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Most people live in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness, and of their soul’s resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger.

The Rise of Superman

The Rise of Superman

by Steven Kotler


14.9K reads

Flow: Performing Like Superman

Three important points to help you perform better:

  • When you’re in flow, five neurochemicals are released simultaneously.
  • For flow to happen, some parts of your brain must be switched off, not on.
  • What we think is possible changes every time we see a...

Five strong chemicals are released, all at once, when you’re in flow:

  • Dopamine, which gets you excited about new ideas, while helping you filter what’s important from the noise.
  • Norepinephrine, which increases your heartbeat, blood sugar and br...

Another factor, which is part of the flow experience, is something called transient hypofrontality. What this complicated expression means is simply that for a short time (transient) your preFRONTal cortex is less (hypo) active.

The prefrontal cortex is part of the neocorte...

Orientation Adjustment Area

Another part that slows down during flow is your orientation adjustment area, the part of the brain that lets you assess your position in the world, relative to other objects around you.

This is what causes surfers to feel “as if they’re one with the wave” or writers to just “thin...

Bannister was the first man to run a mile in under 4 minutes. Before he accomplished this in 1954, for decades people had thought a 4 minute mile simply wasn’t possible.

However, once he did, someone else did it just two months after him. His record was broken again twice within the next ...

Every time someone accomplishes something we think is impossible, our definition of that word changes.

Great achievements inspire us to go beyond them and achieve even more, and that’s what makes flow so important. Without it, humans would stop pushing the boundaries of performance.

The Core Components

Ten core components that indicate the Flow state:

  • Clear goals
  • Concentration
  • A loss of self consciousness
  • Distorted sense of time
  • Direct and immediate feedback
  • Balance between ability level and challenge
  • A sense of...

  • As flow requires focus, one of the first changes suggested by experts was the removal of cubicle farms, those open office plans that permit constant interruption.
  • Studies have shown that each time a flow state is disrupted it takes fifteen minutes to get back into flow

Flow appears near the emotional midpoint between boredom and anxiety, in what scientists call the flow channel— the spot where the task is hard enough to make us stretch but not hard enough to make us snap.

How hard is that? Answers vary, but the general thinking is about ...

The US military trained snipers in flow twice as fast as normal. McKinsey established that executives in flow are five times more effective than their steady-state peers.

This is exactly what 150 years of flow research has revealed; this is what the recent revolution in action an...

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