Skill Level Intermediate
- Flow is a state of full emergent, involvement and energized focused resulting in an altered elevated state of activity while successfully reaching an ultimate goal. It's been defined as an optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best, but the best thing about flow for us is this. In flow, creative performance is heightened, and flow allows for genius the ability to understand the essence without having all of the information to emerge. Another really amazing thing about flow is this. Researchers have discovered that once you've been in a flow state, afterwards, you have what I like to call the flow afterglow. It turns out that the effects of flow lasts for one to two days, and during this period, not only can we get back into a flow state more easily, but our ideas move better. Not only are we more creative overall, but being in flow essentially trains our brains to expand creatively, and check this out. When we get into flow and stay in it for long periods of time, we enter into something called the flow channel. When we go into a flow state, it's because what we're working on is just slightly out of reach as flow comes from a specific convergence of skill and challenge, stimulus and control. To be and stay in flow, a balance of risk and challenge is necessary. Walking this line between risk and challenge is exactly what gets us into the flow channel. If you end up dropping out of this flow channel for some reason, here's what you need to do. First, check to see if the challenge was too tough, and didn't match your skill level. If so, then notch back the challenge so that it matches your skillset or you can work to increase your skills. If it wasn't about the skills, then check to see if there was enough risk or if the challenge was tough enough. If that's the case, then up your challenge ante. Making these assessments and tweaks will help you to stay in the flow channel as long as you like. Ever wonder why when we're in flow, our sense of self and our sense of self-consciousness completely disappears? The brain science behind this is truly fascinating. Flow is actually caused by the deactivation of the area of the brain known as the prefrontal cortex, which is the seat of our higher cognitive functions like behavior modification, impulse control, self-monitoring, and self-judgment. This area is the seat of the inner critic, which I talk about in an earlier video. With this area powered down, we're far less self-critical, more willing to take risks, and we're more confident and as a result, we can envision and share new solutions. Now, by this point, you're probably saying, I'm on board, how can I get into flow? Sadly, the one thing that is true about flow states is that we can't force them or make them happen, but what we can do is to set the conditions for it. This creative dose is called find your flow. You can set the stage for flow by having a combination of these five elements in place. One, have a goal or concept in mind. Know what you want to achieve and what you want it to look like. Two, clear and prep the space. Have your workspace and your headspace cleared and set for your project and have the necessary materials and tools on hand. Three, carve out time and eliminate distractions. Set aside a dedicated block of uninterrupted focus time for your project or your task. Turn off phones and notifications and let people know that you wish to not be disturbed for your time block. Four, be familiar with your tasks and process. You must have the confidence and the capacity to do the tasks at hand and you also need to make sure that the actual process is not overly challenging or frustrating, and finally five, build an immediate feedback. Your task must have clear and immediate feedback so that you'll be able to learn, course correct on the fly and stay in that flow channel. In this way, flow acts as a magnet for building new skills. Remember, you can't force flow, however, with these elements in place, you will definitely be primed and ready for flow to happen.