Robert Sapolsky: Free Will Doesn’t Exist! Leading Neuroscientist Claims ALL Behavior Is Biologically Determined | E262

Robert Sapolsky: Free Will Doesn’t Exist! Leading Neuroscientist Claims ALL Behavior Is Biologically Determined | E262

Robert Sapolsky: Free Will Doesn’t Exist! Leading Neuroscientist Claims ALL Behavior Is Biologically Determined | E262

Dr. Robert Sapolsky has accomplished so much in his life and career, including winning the MacArthur “genius” grant and authoring several best-selling books. But as he puts it himself in his most recent book: “I’ve been very lucky in my life, something which I certainly did not earn.” This sentiment is consistent with his view that we lack free will entirely, and in today’s episode, Professor Sapolsky is going to make his argument to Hala as to why that is indeed the case.


Robert Sapolsky is a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University, who is an expert in several fields ranging from stress to baboon behavior to human evolution. His work has received many awards including the esteemed MacArthur Fellowship. He is also the best-selling author of several books including Behave, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, and The Trouble with Testosterone. His newest book is called Determined: A Science of Life Without Free Will.


In this episode, Hala and Robert will discuss:

– Why free will doesn’t exist

– The epiphany he had as a 14-year-old

– Is meritocracy an illusion?

– The neuroscience of decision-making

– The myth of grit

– What predetermination means for entrepreneurs

– Why Jeff Bezos was born to create Amazon

– Does spontaneity exist?

– How no free will impacts our morality

– The science behind moral disgust

– Why you can’t reason someone out of an opinion

– Why we should overhaul the criminal justice system

– And other topics…


Robert Sapolsky is a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and a research associate with the Institute of Primate Research at the National Museum of Kenya. Over the past thirty years, he has divided his time between the lab, where he studies how stress hormones can damage the brain, and in East Africa, where he studies the impact of chronic stress on the health of baboons. Sapolsky is the author of Behave, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, A Primate’s Memoir, and The Trouble with Testosterone, and is a regular contributor to Discover. He has published articles about stress and health in magazines as diverse as Men’s Health and The New Yorker. Sapolsky received the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius” grant at age 30.


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[00:00:00] Hala Taha: Welcome back to the show, young improfiters. And today we're talking about free will. Free will is something that we often don't speak about. We kind of just take it for granted, like it's this definite thing that we all have. We all have agency. We all have choice. Well, the guest I have today is going to turn that thought  on its head.

Dr. Robert Sapolsky is a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University. He's an expert in several fields ranging from stress to baboon behavior to human evolution.. His work has received many awards including the esteemed MacArthur Fellowship Robert is also the author of several best selling books including Behave.

And his newest book, perhaps his most ambitious yet, is called Determined, a Science of Life  without free will. 

Robert, welcome to Young and Profiting podcast.

[00:02:04] Robert Sapolsky: Well, thanks for having me on. I am 

[00:02:07] Hala Taha: really excited for this conversation. We have not spoken about free will on the podcast yet, and I think all your material is really interesting. So I just want to cut straight to the chase in a nutshell. Tell us what is your outlook on free will and how does that outlook differ from the traditional outlook on 

[00:02:25] Robert Sapolsky: free will?

Well, just to start off in a very subtle, nuanced way, I think there's no free will whatsoever, and that puts me, well, basically from the overall population, that puts me in the lunatic fringe among neuroscientists It puts me a little bit more extreme than the average, but it certainly puts me way outside the pale for 95 percent of philosophers these days who believe there is free will.

So I'm staking out a fairly extreme stance here. And I'm going 

[00:03:00] Hala Taha: to dig into this a lot. Why do you feel like your view of free will is controversial, like what does it turn on its head? 

[00:03:08] Robert Sapolsky: Well, my best evidence that it's controversial is the hate emails that I'm getting. It's showing some really dramatic misinterpretations of Well, actually, I have no evidence that any of these people have actually read any of this, but what it seems to panic people most about once they get past the, is there no me inside there, am I not a special separate entity separate from all my neurons and such, people initially freak out over it.

The, oh my God, people will just run amok if people stop believing in free will and we'll have murderers everywhere and we won't hold anyone responsible for anything. So that's usually the first sort of thing that people bring up. But with an audience like yours, my guess is the real thing that comes through always takes about an extra 10 minutes or so, which is, wait, are you also telling me I've got no grounds for being proud of my really prestigious MBA?

or my salary or my corner office or even my ability to work really hard. In some ways, the notion that if there's no free will, criminal justice system makes no sense at all. If there's no free will, meritocracies don't either. It's 

[00:04:30] Hala Taha: so interesting and I've never even thought of the fact that free will could not be real, right?

We're just always taught when we're younger that we have a choice. We can change our lives. We have free will to do whatever we want. But you're basically saying that's not true, that everything is sort of predetermined and based on your biology and your environment. 

[00:04:55] Robert Sapolsky: Yeah, exactly. And it feels like we have free will.

Because when right in the moment you're choosing Coke over Pepsi or something, it's so in the moment ness, you're so there, it's so tangible, you feel like such an agent of choice and all of that, that it's hard for you to imagine the billions of like little threads That have brought you to that moment and made you who you are, and you feel like you are independent of everything that came before, which we never are for a second.


[00:05:32] Hala Taha: I was born Muslim, and I know that in Islam, that's what it says, that everything is written Like your life is already predetermined. So your thoughts actually are more aligned with like major religions out there in terms of what these religious books say. Would you say that's accurate? 

[00:05:52] Robert Sapolsky: Yeah. With the key distinction in that sort of your version is another version of like the pilgrims running around with buckles on their shoes and being Calvinist predeterminists.

That everything is already set. A scientific determinism, absolutely. deals with the notion that things can change, and you could change dramatically, societies can change dramatically, all that sort of thing. rather than the don't bother, because that's bringing us to sort of the next thing that people freak out over.

Oh my God, everyone will run amok. Oh my God, when somebody compliments me on having done a good job, I really can't take credit for it. The next one is, well, if there's no free will, nothing can change. Why bother? Which is as far from the case as possible. We change really dramatically at times, but what we think of is that we formed the conscious intent to change.

I decided it was time to change how I feel about something totally fundamental. No, that's never the case. Circumstances that have made you you are such that you will respond to this event in a particular way. Which you will say, I changed afterward, where in reality, you were changed afterward. Well, 

[00:07:20] Hala Taha: those are some really fascinating and unique thoughts.

