Have you ever heard of flow? Let me describe it to you....
Picture yourself on a surfboard, riding a wave. You are living in the moment, utterly absorbed in the feel of the board on the water, the sound of the wave and the splash of the ocean on your face. Time seems to fall away. You are tired, but you barely notice. According to Steven Kotler, what you are experiencing in that moment is known as flow, a state of complete immersion in an activity.
When you're in flow, your attention is focused and you are capable of amazing things, every action flows effortlessly and innovation gets amplified.
Flow experiences can occur in different ways for different people. A writer might experience this when working on a novel and the pages seem to write themselves. A basketball player might experience it when he gets into the zone, undergoes a loss of self-consciousness and focuses only on his shot from center court.
Flow states are now known to optimize performance, enhance creativity, drive innovation, accelerate learning and amplify memory.
The happiest people have flow. I don't have flow. I have stress. I am walking around with a to-do list that never gets shorter and I'm always thinking about ten things at the same time.
But I can get flow and so can you.
I bet you're thinking, "How in the world would I do that?" That's what I was thinking when I heard Steven Kotler speak about flow earlier this week at Human Capital Media's Chief Learning Officer Symposium in Miami. Steven wrote the book "The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance and says we can tap flow at work, home, or skiing down a mountain.
Here are a few of Steven's suggestions for triggering flow: Choose your own challenges, Put yourself in an unpredictable environment, stretch yourself just slightly greater than your skill set, embrace solitude, be aware of your senses, engage in serious concentration.
After hearing Kotler speak, I wandered into a nearby room at the conference to hear Yogi Roth talk about finding your inner grit. Roth, calls himself an Aventure-preneur (don't you love that title!) From Roth, I learned that I don't pause enough to think about my personal style, my vision, my theme and my philosophy. I want to pause more, and think about these things. I want inner grit.
To get it, Roth says I must make sure how I describe myself, how my best friend describes me and how my mentor describe me are the same. I will start working on that...
Thanks Yogi, good stuff to know.
Most important, from Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time and the final speaker at the conference, I learned that I don't take enough time to play. When is the last time you jumped on a trampoline, glided through air on a swing or climbed a tree? For me, it's been way too long ago. So, if I want work life balance and a less stressful life, I must learn to play. I like the idea of playing more, don't you? At Patagonia, managers have their meetings while hiking mountains and people take time in the afternoons to surf with co-workers. I love that concept -- play at work.
Do you know that in some parts of the country there are women's play groups? Yes, these women get together weekly for playdates for a fun activity -- they trapeze, rock climb and bike ride. How cool is that!
Clearly, I have a few things to work on if I want to up my game.
What are your thoughts on flow, grit, and play? If you have tapped into flow or found a way to fit play into your day, I want to hear from you. How do you make these concepts a reality?