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The Art of Achieving Flow

Brian Bojan Dordevic
About The Author

Brian Decoded

President at Alpha Efficiency

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Flow is “the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the activity process.” It is commonly used to describe situations where an individual performs above their normal level. Sometimes, it’s referred to as “being in the zone.” So, let’s see how scientists aspire to achieve flow:

In order to achieve flow, Csikszentmihalyi lays out the following three conditions:

  1. goals are clear
  2. feedback is immediate
  3. a balance between opportunity and capacity

I did some in-depth reading about the state of Flow. It appears that Flow is scientifically proven and also related to spirituality. Personally, I seem to be “hitting the flow” when I am reading and sometimes when I am writing.

It will be interesting to teach you how to extend your attention span and achieve a state of flow, as this is a prerogative for superior productive behavior. It took me a lot of time to “get it,” but once I did, I lightly chuckled. As it turns out, we knew this one all along; we just forgot it a long time ago…

woman-laptop-by-pool[1]

 

One great phrase in this article is:

Doing without doing.

It is related to the fact that when you are a child and you are exploring the world, it ultimately doesn’t count as work because it is a pleasurable experience. The same goes for flow. Flow is a pleasurable experience and is the main reason why some people write 5+ books a year while others can’t write a single one in their lifetime.

Flow is inevitably connected to the productivity world and, as such, needs more study. I will be working on extracting the essence of these activities in our future articles, so you don’t have to.


Unburdened mind

My belief says to me that only the unburdened mind can enter the state of flow. If you have too much on your mind, doing a GTD-style “brain dump” can feel like such relief, as it relieves mental pressure from your mind onto paper, giving you some false sense of control. But ultimately, it does help you feel better about yourself, even if it’s not a rational feeling, as nothing really changed before writing things down and after. (You still have the same number of tasks before you).


Pulling the parallel of Flow between sports and knowledge work

An unburdened mind has significantly higher chances of achieving the flow, which results in extreme productivity gains. This could actually fit into the Alpha Efficiency terminology as “Alpha State”. Now, speaking of Alphas…

MMA champion and Karate master Lyoto Machida uses meditation techniques before fights to attain mushin, a concept that, by his description, is in all respects equal to flow.

The last time I consciously practiced the blend of external environment and my mind was when I was playing tennis. My aspiration was to become “ONE” with the turf that I am playing on, relaxing my breathing and absorbing the ball and its reactions as those as if they were the part of my being; I’d try to make the ball a part of my mind.

However, learning some martial arts also made me realize how these two can converge. Just in this case, you would try to feel the opponent as a part of yourself, and then you would be in a better position to predict their moves and act accordingly. Bruce Lee would call that:

Mind like water.

When it comes to knowledge work, the same philosophy can apply. My mind aspires to make you (my reader) and your reading experience a part of my mental state. This way, my mind can shape your mental experience, and my aim is to do so through words so that reading my words inspires you to a higher mental state so that you can get more done.

The link between body and mind

This is why I am so obsessed with working out and eating clean (even though I do not follow them religiously, as I want to). An obvious link exists between the mind, external reality, and actions that deliver results. Our beliefs and paradigms are the ultimate determinants of what is happening in our lives and how we grow.

Feeling in tune with your body through fitness empowers certain areas of your brain that are connected with higher mental states. Being a “mental warrior” of the 21st century requires a good body as a foundation of productivity. You need to take care of your own body so it can take care of you.

How do we achieve flow?

  • Empty your mind so that it can focus
  • Go to an environment where you feel comfortable with your work
  • Make your work challenging and fun
  • Build habits in your life that will help you trigger the flow

Back at you

Have you achieved the so-called state of flow? What does it mean to you?

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