Can you tell me about when you first started realizing that you think that there's no such thing as free will? 

[00:07:30] Robert Sapolsky: Well, I was not quite a scientist yet, but I think in retrospect, I was thinking scientifically. I was 14 and I was going through some sort of adolescent tumult that was very intertwined with All sorts of ways I was being raised and it was terribly conflicting and then one night at two in the morning I woke up spontaneously and like this epiphany of, Oh, I get it.

There's no God. And there's no free will. And there's no purpose. And that's exactly how I've been thinking ever since. Everything evaporated in one evening, one night. And then you 

[00:08:14] Hala Taha: went on to become a scientist and you further established the fact that there's no free will. And then now you've come out with this new book called Determined.

So what was your intent with writing Determined, if we could call it intent? 

[00:08:29] Robert Sapolsky: Well, I'm glad we could view that as a temporary term. I, I published this book about five years ago called Behave. The biology of humans at their best and worst. and it's like 800 pages long and it's agonizing and nobody in their right mind reads the whole thing but basically it's going through, you do a behavior And where did that behavior come from?

What was the science of what was happening one second ago, one minute ago, one hour ago, eventually one millennium ago? How do we make sense of us in the context of neuroscience and hormones and early development and genes and culture and ecological stuff? And like this huge tour of that. where it seemed self evident to me that after you go through all of that evidence, there's like no space for free will in there.

And I'd hear from people afterwards saying, wow, just read the book, whatever. It seems to me like this may like lessen the realms of free will that we could lessen. Are you kidding? I think this is like emphatically showing that there is no free will whatsoever and saying, okay, well, Amazingly enough, 800 pages was too subtle.

I now need to write a book just explicitly saying, when you look at the science of how we become who we are, it's not just that there's less free will than we conventionally think. There's none. All we are is the outcome of biology we had no control over, and it's interactions with the environment that we had no control over.

[00:10:10] Hala Taha: Before we get into the actual science on why you believe there's no such thing as free will, talk to us about your background, your experiences as a scientist, even your own genetics that make you the perfect author of this book. 

[00:10:22] Robert Sapolsky: One thing that has helped, and a point I try to emphasize, ooh, if you study tons and tons about neurobiology, you could see there's a lot less free will than people think, but it's not a slam dunk.

And ooh, if you studied genetics, you reach the same conclusion. Oh, if you study cultural anthropology, whatever. And it happens, I'm somewhat of a sort of generalist, I've spent my sort of career oscillating between being a laboratory neurobiologist and studying wild baboons in a national park in East Africa.

I've spent 30 years going there annually. So like the lab stuff gets me talking to molecular people, the field stuff gets me talking bizarrely to like sociologists. So I think collectively I've got this kind of broad interdisciplinary view, which is to say I'm skating on very thin ice in a lot of different disciplines at once.

But when you have that perspective, you eventually see they're not different disciplines. They all connect. Like for example, if you're talking about the effects of genes on behavior, by definition you're talking about the evolution of those genes. And by definition, you're talking about your childhood, which determined how readily turned on or off those genes are.

And by definition, you're talking about the last hour when those genes were specifying what proteins are being made in your brain. It's not just, Ooh, all these different disciplines collectively, they all turn into one discipline after a while, which is this like seamless arc. Of stuff we have no control over.

And when you look at it closely, there isn't a crack anywhere in there to shoehorn in a notion of free will. This is 

[00:12:12] Hala Taha: so interesting because I've never heard anything like this before. Like I've never heard anybody say that there's, I have self improvement people and entrepreneurs all day coming on this podcast, talking to us about.

Grit, and determination, and purpose, and all these things that according to you, we don't have much control over. So your book is really two parts, or has two main points. The science of why we don't have free will, and then what do we do with that information? How do we live our best life knowing that there's no free will?

I want to dig into the science, but I think let's get some terminology and some foundation on the table. So, first of all, Can you define free will and can you define determinism for us? 

[00:12:55] Robert Sapolsky: Okay, free will. Probably the best place to start is what I don't think defines free will and 99 percent of people do because it just feels so right, which is the in the moment ness ness.

You have an intent to do something, you are consciously aware you have the intent, you understand if you do that, what are the consequences likely to be, you understand you have alternatives, you don't have to do that, and for most people, if the answer is yes to all of those, yeah, you understand this is, you got free will, and that's how our criminal justice system works on, once they establish if the guy actually did it, Did he intend to?

Did he know there were alternatives? Did he know what the consequences were? And if the answer is yes, that's it. Culpable, responsible, acted as a free agent. And this gives me apoplexy because this is ignoring virtually everything that's happening. This is like the metaphor I keep thinking is it's like trying to review a movie based on only seeing the last three minutes of it.

Because what you're not doing is saying Okay, but where did that intent come from in the first place? And it's when you look at where intent came from, or let's translate that a bit, how you turned out to be the sort of person you are, that's where you see you had no control at all. And in a sense, in my mind, the definition of free will then, is your brain makes you do something, and if you can show that it did that something, and it doesn't matter if you had completely different genes, were raised in a different home, were raised in a different neighborhood, had glands that secreted dramatically different levels of hormones, and like your eye color were different, and if all of those things were different, If your brain would have done the same exact thing, it's acting freely, and no brains do that.

Because they can't do anything other than the ways in which they're embedded in what just came before this and what just came before that and before that and all the way back. So what you're 

[00:15:11] Hala Taha: really saying is that we may have choice in the moment. But that choice in the moment is based on our biology and environment, which we have no control over.

[00:15:22] Robert Sapolsky: Yes. And even more striking are circumstances where we're making a choice in the moment where we even think it makes sense to us why we formed that intent. Like okay, okay, well this is the person I turned out to be, but this person who I am is now very consciously making that choice. And then all you have to do is look at circumstances where just subtle manipulations of people and they make different choices and they have no idea that you have manipulated them.

And they feel as if they are agentive out the wazoo, and this was entirely, and even being conscious of what you are intending to do is not getting you some free will because You know, independent of how you got that conscious intent, a lot of the time we're doing stuff where we're not even conscious of it.

I mean, one of the, there, there's been this massive shift in sort of people who, who think about moral decision making and what people believed forever was that you think your way to a moral decision. And what all the science now shows is, a whole lot of the time, most of the time, some of the time, for the most important things, you feel your way to a moral decision, and then your conscious, cognitive self suddenly leaps up and scrambles to try to come up with a rationale for why it makes perfect sense that you did that.

a guy at NYU named Jonathan Haidt has done this fantastic neuroimaging stuff showing somebody is making a moral decision, here's the scenario, is this the right thing to do, is it wrong, whatever. And the more emotional parts of the brain activate and commit to an answer before the more cognitive parts do.

