Finding flow is a topic that can be hard to understand for most people.
It is something that once achieved time flies and it feels like nothing else exists except the task at hand. This leads me to the question that I still have to this day, how can we get to this state every single day.
I have come to the conclusion that it is possible to get into this state. But in order for it to happen we must fully immerse ourselves with the task at hand.
That means letting go of our egos, thoughts, goals etc.
This means to give up everything in the moment except for the task that we are currently doing. This can be tricky, but once this skill is developed you start to noticed that you are using more brain power then you ever thought was possible.
This means full immersion, it reminds me of the days when I pitched in baseball. I literally didn’t care about anything else, I couldn’t see anything else except for the task at hand.
In that case it was getting outs, for myself and my team. Just like at this very moment nothing else is on my mind except for writing this article.
Time is flying by but at the same time I am one with the words I am writing, nothing else exists right now except for the task at hand.
I have discovered how flow works, for those athletes out there finding flow will help with everything.
It will help with practice, it will help in the classroom, it will help during games.
So that leads to the question and the practical steps for how to achieve this exceptional peak performance state. Here’s how
Pick a task: It could be writing, reading, building a model instrument, a puzzle
- Now fully immerse your brain with that task at hand
- Only think of what you are currently doing
- Pretend that the world has ended and that the only things that exist are you and your task at hand
- DO not drift
- Become one with the task
- Get completely lost in the moment
- Let go of everything and get to work
If you are able to do all of the above you will achieve the flow state. It takes practice, you will be awful at first, but when it is experienced it is completely rewarding. You will notice that everything gets done faster.
You will also notice that the days go by fast. It takes skill to do this, but constantly say to yourself, this task and myself are the only two things that exist in the moment.
Abandon every thought about the past and future, and allow your brain to become fully immersed with the task at hand. It is a lot easier than it sounds.
It takes letting go, and getting into your body. Flow is the secret that high performing olympians use to accomplish all of their goals.
This is something a skill that must be developed. Yes there will be boredom, and it will become tiresome, but just think about the pleasureable reward of becoming extremely productive and getting things done faster than you ever could have imagined.
Just remember to lose yourself completely and to just become one with the task and to just do the task and completely forget that everything else exists.
This method is extremely effective. How to lose yourself?
- Think about a time where you did something excellent and you were extremely focused
- Try to remember everything possible about that experience
- Keep it in your mind
- Visualize yourself doing nothing but the task at hand
- Trick yourself into believing that the only things that exist are you and the task at hand
Yes, I know that this sounds crazy but it does work and people are able to access this state every single day by doing the above methods.
It takes full immersion in a task to get it done and to do it well. I know this because sometimes when doing mental work I think too much. I experience flow more often during training, lifting, and sparring.
Flow is harder to get into during mental activities, it is possible and achievable however.
This is a skill that is easier to achieve and experience than to explain. Once you understand it though everything starts to make sense.
Even me right now at this very moment am one with this article. Nothing else exists in my mind except myself and this article, nothing else matters, I have blocked everything except, the task at hand and myself doing it.
The task at hand is the only thing that matters, this is complete immersion. Whoever, is reading this can experience this with me as well, we are both on a journey at one with the task at hand.
Nothing else matters except the task at hand and the readers who are reading this post.
Now, how can people get into this state when they are training. You simply do the same thing. Pretend that the only two things that are real are you and the barbell, or you and the pitcher.
If you’re sparring with a partner, pretend that you and him are the only things that exist, and that everything else has completely disappeared. Remember, that this takes work, because at first your brain won’t believe you.
But if you say this with conviction, you will notice that suddenly every distraction disappears. You will notice complete immersion with the task at hand.
It will be like an incredible high that is being achieved.
Flow and the zone are the same thing.
It has always been difficult to get in the zone at will.
It is something that I have been studying and trying to learn how to do with consistency, it just doesn’t work that way, it is a process that tends to happen naturally without forcing it.
Even thinking about the zone takes us out of it.
There should be no thought ideally, just action and the present moment.
When doing something physical it is a lot easier to just flow right into the zone.
