3 down (selflessness, timelessness and effortlessness) 1 to go and it’s less of a mouthful – richness. This time it’s not a lack of self, time or effort that dominates. It’s an increase in value. Intrinsic and extrinsic reward. Now you notice the pay off. You notice more of what’s around you. More of what matters to you. Optimal performance and its dividends. More P than L on the sheet at the end of year.
Richness is vivid, detailed and universal.
Having explored selflessness and timelessness the third characteristic of flow revolves around effortlessness. The intrinsically rewarding nature of experiences compels us to do it again. I did it, I loved it and I’d like to do it again pretty soon. If you are deeply committed to a compelling goal it will not feel like a slog. As soon as an experience starts to shift us into a flow state our to do list is long forgotten. Passion, innovation and ease.
In my last posting I explored the first characteristic of flow (selflessness), next up is timelessness. This is perhaps the easiest characteristic to notice in the moment because time goes a bit weird. It dilates. Either having the perception of slowing down or speeding up. Is that the time already? Because we are so time poor this perception is very much welcomed. Even in small doses we feel like we have more available time. More patience, more satisfied.
Past and future
In a recent posting I introduced the 4 characteristics (selflessness, timelessness, effortlessness and richness) of a flow state described by Kotler and Wheal in Stealing Fire. Here I am going to take each characteristic in turn and dive a bit deeper.
Actually when we are in flow large swathes of the prefrontal cortex shuts down (transient hypofrontality) and we loose track. We loose track of ourselves. Silencing our inner critic and keeping the ego at bay. Risk taking increases as the
Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard (the founder/owner of outdoor clothing and gear brand Patagonia) is a classic read for anybody interested in organisations – their purpose, culture and values. The title alone is enough to challenge and support your philosophy of working lives. “We all needed to have flextime to surf the waves when they were good.”
There are some great tale of Yvon’s life and the values that he lives by – enjoyment, friendship, flexitime, personal image
Scary as it might sound we only really have 3 things – time, money and energy. There are plenty of opportunities to develop your awareness of the first two. Time management has been a tried and tested workshop for years. Money commands it’s own industry, careers, qualifications and crashes.
Energy on the other hand often creeps under the radar. Paying attention to energy needs to be as natural as checking your watch or your bank balance. Awareness is one thing but
The emerging role for any learning professional is in my view to embrace new media. Acting as a producer and journalist so that others can quickly access your message. When I run workshops I tend to arm myself with the power of conversation and a flipchart. But I know many people want to anchor the learning and have some clear takeaway’s. Which is why I write an e-book that does just that. I wrote the following for a power of change
I read Robert K Greenleaf’s book Servant Leadership years ago, and it’s now in its 25th edition. I totally bought into the concept of making sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. Perhaps more of a mindset (than a practical leadership tool) it encourages us to think whether we are being of service.
In his book he poses 3 questions…
Do those served grow as persons?
Why would anybody accept the leadership of another except that the other sees more
The ‘power of what’ calls upon you to notice your energy levels in the moment. You are firing on all cylinders. But what is firing – body, heart or mind. What do you need more of, what do you need less of? Fuel in the tank.
Shifting gears slightly the concept of Hedonic Calendaring, (Kotler and Wheal) introduces the ‘power of when.’ Offering a way to hack optimal performance without coming undone. A method to integrate hard and fast processes with
Even though more and more people are recognising the benefits of incorporating non-ordinary states into their lives and work this doesn’t mean it won’t have its problems. Historically any time this has shown up it’s lead to upheaval and misuse. Whilst the insights from psychology, neurobiology, pharmacology and technology give us better means to practice optimal performance there will always be those who use and abuse.
We have seen it in sport even though elite athletes submit ‘biological passports’ confirming their