And we all know this. We know this when somebody sits there and says, You know, I can't quite tell you why I can't put my finger on it, but when those people do that sort of thing, it's just wrong, it's wrong, wrong, wrong. You've caught them at that point. Their cortex has not come up with a rationale yet for the gut intuitions they're running on.

And then when two seconds later they say, Oh yeah, that's why, that's why. Because those people tend to be this way. Or because those people did this to my ancestors back in 1823. And what we're seeing is much of the time, some of the most fundamental things we're deciding, like what counts as okay behavior, what counts as grounds for condemning someone, et cetera, et cetera.

We haven't a clue where our decisions are coming from. 

[00:18:06] Hala Taha: I'm a hundred percent Palestinian, so later in this conversation, I definitely want to ask you about your thoughts on the conflict and like how people are thinking and stuff. But first, let's get through some of this material. So your book is called Determined.

Why did you title the book that and can you explain a little bit about what determinism 

[00:18:25] Robert Sapolsky: is? Well, the Determined was meant to be sort of a play on words. The full thing is determined, a science of life without free will, determined in the sense of biologically determined, but then going after exactly what you brought up before and what's probably terribly relevant to your listeners.

Which is that whole issue of, hey, show some determination, show some grits, show some backbone. And that's speaking to like this incredibly tempting false dichotomy, which is most people are willing to say, okay, there's stuff we have no control over. There's biological attributes that we have. I'm not seven foot four, so I'm never playing in the NBA.

I've got perfect pitch, I didn't have to learn to do that. I just. It turns out to be genetic. I am really good memory for this, but lousy memory for that. Yeah, we can accept that there are all sorts of traits that we were handed, but where people then go berserk is saying, Ah, but the true measure of a person is what they then do with those traits.

Do they show tenacity? Do they show gumption?or if they've been given all sorts of gifts, do they squander it? Do they throw it away at a self indulgence? Ooh, in that totally incorrect view of the world, stuff like your memory span, that's made of biology. But your grit, your tenacity, that, that stuff's made out of like fairy dust or something.

That's different. And a key critical thing is when, just as an example, you have someone who is prone towards alcoholism and they're feeling an urge to drink something. Then that's a biological phenomenon. And when they then either give into it or say, no, actually I'll have ginger ale instead. That's just as biological.

The part of your brain that makes you do the harder thing when it's the right thing to do something called the frontal cortex. is as sculpted by everything that came before you. And we think of like attributes as being the hardware in your brain, but the, what do you do with it? And do you stick to the tough sort of thing that that's the you sitting inside there?

That's somehow separate of all that biology. Yuck. And it's made of the exact same biology. So that if someone has no control over they were handed the biology of a tendency towards alcohol craving, they also have no control over the biology of whether or not they're good at resisting it. It's just a very different sort of biology, but it's one that you had no more role in choosing than choosing your eye color.

So do 

[00:21:28] Hala Taha: you believe That, let's say, somebody else was born and looked exactly like me, had the same biology as me, had the same environment as me, but they're not me, that they would be the host of Young and Profiting podcast eventually and like the same things that I did they would, they would 

[00:21:44] Robert Sapolsky: have done.

Well, if they had the same genes, were raised by the same parents in the same way, in the same environment, all those other things. including prenatal environment, which is a major factor in what kind of adults we turn out to be. If it was exactly the same, everything else would be the same, assuming the rest of the world was the same as well, because it's the rest of the world that would have been shaping you.

But showing random stuff, Brownian motion, I guess, like all of us had to learn what Brownian motion was for about three and a half hours in chemistry, somewhere in like ninth grade or something. And Brownian motion makes molecules float around in random, indeterministic ways. And a consequence of that is you and your identical twin are both in the same exact womb and seemingly having the same exact environment for nine months, but you aren't.

Because somewhat random Brownian sort of stuff is going to determine that your sibling Two and a half percent more capillaries going to them than you have, or because of blood flow, you're getting four percent more of this stress hormone from moms circulating in your brain than your, your sister is, and you go through all of that, and you look at identical twins at the time of birth, and their gene regulation is already different.

Already, not only have you been sculpted by your prenatal environment, but which corner of the womb and things like that. So you can't really do the thought experiment of having everything being exactly the same. In principle, yeah, you'd still be here saying the same exact thing.  

 So let's break down the science and the mechanics of why we take action, why we behave a certain way if there's no free 

[00:23:53] Robert Sapolsky: will.

Okay. Okay, well, we look at, like, you do some behavior, and you pull a trigger, just to make it really loaded, and we all know context, that could be, like, the most appalling thing on earth, that could be totally wonderful, self sacrificial, but you do that behavior, like, all you've done is flexed your finger, and as a result, behavior has happened, and it's consequential.

So, like, you could say, well, okay, which parts of the brain just activated to do that, which parts went silent? Good, that's why you did that behavior. But then, you've got to also incorporate, well, what was going on around you in the seconds to minutes before? Are you tired? Are you stressed? Is somebody threatening you?

Are you overheated? Are you feeling perfectly comfortable? All that stuff makes a difference. A bizarre, totally amazing literature showing that if people sit in a room that smells of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, they become more generous in economic games that they then play. Whoa! That makes a difference in the minutes before, but then.

What were your hormone levels this morning? Because they're going to have been marinating your brain and making it more or less sensitive to this or that sort of stimulus. You take somebody of either sex and you raise their testosterone levels, and later in the day, they look at a face whose facial expression everyone would say looks neutral, doesn't look friendly, doesn't look angry.

Elevated testosterone will make you view neutral faces as threatening and angry. Because of your hormone levels this morning? And what was going on in previous months? Did you have trauma? Are you in the middle of PTSD? Have you had a major depression? Have you found God? Have you fallen in love? All those things change the structure of your brain.

And then before you know it, you're back to adolescence, and childhood, and fetal life, and your genes, which don't determine anything, but which completely determine what will happen in a particular environment. And then the most bizarre thing of all is you gotta start thinking about culture. Like, what sort of culture did your ancestors come up with 500 years ago?

