The over-flowing self-help section of the bookstore, dedicated to the quest for happiness, testifies that our once sought out remedy, ‘having everything’, may not equate to happiness. Opposite to the extrinsic motivation of commercialism, flow turns us inwards to the intrinsic motivation of our intangible experiences. From here, we begin to minimize in order to expand.
Studies show the happiest people in the world are those that centre their lives around flow. The most successful business executives are shown to be 500% more effective on the job in flow. Illustrating that happiness is absorption.
Also coined ‘being in the zone’ and ‘runner’s high’, flow refers to optimal states of consciousness where you feel your best and perform your best. In flow, every action, every decision leads fluidly, seamlessly to the next. Everything becomes interconnected and interdependent. The qualities of these experiences are selflessness, timelessness, effortlessness, and richness. These experiences are ubiquitous to everyone.
Transient hypofrontality is what happens during flow. Put simply, the prefrontal cortex, housing all higher processing functions, begins to deactivate. The brain initiates an efficiency exchange, trading conscious processing for subconscious processing (150 mph vs 2000/5000mph). Neurochemicals are released that massively amplify our motivation, creativity, and learning. They also expand our capacity for empathy (endorphins and serotonin), while sub-conscious processing triggers feelings of selflessness.
The neurochemistry illustrates that we do not passively perceive the way the world is for us, our minds actively generate it. This shifting between states of consciousness suggests we should not limit our reality to the perceptions we have traditionally used.
The Flow Genome Project, founded by Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal, is committed to mapping the Genome of Flow by 2020 and open sourcing it to everyone. In harnessing flow, can we can bond society together in a new way?
1. Educating on the cognitive literacy of flow alleviates ignorance of the asymmetrical warfare over our minds. We can become more self-aware about who is trying to hijack our mindshare, with or without our permission, from governments to newsfeeds.
2. Awe is at the front-end of flow states. The states of ecstasy in flow invoke a similar shift in cognitive awareness to that of the astronaut overview effect. They mentally transport us beyond our selves; beyond earthly fragmentation. Flow erases the imaginative boundaries and divisions construed by the ego, effectively embodying the overview effect within us. Flow illuminates us as existing as a web of networks, a part of not apart from the rest of nature.
By empowering mindful awareness and invoking empathy to perform and tackle grand challenges, could the flow revolution stand a chance of succeeding just in time?…
At CoValence, we design pieces to enhance flow. Our personal organization architecture creates physical systems that enable greater connectivity between mind and body. This provides more space for us to expand into becoming the commanders of our own built-in sources of empathy, creativity, and happiness. Flow states are galvanized into a higher conscience.
Say, ‘hello’, to the best version of you.