How do you get into the FLOW state? what role does the mindset, the attitude and a belief system have in getting into FLOW?
A mindset is a way of thinking; especially a habitual one while a belief is mental acceptance of a claim as likely true. And finally, an attitude is the position of the body or way of carrying oneself.
The Finnish concept of Sisu or the Japanese equivalent of Ganbaru is a resilience mindset, the drive, a force, and a will power to make that extra mental and physical effort. Check out a previous post on the FLOWer model to understand the link between FLOW and resilience.
A belief system gives inner strength when in difficulty. A belief in God, in Nature, in yourself gives that extra spark of hope. Meditation and other forms of anchoring and recharging oneself helps to survive the bumpy road. I like the analogy of shock absorbers from cycles when going on bumps.
The role of constraints and comfort zones
An important component of FLOW is a stressor or a constraint, be it cold, material scarcity or a survival threat that pushes us out of our comfort zones.
We all have a comfort zone — the mental and physical state that we prefer to live in — and usually spend our everyday lives within this zone, doing things we know we are good at. We need challenge our limits in order to grow. The notion of the comfort zone involves the concept of eustress, a low level of stress just outside the comfort zone. We have all faced this slight stress and discomfort while handling a new demanding situation, or even in sports when we push ourselves that extra mile, we get our dose of endorphins. However, pushing too hard can cause stress levels to go out of control and create stress and anxiety and higher levels of cortisol. Knowing when to stop requires self-awareness and self-compassion.
The trigger to get in the zone
The “technologies” the different cultures, the navy seal, or extreme sports persons use to tap into FLOW state when the going gets tough is that spark of hope, and that conscious choice of responding to a situation, choosing to be optimist, choosing to be creative under harsh circumstances and constraints.
The word “technology” itself is a combination of two other Greek root words, techne, meaning skill or method and logos meaning “study.”
When faced with a situation that requires us to get into the FLOW state to tap into our latent potential, there are various techniques.
And thus, to summarize the above observations in the form of an equation:
Flow state = will power x shock absorbers (optimism created through various techniques) / constraints (to stretch out of your comfort zone) + Flow state trigger
The FLOW state requires ideally a good base, active rest and the right belief system. It’s like a car battery, if you have enough reserve, you can start your car in winter. But if your phone does not enough battery, as soon as you get a call, phone switches off !