Parentheses, what sort of ecosystems make certain cultures more likely? And you look at that and say, what does that have to do with, because within minutes of birth, your mother was mothering you differently depending on which culture she was raised in. And she was raised in the one that came before and came before and went all the way back.

Like here, here's one example that just in terms of like how you view the world, I love this one in terms of our shared nomadic pastoralist roots, that people, desert cultures. tend to come up with monotheistic religions. Rainforest cultures come up with polytheistic ones. And you further see that rainforest cultures tend to come from hunter gatherers with polytheism.

Monotheistic cultures come from the desert or the open grasslands and people who were pastoralists. with their cows and sheep and camels and goats and stuff. And that's where the Judeo Christian Islamic world came from. That's why that's dominating this planet rather than people from Kwakiutl cultures or Trobriand Islanders or something like that.

That has something to do with it. Yeah. And you can see centuries later, those patterns of who your ancestors were. For example, explains patterns of violence in the United States, depending on who settled what parts of the country back. Okay, so you even have to go back to culture. Jeez, everything from what you were smelling a second ago, to whether mom was stressed when you were a fetus, to what your ancestors were doing.

All of those collectively merge into one set of influences, and then you throw an environment on top of it. And that's how you became who you are. And that's why you did the thing you just did. I'm trying my 

[00:28:09] Hala Taha: best to like grapple my head around this because it's like, like I was saying in the beginning, it's something I've never heard before.

It seems really outlandish compared to other things that I've heard before. So help me understand. Like, let's look at like Jeff Bezos and Amazon. Was Jeff Bezos born to make Amazon what it is today? Was that always going to happen? Or was that just what happened? I guess I'm just confused about 

[00:28:33] Robert Sapolsky: it all.

Well, he certainly wasn't born to make it. By the time he did start Amazon, it's not by chance that he did and somebody else did not. By the time he had to go, how many years was it before Amazon started making money and somehow they kept still going? It is not by chance that he turned out to be that sort of person who could hold on and hold his breath for that long.

And not only do that, but convince other people to hold their breaths also. And it's one of those where Okay, you get three people, each of whom starts the same sort of business, and they're side by side, and it's not making money for years, and one of them, like, gives up and, like, steals the investor's money and buys a yacht.

The other one, like, collapses into despair and, like, goes back to working in a Kinko's. And the third one is Jeff Bezos and just keeps pushing at it. It is not by chance that each one of those wound up being the sort of person that they are that would respond to it that way. In the same way, like, you go to some inspirational, heartwarming movie and one person comes out saying, that's it, I'm going to go do a random act of kindness tomorrow.

And the next person comes out and say, Oh my God, that was such amazing cinematography. And the third person comes out and says, that was the most manipulative, boring plot I've ever seen. How do they wind up? You just exposed them to the same stimulus, but a world of influences from one second before to a million years before, blah, blah, blah, turn them into people who were going to be changed by seeing that movie.

Or changed by the news that they still had not made a profit that quarter, but they were going to be changed in different ways because of who they were sculpted into being outside their control. Can you talk 

[00:30:27] Hala Taha: to us about Laplace's demon and why it can help us think about what determinism is and isn't?

[00:30:36] Robert Sapolsky: Well, it, it's sort of that's 18th century version, but a sort of a logical precursor ancestor. So all of this. This was his notion that if you could arrange every particle in the universe as it was at the time that God created the world, this was pre Big Bang, but if you could set every single condition exactly the same as it was back when, you'd have the exact same world right now.

It was just spooling out a tape of pre recorded contingencies that were going to produce this outcome. And what we've learned since then is, There's randomness thrown in, there's quantum indeterminacy that has virtually nothing to do with free will but still mucks around with things, there's systems, chaotic systems, that are, by definition, unpredictable even though they're deterministic.

Okay, so we got a 21st century view, but he's basically still like the, the poster child for the notion of saying all we are now is the end product of what came before. And like anyone writing about free will, somewhere by the second paragraph, they have to mention him and his demon was this supposedly infinitely insightful being who if they knew where every single particle in the universe was right now could tell you like that you're going to sneeze three centuries and 23 minutes from now So that's sort of the grandfather of the notion that whatever came before came before of what came before that and before that and before that and all of that collectively is what made you into the person who's like standing here right now.


[00:32:26] Hala Taha: And so just to further clarify what you're saying, you give a really good example about a garbage collector and a college graduate and you kind of compare their lives to each other and how they could basically be swapped had you just swapped the conditions. Can you tell us about that? 

[00:32:42] Robert Sapolsky: Yeah, this was actually at my son's graduation, sitting there and it's totally heartwarming and it's like great and parents and everyone's tearful and it's totally wonderful and I'm a sucker for stuff like that and all this is going on and sort of at the corner, out of the corner of my eye, I saw this guy back there who was the grounds crew guy.

Who was bagging the garbage from all the nice like box lunches all the parents had just tossed or consumed and thinking, wow, so we're sitting here and there's the graduate and there's this guy collecting the garbage and, you know, damn well that if they switch genes and switch childhoods. And switched which one of them got ice skating lessons from their parents, and which one of them had to move every six months because, like, visa issues, or undocumented, which one of them grew up in a dangerous neighborhood, which one went to a fancy ass prep school, et cetera, switch all of those, and the guy with the garbage would be the one up on stage now getting the diploma, and that's what a deterministic world looks like, The fact that we know if all of those advantages and disadvantages were traded, they would be trading their positions in life at this point.

[00:34:06] Hala Taha: But at some point in our lives, we're making decisions, right? We are making decisions, at least in the moment. So can you talk to us about where deciding and where intent comes from? 

[00:34:18] Robert Sapolsky: Okay, so tell me about a time, a very explicit decision that you made, you chose this instead of that. Where you initially thought, eh, I'm probably going to do this and you wound up changing your mind and doing that instead.

[00:34:32] Hala Taha: Well, six years ago I was working in corporate and I quit my corporate job to start my business and take my podcasts full time. So my whole life I thought I was just going to be in corporate or for a long time, I thought I was just going to be in corporate. And then within a month's time, I just decided.

I wanted to start my business, and I quit my job. 

[00:34:54] Robert Sapolsky: Okay, so that's great, and we know for certain all sorts of people in the exact same position would now be, like, heading towards their 45th anniversary of working for the same company, that sort of thing. Why do you turn out to be the sort of person who would be bored by being in the same environment?

