 Flow Triggers to access flow states

  • Certain activities that inherently induce flow

  • Flow Cycle

  • Herb Benson & The Breakout Principle

  • Flow Blockers

  • Best strategies to remove blockers before building triggers

  • Rian’s personal flow triggers and strategies for eliminating distraction

  • “Knowledge Work” – flow follows focus

  • “Flow Hygiene” – priming your system - how nutrition, exercise, sleep and general wellness influence flow states

  • Social support is as crucial as food physiologically and psychologically

  • How business leaders can utilize flow states to increase performance or maximize their impact

  • Mihai Csikszentmihalyi – “The Godfather of Flow Psychology”

  • Group Flow:

    • “Yes, and….”

    • Vulnerability

    • Risk

    • Familiarity

    • Equal Participation

    • Shared Goals

    • Close Listening

    • Efficient Operations

  • The dark side of flow

  • Flow Strategy: identifying your process of getting into flow

  • Hacks for professionals working from home

  • Dopamine & Norepinephrine

  • Dropping cognitive load

  • Environmental boundaries vs time boundaries

  • Transition Rituals

  • Breathwork vs Mindfulness

  • James Nestor & Breath

  • Rian’s TED Talk – “Why Hustle Doesn’t Lead to Success”

  • Rian explains why hustle doesn’t lead to success from the perspective of effort and productivity

  • Maximizing output from the least amount of input – “doing more with less”

    • Strategic timing

    • Delegating effectively

    • Elimination

  • Productivity declines after 35 hours per week

  • McKenzie Study

  • Rian’s definition of success and how he measures himself on success

  • Earl Nightingdale

  • How Rian sees the world evolving 10 years from now and how he sees himself contributing to it

  • The Future is Faster Than You Think

  • Valuable advice from Rian for entrepreneurs and professionals

  • What happens in the brain during sleep

  • Dr. Andrew Huberman – Board of Directors, Flow Research Collective

  • Yoga Nidra for sleep


Rian Doris is the Co-Founder & COO at the Flow Research Collective, a research and training institute focused on decoding the neuroscience of flow states and training leaders to achieve peak performance.

Rian lives at the intersection of entrepreneurship and academia—from starting his first business at age 18 to studying Philosophy in Trinity College Dublin and an MSc in Applied Neuroscience at King's College, London.

On the academic side, Rian has lead research initiatives with Imperial College London, University of Southern California, the University of Zurich and Deloitte.

On the entrepreneurial side, Rian has worked intimately with numerous world-leading experts in peak performance such as Keith Ferrazzi, Dr. Dan Siegel, and Steven Kotler, his partner at Flow Research Collective.

Rian has been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, TedX and Big Think.

30 episodes