Dr. Maya Shankar: How to Shape Your Identity & Goals


Huberman Lab

In this episode, my guest is Maya Shankar, Ph.D., a cognitive scientist, former senior advisor to the White House and Chair of the White House Social and Behavioral Sciences Team. She is the creator and host of the podcast, A Slight Change of Plans. We discuss how our identities develop and change, how our beliefs and internal narratives shape our perception of self, and how to use structured introspection about our values to determine our goals. We discuss how to cope and grow through uncertain situations, especially those that force us to reexamine our roles and identity. Dr. Shankar shares her experience of redefining her identity after an early career-ending setback. She also explains numerous science-based strategies to effectively define goals, structure our goal pursuits and maintain consistent motivation. This episode provides a science-supported toolkit and roadmap to assess your identity and goals and positively transform in the face of change.

For the full show notes, visit hubermanlab.com.

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(00:00:00) Dr. Maya Shankar

(00:02:37) Sponsors: Maui Nui Venison & Eight Sleep

(00:05:15) Identity Foreclosure, Identity Paralysis, Throughlines

(00:12:10) Identity & Adolescence; “Essence” & Shame

(00:16:58) Delight & Awe

(00:23:00) Delight & Possibilities for Self

(00:29:28) Playing Violin, Childhood

(00:34:54) Sponsor: AG1

(00:35:58) Intrinsic Motivation; Juilliard & Courage

(00:45:43) Competitive Environments; Curiosity & Growth

(00:53:46) Re-Creating of Self

(01:00:51) Pop-Science, Science Accessibility

(01:05:25) Sponsor: InsideTracker

(01:06:32) Passions & Curiosity

(01:13:20) Change, Cognitive Closure, End-of-History Illusion

(01:22:29) Self-Awareness & Critical Feedback

(01:30:48) Tools: Flexible Mindset; Reframing & Venting; Gratitude

(01:40:13) Tool: Framing Goals

(01:47:13) Tool: Agency in Goal Pursuit

(01:52:25) Tool: Like-Minded People & Goal Pursuit; Challenging Beliefs

(02:01:27) Cultivating Open-Mindedness & Empathy

(02:08:15) Building Self Narratives: Empathy, Burnout

(02:13:56) Tools: Goal Setting

(02:19:54) Tool: “Middle Problem”, Maintaining Motivation

(02:24:55) Tool: Aversion & Memory, Peak-End Rule

(02:31:41) Zero-Cost Support, YouTube Feedback, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, Momentous, Neural Network Newsletter, Social Media

Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac


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