Why do you turn out to be the sort of person who had enough self confidence to walk away from that? Why do you have the certain degree of risk taking that you do? We know all about half a dozen different genes that have an influence on how risk taking someone is, how sensation seeking they are. And it influences who you marry and your voting patterns and your economic stability.

How do you wind up being that sort of person? How do you wind up being somebody who I assume was extroverted in the right ways to get people to back you? If your parents thought this was the most like disastrous decision on earth, where do you turn out to have the ability to Respect them, but only so much, or if they thought this was wonderful and they'd been prompting you to do that.

How do you turn out to be the sort of person who thought that your parents actually had sensible things to say to you, et cetera, et cetera. I was once lecturing a bunch of judges. I do some of these read judges, continuing ed things. and telling them how they're in this ridiculous occupation because it makes no sense and they have no free will and all of that.

this judge said, well that's nonsense. The other day Like the day ended in court where I figured, okay, I'm going to throw the book at this guy. And I thought about it that night and realized, you know, actually this and this, and I decided, no, I'm going to go easier on the guy the next morning. And he said, you're telling me I didn't decide that?

And I said, who told you to turn out to be the sort of person who respects Reflecting on your thoughts, who taught you to value thinking objectively, who taught you to be the sort of person who wouldn't be so threatened by the notion that you're changing your mind, what do you mean, I'm omnipotent, how do you turn out to be somebody who could deal with the fact that your first thoughts were wrong, and none of this comes from nowhere, and You know, I am sure, cadres of people who would have been too freaked out to make the leap that you did.

And that didn't come from nowhere, and the fact that they're changing, fact that they're still at the same job, didn't come from nowhere. And the fact that they're still there and are bored out of their minds, or that they're still there and this is totally great, neither of those responses came from nowhere, that's how we become who we are, that's why Jeff Bezos stuck it out for all those years and lots of other people would have, like, given up.

[00:37:50] Hala Taha: So I have two follow up questions to this. Do you feel like there's no such thing as being spontaneous? And then, how about the choice of not doing something. Do you think we have the freedom of won't? 

[00:38:03] Robert Sapolsky: Yeah. Being spontaneous, no, we're never spontaneous. What we think of as spontaneous is when you have absolutely no insights as to what was going on implicitly underneath the surface.

Every now and then we're capable of saying, oh, That's why I'm being all irritable. I haven't eaten yet, and I should. There we have some insight into the implicit stuff boiling beneath the surface, but what we call spontaneous is like, we're just not aware of what the pieces were, and we're not aware of most of the pieces.

In terms of, okay, okay, we don't have free will, but what about free won't? Do we at least have the ability to veto stuff? And the answer is no, because when you look at the nuts and bolts of how your brain goes about deciding to do something, and you conclude actually there's no free will going into that, all you need to do to figure out is the nuts and bolts of when you've decided to do something, and then your brain says, nah, don't do it.

All you've done is just added a little minus switch to your circuit instead of a plus there sort of thing, but it's the same exact stuff that it's built on. And if you find people who at every single juncture in their life, when they have an opportunity to finally get their act together, and they can't do the free won't, they can't say no, they do the wrong thing each time, That's the same exact biology playing out there as if they instead had said time to like reform myself and I'm never going to do X again and now I'm Mother Teresa or some such thing.

All it does is it just has a little like additional glitch in the system there and you get the opposite unspontaneous decision. 

[00:39:57] Hala Taha: That makes me sad kind of because it makes me feel like if somebody is born in a bad environment and has. Or genes or trauma in their genes that they're never going to have a good life or be able to change their life to have a better outcome.

[00:40:13] Robert Sapolsky: Well, absolutely. They can change. We know it's an uphill battle. We know, despite whatever myths we have in this country, if you're born into poverty, I don't know what the number is, but there's like an 85 percent chance you're still going to be in poverty as an adult. And if you're born into a family with three vacation homes and, you know, an IPO coming up next season sort of thing, you know, you are going to get a large inheritance somewhere to add.

You are going to have freedoms in your life that 99 percent of people on this planet don't have. You know, every now and then somebody does completely counter all the expectations, but we're running a planet, or at least a country, on the notion that it's okay to treat some people much better than average because of stuff they had no control over, and to treat other people much worse than average.

And not only do we think that's okay, but we invent all these myths to explain how the person actually had a role in bringing about those things. I mean, here's, here's like a great example in terms of like ongoing biology. You know, you look at all sorts of implicit bias studies and people are getting less biased against people from this background and this other background and all of that, so that there might actually be some good news occurring there.

But one area where there's not been a decrease in implicit bias and the fact there's been an increase is against people who are obese. That calls for very negative judgments, both visceral and reasoned, pseudo reasoned, that this is someone who has no self control, so how are they going to do self control in this job they're applying for, et cetera, et cetera.

It's one of the groups where stigma is increasing against them. And then along comes somebody who everyone in their family is morbidly obese, and they were by the time they were 11. And this is how they've been incorporating their view into their whole life. Yeah, I keep trying, I can't, I, what can I say?

I have no self discipline, blah, blah. And then somebody discovered this hormone called leptin. And leptin sends a signal to your brain telling you to feel less hungry than you were. And it turns out this person has a mutation in the receptor for leptin so that they don't get a satiation signal. It's a goddamn mutation that their family has all had.

And that's what No, they're not lacking self control. No, they don't hate themselves, rather, or any of that. This is what it is. And we run a world where, because of this one stupid feature about their endocrinology, they're less likely to get jobs than other people. They're more likely to be convicted by a jury.

They're more likely to spend their life alone and lonely. I'm like, how screwed is this? And it's this way in all those domains. And yeah, it's kind of like horrifying if somebody just because they were born with a silver spoon, they're going to have a life of privilege and comfort. But you know, it's a hundred fold more horrifying when you look at all people who spend their lives with less and their needs less considered and marginalized or mistreated or disenfranchised or whatever.

Just because of their just crappy luck, there's something very wrong here. 

[00:43:49] Hala Taha: As you're explaining this, it gets me thinking that a lot of your work can actually make the world a better place because we'll have more empathy for people who are overweight or people who have drug addictions and things like this, because we'll realize that in a lot of part, or in your opinion, and a hundred percent, it's not their fault.

They don't have free will. 

[00:44:12] Robert Sapolsky: If we see somebody who's like a master of the universe and has just had like their six successful startups in a row or whatever, and they kind of have decided they're pretty damn special, and they're entitled to better treatment, and they're more deserving of this, and their needs have, they've earned more consideration, they haven't for a second.

