In Vail one of the things I was researching was the flow state.
I’m fascinated with different states of consciousness and the flow state is one of the most alluring to me.
Skiing, I enter more readily into flow, and I have been focused on how you bring this state more into everything you do.
You know the feeling I am talking about, right?
When they say an athlete is in the zone, he’s right on top of it in this moment where it is all coming together, he is in the state of flow.
I’m sure you too have experienced this many times for yourself.
When you are absorbed in something challenging or mechanical in your work?
Perhaps when you were younger and absorbed in some type of sport. Or today, if you ride or run or do some other type of activity, you know the feeling when you just zone out and you are right in this moment?
You lose track of time, you simply forget about things other than being absorbed in the task at hand.
These are peak states for happiness and performance.
It is a magical feeling and a state I want to experience more and more.
It is one thing to know I can experience this feeling in some activities, but how do you train yourself to more feel this way in all activities in your life?
How do you quickly get yourself into the zone and how do you stay here?
There are some well-known principles of flow that you can read about in the definitive book on flow, aptly named, Flow, but the gist is:
You want to be fully absorbed in the activity you are doing, where you have a goal, and the difficulty of the task well matches your skill level.
But, how do you do it?
These are the sorts of questions I’ve asked for eons.
So I was delighted when my buddy Mark heard a presentation in Lake Tahoe by Steven Kotler—who you likely know is a well-known author—on his book The Rise of Superman, which is on the flow state.
Ironically, it wasn’t until I was leaving Vail that I got to his book and realized it was almost entirely loaded with stories on extreme skiers, snowboarders, base jumpers, climbers, surfers, and others.
It is a great book, and an enjoyable read.
And it’s an important topic: The flow state is the essence of human performance and happiness.