May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
Do you have trouble with your performance? Do you feel as if things generally take more effort than they should? Our state of mind is largely responsible for our capabilities. We perform at our best when we’re in a state of effortless focus. I refer to this as flow, because you become like a river; always moving and smoothly making your way along obstacles.
Diving into your flow
You can only get into your flow if you’re 100% dedicated to what you’re doing. You need to be in it, because energy flows where attention goes. If part of your attention is elsewhere then you’re draining your own performance. A divided focus takes a lot of energy and doesn’t generate as much. The secret of flow is that it creates energy, so you can actually keep up a powerful effort efficiently.
In the flow mistakes do not matter, because you’ll find solutions just as easy. A river does not think about obstacles, but naturally finds its way around. I’ve experienced this mainly through music performances, because the only way to get it right is to fully dive into your own expression. But it also holds true in public speaking, which is a great skill to have, albeit a terrifying experience for many.
However, it’s exactly that terror that’s going to push you into the right direction. The only way to overcome it is to embrace it. The absence of a viable alternative leaves no choice but to dive in. We get fully absorbed into the moment as we’re liberated from a mind of duality. From that space everything is as it should; mistakes no longer exist, because they immediately dissolve, being part of the whole as much as anything else.
Create flow through consistency
Of course there are more ways to get into your flow without getting up on a stage. On one side the willingness to dive into the moment requires some courage, but another part of creating flow is with consistency. Most people know what their flow feels like, but the ones who pull the most success out of it are those who can create it consistently. You can generate flow through a consistent practice, habit or routine whatever that may be.
The value of a routine practice is that you build up a focus for your mind. Over time it becomes increasingly easier to tune into and further strengthen this focus. Cultivating such a focus sharpens your mind, so that when you engage into something you’ll be able to give it your full attention without getting easily distracted. Of course, an interesting activity makes it easier to keep your focus. However, if you can remain focused during less interesting tasks you’ll also be able to do complete them faster, effectively making time for other things.
Some weeks ago a friend of mine told me about lumosity.com. It’s like brain training, but quite a bit of fun and doesn’t take a lot of time. The methods are effective and the results are measurable. I’m not paying for the full service myself, but it’s definitely worth a try since you can practice for free. Keeping your brain engaged in challenges is definitely one of the best ways to keep yourself sharp.
Time is relative
When you’re in the flow you operate at maximum performance. Some people achieve in days what others do in years. Often it’s not a matter of intelligence or capacity, but rather of decisiveness and courage. Because of this it’s also meaningless to compare yourself with others. Time is relative to our experience and this is different for each and every person. However, you can imagine how it would feel for you personally to do everything at maximum performance.
When it comes to working out time is also very relative. You can spend hours in a gym, but the intensity of your effort is what really determines your progress. Those who are willing to go the extra mile will get rewarded for doing so. Some people are fighting against their weight for many years, while others manage to get into the best shape of their lives within a few months.
The point I’m trying to make is that time is merely a medium through which we travel, but it’s up to us how fast we’re willing to go. Getting further means working harder, but that’s not necessarily the same as being more tiring. Like I mentioned before flow also generates a lot of energy. That’s the reason why successful people can keep up their efforts and not run out of steam. Those with the least amounts of energy are generally those who put up the biggest fights with their own mind.
Getting into your own flow starts by connecting to yourself in this moment. Embracing everything and leaving nothing out, so your mind can enter a state of relaxation that leads to focus. A consistent practice greatly helps in achieving this, so you can summon your focus much easier into your activities. When we’re 100% engaged in what we’re doing we achieve much more in less time. On top of that being in the flow generates more energy, so you can steamroll into whatever else you feel like.
How do you get into your flow? Comment below!