It is slightly different when performing a mental task such as reading.
To read effectively our minds must be mentally into the words, with pictures in mind and mentally seeing what is going on.
Reading effectively requires more thinking than writing or lifting.
When lifting, I get into the zone easily without much effort.
Since I enjoy it so much I am able to block out everything else, and just completely dominate the task at hand.
I can do this pretty effectively with writing as well, although not to the same extent as I can do it when lifting.
WWE wrestlers can also get into the zone without much difficulty.
They have to focus on their performance in order to make sure the crowd is entertained.
The heel has to be vicious, merciless, and cowardly when on the defense.
The babyface has to show heart, toughness, and resilience.
The babyface also has to show fire during his comeback, while the heel shows cowardice and begs off.
Wrestling for the WWE is all about being in the zone.
You simply must be focused on the craft and the task at hand.
Same with baseball.
When I played baseball growing up, I never had many thoughts that didn’t include baseball.
When I was playing the outfield, here were some of my thoughts.
“If the batter hits a ground ball to shortstop or third I have to back up the throw.”
Runner on second.
“If I get a ground ball in the outfield I have to hit the cut off man or throw it all the way to home.”
Baseball requires a lot of baseball iq to be good.
Baseball IQ doesn’t refer to the IQ test people were given in elementary school.
Baseball IQ is about knowing what to do on a baseball field and doing it well.
Too many people think that book smarts is the same thing as having baseball IQ, and they are two totally different things.
When you are batting, you need to do whatever it takes to get into the zone.
The only concern should be the sign the coach gave you, yourself and the pitcher.
Here are some simple ways to focus when hitting.
Say this in your head.
“If he throws me a first pitch fastball for a strike I will swing at it unless my coach gives me the take sign.”
Baseball requires a lot of strategy.
In fact, I would say that it is the most strategic game out of all three major sports.
Basketball is strategic to a certain degree, although sometimes in basketball you can design a perfect game plan, and if the players can’t get it done then that messes everything up.
Football, somewhat strategic too, although the coaches are the ones who have to think more about strategy, rather than the players.
Typically in football, if the player has a good coach, and is capable of following basic orders he will be pretty good, unless he has no athletic ability at all.
In football, the only player that has to do any critical thinking is the quarterback.
In fact, excessive thinking in football will only make you play worse.
Second guessing yourself in football, will likely cause an injury.
Running backs only have to find the hole, or block their guy in pass protection.
There isn’t much thought to picking the right hole and going through it.
Simply pick a hole and run through it.
As a coach I don’t want to see a running back thinking about where to go.
The running back needs to simply see the hole and explode through it.
The most important attribute for a running back is vision.
The running back who can see and run through the biggest holes will be the best running back.
Emmit Smith ran a 4.7 40 yard dash, and he is a top 5 running back of all time.
Vision is more important than speed for a running back.
Now, for the people out there who think that means you can be slow and play running back, no that isn’t the case.
A fat slow, 300 lbs defensive lineman isn’t going to be the best running back, not even close.
Running backs need to run at least a 4.8.
And if they run a 4.8 they better have the best vision in the country.
As far as defensive lineman go, they do not need to have a good 40 time to be good.
It is rare that a defensive lineman will have to run 40 yards, most of the time the defensive lineman has to run 10 yards at the most.
The 10 yard split is a more accurate test for how effective a defensive lineman will be.
Also, defensive lineman need to have strength, power, and mass.
On the mental side, they also need to be nasty, and vicious.
The problem with that though is that the nasty players almost always commit stupid penalties in the most inopportune times.
If a defensive lineman can be nasty and vicious, while not commiting penalties that guy will be unstoppable.
Think JJ Watt.
JJ Watt does all of these things extremely well.
This is why JJ Watt is a two time defensive player of the year.
No one will argue with me that he is the best defensive player in the league right now.
Flow isn’t something that can be forced, if you aggressively force flow, then it doesn’t happen.
It has to be eased into.
It also has to do with skill level, and whether the person in flow is being challenged or not.
If the activity is too easy, then the person doing the activity will not experience flow.
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