All of this has to change your worldview into not blaming for people for the ways in which things didn't turn out well for them. Absolutely the same. Nobody, including you and me, are entitled to anything that makes them better than anyone else because the cool, laudable, you know, impressive things we may or may not have pulled off had nothing to do with who we are because we just had good luck with it and Meritocracy goes down the tubes just as surely as blaming people born into poverty for still being poor 20 years later.

 Yeah. So let's talk about some of the ways that we create these decisions and some of the causes of these decisions. You give a lot of examples in the book. One of them is between odor and disgust. Can you talk to us about how odor and disgust can actually change our decision making in the moment? 

[00:45:43] Robert Sapolsky: Yep. I love this in terms of Whoa, that's got something to do with it in the 30 seconds before you make a decision.

This is not a big effect, but it's been replicated. It came from some very good psychologists at Yale and sort of a broader, the sort of version of that has been out there. And it's the flip side of what I mentioned before. Take somebody, sit them down, have them fill out a questionnaire about their political views.

social politics, economics, geopolitics, whatever. And then bring them back a month later and put them in the room saying, here's another question here we want you to fill out about your political views. And it happens you're sitting at a room that smells of totally rancid garbage. And you can actually go buy a vial of rancid garbage, like, odorant, and you, like, take the lid off it, just as you could buy freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, smell vials and open them up, but you're sitting in that room, and if somebody is sitting in a room that smells bad, they become more socially conservative.

Doesn't change their economic views, doesn't change their political, their geopolitical views, but what's happening, a part of the brain called the insula cortex, which for the last 150 million years in every vertebrate on earth, tells you if you've just taken some rancid food into your mouth and it tastes disgusting and all sorts of like toxin receptors in your tongue, Wake up this part of the brain and it causes you to gag and throw up and spit it out all of that somewhere in the last 40, 000 years, we've evolved the ability not only do those neurons do disgusting tastes and smells.

They do moral disgust also. How did this happen like 40, 000 years ago? That's like a blink of an that's not enough time to get a new part of the brain. They had like some big committee meeting and they said, well, insular cortex, it does disgusting tastes. Okay. It'll do disgusting actions from now on. Like, give me some duct tape.

Let's like, push that in there and expand his portfolio. And you've got neurons in there, which literally cannot distinguish between a disgusting taste and disgusting moral act, which is why when we hear about them, we feel queasy. It leaves a bad taste in our mouth. We almost want to throw it. It makes us nauseous, that sort of thing.

And once you've got that, you've got people who are then running their moral decision making on stuff that just kind of feels disgusting, is wrong, wrong, wrong. And that's letting you then have a 150 million year old part of your brain. make your decisions as to whether those people are okay just because they, despite looking different from you or sounding or praying or eating or loving or whatever it is, because you're running your brain on like one of the most savagely like ancient parts of it and It's powerful.

And you take that person at that point and say, whoa, that's really interesting. Because, you know, four weeks ago you said that should actually be legal if people want to do that. And just now you said it shouldn't be legal. Why, why do you change? They're not going to say because the room smells disgusting and my insular cortex can't tell the difference between metaphor and reality.

They're going to say, Oh, I thought about it. And I saw this thing in the news. And then I reflected. And they're just making it up because they were running on just an intuitive sense, disgusting sensations make you think of disgusting actions and ideologies and theologies and things like that. And like, Whoa, where'd that come from?

That's fascinating in and of itself. And what's even more fascinating is when you just ask the person who. made that different judgment and they're going to fabulate something from like freshman year philosophy or something to explain and nah, it was other stuff going on underneath the surface. And it's mostly other stuff going on underneath the surface.

So are you saying 

[00:49:59] Hala Taha: that we can't have rational, logical thinking? And we are really just pretending to have logical thinking, masking our reptilian brain or 

[00:50:11] Robert Sapolsky: something? Well, that's very apt that you brought in that part of the brain because that's exactly sort of where that comes into. We, we and dinosaurs, we're doing some very similarly impulsive things with some very similar parts of the brain.

But do we ever actually think and reason and come to a rational, yeah, we do, but under some circumstances more readily than others. If you're tired, you're going to run on instincts and intuition. If you're in pain, if you're scared, if you're stressed, if your heart is pounding because of desire and arousal and all of that, you're going to make completely different sorts of stupid decisions.

Or, if you're sitting there and you're deciding how are you going to assess this person, if they count in your brain as a them instead of as an us, you don't have a chance to get your more emotive, reflexive parts of the brain to step down and let's think about this carefully. Wonderful example of this research by this guy at Harvard named Josh Green.

Who has shown, if you're having to make a decision about acting morally or not, am I going to act in a generous, sharing way right now, if it's concerning a bunch of your friends, people who are us's? If you have to make a very fast decision about that, you're going to be generous. And as you have more time to think about it, that's when you come up with, well, you know, it's really their fault that they did that and somebody else is going to take care of it.

It's really not my problem. And you want to do something selfish when you're considering a them. Someone who looks totally different from you, all of that has all those alarms going off unconsciously. If you've got to make that decision instantly, you're going to act aggressively and selfishly and preemptively sort of looking out for your side.

It's only when you have more time to think that you may come to, you know, maybe they're not so different, and maybe, you know, they wound up this way because, you know, their circumstances were real different from mine. When you're around usses, your reflexes are towards pro social nice behavior. When you're around thems, your reflexes are towards just the opposite.

And it's in both cases that when you can sit and think about it, that's where you come up with a completely different answer. So in a world in which somebody has to decide in the next three seconds, should this person get a green card? Should this person get this job? Should this person be arrested? You know, in those cases, that's exactly where you should be on guard, that you're going to be making your most stupid emotion driven decisions, stop and think about it, and think about it again, and again, and again.

And all of this gets encapsulated in this quote that I think is like incredibly informative. Which is, you cannot reason somebody out of an opinion that they weren't reasoned into in the first place. If they got to that out of emotion and fear and hatred and stress and love or whatever, and they just made up a rationalization afterward, no amount of reason is going to change that.

And we've seen that, you know, our national political landscape over the last eight years. showing counter to what every sort of rational social psychologist would have taught you. There's a whole realm of having extremist views, where the more convincing the evidence is that you give them that their views are wrong, the The more they're going to believe in it, because, oh my God, they must really be having to come up with a big lie if they're pulling out the big guns like that, or like, we know the whole world I'm talking about here.

