Desperately Seeking the Flow State
In Flow, you are in an extraordinary state of being where you are able to process information extremely fast and act without conscious thought. Intuition takes the lead and the act of learning is more like an act of ‘absorption’ as your normal, critical thinking is superseded by the ability to automatically adjust to what is important.
Effective professionals of every kind have learned to live, and lead, in Flow.
“The number one management metric you need to know? Flow State Percentage.
Interruptions that move us out of Flow State increase R&D cycle times and costs dramatically.”
Modern life seems to demand that we live and work far from the extraordinary levels of life we know are possible.
Flow-killers are all around us - as abundant as rotten leaves in November. They’re like thieves intent on stealing the richest pickings and seducing us into fifty shades of dullness, when life should be a continual explosion of joyful colour.
For too many of us our brains are overflowing with cognitive clutter that diverts our energies towards empty entertainment and mindless distractions; things that mentally trip us up or box us in – preventing us from doing what we love and love what we’re doing.
Extreme Sports athletes are an obvious example of this, and whilst it’s easy to see their addiction to the rush they feel, we mere mortals can also do much to set ourselves up for regular moments of exhilaration – moments in which we not only perform our best but also inject health and happiness into both our brains and bodies.
You really can find your own path to Flow and set things up so that you regularly activate this remarkable state and find much greater fulfilment in your daily life.
All too frequently managers and teachers complain about issues with their workforce or students when it may be that the task itself or the environment they work in is actually a significant factor they need to consider.
Too many employees appear to suffer from a:
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of focus
- Lack of engagement
- Visible unhappiness
- Lack of team cohesion
- Slowness to learn
- Low level of performance
- Sense of unfulfilled potential
- Disruptive and even destructive tendency
Whilst too many managers will want to lay the blame at the feet of the workforce themselves, wouldn’t everything be better if they were given more fulfilling work to do? And what would happen if we completely changed the environment we were working in?
We should become equally aware of the factors that kill the chance to get into Flow.
Because the truth is, the enemies of Flow are all around us. They come not as solitary assassins but as battalions of brutes bent on beating us into a life of reaction and pull us away from periods of planned, pleasurable productivity.
Flow is sucked out of life by:
- A lack of purpose and specific goals - something to aim for
- A lack of challenge - where there is demand for us to rise to the moment
- A lack of focus and direction - too many distractions and interruptions
- A lack of actual ability - which leads to anxiety, frustration and stress
- Disempowering judgements – a lack of self-belief, expressed through continual (though often only semi-conscious) negative thoughts
- A lack of general flow across multiple areas of your life - to find Flow in one specific task if helps a lot if you’ve already learned to develop Flow in other areas.