….in flow, we are so focused on the task at hand that everything else falls away. Action and awareness merge. Time flies. Self vanishes. Performace goes through the roof. It’s height speed problem solving; it’s being swept away by the river of ultimate performance. Flow naturally catapults you to a level you’re not naturally in. Flow naturally transforms a weakling into a muscleman, a sketcher into an artist, a dancer into a ballerina, a plodder into a sprinter, an ordinary person into someone extraordinary. Flow is the doorway to the “more” most of us seek.
Researchers now believe flow is in the heart of almost every athletic championship, underpins major scientific breakthroughs and accounts for significant progress in arts.
Phycologists have found that the people who have the most flow in their lives are the happiest people on earth.
Flow is one of the most desirable states on earth; it’s also the most elusive. No one has found a reliable way to reproduce the experience, let alone with enough consistency to radically accelerate performance.
If we can master flow, there are no limits to what we can accomplish. We are our own revolution.
“Don’t ask what the word needs. Ask what makes you come alive. Because what the world needs most is more people who have come alive”, (H. Thurman)
“Most people live in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger.”, William James
…High achievers where in intrinsically motivated. They we deeply committed to testing limits and stretching potential, frequently using intensity focused activity for exactly this purpose. P. 19
As a matter of fact, so many people find this so great and high an experience that it justifies not only it’s self, but even living itself. Peak experiences can make life worthwhile by their occasional occurrence. They give meaning to life itself. They prove it to be worthwhile. To say this in a negative way, I would guess that peak experiences help to prevent suicide.
While sleeping, we have good dreams and bad dreams. While taking psychedelics, we have good trips and bad trips. Flow, on the other hand, is always a positive experience. No one ever had a bat time in a flow state.
… when you let go of the rope and drop in, you go into warrior mode – you flex your muscles, you grit your teeth, you’re ready for anything. I’m so focused I can’t hear the wave when I’m riding it.
People reported feeling extraordinarily creative the day after a flow state, suggesting that time spent in the zone trains the brain to consistently think outside the box.
I saw there was a pattern to it: Being exhausted made it easier to quiet the mind and get to the zone.
The voice of intuition – the center of the zone’s mystery. Everybody who has ever been in a flow state has heard it – a voice very different from the mind’s normal chatter.
Right before I have to make a move, the voice tells me what to do. And it’s never wrong. When the voice tells you to do something, you do it: right then, don’t think, no questions asked. Not listening to the voice is what will get you killed. I learned that really early in my climbing career.
I was following the Voice. I was doing everything I could to cultivate that heightened awareness. I was down there alone, sleeping under the rocks, not talking to anyone, meditating – all to help strengthen my intuition. The Voice said climb, so that’s what I did. I started climbing like a maniac. I couldn’t have slowed down if I tried.
Normally, people can access about 65% of their absolute strength. Trained weightlifters can get this up to about 80%. But that’s usually the end of the line. If we could access all our strength on command, we could very easily overextend ourselves, pushing beyond our limits and doing serious damage along the way. In the zone, the brain releases a number of powerful painkillers that deaden us to the damage being done and allow us to push our maximal strength closer to each absolute boundary.
Human beings are hardwired for exploration, hardwired to push the envelope.
At its best, writing the code happens in the state of flow. What matters is not the amount of time you are present, but the amount of time that you are working at your full potential. An hour of flow really accomplishes something, but ten six minutes intervals, sandwiched between eleven interruptions will rarely accomplish anything.