Yeah, reason is not going to reason someone out of something they were not reasoned into in the first place. And circumstances where we can actually, like, come to, that's not what I normally would have thought. But I thought about it and I thought about it again, and I put myself in that person's perspective because theirs is a whole lot different from mine.

And I showed that I'm capable of understanding somebody else can feel pain about something I have no understanding of. And when you work your way towards that, that's where we come up with interesting, different outcomes. And that's where it's not by chance that some people do that and some people don't.

One more 

[00:54:49] Hala Taha: example that I think really helps illustrate this, you talk about judges who are hungry who end up giving different sentences based on their level of hunger. Tell us about that. 

[00:55:00] Robert Sapolsky: Yeah, this is another one of those, I love this study, and it was done by some really good scientists in a very prestigious journal, and it's been attacked by all sorts of people since then.

But this was looking at more than a thousand judicial decisions. In this parole board system over the course of the year, looking at when do the judges parole the person, when did they send it back to jail, and looking at every variable they could think of, and the strongest predictor was how many hours had it been since the judge had eaten a meal.

Appear before the judge right after they had lunch, you had a 60 percent chance of being paroled, by four hours later, a 1 2 percent chance. Oh my God, what is this about? What it's about is doing the harder thing, looking at the world from somebody else's perspective instead of jumping to immediate gut decision, thinking about it again.

All that takes work in a very literal way. That's more energetically demanding for your brain. And if you have low blood glucose levels, cause you haven't eaten in four hours. You get the easier answer every single time. And what's amazing about that is you ask the judge why they, like, made this decision and they're going to tell you about, I don't know, Spinoza or Aristotle or something, and they're not going to tell you because my blood glucose level was below this.

Now that study has been attacked by all sorts of cranks complaining about how the statistics were done. The authors have come back and completely put that confound to rest some other things that people have complained about, which when you look at it closely, makes the case even stronger for that. And it's been replicated in other realms.

Don't go apply for a home loan. If the loan officer has gone a lot of hours since eating a meal, you're less likely to get a loan. If you're an out group member and somebody's looking at your job application, the more hours it's been since they've eaten, the faster they're going to toss your application in the garbage.

Whoa. All of us. But then, then on top of that, where I was talking before about culture even matters. There's one circumstance where as judges become more hungry, they become more merciful. What's that about? That's in Islamic courts during Ramadan, because you're hungry and you're reflecting on the nature of justice and goodness and all of that.

If you're in a sharia court and you're a judge, hunger makes you more merciful if it's in a religious context. If you're hungry because you didn't have time to get lunch, you're more likely to throw the book at the guy, just like a judge sitting here in the Bronx or something. Whoa! So there's a cultural aspect to it as well.

Totally cool that it works that way. 

[00:57:55] Hala Taha: so with all this information, knowing that your environment and your circumstances really shape your decision making in the moment. If you're hungry, if you're stressed, if you have problems. Hormones, if you're PMSing, if you're a girl, like, there's probably all these different things that we need to worry about.

So how do we take this information and then apply it to the real world, knowing all these things? How do you suggest that we improve our lives in the real world? 

[00:58:20] Robert Sapolsky: Well, I recognize once again, out of the lunatic fringe, that if this is really taken to its logical extreme, criminal justice has to be totally, completely trashed and replaced with the quarantine model.

You protect people from dangerous people, you constrain them, but you don't do it one smidgen more than the minimum needed, and you don't lecture them afterward about how they have a bad soul, and you put a lot of effort into understanding how they turned out that way. And also from the lunatic fringe, meritocracy makes no sense whatsoever.

That doesn't mean you pick a random person to take out your brain tumor tomorrow morning. You want the person to be skilled. You want to protect people from incompetent people in difficult jobs, but sure don't make sure you teach that person that they feel more deserving than you, that they're a better person, because they've got a good memory and they've got good spatial, you know, physical, digital control, or whatever, taking out your tumor.

That stuff needs to go down the tube. None of us can feel entitled to anything whatsoever, and thus, there's nobody on Earth who is less entitled to things than you are, and finally, like, hating somebody? makes as little sense as hating a virus or hating an earthquake or something. And all that said, that's unbelievably difficult to do and I've been thinking this way since I'm 14 and I can pull this off about once every three weeks for a minute because most of the time I'm falling back into the time and place I was trained in.

And if it's really, really hard to do this, which it sure is, what you're left with is save the energy to do that for when it really matters, for when you're just about to judge somebody, for when you're just about to jump to the front of a literal or metaphorical line. Because you feel as if somehow you've earned better consideration than anybody.

Save it for when it really matters. If you want to believe it was free will, whether you flossed the top of your teeth before the bottom this morning or the other way around, you know, go for it. Don't work hard at that point to figure out how you turned out to be an upper tooth flosser instead of a lower one.

Save it for when it matters. And, like, all we've learned is for centuries, every time we figure out a new domain where, aha, there actually wasn't responsibility, that person had no control over what happened, the world becomes better. It's a really good thing that society figured out that disastrous thunderstorms are not caused by old women with old teeth.

Witches can't cause thunderstorms, and the appropriate societal response isn't to burn them at the stake, and kids who aren't learning to read very well. They aren't lazy and unmotivated. They've got something screwy with like layer six of this part of their cortex. So they reverse looped letters and they have dyslexia it's not their fault.

And not only does it become a better world because you figure out how to teach kids with dyslexia to read and it becomes, you know, more interventively effective, but it's a much more humane world because you're not burning old women at the stakes and you're not telling kids who can't keep letters from flipping that they're lazy and unmotivated and that's who they should grow up thinking of themselves as.

And at every one of these steps, if you save the effort to do this hard work where it really matters, the roof isn't going to cave in. All that's going to happen is it's going to become like a nicer world to be in. 

[01:02:09] Hala Taha: So I mentioned this earlier, I'm a hundred percent Palestinian and I said I would bring up the Palestine Israeli conflict and I feel like this is an appropriate time.

So Right now Israel in my opinion is committing an ethnic cleansing and genocide against the people in Gaza And I can't help but always whenever I do these interviews, it's November 7th the day that we're recording today so this has been going on for about a month and I think everybody in the world by now knows about the Hamas attacks on October 7th, and the fact that now Israel has been retaliating, carpet bombing Gaza for about 30 days straight now.

