By Lara Foster
I’ve spent a lot of time in my life OUT of Flow.
Nothing ever felt quite right.
When it did, I was either in nature, physically active, studying/writing, -OR- checked out.
I generally opted for checking out because I had no idea of another way to live.
Being checked IN was painful.
Being checked OUT was not painful, it was numbing.
I WAS WRONG.
I missed the mark.
What I missed was all those other experiences.
Nature, physical activities, studying/writing… none of these things were being checked out.
They were FLOW.
I’ve been looking for an explanation for a lot of the things that I’ve experienced in my life over these last several years.
Moving through the floodgates of grief – after the death of my father – opened the treasures of writing, exploration, discovery, creativity, and stillness for me. OR, maybe they’ve always been there and the wall was just broken down that finally allowed me to reach them.
Once it did, my mind didn’t know what to DO with it, or what to Think of it, and so, admittedly I went through some pretty crazy loops of WHAT it all could be. (Thanks G for helping to anchor through that.)
The realization that this space is THERE, HERE, and it is available to ALL of us is joyful to say the least.
What can we call it?
#FLOW #TheZONE #Zen #Stillness
I feel it when I write. I feel it at times during hiking. I’m in it when I walk outside. There can be glimpses in fitness/athletic pursuits. And it’s always present in music.
Ever heard the quote, ‘Dance like no one is watching’?
IF you can do it.
The truth is, FLOW operates in each one of our lives. We just may not be aware that it’s there, or how to continue engaging in it. I sure didn’t!
Check Out The Flow Genome Project www.flowgenomeproject.co
Here’s a test that will help determine your best access points for flow. http://www.flowgenomeproject.co/flowprofile/
My results: Deep Thinker… Surprising? Probably not.
The Flow Genome Project is an advanced group of individuals navigating the avenues of flow states across the board. That means for All of us, not just action adventure adrenaline junkie athletes. They are the official source for flow science and training.
Their mission statement: The Flow Genome Project is the trans-disciplinary international organization committed to mapping the genome of Flow by 2020 and open sourcing it to everyone.
The Flow Genome Project was started by Steven Kolter & Jamie Wheal. Kotler is the author of the New York Times Best Selling book “The Rise of Superman.” Wheal is Executive Director of the project among many other pursuits.
During a recent podcast on Bullet Proof Radio with Dave Asprey, Episode #216, both Kotler and Wheal break down the project in simple terms.
“The technical definition of Flow is an optimal state of consciousness. [It’s] getting consciousness where we feel our best and where we perform our best,” Kotler says. “So Flow refers to total absorption. We get so sucked in by the task at hand that action and awareness start to merge, and everything else just disappears.”
The core elements of flow are,
It massively amplifies motivation. The state is really addictive. Whatever produces the state, we want more of it.
They are quoted as saying that Flow has a 500-700% boost in creativity. And that heightened creativity outlasts the flow state itself.
Flow accelerates learning.
The Flow State
In their research, those tested as having the most flow in their lives, score off the charts with happiness and fulfillment in their lives too.
This isn’t just airy fairy stuff. There’s neurobiological research to back up everything they’re discovering. And their findings are,
“State of Mind or State of Being where there’s neurochemicals involved, but commonality is that it, makes you kick more Ass whether you’re skiing, or whether you’re giving a speech, or writing a poem,” says Dave Asprey the host of the podcast.
Wheal goes on to describe the
“Four different personality types.
- Hard Charger, which would be the sort of quintessential red bull athlete adrenal junkie.
- Flow Go, yoga and meditation type person.
- Crowd Pleaser, extrovert who gets their juice from immersing themselves in a Ted conference, concert, fraternity, sorority, or a football game.
- Deep Thinker, (48% of 6,000 people who’ve taken the Flow Genome test) get into flow not through any of the flashy stuff, but through quiet contemplation. This could be someone who is an artist, someone who is a computer coder or programmer, someone who is a musician, someone who enjoys gardening, hiking, walking. Quiet and Creative Introspective Pursuit.”
One of the things I never knew is that if I wasn’t a hard core extreme adventure enthusiast that I could get into a state of flow that was on the same level as such. The Flow Genome Project’s research and findings show that Flow is everywhere, For everyone.
The point here is this. Your own personal discovery and utilization of Flow can Change your life. It can change the way you feel about your life.
That’s not all said, without some caution. Flow is extremely addictive. So, if you haven’t dealt with emotional aspects of your life, or anything that you may be suppressing or repressing, then Flow can also kick you in the Ass and leave you in the gutter to dry.
As Kotler relays in another Bulletproof Exec podcast (#109), “There’s a flipside. The five neurochemicals. These are the most addictive neurochemicals the brain can produce. Flow is the only time the brain cocktails them all at once. These are very very addictive. If you start going down this path and you start producing more flow in your life and you don’t know what you’re doing and something goes away, you can find yourself in the deepest darkest most suicidally dangerous depression possibly. You really need to know what you’re doing on flow.”
As with any opinions, ideas, research, take it with a grain of salt. Consult your own personal physician when facing physical, emotional, and mental difficulties or experiences in your life. That is your responsibility.
With that said, In watching how people operate in their lives, I notice that comfort is a main draw. And when people become comfortable, they become stagnant. Sometimes people need a kick in the ass. I see this happening in the form of opportunities, accidents, illnesses, discoveries, breakthroughs, shakeups, make-ups, break-ups, etc.
Basically everything that IS Life.
These types of things get us to shift, change, move, and expand our perspectives. Why? Because we have to.
But, I don’t always believe a kick in the ass is necessary. You can pro-actively engage in things that do all of that already. You can Open Up to shifting, changing, moving, and expanding…
Some easy examples of doing so?
- Try new things
- Take a new class
- Learn something new
- Accomplish a new skill
- Start a new fitness program
- Read a book completely out of your personal range of favorite subjects
- Talk to someone from a different background than you
- Have a conversation with someone who has different beliefs than you
- Go on adventures
- Challenge yourself
This is where the One Step Life is VERY applicable. What kind of things move through your range of capabilities and just expand it one step?
A personal example. I like to write. Sometimes poetry comes out. I have no idea where it comes from. I don’t really share it too much. So, something like signing up for an open mic night to share the poetry is ‘just beyond’ the edge of my current capabilities. It’s something I Can do, but sends a surge of nervousness through my body, my breath, my thoughts. Even just saying it here makes me feel a little anxious.
There in lays the challenge of engaging flow. Vulnerability. Risk. Altruism. Empathy. Creativity. Moving through who you become by proactively engaging in these opportunities. You see the world through a different lens, and your world expands.
Flow Genome Project Website [ www.flowgenomeproject.co ]
Asprey, Dave. (Host). (2015, July 22). Bulletproof Radio (podcast). Episode #216. Title: Jamie Wheal & Steven Kotler: High Consequences, Being Creative & Hacking the Flow. Retrieved from https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/bulletproof-radio/id451295014?mt=2&i=341499159
Asprey, Dave. (Host). (2015, July 22). Bulletproof Radio (podcast). Episode #109. Transcript. Retrieved from http://www.bulletproofexec.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Transcript-109-The-Rise-of-Superman-with-Steven-Kotler.pdf
Jason Silva –“Getting In The Zone” http://youtu.be/MQ2rJC6pbGI
Jason Silva – Shots of Awe link on You Tube https://www.youtube.com/user/ShotsOfAwe