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Figuring It Out

Oct 7, 2021

This week, in the launch of Season 3. I’m talking to Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor who was introduced to me by last season’s guest, Dr. Jeffrey Rediger.


I loved this episode. It reminded me how much control we have over our lives - that we have agency to experience life how we want it and that by understanding how our brain works we can be even more empowered.


It reminded me of this quote from Marcus Aurelius  - you have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. It feels even more relevant in this time that we’re living in. 

Dr. Taylor is a Harvard trained and published neuroanatomist. Her area of specialty was understanding how our brain creates our perception of reality by studying the differences between the postmortem brains of human individuals who were classified as either neuro-typical, with those diagnosed with severe mental illness. Ironically, in 1996 Dr. Taylor experienced a severe hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain causing her to lose the ability to walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life. Her 2008 memoir, My Stroke of Insight, documented her experience with stroke and eight-year recovery and it spent 63 weeks on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list. 

She is an expert, both personally and professionally, about the neuroplasticity of our brain and our ability to not only recover from trauma, but about how we have the power to choose who and how we want to be in the world.  

In 2008 Dr. Taylor gave the first TED talk that ever went viral on the Internet, which now has well over 27 million views. Also in 2008, Dr. Taylor was chosen as one of TIME Magazine's “100 Most Influential People in the World” and was the premiere guest on Oprah Winfrey’s “Soul Series” web-cast. Her new book WHOLE BRAIN LIVING: The Anatomy of Choice and the Four Characters That Drive Our Life blends neuroanatomy with psychology and teaches us how we can short-circuit our emotional reactivity and find our way to deep inner peace. Website:

We spend about half our conversation talking about her new book, the four characters, and how understanding each of our four characters can help us achieve inner peace, satisfaction in life, and even help us improve our relationships. 


We also talk about...

  • How the brain is structured & how it impacts our thoughts, feelings and actions and what makes us each different 
  • How our brains develop and what makes those with mental illness different
  • How she recovered and healed from her stroke
  • She takes me through an exercise of recognizing jealousy that helped me feel and has helped me feel empowered since 
  • She also told me chocolate was a vegetable so we’re best friends 


Dr. Taylor’s energy is effervescent and vibrant. She is an inspiration and a model of what living well means. 


As you listen to this conversation, try to apply the concepts and strategies to your own life. Is the an opportunity to create more spaciousness in your life so that you can be an observer allowing all parts of your brain work in harmony so that you can live with more meaning.



Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor

Whole Brain Living Book

TED Talk


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