So let's talk about this because it's, it seems pretty relevant to what you're talking about in terms of like the Hamas attack. They even have control over what they were going to do. There's so many circumstances that obviously led up to that. And then now with what Israel is doing now in terms of the bombing, and then even before that with the apartheid and the entitlement of, you know, having a state only for 

[01:03:11] Robert Sapolsky: Well, I am going to, I would guess, get literal death threats rather than just metaphorical ones in saying what I think here.

I was raised as an Orthodox Jew, a very observant one, until I became an atheist that night at age 14. And I am a vehement, strident anti Zionist. I think the founding of Israel was one of the last great crimes of European colonialism. Like, Europe finally figured out after shitting on the Jews for 2, 000 years, Hitler finally pushed it over the top and made that seem a little bit embarrassing.

So for the first time, European Christianity decided it's time to, like, be nice to the Jews and try to make up for the death camps. And what does Britain do in its last gasp of empire? It decides to make up for those 2, 000 years of European brutality. By giving away the Palestinians homeland. What a cool idea.

How just is that? I know. Ridiculous. And what that did, amid that creating the Palestinian catastrophe of that, what that did is make both sides victims of this. Because the Palestinians have been robbed of their homelands and their rights and their safety and their security and their dignity and all of that for 75 years now, whatever it is, all of these bedraggled survivors of the concentration camps.

We're dumped into the middle of a place where everyone surrounding them hated their guts because it was much easier to hate them than to hate the British colonials who engineered it behind the scenes. And all we've done is spent 75 years guaranteeing that these people were going to spend this time tearing in each other's throats like savages.

And they're both victims and they both got screwed in this deal and Israel, it's there now. I would not have voted for its founding, but it's, if you do that, take it apart. Now there's a lot of other places you're going to have to take apart is there now, but they're sure as hell has to be a viable, supported Palestinian state.

And there sure as hell has to be equal rights for Arab Israelis in Israel, and there sure as hell has to be all those things, and those settlers sure as hell should be labeled as terrorists and pulled out of there, and you know, all that stuff. So you know, those are the obvious solutions, but all of it is within this mindset that I think is totally an outcome of how I think, which is they're both victims of circumstance.

And somehow, 2, 000 years of bedraggled Jews have become ethno nationalists. And somehow, the Palestinians, who've been, like, beaten on for 75 years, have become angry enough to do things like what Hamas did, and everybody is a victim in this. So that's my two cents. 

[01:06:13] Hala Taha: Yeah, it was a good one. Thank you for sharing.

I had no idea where you were going to go with it, but I do think it's relevant to everything that you're saying. And this is the main thing that I wanted to get out of what you just said. None of this actually happened on October 7th. This is years, thousands of years in the making.

It's not October. It didn't all, everybody's looking at it at a, in a bubble. And really, there's so much context behind it, environmental wise and even biology wise, like all the trauma from everyone's ancestors even is at play here. I know that we are running out of time here, so I end all my interviews with two last questions.

Uh, thank you so much for your time. Everything was really, really insightful. The first question is, what is one actionable thing that our young and profiters can do today to become more profitable tomorrow? 

 since I I am so ignorant about the world you're coming from, I can't even begin. I don't know, anything that I can say is to be able to sound fatuous and stupid, like, you're really not such a big deal. You're really not. The Christ child coming again, just because you pulled off a successful startup, you really didn't do it on your own.

[01:07:29] Robert Sapolsky: You didn't do any of this on your own. So keep that in mind. 

[01:07:34] Hala Taha: That's one of my biggest takeaways from this is that now I feel like I'm going to look at other people who might not be as successful as me with a lot more empathy, honestly. And less judgment. So that was my big takeaway from this conversation.

And what would you say your secret to profiting in life is? And this can go beyond financial, so profiting in your relationships, in everything. 

[01:07:57] Robert Sapolsky: Oh, once again, like useless, useless, like window dressing. Oh, I don't know. Just remember you didn't get here by chance. And if the outcome of that is you shouldn't beat on yourself as much or hate yourself as much, that's a good thing.

And if the outcome of that is remembering you've got no damn grounds to congratulate yourself, you know, Those have to be good outcomes. That's, that's got to make things a little bit better. Awesome. Well, Robert, 

[01:08:30] Hala Taha: thank you so much for joining us on young and profiting podcast. I love the conversation.

[01:08:35] Robert Sapolsky: Great. Likewise. Thanks for having me on.

[01:08:37] Hala Taha: Yeah fam, this was one of those interviews that truly blows your mind and I know I personally will be thinking about this for weeks. Robert Sapolsky's view that we lack free will entirely is a radical one and he admits that, but he certainly made his case in a compelling way. We all like to think that we're agents of choice and the architects of our own fates and that we're all leading our lives by making conscious, moment to moment decisions.

But so many recent findings in neuroscience and psychology suggest that this is far from the truth. Like Professor Sapolsky put it, there are a billion threads leading to each moment and believing that it is just your conscious intent in any given moment that determines your actions is a lot like trying to review a movie based on only seeing the last three minutes of it.

Viewed like this, something like grit, which many of us entrepreneurs take great pride in, loses a bit of its luster. Your tenacity, like everything else, stems from some combination of your genes, hormones, environment, ancestral heritage, and more. The implications of having no free will are even bigger than that.

The moral principles that underlie our criminal justice system, our meritocracy, our ideas of blame and praise start to crumble without the presence of free will. But that can be a good thing too, says Sapolsky. It can actually lead us to having more empathy for others who are struggling with things like their weight, drug addiction, or something else that may not be their fault at all.

So whatever your own view on free will, there's so much to take away from thinking about these issues. And next time you're thinking about beating yourself up, or somebody else for that matter, for a mistake, shortcoming, or bad outcome, perhaps try zooming back and taking in the really big picture. Thanks for listening, and if some combination of your genes, environment, and chance brought you to this fascinating discussion with Robert Sapolsky on Young and Profiting Podcast, Then why don't you exercise whatever counts as your own free will to share this episode with your friends and family.

And maybe it was predetermined that you would also drop us a five star review on Apple Podcasts. Perhaps your whole life has been building up to this moment. We here at Young and Profiting would certainly appreciate if you did. You can find me on Instagram at Yap with Hala or on LinkedIn by searching my name, it's Hala Taha.

But keep in mind, I am the LinkedIn queen and my DMs get nuts. So if you want to reach out to me and you want to make sure I see it, try me on Instagram. Before we wrap up, I do have to shout out my amazing production team at Yap Media. Thank you for all that you do. This is your host, Hala Taha, aka the podcast princess, signing off. 

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