#133 Experiment Without Limits: Achieving Peak Performance Through Experimentation | Chris Sparks, Author & Founder of Forcing Function

In Episode #133, we explore achieving peak performance through experimentation. We’re joined by Chris Sparks, author of Experiment Without Limits and Founder of Forcing Function. We cover productivity vs. peak performance, eliminating dissonance between goals and reality, and writing your personal vision statement.
Last updated
September 14, 2022
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Experiment Without Limits is a workbook of prompts and experiments to use in maximizing your own peak performance.
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About Experiment Without Limits

Website | Twitter | Experiment Without Limits: Personal Experiments for Peak Performance and Productivity

“Rather than thinking about these tactics and how they can work harder, are you working on the right things? This comes back to some of the questions we've been asking today, what do you value? What are you optimizing for in your life? What is your vision? What are you trying to create?” – Chris Sparks

Almost exactly two years ago Chris Sparks joined me as our very first guest on Outlier Academy. In this episode he’s back to explore his peak performance and productivity coaching work at Forcing Function. This time, to decode how he works with elite founders, investors, and even artists, to optimize their performance, clarify their goals, and make more progress each day.

Chris works with elite founders, investors, and operators in his twice-yearly program, Team Performance Training, which accepts fifteen students at a time and takes them through his ten-week program.

For more, explore the transcript of this episode. 

If you're ready to become an elite performer, consider applying for Chris Sparks's group coaching program, Team Performance Training. In Team Performance Training, Chris will teach you how to optimize your productivity, increase your personal leverage, and show up as your best self every day. There are fifteen spots available in Cohort 4 with applications open until the 27th of September.

Learn more at teamperformancetraining.com.


This episode is our definitive guide to achieving peak performance through experimentation. In it we cover:

  • (00:00:00) – Introduction
  • (00:02:36) – From poker pro to peak performance
  • (00:06:25) – Productivity vs. peak performance
  • (00:09:51) – Team Performance Training
  • (00:19:33) – Understanding your own values
  • (00:25:16) – Dissonance between goals and reality
  • (00:37:51) – Writing your personal vision statement
  • (00:51:31) – The plan, experiment, reflect flywheel
  • (01:07:08) – Systems minimize downtime
  • (01:21:25) – Maximizing attention and energy

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Castbox, Pocket Casts, Player FM, Podcast Addict, iHeartRadio, or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.

Our Favorite Quotes

Here are a few ideas we'll be thinking about weeks and months from now:

  • “Simply put, simple systems minimize downtime. So what we're trying to optimize for is the system to be functioning correctly as often as possible.”
  • “The improvement loop is at any moment in time and any dimension of my life or career, I'm always doing one of three things: planning, experimenting, or reflecting.”
  • “A starting point that I have with every client is trying to bring to the surface, "Right now, what's most important to you? What are you optimizing for?" And this becomes this automatic reflexive, habitual question, "What should I do next?" Well, what optimizes for that the most?”
  • “If I can work backwards from, "This is the thing I want to create in the world, this is what I want to achieve." What did I need to do in order to get there, and how can I break that down into manageable, digestible steps so that I can make progress towards this on a regular basis?”
  • “I think of productivity as a gateway to self-awareness and to thinking about, what do I really want out of life? What are the things that really work well for me? How do I do more of that? And just the recognition that productivity is what we would refer to as instrumental value versus a terminal value. So it's instrumental in that it's a means to an end.”
  • “A good rule of thumb is, how can you make your learning active rather than passive? If you listen to a podcast episode or an interview or you read a book and you don't change anything about your life after reading or watching it, what are you doing?”
  • “If someone says something is the most important thing to them, that gives me a lot of leeway to say, 'All right. If this is the most important thing, then what does that mean you should be doing? If not, is it really the most important thing to you?'"

5 Ways to Dive Deeper

Want to dive deeper? Here the best content we've curated on this subject:

Books Mentioned

The following books came up in this conversation with Chris Sparks:

Selected Links

We covered a lot of ground in this interview. Here are links to the stories, articles, and ideas discussed:

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