What is flow?!?

Flow states are when we feel our best and perform our best.  Otherwise known as “being in the zone,” flow is characterized by rapt attention and total absorption.  We are plunged into the deep now, where action and awareness merge,  time dilates, and performance (both physical and mental) goes through the roof.  And it all feels damn good.  

 

Not only does flow feel good, it’s also good for our brains!  In a 10-year study conducted by McKinsey, top executives reported being five times more productive in flow. … This means that a few hours in flow per day can markedly influence how much you get done!  Harvard found subjects to have three days of heightened creativity after the flow state.  Advanced Brain Monitoring & Darpa found subjects to have a 490% increase in skill acquisition.  The University of Sydney found subjects to have a 430% increase in creative problem solving!

 

You could think of flow as being the door to the “more” most of us seek – the version of us we like the most and that feels most alive and authentic.  And, there is a direct correlation between people who have a lot of flow in their lives and those who report highest levels of happiness and fulfillment.  

 

The cool part is that flow has triggers and it’s possible to utilize these triggers to amplify the amount of flow in our lives, and the amount of flow we get from an activity.  

 

I’m going to be sharing some stories from my life to describe flow as it shows up IRL (in real life).  As I share my stories to demonstrate the flow triggers, it’s important to keep one important thing in mind: biology scales, personality doesn’t.  Please don’t think I’m recommending that everyone go out and do what I do – it’s hardly necessary to find the biggest most remote mountains to climb and ski or fly airplanes around Alaska to get into flow!  Although both are packed with flow triggers, they’re activities that appeal to my intrinsic motivators, and yours will be authentic to you 🙂    

 

Flow triggers work by pumping neurochemicals like dopamine and norepinephrine into the system (chemicals that drive focus, excitement, and engagement) and/or reducing cognitive load (the number of things we are trying to pay attention to in any given moment). 

 

While the triggers are common to all, the most potent trigger and combinations of triggers vary by individual.  Thus, understanding what your individual flow triggers are is an essential piece of learning how to perform at your best.

 

‍How do we use Flow Triggers in a sustainable and reliable way?  By SAVING our triggers for when we need them most.  By having a toolbelt of different options that we can use when we need them. Knowing what tool to use in what moment and in the precise quantity that you need it.  The precision of a Samurai warrior. This is the true Kung-Fu of Flow, my friends. 

Stay tuned for upcoming notes about what the flow triggers are, and how they’ve showed up in my summer 2021 🙂

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