But what if there was a way to tap into our own power? A way to crush every thing we set out to do? What if there was a way that we can not only get the most out of ourselves but feel like superman along the way? Well if that’s your goal then let me introduce you to FLOW. Flow is the answer to that question.
Definition of FLOW:
- Flow is where competency meets a challenge
- Flow is when tasks seem effortless, challenging, and rewarding, all at the same. These are well-developed skills, so that we're confident that we can meet the challenge.
- Flow is defined as an optimal state of consciousness, where we feel our best and perform our best.
This is literally the most productive state of mind in which we can work in. When professional athletes perform their best and accomplish amazing feats they are always in a state of FLOW. Think of athletes that perform in extreme sports such as football, the xGames, Surfing, free skiing and so on; they are performing in a state of flow in which they lose track of time and are totally immersed into whatever they're doing; everything disappears, time, space and activity just flies by. Whenever you are in this state you are performing at your optimal ability and increase your output by 10 times!
But besides just athletes, anyone else can experience flow. Flow in their work and flow in productivity. Flow can increase productivity by 10X or more and not only can athletes experience flow but entrepreneurs, performers, musicians, actors, programmers and so many others can take full advantage of flow. The people that experience flow the most are the ones who we tend to admire the most. Think of Mark Zuckerberg when he was totally immersed at the beginning of starting Facebook. He was definitely in a state of flow when he was writing code for Facebook which is why he now able to enjoy the fruits of his labor. Or how about Tom Brady when he’s won the Super Bowl on several occasions? He was also operating at an optimal state, a state of flow. A Founder of a Start Up can operate in a state of flow when he is getting the company off the ground, putting in countless hours of work and not even notice that the time is flying by. During this flow state your physical and mental abilities are off the charts and your performance is amazing.
So now that we know that the highest achievers perform their best in FLOW and we know why to enter a state of flow; let’s now look at how to enter FLOW. To enter FLOW you must go through the 4 stages of flow.
FOUR STAGES OF FLOW:
The first stage of flow is STRUGGLE, this stage actually feels like the opposite of what flow is supposed to feel like. During this stage we are usually uncomfortable because we are learning a new task or skill. The skill you are learning is slightly above your current area of expertise which is the reason you are initially struggling. This can be extremely frustrating for some at first, which is understandable, but it comes with benefits. During this stage your stress hormones increase, you are learning a new skill and are getting past your comfort zone. Don’t worry though, it gets better from here.
Relaxation is the second stage. During this stage it’s usually good to take a break or go for a walk. This is a good time to do anything relaxing although watching TV or switching to another difficult task is not recommended as it still keeps the brain active. The goal here is to relax and take your mind off the problem. This relaxation period allows you to get rid of the stress your experiencing and allow your body to release necessary endorphins.
This is the stage often referred to as “getting in the zone”. In this stage you get back to the task at hand with focus & attention on the present moment. Since you are revisiting the task it shouldn’t be as difficult as it was during the initial Struggle phase. This is the stage that inspiration, creativity and productivity goes through the roof! Why is that? Because the Struggle and Relaxation stages prepared us for this moment. We just experienced struggle, then relaxed and are now revisiting it. This is the stage that new ideas come to mind and you produce more than ever. Everything also seems effortless. You are physically and mentally at your very best.
· CONSOLIDATION / LEARNING
The final phase is the consolidation and learning phase. During this stage learning is magnified considerably and our ability to learn increases dramatically. This is done by consolidating the experience of flow into our unconscious. But you have to give your brain time to consolidate the new skills you acquired. The biggest mistake people often make is that they try to get back into it as soon as possible. But if you are aware of these 4 stages then you can simply get back into the cycle and into the phase of struggle and repeat the process.
If you can master these stages of FLOW and use its superhuman like abilities to your benefit, there is literally nothing to stop you from accomplishing your goal. The world is your oyster. So take advantage of flow and crush it every single day!
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